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Syed Ahmad Barelvi

Syed Ahmad Barelvi was born on 29th of November 1786 in Rai Barelley in India. He was also known as Syed Ahmad Shaheed. When Syed Ahmad was born it was the time when the Muslims of India were facing downfall by the hands of the British, Sikhs, and Hindus after such a glorious past. He launched his struggle against the enemies of Islam which were becoming fatal threat to the survival of Islam. His main struggle was against the Sikhs of the Punjab who were becoming biggest hindrance in the way of survival of Islam in Punjab and North Frontier regions of India. His main aim was to establish a Muslim state in Peshawar region but his dream could not materialized after his martyrdom in Balakot region in a battle against Sikhs. He was the initiator of famous Jihad movement or Mujahedeen Movement against Sikhs. He was a follower of Shah Abdul Aziz son of great Muslim reformist Shah Walliullah.


Syed Ahmad Berelvi spent his child hood in his home town and at 18 he went to Delhi College for further education. He was the founder of a revolutionary Islamic movement called “Tahriq-i-Muhhamdiyah” and he was named as “Amir-al-Muminin” by his followers. He stayed at Delhi for his necessary education and then in 1812 he joined the army of Nawab Ameer Khan Tonak of Northern India in order to take part in Jihad against the British. In 1821 he went to Mecca to perform Hajj where he received a spiritual experience and met many Islamic scholars, Ulemma, and thinkers, he stayed there for 2 years.  He came back with many new ideas and knowledge about the Islamic movements going on in all over the world. On 6th August 1823 he came back to India after that he devoted himself for the religious and social reformation of the Muslims of India. He strived to revive the glory of Islam and wanted to implement Sharia rather than clinging to Sufism. He denied and refused to support Bida (innovation) and supported “Tauhid”.


After that he went to Peshawar in 1826 from where his actual journey of struggle starts. Syed Ahmad and his one thousand followers made Charsadda their base champ in late December they clashed with Sikh army at Akora but no result could be deduced. He faced lots of challenges in his struggle such as he could not gather or united local element into an organized shape. In 1829 due to his local influence he obtained the agreement of Khans and general public to administer their localities according to Sharia law. In 1830 he started collecting Usher (the crop tax 10% of the total production) many khans became reluctant to pay this tax. This thing agitated the chiefs who formed an alliance to undermine Syed Ahmad’s power.  That alliance was defeated by Syed Ahmad and he formally occupied Peshawar, unfortunately his rule in Peshawar could not last for more than few months because internal uprising started in Peshawar which shattered his power and he had to take refuge in the hills of Balakot.  Where he had to fight the Sikh army and he received martyrdom in 1831 in Balakot.

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