Faraizi movement

Bengali Islamic movement of 1818
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The Faraizi movement was founded in 1818 by Haji Shariatullah to give up un-Islamic practices and act upon their duties as Muslims (fard).


  • “Among other things, we are told that he insisted upon his disciples eating the common grass-hopper (phaDinga), which they detested, because the locust (tiDDi) was used as food in Arabia.”
    • About Dudu Miyan. Murray Titus, Indian Islam, Oxford, 1930, p. 180.
  • Dudu Miyan was charged with plunder in 1838, committed to sessions for murder in 1841, tried for trespass and for unlawful assembly in 1844, and for abduction and plunder in 1846. But it was found impossible to induce witnesses to give evidence, and on each occasion he was acquitted.
    • R.C. Majumdar (ed.), History and Culture of the Indian People, Volume XI, Bombay, 1981, p. 885.
  • As the followers of Shariatullah increased in numbers, and as they became too bold and overbearing, they carried their incursions against Hindu zamindars and committed acts of cruelty against Hindu families.”
    • Narahari Kaviraj, Wahabi And Faraizi Rebels of Bengal, New Delhi, 1982, p.65
  • Sharī‘at Allāh’s main message was one of religious purification, since the popular beliefs of Bengali Muslims had strayed far from the purity of early Islam. He wanted a return to the farā’id, “the obligatory religious duties”, such as the profession of faith, the daily prayers, fasting during the month Ramadan, paying the zakat poor tax, and pilgrimage to Mecca. Like Ibn ‘Abd al-Wahhab, Sharī‘at Allāh stressed the principle of tawhīd, and denounced bida‘, innovations, and shirk (polytheistic practices and beliefs). As Alessandro Bausani sums up, “besides various para-Hindu customs, he rejected the celebration, with funerary lamentations and special ceremonies, of the martyrdom of Husayn at Karbalā’, the pomp and ceremonial that had been introduced into the very simple, austere rites of Muslim marriage and burial, the offering of fruit and flowers at tombs, etc.; moreover, he prohibited the use of the mystical terms pir and murid (“master” and “disciple”), which at that time conveyed an almost Brahmin-like implication of total devotion of the disciple to his spiritual master, out of keeping with the sturdy Islamic tradition, and instead proposing the two terms ustādh and shāgird (also Persian, but more “secular”); the initiation ceremony common to the various Muslim confraternities, the bay‘a, [oath of allegiance] was also prohibited and replaced by a simple statement of repentance (tawba) and a changed life made by the murīd (or shāgird). Another significant precept of Sharī‘at Allah was the prohibition of communal prayers on Fridays or feastdays, based on the exclusion of British India from the dār al-Islām.”
    • Encyclopaedia of Islam 2nd Edn., Vol. 2, s.v. FARĀ’IDIYYA (A.Bausani), 784 a. in Ibn, Warraq (2017). The Islam in Islamic terrorism: The importance of beliefs, ideas, and ideology. ch 14
  • Militant and united, the Fara’izis faced opponents in eastern Bengal challenging those Muslims who wished to continue to practice Islam as it was then. They also considered Hinduism a threat since it was, for them, a fountain of polytheism and evil innovations. By 1831 there were disturbances as factories were burnt, and the Muslim peasants refused to pay their Hindu landlords, who had also demanded money for various Hindu festivals
    • Ibn, Warraq (2017). The Islam in Islamic terrorism: The importance of beliefs, ideas, and ideology. ch 14
  • The two movements, the Fara’izi and that of Titu Mir, were not, as Banerjee explains, just “peasant struggles for economic amelioration. Religious fanaticism was a prominent feature in both cases, and coercion and violence were necessary off-shoots. The raids on the establishments of Hindu zamindars were sometimes accompanied by desecration of idols. Orthodox Muslims who refused to accept the Wahabi version of Islam were subjected to coercion. [A British] officer…observed: ‘They consider it justifiable to compel other Mahomedans to become of their sect by violence or constant acts of annoyance’. Titu Mir had a similar programme.” Both the Fara’izis and Titu Mir declared that India was dar al-harb, hence jihād was obligatory, until India became dar al-Islam.
    • Ibn, Warraq (2017). The Islam in Islamic terrorism: The importance of beliefs, ideas, and ideology. ch 14
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