When British control over India posed great threat
to Muslims existence and their identity in the Subcontinent, Syed Ahmed Shaheed
Barelvi came forward with a vigorous strategy to rekindled the spirit of Jihad
in Muslims and reunite them against their new shrewd enemy, the Britain’s.
Who Was Syed Ahmed Shaheed Barelvi?
Syed Ahmed Shaheed was an Indian Muslim revivalist
and revolutionist born on November 29, 1786 in a respectable family of
Raebareli, India. He was greatly impressed by the teachings and doctrines of
Shah Waliullah and remained disciple of one of Shah Waliullah’s son, Shah Abdul
Azeez for some time. Hafeez Malik in his book “Muslim Nationalism in India and Pakistan” has called him “the
inheritor of the mantle of Shah Abdul Aziz” which shows the importance of
Syed Ahmed Barelvi for his mentor Shah Abdul Aziz.
Early Life Of Syed Ahmed Shaheed Barelvi
From the beginning Syed Ahmed Shaheed Barelvi ahd an
inclination of becoming a soldier rather than endeavoring to become a renowned scholar
or mystic as did his predecessors. He began his career as Sawar in the service
of Nawab Amir Khan, the ruler of Tonk. During his service Syed Ahmed learnt
military disciplines and strategy which made him a great military commander in
the years to come.
After Tonk fell into the hands of Britishers Syed
Ahmed Shaheed Barelvi went Delhi and became the disciple of Shah Abdul Aziz.
Shah Waliullah Services
Syed Ahmed Shaheed Book
During his stay with Shah Abdul Aziz, Syed Ahmed Shaheed
Barelvi wrote his famous book “Sirat-i-Mustaqim” in 1818. Syed Ahmed Barelvi
two distinguished disciples, Shah Ismail Shaheed and Maulana Abdul Haye helped
him in this project.
Services Syed Ahmed Shaheed Barelvi Render For The Cause Of Islam
Syed Ahmed Shaheed Barelvi rendered some valuable
services for the cause of Islam during his lifetime. He adopted a vigorous two
pronged strategy aimed at the purification of Muslims society and the destruction
of British power in India. Some valuable services that Syed Ahmed Shaheed
Barelvi rendered for the cause of Islam are given below.
Jihad Movement By Syed Ahmed Shaheed Barelvi Against Sikhs And British
In nineteenth century Punjab and some other parts of
Subcontinent were under the control of Sikh ruler Ranjit Singh who had turned
Muslims holy places such as mosques and shrines into temples and stables. In
short Muslims were living a meager life under Sikhs rule. These conditions of
Muslims infuriated Syed Ahmed Shaheed Barelvi who decided to launch Jihad
movement against Sikhs and Britishers to returned glory back to Muslims of the
Syed Ahmed Shaheed Barelvi Declared War On Sikh Regime
To liberate Muslims of Subcontinent from Sikhs
domination, Syed Ahmed Shaheed Barelvi adopted a strategy of taking control of
Punjab and KPK (then NWFP). He started his jihad movement against Sikh
domination from NWFP.
Battle Of Akora
After mustering fighters Syed Ahmed Shaheed Barelvi
established his headquarter at Nowshehra in December 1826. From there he
finally launched his jihad movement against Sikhs and British. To fight Mujahedeens
under the command of Syed Ahmed Shaheed Barelvi, Sikh rulers sent a strong army
under the command of General Budh Singh who camped at Akora. Muslims Mujahedens,
about 900 in total, on Syed Ahmed order attacked on Sikh forces at night and
successfully defeated them. This was the first battle between Syed Ahmed
Shaheed Barelvi Mujaheedens and Sikh forces. Second battle occurred at Hazro
which too was a great success.
Popularity Of Jihad Movement
Mujahideens astonishing success in two encounters
gave Jihad movement very much popularity and people began joining it in large
number. Many Paktoon leaders and chieftains such Yar Muhammad Khan and Pir
Hakman Khan too joined the Jihad Movement. Soon the number of Muslim fighters
reached to 80,000.
Conspiracies Against Jihad Movement
Sikh forces being helpless to defeat Syed Ahmed
Shaheed Barelvi force began conspiracies against the movement. They pressurized
Yar Muhammad Khan who first tried to poison Syed Ahmed but failed and then got
killed in an encounter with Mujahideens.
March Towards Kashmir And Peshawar
Syed Ahmed Shaheed Baarelvi in 1829 marched towards
Peshawar and Kashmir. Sikh forces under the command of French General Ventura
saved Peshawar. Another assault was made at Hazara Hills but it too failed.
Syed Ahmed Shaheed
Barelvi in 1830 attacked on Peshawar for second time and this time he
Enforcement Of Sharia By Syed Ahmed Shaheed Barelvi
Syed Ahmed Shaheed Barelvi enforced Sharia in
occupied regions of Peshawar. By this time a large of Sardars and Khans took
oath of allegiance at the hand of Syed Ahmed Shaheed Baarelvi. Syed Ahmed was
declared as Caliph who order was binding on all subjects.
The Battle Of Balakot
In 1831, nearly after two months of the conquest of
Peshawar, Syed Ahmed Shaheed Barelvi moved towards Balakot and began his movement
from Rajauri. Sikhs army under the command of General Sher Singh attacked
Mujahideens, who fought valiantly till their last breath. In the battle Syed
Ahmed Shaheed Barelvi along with Shah Ismail Shaheed and hundreds of other Mujhaideens
laid their lives for sacred cause on 6th May 1831.
Syed Ahmed Shaheed Barelvi Mazar
Syed Ahmed Shaheed Barelvi and Shah Ismail Shaheed
along with other Mujahideens were buried at Balakot.
Why Was Syed Ahmed Barelvi A Very Suitable Person To Lead Opposition To The British?
Syed Ahmed Shaheed Barelvi was the most suitable
person to lead opposition to the British and Sikhs. He had an excellent
knowledge of leading forces and designing strategies. Similarly the leadership
skills of Syed Ahmed Shaheed Barelvi also helped him a lot in reuniting Muslims
under one flag and leadership. The noble cause for which Syed Ahmed Shaheed was
struggling was another main reason that not only made him and his movement
popular but gained a lot of support from Muslims in different forms.