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Blasphemy of the Prophet (British India): The Right to Revenge-3

06 Sep 2018
Blasphemy of the Prophet (British India): The Right to Revenge-3

Syed Jawed Anwar

BRITISH government of Indians didn’t allowed any opposition to the government. Saying anything in the opposition of the British government was a criminal act. Today’s so-called champion of “freedom of expression” and democracy --hypocrite West-- never allowed any voice of dissent in any part of their occupied lands. But it was allowed to disgrace and abuse the most sacred personalities of Islam. Their “freedom of expression” was applicable only if it goes against Islam and Muslims.

A special-interest group from among the Hindus used this “freedom of expression” against Islam and the Prophetﷺ and other sacred personalities in the most vulgar way.

Mahashe Rajpal published a novel from Lahore (current in Pakistan) in 1927. The contents and even the title of the novel was so vulgar, provocative, and derogatory against the Prophetﷺ that it can’t even be quoted. The novel was written by someone unknown. He might be Rajpal himself or hate writers Pandit M. A. Chamupati or Krishan Prashaad Prataab. Rajpal never revealed the author’s name but the book’s publisher, promoter, and seller was Rajpal. His address was published in the book.

It is important to note that in those days, followers of Qadiani leader, Mirza Ghulam Ahmad Qadiani (b. 1835, d. 1908, falsefully claimed himself prophet of God), a stooge of British Empire provocatively incited Hindus by disgracing their sacred personalities with impiety (Islam doesn’t allow it). They published a pamphlet defaming Sita, a sacred goddess of Hindus’ belief. Similarly, Ghulam Ahmed Qadiani also disgraced Jesus, and other sacred personalities of other religions. Muslims believe and declare Qadiani (claimed themselves “Ahmadia Muslims) non-Muslims. Most of the Muslim countries and few non-Muslim countries declared them as a non-Muslim community.

But Hindus were still considering them Muslims. All the activities of Qadiani were considered as Muslims/Islamic activity. Qadianis aggressiveness against Hindu religious figures further inflamed anti-Islam sentiments. This is also one of many reasons of flood of blasphemy literature.  

In the beginning, in the case of escalating tension between Hindus and Muslims and in the case of disturbing communal harmony and creating unrest (Indian penal code 153 a of that time), the first-class Magistrate of Lahore C. H. Disney announced sentence for Rajpal:  six months jail with labour and Rupees one thousand fine. But when he appealed in session court, the sentence was reduced to six months jail only. Later, he appealed to the high court, and he was released without any punishment. A high court judge; Justice Dileep Singh, was severely criticized by the Muslim community leaders and Muslim media, but the judgement was highly appreciated by Hindu communal forces and media. Muslims started protest rallies all over India against the decision, but all the cries and tears of Muslims went in vain. 

When the chief editor of English newspaper Muslim Outlook (the only English journal of Muslims), Syed Dilawar Shah, wrote an editorial against the judgement, he and the newspaper’s owner Maulvi Noorul Haq were sentenced for each of three months jail and one thousand fine in the charge of contempt of court.

Maulana Muhammad Ali Jauhar (1878 –1931), noted Muslim leader of the time, spoke out in Jama Masjid, Delhi on this issue. It is a historically memorable speech. An Afghan newspaper from Kabul Aman Afghan also published an extremely touchy editorial on this issue.

In 1927, the administration of the British Raj enacted Hate Speech Law Section 295(A), a part of the Criminal Law Amendment Act XXV. This made it a criminal offence to insult the founders or leaders of any religious community. However, practically, it was not applied in Rajpal and other Hindu hate mongers. 

Muslims were extremely upset and disappointed by the British justice system and found themselves hopeless.

On July 4, 1927, a Muslim public meeting was organized in Lahore. Meher Ilmuddin, Mian Muhammad Shafi (1869–1932), and Khawja Ghulam Muhammad played significant roles in organising this huge public meeting. Government banned organization of the rally. But despite the ban and restriction and hurdles, Muslims came out from their homes and gathered at the lawn of Sheikh Abdur Raheem in front of grave of Shah Muhammad Ghous (R.). Their numbers were moderately counted 35,000.

Noted scholars and community leaders of the time, Ameer e Shariat, Maulana Syed Ata Ullah Shah Bukhari (1892 –1961), Mufti Kifayatullah (1875 –1952), Maulana Hussein Ahmed Madani (1879 - 1957) , Maulana Zafar Ali Khan (1873–1956), Maulana Habibur Rahman Ludhianvi, Ghazi Abdur Rahman, Maulana Ahmad Saeed Dehlvi,  Sheikh Sir Abdul Qadir (1874 –1950), Chaudhry Afzal Haq (1891–1942), and many others, attended the meeting.

All the speeches were full of emotions. But when Maulana Ataullah Shah Bukhari, the most prolific orator and articulate speaker of his time, began his speech, the situation became extremely charged. Addressing all the Ulema (scholars) and the community members he spoke:

“Today, our mothers Khadeeja (r.a.) and Ayesha (r.a), are knocking on our door, bringing a resolution in front of us. Our beloved mothers (r.a) are complaining that they had been insulted with abusive language. Where is our dignity, my sons!? Where is your honor!?” (translated from Urdu).

And the whole crowd was crying with emotion. After few days, Maulana  Syed Ataullah Shah, Ghazi Abdur Rahman, Maulana Habibur Rahman, and many others were arrested.

On September 26, 1927, a youth Khuda Baksh Akojha attacked Rajpal with his dagger.  However, his life was spared from this attempt. Khuda Baksh was arrested and convicted and imprisoned for seven years. Abdul Azeez, a Muslim Youth, native of Ghazni, Afghanistan, went to Rajpal’s book store and attacked mistakenly another person, who was sitting in place of Rajpal. He was Swami Satyanand, a friend of Rajpal.  Later, he was arrested and charged in case of injuring three persons. Another student from Amritsar, Hafiz Abdul Musawwir, also made an unsuccessful attempt.

Spared from several attempts, District Magistrate provided Rajpal three police officials for his security. But feeling imprisoned, Rajpal himself left Lahore for several months. He came back when his Hindu friends accused him of his timidity. Rajpal also thought that the matter was over now.  He thought that his life was safe now. He started aggressively selling the books with the new passion.

On April 6, 1929, a youth Ilmuddin, a native of Lahore, carpenter by profession, was ready to accomplish the unfinished task. He informed his relatives and close friends about his intention and distributed his valuables as gift.  At 2:30 pm, he arrived at Rajpal’s book store where he was lying on the floor. Ilmuddin informed him that be ready to die now. The voice was so strong that his two helpers of the store didn’t even move to rescue him, and Rajpal closed his eyes with fear. Ghazi Ilmuddin attacked forcefully with his dagger.  

Later Ghazi was arrested. All the efforts of noted Muslim lawyers of the time went in vain. However, Islamic scholars, particularly Ataullah Shah Bukhari, were against any plea. They opined for him to achieve the highest place in Al-Jannah as a martyr.

Ghazi Ilmuddin clearly and without any doubt admitted the murder. Noted lawyer, Muhammad Ali Jinnah (1876 –1948), founding father of Pakistan (liberated after dividing India in 1947), took his case. Mr Jinnah was a professional lawyer based in Bombay. He was the member of Congress Party of India at that time.

Mr. Jinnah asked Ghazi Ilmuddin to make some changes in his statement so he would be spared.  But Ghazi refused to make any amendment. He was obviously expecting and waiting for his martyrdom. 

Muhammad Ali Jinnah fought this case intelligently, and it was one of his best argued cases that showed his highest intellectual capability. But he was not successful in protecting from conviction. The desire of martyrdom of Ilmuddin and government’s intention to hang him superseded all the legal efforts. 

On, October 28, Ghazi Ilmuddin Shaheed was moved to next abode. He was smiling and was extremely calm when he was hanged. It was reported a moment before the execution that he was arguing with the jailor about why his hanging was delayed. It seemed that he was anxiously waiting to meet someone --the Unseen. In his academy of love, the death was dearer than life.

Despite the fact, government allowed his burial in Mianwali, not in his native place Lahore. About six hundred thousand Muslims attended in his funeral. Maulana Zafar Ali Khan and Allama Muhammad Iqbal hoped to be placed with Ghazi Ilmuddin Shaheed. 16   

An editorial published in a moderate Urdu newspaper Siyasat:

(Translation:) “The murderer of Rajpal is obviously Ilmuddin. But if you think cool mindedly then our brothers of nation will realize that the real murderer of Rajpal was the author of the novel who shocked tens of millions of Muslims’ sentiments badly. Muslims had been demanding the government to convict the culprits --writer and publisher. Therefore, Punjab government started legal proceeding. However, the final outcome of this case was not satisfactory.

“If the said author (publisher Rajpal) could show courage and admitted his crime and he could accept the jail terms and fine as was pronounced by District Magistrate, it could be said with confirmation that the murder of Rajpal would never have happened. It is no doubt that the life of a human being is precious, and the person who took it had to face severe punishment. But the person who, by using his tongue or pen, damages and kills the sentiments of hundreds of thousands of human beings, he is also a murderer. It is also a serious matter that the society that made regulation against this crime has proved inadequate. If the society considers the murder of sentiment a serious crime, and people take care of others in their speech and writing so that it doesn’t hurt other’s sentiments, many turmoil and strife can be prevented.”

The murderer Rajpal was the author of the novel and Rajpal himself. He had been continuously attacking, boiling, and killing the sentiments of tens of millions of Muslims.

It is “surprising” to note that not a single Hindu leader (except Mahatma Gandhi) of any party condemned Rajpal’s evil deeds.

To be continued:

Jawed Anwar can be reached at jawed@seerahwest.com

NOTES:

16. Allah aur Rasoolﷺ ke Shaheed (Namoos e Risalat ke Saat Shaheed), Urdu by Rai Muhammad Kamal

Imran Khan

Great article

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