Jamāl al-Dīn al-Afghānī

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Jamāl al-Dīn al-Afghānī_table_infobox_0

Sayyid Jamāl al-Dīn al-AfghānīJamāl al-Dīn al-Afghānī_header_cell_0_0_0
PersonalJamāl al-Dīn al-Afghānī_header_cell_0_1_0
BornJamāl al-Dīn al-Afghānī_header_cell_0_2_0 Sayyid Jamaluddin ibn Safdar

1839 Location disputedJamāl al-Dīn al-Afghānī_cell_0_2_1

DiedJamāl al-Dīn al-Afghānī_header_cell_0_3_0 9 March 1897 (aged 58)

Constantinople, Ottoman EmpireJamāl al-Dīn al-Afghānī_cell_0_3_1

Cause of deathJamāl al-Dīn al-Afghānī_header_cell_0_4_0 Cancer of the jawJamāl al-Dīn al-Afghānī_cell_0_4_1
Resting placeJamāl al-Dīn al-Afghānī_header_cell_0_5_0 Kabul, AfghanistanJamāl al-Dīn al-Afghānī_cell_0_5_1
ReligionJamāl al-Dīn al-Afghānī_header_cell_0_6_0 IslamJamāl al-Dīn al-Afghānī_cell_0_6_1
NationalityJamāl al-Dīn al-Afghānī_header_cell_0_7_0 DisputedJamāl al-Dīn al-Afghānī_cell_0_7_1
CreedJamāl al-Dīn al-Afghānī_header_cell_0_8_0 DisputedJamāl al-Dīn al-Afghānī_cell_0_8_1
MovementJamāl al-Dīn al-Afghānī_header_cell_0_9_0 ModernismJamāl al-Dīn al-Afghānī_cell_0_9_1
Notable idea(s)Jamāl al-Dīn al-Afghānī_header_cell_0_10_0 Pan-Islamism , Sunni-Shia unity, Hindu-Muslim unityJamāl al-Dīn al-Afghānī_cell_0_10_1
Muslim leaderJamāl al-Dīn al-Afghānī_header_cell_0_11_0

Sayyid Jamāl al-Dīn al-Afghānī (Pashto: سید جمال ‌‌‌الدین افغاني‎), also known as Sayyid Jamāl ad-Dīn Asadābādī (Pashto: سید جمال ‌‌‌الدین اسدآبادي‎) and commonly known as Al-Afghani (1838/1839 – 9 March 1897), was a political activist and Islamic ideologist who travelled throughout the Muslim world during the late 19th century. Jamāl al-Dīn al-Afghānī_sentence_0

He is one of the founders of Islamic Modernism as well as an advocate of Pan-Islamic unity in Europe and Hindu–Muslim unity in India, he has been described as being less interested in minor differences in Islamic jurisprudence than he was in organizing a united response to Western pressure. Jamāl al-Dīn al-Afghānī_sentence_1

He is also known for his involvement with his follower Mirza Reza Kermani in the successful plot to assassinate Shah Naser-al-Din, who Al-Afghani considered to be making too many concessions to foreign powers, especially the British Empire. Jamāl al-Dīn al-Afghānī_sentence_2

Early life and origin Jamāl al-Dīn al-Afghānī_section_0

As indicated by his nisba, al-Afghani claimed to be of Afghan origin. Jamāl al-Dīn al-Afghānī_sentence_3

His true national and sectarian background have been a subject of controversy. Jamāl al-Dīn al-Afghānī_sentence_4

According to one theory and his own account, he was born in Asadābād, near Kabul, in Afghanistan. Jamāl al-Dīn al-Afghānī_sentence_5

Another theory, championed by Nikki R. Keddie and accepted by a number of modern scholars, holds that he was born and raised in a Shia family in Asadabad, near Hamadan, in Iran. Jamāl al-Dīn al-Afghānī_sentence_6

Supporters of the latter theory view his claim to an Afghan origin as motivated by a desire to gain influence among Sunni Muslims or escape oppression by the Iranian ruler Nāṣer ud-Dīn Shāh. Jamāl al-Dīn al-Afghānī_sentence_7

One of his main rivals, the sheikh Abū l-Hudā, called him Mutaʾafghin ("the one who claims to be Afghan") and tried to expose his Shia roots. Jamāl al-Dīn al-Afghānī_sentence_8

Keddie also asserts that al-Afghānī used and practiced taqīa and ketmān, ideas more prevalent in the Iranian Shiʿite world. Jamāl al-Dīn al-Afghānī_sentence_9

He was educated first at home and then taken by his father for further education to Qazvin, to Tehran, and finally, while he was still a youth, to the Shi'a shrine cities in present-day Iraq (then-part of Ottoman Empire). Jamāl al-Dīn al-Afghānī_sentence_10

It is thought that followers of Shia revivalist Shaikh Ahmad Ahsa'i had an influence on him. Jamāl al-Dīn al-Afghānī_sentence_11

Other names adopted by Al-Afghani were al-Kābulī ("[the one] from Kabul") Asadabadi, Sadat-e Kunar ("Sayyids of Kunar") and Hussain. Jamāl al-Dīn al-Afghānī_sentence_12

Especially in his writings published in Afghanistan, he also used the pseudonym ar-Rūmī ("the Roman" or "the Anatolian").. or centuries the long and narrow valley of Kunar with Pashat as its main town had been ruled by a Pashtunized Sayyid family of Arab descent. Jamāl al-Dīn al-Afghānī_sentence_13

Sayyid Ali Tirmizi bin Sayyid Kanbar Ali Ferghani, known as the Pir Baba Buner (a descendent of Sayyid Ali Akbar bin Imam Hasan al-Askari), who had accompanied Zahir al-Din Babur from Tirmiz, was the founder of the family. Jamāl al-Dīn al-Afghānī_sentence_14

His shrine in the village of Paucha in Buner is venerated to the present day. Jamāl al-Dīn al-Afghānī_sentence_15

Emperor Humayun, who was the son and successor of Babur, had granted him Kunar free of revenue. Jamāl al-Dīn al-Afghānī_sentence_16

His descendants known locally as de Konarr pachayaun (kings of Kunar) as well as de Konarr sayyedaun (Sayyids of Kunar) gradually became secular. Jamāl al-Dīn al-Afghānī_sentence_17

Political activism Jamāl al-Dīn al-Afghānī_section_1

At the age of 17 or 18 in 1855–56, Al-Afghani travelled to British India and spent a number of years there studying religions. Jamāl al-Dīn al-Afghānī_sentence_18

In 1859, a British spy reported that Al-Afghani was a possible Russian agent. Jamāl al-Dīn al-Afghānī_sentence_19

The British representatives reported that he wore traditional cloths of Noghai Turks in Central Asia and spoke Persian, Arabic and Turkish fluently. Jamāl al-Dīn al-Afghānī_sentence_20

After this first Indian tour, he decided to perform Hajj or pilgrimage at Mecca. Jamāl al-Dīn al-Afghānī_sentence_21

His first documents are dated from Autumn of 1865, where he mentions leaving the "revered place" (makān-i musharraf) and arriving in Tehran around mid-December of the same year. Jamāl al-Dīn al-Afghānī_sentence_22

In the spring of 1866 he left Iran for Afghanistan, passing through Mashad and Herat. Jamāl al-Dīn al-Afghānī_sentence_23

He was spotted in Afghanistan in 1866 and spent time in Qandahar, Ghazni, and Kabul. Jamāl al-Dīn al-Afghānī_sentence_24

He became a counsellor to the King Dost Mohammad Khan (who died, however, on 9 June 1863) and later to Mohammad Azam. Jamāl al-Dīn al-Afghānī_sentence_25

At that time he encouraged the king to oppose the British but turn to the Russians. Jamāl al-Dīn al-Afghānī_sentence_26

However, he did not encourage Mohammad Azam to any reformist ideologies that later were attributed to Al-Afghani. Jamāl al-Dīn al-Afghānī_sentence_27

Reports from the colonial British Indian and Afghan government stated that he was a stranger in Afghanistan, and spoke the Dari language with an Iranian accent and followed European lifestyle more than that of Muslims, not observing Ramadan or other Muslim rites. Jamāl al-Dīn al-Afghānī_sentence_28

In 1868, the throne of Kabul was occupied by Sher Ali Khan, and Al-Afghani was forced to leave the country. Jamāl al-Dīn al-Afghānī_sentence_29

He travelled to Constantinople, passing through Cairo on his way there. Jamāl al-Dīn al-Afghānī_sentence_30

He stayed in Cairo long enough to meet a young student who would become a devoted disciple of his, Muhammad 'Abduh. Jamāl al-Dīn al-Afghānī_sentence_31

He entered Star of East masonic lodge on 7 July 1868 while staying in Cairo. Jamāl al-Dīn al-Afghānī_sentence_32

His membership number was 1355. Jamāl al-Dīn al-Afghānī_sentence_33

He also founded a masonic lodge in Cairo and became its first Master. Jamāl al-Dīn al-Afghānī_sentence_34

He had been excluded from the Grand Lodge of Scotland due to accusations of atheism and he joined the French Grand Orient. Jamāl al-Dīn al-Afghānī_sentence_35

According to K. Jamāl al-Dīn al-Afghānī_sentence_36 Paul Johnson, in The Masters Revealed, H.P. Jamāl al-Dīn al-Afghānī_sentence_37 Blavatsky's masters were actually real people, and "Serapis Bey" was Jamal Afghani, as a purported leader of an order named the "Brotherhood of Luxor". Jamāl al-Dīn al-Afghānī_sentence_38

Afghani was introduced to the Star of the East Lodge, of which he became the leader, by its founder Raphael Borg, British consul in Cairo, who was in communication with Blavatsky. Jamāl al-Dīn al-Afghānī_sentence_39

Afghani's friend, a Jewish-Italian actor from Cairo named James Sanua, who with his girlfriend Lydia Pashkov and their friend Lady Jane Digby were travel companions of Blavatsky. Jamāl al-Dīn al-Afghānī_sentence_40

As concluded by Joscelyn Godwin in The Theosophical Enlightenment, "If we interpret the 'Brotherhood of Luxor' to refer to the coterie of esotericists and magicians that Blavatsky knew and worked with in Egypt, then we should probably count Sanua and Jamal ad-Din as members." Jamāl al-Dīn al-Afghānī_sentence_41

In the early 1860s, he was in Central Asia and the Caucasus when Blavatsky was in Tbilisi. Jamāl al-Dīn al-Afghānī_sentence_42

In the late 1860s he was in Afghanistan until he was expelled and returned to India. Jamāl al-Dīn al-Afghānī_sentence_43

He went to Istanbul and was again expelled in 1871, when he proceeded to Cairo, where his circle of disciples was similar to Blavatsky's Brotherhood of Luxor. Jamāl al-Dīn al-Afghānī_sentence_44

Afghani was forced to leave Egypt and settled in Hyderabad, India, in 1879, the year the Theosophical Society's founders arrived in Bombay. Jamāl al-Dīn al-Afghānī_sentence_45

He then left India and spent a short time in Egypt before arriving in Paris in 1884. Jamāl al-Dīn al-Afghānī_sentence_46

The following year he proceeded to London, and then on to Russia where he collaborated with Blavatsky's publisher, Mikhail Katkov. Jamāl al-Dīn al-Afghānī_sentence_47

In 1871, Al-Afghani moved to Egypt and began preaching his ideas of political reform. Jamāl al-Dīn al-Afghānī_sentence_48

His ideas were considered radical, and he was exiled in 1879. Jamāl al-Dīn al-Afghānī_sentence_49

He then travelled to Constantinople, London, Paris, Moscow, St. Petersburg and Munich. Jamāl al-Dīn al-Afghānī_sentence_50

In 1884, he began publishing an Arabic newspaper in Paris entitled al-Urwah al-Wuthqa ("The Indissoluble Link") with Muhammad Abduh; the title (Arabic: العروة الوثقى), sometimes translated as "The Strongest Bond", is taken from the Quran – chapter 2, verse 256. Jamāl al-Dīn al-Afghānī_sentence_51

The newspaper called for a return to the original principles and ideals of Islam, and for greater unity among Islamic peoples. Jamāl al-Dīn al-Afghānī_sentence_52

He argued that this would allow the Islamic community to regain its former strength against European powers. Jamāl al-Dīn al-Afghānī_sentence_53

Al-Afghani was invited by Shah Nasser ad-Din to come to Iran and advise on affairs of government, but fell from favor quite quickly and had to take sanctuary in a shrine near Tehran. Jamāl al-Dīn al-Afghānī_sentence_54

After seven months of preaching to admirers from the shrine, he was arrested in 1891, transported to the border with Ottoman Mesopotamia, and evicted from Iran. Jamāl al-Dīn al-Afghānī_sentence_55

Although Al-Afghani quarrelled with most of his patrons, it is said he "reserved his strongest hatred for the Shah," whom he accused of weakening Islam by granting concessions to Europeans and squandering the money earned thereby. Jamāl al-Dīn al-Afghānī_sentence_56

His agitation against the Shah is thought to have been one of the "fountain-heads" of the successful 1891 protest against the granting a tobacco monopoly to a British company, and the later 1905 Constitutional Revolution. Jamāl al-Dīn al-Afghānī_sentence_57

He was invited by Abdulhamid II in 1892 to Istanbul. Jamāl al-Dīn al-Afghānī_sentence_58

He traveled there with diplomatic immunity from the British Embassy, which raised many eyebrows, but nevertheless was granted a house and salary by the Sultan. Jamāl al-Dīn al-Afghānī_sentence_59

Abdulhamid II's aim was to use Al-Afghani for Pan Islamism propagation. Jamāl al-Dīn al-Afghānī_sentence_60

While in Istanbul in 1895, Al-Afghani was visited by a Persian ex-prisoner, Mirza Reza Kermani, and together they planned the assassination of the Shah, Naser-al-Din. Jamāl al-Dīn al-Afghānī_sentence_61

Kermani later returned to Iran, and assassinated Naser-al-Din at gunpoint on 1 May 1896, while the Shah was visiting a shrine. Jamāl al-Dīn al-Afghānī_sentence_62

Kermani was executed by public hanging in August 1897, and Al-Afghani himself died of cancer in the same year. Jamāl al-Dīn al-Afghānī_sentence_63

Political and religious views Jamāl al-Dīn al-Afghānī_section_2

Al-Afghani's ideology has been described as a welding of "traditional" religious antipathy toward non-Muslims "to a modern critique of Western imperialism and an appeal for the unity of Islam", urging the adoption of Western sciences and institutions that might strengthen Islam. Jamāl al-Dīn al-Afghānī_sentence_64

Although called a liberal by the contemporary English admirer, Wilfrid Scawen Blunt, Jamal ad-Din did not advocate constitutional government. Jamāl al-Dīn al-Afghānī_sentence_65

In the volumes of the newspaper he published in Paris, "there is no word in the paper's theoretical articles favoring political democracy or parliamentarianism," according to his biographer. Jamāl al-Dīn al-Afghānī_sentence_66

Jamal ad-Din simply envisioned "the overthrow of individual rulers who were lax or subservient to foreigners, and their replacement by strong and patriotic men." Jamāl al-Dīn al-Afghānī_sentence_67

Blunt, Jane Digby and Sir Richard Burton, were close with Abdul Qadir al Jazairi (1808–1883), an Algerian Islamic scholar, Sufi and military leader. Jamāl al-Dīn al-Afghānī_sentence_68

In 1864, the Lodge "Henry IV" extended an invitation to him to join Freemasonry, which he accepted, being initiated at the Lodge of the Pyramids in Alexandria, Egypt. Jamāl al-Dīn al-Afghānī_sentence_69

Blunt had supposedly become a convert to Islam under the influence of al-Afghani, and shared his hopes of establishing an Arab Caliphate based in Mecca to replace the Ottoman Sultan in Istanbul. Jamāl al-Dīn al-Afghānī_sentence_70

When Blunt visited Abdul Qadir in 1881, he decided that he was the most promising candidate for "Caliphate," an opinion shared by Afghani and his disciple, Mohammed Abduh. Jamāl al-Dīn al-Afghānī_sentence_71

According to another source Al-Afghani was greatly disappointed by the failure of the Indian Mutiny and came to three principal conclusions from it: Jamāl al-Dīn al-Afghānī_sentence_72

Jamāl al-Dīn al-Afghānī_unordered_list_0

  • that European imperialism, having conquered India, now threatened the Middle East.Jamāl al-Dīn al-Afghānī_item_0_0
  • that Asia, including the Middle East, could prevent the onslaught of Western powers only by immediately adopting the modern technology like the West.Jamāl al-Dīn al-Afghānī_item_0_1
  • that Islam, despite its traditionalism, was an effective creed for mobilizing the public against the imperialists.Jamāl al-Dīn al-Afghānī_item_0_2

Al-Afghani held that Hindus and Muslims should work together to overthrow British rule in India, a view rehashed by Maulana Syed Husain Ahmad Madani in Composite Nationalism and Islam five decades later. Jamāl al-Dīn al-Afghānī_sentence_73

He believed that Islam and its revealed law were compatible with rationality and, thus, Muslims could become politically unified while still maintaining their faith based on a religious social morality. Jamāl al-Dīn al-Afghānī_sentence_74

These beliefs had a profound effect on Muhammad Abduh, who went on to expand on the notion of using rationality in the human relations aspect of Islam (mu'amalat) . Jamāl al-Dīn al-Afghānī_sentence_75

In 1881 he published a collection of polemics titled Al-Radd 'ala al-Dahriyyi (Refutation of the Materialists), agitating for pan-Islamic unity against Western imperialism. Jamāl al-Dīn al-Afghānī_sentence_76

It included one of the earliest pieces of Islamic thought arguing against Darwin's then-recent On the Origin of Species; however, his arguments allegedly incorrectly caricatured evolution, provoking criticism that he had not read Darwin's writings. Jamāl al-Dīn al-Afghānī_sentence_77

In his later work Khatirat Jamal ad-Din al-Afghani ("The memoir of Al-Afghani"), he accepted the validity of evolution, asserting that the Islamic world had already known and used it. Jamāl al-Dīn al-Afghānī_sentence_78

Although he accepted abiogenesis and the evolution of animals, he rejected the theory that the human species is the product of evolution, arguing that humans have souls. Jamāl al-Dīn al-Afghānī_sentence_79

Among the reasons why Al-Afghani was thought to have had a less than deep religious faith was his lack of interest in finding theologically common ground between Shia and Sunni (despite the fact that he was very interested in political unity between the two groups). Jamāl al-Dīn al-Afghānī_sentence_80

For example, when he moved to Istanbul he disguised his Shi'i background by labeling himself "the Afghan". Jamāl al-Dīn al-Afghānī_sentence_81

Death and legacy Jamāl al-Dīn al-Afghānī_section_3

Al-Afghani died of throat cancer on 9 March 1897 in Istanbul and was buried there. Jamāl al-Dīn al-Afghānī_sentence_82

In late 1944, on the request of the Afghan government, his remains were taken to Afghanistan via British India. Jamāl al-Dīn al-Afghānī_sentence_83

His funeral was offered in Peshawar's Qissa Khwani Bazaar in front of the Afghan Consulate building. Jamāl al-Dīn al-Afghānī_sentence_84

Thereafter, his remains were laid in Kabul inside the Kabul University; a mausoleum was also erected there in his memory. Jamāl al-Dīn al-Afghānī_sentence_85

In Afghanistan, a university is named after him (Syed Jamaluddin Afghan University) in Kabul. Jamāl al-Dīn al-Afghānī_sentence_86

There is also street in the center of Kabul which is called by the name Afghani. Jamāl al-Dīn al-Afghānī_sentence_87

In other parts of Afghanistan, there are many places like hospitals, schools, Madrasas, Parks, and roads named Jamaluddin Afghan. Jamāl al-Dīn al-Afghānī_sentence_88

In Peshawar, Pakistan there is a road named after him as well. Jamāl al-Dīn al-Afghānī_sentence_89

In Tehran, the capital of Iran, there is a square and a street named after him (Asad Abadi Square and "Asad Abadi Avenue" in Yusef Abad) Jamāl al-Dīn al-Afghānī_sentence_90


Credits to the contents of this page go to the authors of the corresponding Wikipedia page: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jamāl al-Dīn al-Afghānī.