By KRISHNADAS RAJAGOPAL
NEW DELHI: Two 19th century personalities find mention in the e-mail sent by Indian Mujahideen as “visionary legends” in whose memory the serial blasts which marred the Capital on Saturday evening have been carried out. Even as the group terms the two Sayeed Ahmed Shaheed and Shah Ismail Shaheed—as “Mujahids”, Islamic scholars differ to say they were “scholars” who fought the British rule and are celebrated as “freedom fighters”.
“We have carried out this attack in the memory of two most eminent Mujahids of India—Sayeed Ahmed Shaheed and Shah Ismail Shaheed—who raised the glorious banner of jihad against the disbelievers in this very city of Delhi,” reads the email transcript. But Mushirul Hasan, an Islamic historian and faculty with Jamia Milia Islamia University, does not agree. “This is an insult to the memory of two leading scholars of the 19th century. Shah Ismail was a freedom fighter who fought against the British rule.” Hasan says the “jihad” fought by the two was the war against the British Government. “They were men with perspective. Their jihad was a response to the British governance. Ismail was called Shaheed because he was a martyr in the cause of freedom struggle.” One of the great works of Shah Ismail is the ‘ Mansab-i-Imamat’, says Hasan, who terms Ismail as a critic of the “despotic rule of Sultans of Delhi”.
S Z H Jafri, the Head of History Department in Delhi University and an Islamic scholar, said the mentioning of the names of these two personalities were “totally unjustified”.
“Historically, the war fought by Sayeed Ahmed and Shah Ismail was a jihad against the Sikhs of Punjab. They fought in the north-western provinces and established a government in Peshawar. History records their deaths in the Battle of Balakot in
1831,” Jafri says. “There are hundreds of books written on Shah Ismail. Their reference in the e-mail is misleading,” he adds. Reference sites on the Internet record Sayeed Ahmed as a 19th Century “warrior” from Rae Bareilly and founder of a revolutionary
Islamic movement ‘ The Way of the Prophet Muhammed’ who was killed by the Sikh army in Balakot in 1831. Shah Ismail is termed as a scholar of Islam and a distinguished warrior in the jihad proclaimed by Sayeed Ahmed against the Sikhs in Punjab.
Source: Indian Express, September 15, 2008