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Wahabi movement and Indian freedom struggle

The monotheism movement by Shaikh-ul-Islam Muhammad ibn Abdul Wahab Najdi (born 1703), was named as Wahabi Movement. Islamic world and Arab Muslims were deteriorating in every section of religion. They were caught in polytheism and innovations in religious matters. In such circumstances, Muhammad bin Abdul Wahab preached and corrected people to the right path of Allah and succeeded after tireless efforts. Turks who were the “servants of the two holy mosques” until now and British became anxious, who were threatened by the naval power of the Njadi (Saudis) in Persian Gulf. Thus the Turks and the British invented the term Wahabiyat as religious abuse with the help of sacred, mysterious looking faces and so called clerics.

When British got threatened by the Islamic Movement of India, then they gave same name to this movement. Although, Najdi movement and the movement of Syed Ahmad Barelvi (1786-1831) had no connection between them. In Najdi movement, Tawheed (Monotheism) and abandoning of religious innovations were emphasized. In contrast to this, Syed Ahmad Shaheed was more focused on jihad. In 1831, during Balakot battle Syed Ahmed Barelvi and Shah Ismail Dehlavi martyred, but this movement continued despite their martyrdom. When Punjab was annexed in 1849, then Wababis were counted in the powers that were dangerous for the East India Company, so the company has not left any action to crush this movement.

After the independence war of the 1857, there was a huge increase in the atrocities and some or the other reasons were made to justify these atrocities. Criminal proceedings were started against them and the cases were registered from 1864 till 1871- in Ambala, Patna, Malda, Rajmahal and then again in Patna. The arrests continued till 1871. Hundreds of innocents were put in prisons and the atrocities inflicted on them. Sadikpur’s houses were demolished as per the recommendations of the Collector and District Magistrate Ravenshaw and the Sadikpur area was handed over to Patna Municipality. Furthermore, the graves were destroyed beyond these recommendations, even though followers of Syed Ahmad Shaheed did not leave the stability and patience in these grueling days.

At the time of martyrdom of Syed Ahmad Barelvi, two important activists of the movement Maulana Wilayat Sadikpuri who was posted in Hyderabad and Maulana Wilayat Ali Rampuri was posted in Madras as chief of the mission and doing diplomatic service. Syed Ahmed Barelvi wrote a letter to Sikandar Jah (Nizam of Hyderabad III) in which he encouraged him to fight against the Birtish. The Wahabi movement provided the essence and passion needed for independence struggle. In other words, Wahabi Movement provided a useful spice for independence fight. Ignoring the fact that the first war of independence was not affected by the Wahabi movement, is to ignore the importance of this great movement. The fact is that if Muslims have performed an impressive and proud work during their eight hundred years rule in India, then it is the Wahabi movement. The leaders of Wahabi movement were strong opponents to the British Raj and were spreading the fire of opposition against them across the country. Munshi Mohammad Jafar Thanesari distinguishly participated in the first war of independence.


It is unfortunate that the followers of the movement which smoothed the way to liberate the country with its blood and fought with all kinds of opposition for religious awareness and social reforms, our country men knows very little about them. When these corners will be exposed and must be, then the relation between Wahabi movement and freedom struggle of India will be known, and these great people will not be counted as benefactors for Muslims alone but also for whole humanity.

Maulana Syed Shahabuddin Salfi Firdausi

Founder Masjid-ul-Salam & Chairman Athar Blood Bank, Solapur

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