HAJI SHARIATULLAH (1781–1840) was an eminent Islamic reformer of
Indian subcontinent in
British India . He is known for founding
Faraizi movement .
Shariatpur District is named after him.
* 1 Early life
* 2 Life in Arabia
* 3 The
* 3.1 Reception
* 4 Legacy
* 5 References
Shariatullah was born in 1781 into a petty Talukdar family at the
village Shamail under the then
Madaripur sub-district of greater
Faridpur District in
Bengal . His father, Abdul Jalil Talukdar, was a
farmer who was not very well off. He died when Shariatullah was 8
years old. After his primary education he went to
Calcutta and was
admitted to Barasat Alia Madrasa. He then received education from
famous madrassa of
Furfura Sharif ,
LIFE IN ARABIA
Haji Shariatullah travelled to Arabia. He stayed there until
1818 and got his religious education. He learnt Arabic and Persian
from his teacher, Maulana Basharat. During his stay in Arabia, he was
influenced by the Najdi da\'wah started by
Muhammad bin Abdul Wahhab ,
through Tahir al-Sumbal Makki. He even is said to have visited Al
THE FARAIZI MOVEMENT
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Faraizi Movement essentially a religious reform movement had
emerged forth during the 19th century, founded by
Haji Shariatullah by
Bengali Muslims . The term Faraizi has been deduced from fard ,
standing for compulsory and mandatory duties ordained by Allah. The
Faraizis are, thus, those bunch of men whose only objective is to
implement and impose these mandatory religious duties. The promoter
and initiator of the Faraizi Movement, Haji Shariatullah, however had
represented the term in a different light and sense, implying to
assimilate every religious duty ordained by the Quran as well as by
the Sunnah of the Prophet, while remaining firmly in the
Islamic jurisprudence .
After his return to
Bengal under British Indian rule, Haji
Shariatullah had remained a continuous witness to the appalling and
degenerating conditions of his brotherhood, calling them forth to give
up un-Islamic practices (
Bidah ) and execute their honest duties as
Muslims (Faraiz). Due to various accumulating historical reasons, the
Bengal had been merrily complying with umpteen local
customs, rituals and observances, which were almost unimaginable and
displaced from the principles of Islam. Most
Bengali Muslims did not
even abide by the basic principles of Islam and adhered to these Hindu
Haji Shariatullah then and there had sworn to bring the Bengali
Muslims back in the true path of Islam, which later had churned into
the gargantuan Faraizi Movement. He had assayed to lay paramount
accentuation on the five fundamentals of Islam, insisted on the
complete acceptance and strict observation of virginal monotheism and
reprobated all digressions from the original doctrines as shirk
(polytheism) and bid`at (sinful conception). Umpteen rituals and
ceremonies affiliated with birth, marriage and death like Chuttee-
Puttee, Chilla, Shabgasht procession, Fatihah, Milad and Urs were
heavily prohibited by Shariatullah saint-worship, demonstrating
unnecessary admiration to the pir , lifting of the taziah during
Muharram were also adjudged shirk.
Haji Shariatullah indeed had laid
gross emphasis upon justice, social equality and universal fraternity
Haji Shariatullah deemed British domination in
exceedingly detrimental to the religious life of
Muslims . Travelling
in earnest quest of the
Hanafi law, he spoke up that the complete
non-existence of a lawfully-appointed Muslim caliph or representative
Bengal had stripped the
Muslims of the privilege of
observing congregational prayers. To the Faraizis, Friday congregation
was inexcusable in a predominantly non-Muslim state like Bengal.
Faraizi movement thus began to circulate with astonishing
promptness in the districts of
Dhaka , Faridpur ,
Madaripur , Barisal
Some Muslims, on the other hand, particularly the landlords of Dhaka,
hence, reacted sharply against him and this caused a riot in Noyabari,
Dhaka District . Due to the reaction of these landlords and Hindu
landlords and European indigo planters, this movement swelled into a
The landlords levied numerous Abwabs (plural form of the Arabic term
bab, signifying a door, a section, a chapter, a title). During Mughal
India, all temporary and conditional taxes and impositions levied by
the government over and above regular taxes were referred to as
abwabs. More explicitly, abwab stood for all irregular impositions on
Raiyats above the established assessment of land in the Pargana) over
and above normal rent and such abwabs were horribly dishonest in the
eye of law. Several abwabs were of religious nature. Haji Shariatullah
then intervened to object to such a practice and commanded his
disciples not to pay these dishonest cesses to the landlords. The
landlords had even inflicted a ban on the slaughter of cow, especially
on the occasion of Eid-ul-Azha. The Faraizis ordained their peasant
followers not to cling and stick by to such a ban. All these heated
instances added up to tensed and stressed relationships amongst the
Faraizies and the landlords, who were nearly all Hindus. This was
another major communal cause, which in the long run, had induced these
two religious factions to stand against each other, leading to the
Gradually gathering up incidents under the Islamic-led Faraizi
movement could be 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 mood. In
1837, these Hindu landlords indicted
Haji Shariatullah of attempting
to build up a monarchy of his own, similar in lines to Titu Mir. They
also brought several lawsuits against the Faraizis, in which they
benefitted dynamic cooperation of the European indigo planters.
Shariatullah was placed under the detention of the police in more than
one instance, for purportedly inciting agrarian turbulences in
After the death of
Haji Shariatullah in 1840, leadership of the
Faraizi movement passed to his only son, Muhsinuddin Ahmad Dudu Miyan.
Palong thana of
Madaripur , a district in the
Dhaka Division of
Bangladesh was named
Shariatpur District in honor of Haji
Bangladesh issued a postage stamp commemorating him on
10 March 1993. The 450 metres (1,480 ft) Hazi Shariatullah Bridge
over the Arial Khan River on the Mawa-Bhanga highway is named after
* ^ A B C D E Khan, Muin-ud-Din Ahmad (2012). "Shariatullah, Haji".
In Islam, Sirajul ; Jamal, Ahmed A. Banglapedia: National Encyclopedia
Bangladesh (Second ed.). Asiatic Society of
* ^ A B "Haji Shariatullah". Muslim Ummah of North America. Muslim
Ummah of North America. Retrieved 22 February 2015.
* ^ A B Banu, Razia Akter (1992). Islam in Bangladesh. BRILL. pp.
35–37. ISBN 9004094970 . Retrieved 13 March 2015.
* ^ Hua, Shiping. Islam and Democratization in Asia. Aligarh:
Cambria Press. p. 160. ISBN 978-1621969006 .
* ^ "Story of Pakistan". Retrieved 12 March 2014.
* ^ Uddin, Sufia M. (2006). Constructing Bangladesh: Religion,
Ethnicity, and Language in an Islamic Nation. University of North
Carolina Press. pp. 53–54.
* ^ Khan, Muin-ud-Din Ahmed (2012). "Faraizi Movement". In Islam,
Sirajul ; Jamal, Ahmed A. Banglapedia: National Encyclopedia of
Bangladesh (Second ed.). Asiatic Society of
Bangladesh . On the death
Haji Shariatullah in 1840 his only son Muhsinuddin Ahmad alias Dudu
Miyan was acclaimed the head of the Faraizi movement.
* ^ "Haji Shariat Ullah".
Bangladesh Post Office. Retrieved 31 May
* ^ "Hazi Shariatullah Bridge was inaugurated". Roads and Highways
Department. Retrieved 31 May 2015.
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