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The freedom fighter Haji from Bengal

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An eminent Islamic reformer and freedom fighter, known for founding the Faraizi (dutifulness) Movement. He was born in 1781 into a poor family in Bengal. His father died when he was just eight years old. After his primary education, he went to Calcutta and was admitted to Barasat Alia Madrasa. Later, he received education at a madrassa in Murshidabad. In 1799, when he travelled to Arabia, he left behind a demurred, anguished, thrown over, unprotected people bemoaning at the suppression and repression of the British occupier and indigo planters who lorded over them. He stayed in Arabia until 1818 and got his religious education there. He learnt Arabic and Persian. He was influenced by Muhammad ibn Abdul Wahhab. On his return to Bengal, he sought to purify Islam that was impaired by local influences.

The Faraizi Movement, essentially a religious reform movement, had emerged during the 19th century, founded by him. The term Faraizi has been deduced from fard, standing for compulsory and mandatory duties ordained by Allah. The growing popularity of the movement amongst the people of Bengal alarmed Hindu landlords who harassed him. He declared British India as a Darul-harb (an abode  of war) and called the Muslims to fight for freedom against the occupation power.

Gradually gathering up incidents under the Faraizi movement was witnessed in various parts of Bengal, with overwhelming English-Bengali agreement for perhaps the very first time. The outraged landlords built up a propaganda campaign with the British officials, incriminating the Faraizis with mutinous plans. In 1837, these Hindu landlords indicted him of attempting to build up a monarchy of his own, similar in lines to Titu Mir, another freedom fighter in Bengal. They brought several lawsuits against the Faraizis, in which they benefitted from the active cooperation of the European indigo planters. He was placed under the detention several; times.

He died in 1840 in Dhaka. The movement was very famous during 1830 to 1900. Dudu Miya, his able son, led the struggle successfully for several years.

(Wikipedia.org and muslimummah.org)

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This article appeared in The Milli Gazette print issue of 1-15 December 2015 on page no. 22

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