Sayyid Ahmad Khan

Sayyid Ahmad Khan


Born Oct. 7, 1817, in Delhi; died 1898. Public figure, religious reformer, and founder of the Muslim enlightenment movement in India.

Ahmad Khan came from a Muslim aristocratic feudal family. His efforts in the cause of enlightenment were centered chiefly on the weekly journal Tahdhib al-Akhlaq (Social Reform), which he founded in 1870, and the Muslim Anglo-Oriental College at Aligarh, which he founded in 1878. The basis of his ideology, which was progressive for its day, was the doctrine of “self-help”—man’s service for the social good and “national solidarity.” He criticized reactionary feudal institutions and called upon Muslims to familiarize themselves with European culture. He urged the modernization of Islam and religious tolerance. While criticizing certain aspects of British colonial policy, however, Ahmad Khan retained his loyalty to the British authorities. He shared the illusions of part of the intelligentsia of British India that colonial domination was inevitable and necessary for a certain period of time. He laid the foundations for the Muslim communal movement, first in the area of enlightenment and later in the realm of politics.

Ahmad Khan’s ideology combined features of progressive enlightenment with religious-communal aspects. Its internal contradictions reflected the contradictory nature of the Muslim communal movement and the ambiguous position of the Muslim bourgeoisie in colonial India. These ambiguities also showed how the Muslim intelligentsia, which emerged in the second half of the 19th century, was tied to the feudal landowning class.


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References in periodicals archive ?
Among those who had a strong impact were al-Afghani (1838-1897), Sayyid Ahmad Khan (1817-1898), Muhammad 'Abduh (1849-1905) and Amir 'Ali (1849-1928).
One of the individuals to propose a reform of Islam was Sayyid Ahmad Khan (1817-1898), founding figure of the Aligarh movement.
The Modernists, who were deeply influenced by Western modern liberal thought, tried to interpret Islam in a way that was considered as rational, and Sayyid Ahmad Khan eventually came to the conclusion that the Muslims of India had to accommodate themselves with the British (SYED 1991, p.
Kaltner also describes the approaches of a series of modern Qur'an exegetes: Sayyid Ahmad Khan, Muhammad Abduh, Fazlur Rahman, and Mohammad Talbi.
Comparing Sayyid Ahmad Khan and Muhammad Iqbal's broad-spirited interpretation with that of Osama bin Laden, Lawrence concludes that bin Laden is not so much an Islamist or even a fundamentalist as a "descendant of Rasputin and the Russian anarchists of the early twentieth century" (49).
The main focus of attention in this article is on the person of Sir Sayyid Ahmad Khan, (1) one of the greatest Muslim educationists, writers and reformers during British rule, considering his historically decisive role in shaping Muslim destiny in the Subcontinent up to independence, namely the creation of an independent Muslim state, Pakistan.
After gauging the circumstances in the Subcontinent, Sir Sayyid Ahmad Khan realized the urgent need to persuade his co-religionists to let bygones be bygones and come to terms with the British rulers.
If the practical utility of technology and science becomes even more evident and compelling, one would not be surprised then to see Muslims embracing more openly the views of Muhammad Abduh, Sayyid Ahmad Khan, and Muhammad Iqbal, who saw a basic harmony between Islam and science as an integral part of the epistemology of the Qur'an.
H is fierce criticism was also extended to Sayyid Ahmad Khan and the Aligarh movement in India.
His modernism was as much radical and provocative as that of the Aligarh, and there was not much in his philosophical view that could not be rec onciled with that of Sayyid Ahmad Khan and associates.
Mawdudi rejected the modernists such as Sayyid Ahmad Khan and Ameer Ali, who, according to him, "allowed themselves to be seduced by the values of an alien system of life.
These movements, the usulis amongst the Shi'ites(46) (which became dominant at the end of the Eighteenth Century), and those movements associated with Sayyid Ahmad Khan,(47) al-Afgani,(48) Mohammed Abduh,(49) Qasim Amin,(50) Mohammed Iqbal(51) and Taha Husayn,(52) are thus seen as evidence of resistance to pressure of European thought on backward Seventh Century Islamic theory.