Haji Shariatullah (1781–1840) was an eminent Islamic reformer of the
Indian subcontinent in British India. He is known for founding the
Shariatpur District is named after him.
1 Early life
2 Faraizi movement
3 Death and legacy
Shariatullah was born in 1781 into a petty Talukdar family at the
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 a madrasa in Furfura Sharif, Murshidabad.
In 1799, 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 is said to have
visited Al Azhar.
Shariatullah founded the
Faraizi movement which was a religious reform
movement in the 19th century for Bengali Muslims. The term Faraizi was
taken from fard which means standing for compulsory and mandatory
duties ordained by Allah. Shariatullah instructed his followers to
assimilate every religious duty required by the Quran as well as by
the Sunnah, while remaining firmly in the
Hanafi school of Islamic
jurisprudence. He called for observance on the five fundamentals of
Islam, insisted on the complete acceptance and strict observance of
monotheism and prohibited all digressions from the original doctrines
of Islam as shirk (polytheism) and bid`at (sinful conception). Haji
Shariatullah deemed British domination in
Bengal as detrimental to the
religious life of Muslims.
Faraizi movement thus began to circulate with astonishing speed in
the districts of Dhaka, Faridpur, Madaripur, Barisal,
Comilla. Some Muslims, on the other hand, particularly the landlords
of Dhaka, hence, reacted sharply against him and this caused a riot in
Dhaka District. Due to the reaction of these landlords
and Hindu landlords and European indigo planters, this movement
swelled into a socio-economic issue.
Gradually incidents caused by the
Faraizi movement could be witnessed
in various parts of Bengal. The outraged landlords built up a
propaganda campaign with the British officials, incriminating the
Faraizis with mutinous mood. In 1837, these Hindu landlords accused
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 Faridpur.
Death and legacy
After the death of
Haji Shariatullah in 1820, leadership of the
Faraizi movement passed to his only son, Muhsinuddin Ahmad Dudu
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
^ a b c d e Khan, Muin-ud-Din Ahmad (2012). "Shariatullah, Haji". In
Islam, Sirajul; Jamal, Ahmed A. Banglapedia: National Encyclopedia of
Bangladesh (Second ed.). Asiatic Society of Bangladesh.
^ a b "Haji Shariatullah". Muslim Ummah of North America. Muslim Ummah
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^ a b Banu, Razia Akter (1992). Islam in Bangladesh. BRILL.
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^ Hua, Shiping. Islam and Democratization in Asia. Aligarh: Cambria
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^ 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