Notes on the history of Muslim Reform Movements


Mirza Ghulam Ahmed had founded the Ahmediya Movement in 1899. Under this movement a number of schools and colleges were opened all over India, imparting modern education. In religion, it emphasized the universal and humanitarian character of Islam.

Deoband movement was founded by some ulema, the Muslim theologians and their followers who had fought against the British rule in 1857. When Sir Syed advised Muslims to keep away from the congress and join the pro-government Patriotic Association, about 100 ulemas from all over the country and even from Medina and Baghdad issued a fatwa forbidding Muslims to joint the Association and permitting them to join the Congress. Some of the reform movements of Western and Southern India, worked for the emancipation of women, combated the system of purdah, polygamy and child marriage. Badruddin Tyab ji was the most outstanding leader of these movements. He was one of the founders of the Congress and its third President.

Behram ji Malabari and Pandita Ramabai were two other outstanding reformers who played a leading role in movements for women’s uplift. There were reform movements among Parsis initiated by Nauroji Furdonji and Dadahbai Naorji The Singh Sabhas plaed a leading role in the spread of education among the Sikhs. Later on a powerful movement arose among the Sikhs to put an end to the control of the Gurudwaras by corrupt Mahants. Under the leadership of Mahatma Gandhi when the nationalist movement became a mass movement social reform became an integral part of the struggle for freedom.

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