Notwithstanding his dismissal by some conservative Muslims as an atheist, a traitor and a British agent, Ahmad Khan strongly advocated that Islam is not a religion of violence but of peace that respects other religions. He concentrated on the educational field, which he rightly saw as the best means to raise the Muslims from their backwardness and ignorance vis-à-vis the dominant Hindus. Today the highly respected Aligarh Muslim University in India is a visible monument of his great foresight and outstanding work for Muslims world wide.
The nineteenth century witnessed one of the most turbulent periods in the history of the Muslim people in the Indian subcontinent, during which they lost their political grip there. During the war of independence of 1857, Muslims struggled vigorously to shake off foreign rule, but in vain, their sun set in political chaos.1 Bahadur Shah Zafar (1837-1857), the last Mughal ruler, lost his throne and was exiled to Rangoon (Yangon). The Muslims’ life, property, and even honour were no longer secure because of the British suspicion of their loyalty. The British occupied Delhi and started a reign of terror in and around the city. Many Muslim villages were raided, homes set on fire and the helpless residents summarily gunned down. A large number of Muslim houses were... [continues]
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