Hundred and seventy one years ago at the home of a famous Sayyed named Sayyed Safdar,a boy was born and named Jamaluddin. It was this child that over half a century carried his one man campaign in the name of all the Moslems and oppressed people of Asia, against the colonial powers of Europe.
In fact during the later part of the 19 th century Jamaluddin was the only light and ray of hope. The Moslem worlds were living under colonial suppression, internal discord and poverty, and they, badly were, in need of a leader such as Jamaluddin. No one can deny reading the history of that period, that Afghani was one of the most outstanding figures and redeemers of the East. With all the qualification that he possessed, he was a great political and unique intellectual of his time. The great French philosopher Renan says about Afghani: (Few people have produced on me a more vivid impression; it is a large measure the conversation that I had with him that decided me to chose as a subject for my lecture at the Sorbonne, the relations between the “scientific spirit and Islam……” The liberty of his thought, his noble and loyal character, made me believe, while I was talking with him, that I had before me, restored to life, one of my old acquaintances----Wicenna, Arerroes, or another of those great infidels, who represented to five centuries the tradition of the human mind.”
This statement which is made by a great philosopher of Europe is enough to understand the high qualification of this Afghan genius, who was considered also by late Pandit Nehru as a great religious reformist, by doctor Iqbal and Namek Kamal as a religious revolutionary and defenders of Pan-Islamism, by Professor Edward G. Brown the author of “Persian revolution” as a man who helped to animate the fight of Moslem resistance against the expansion and Domination of European colonialism.
Some people likens the great personalities of history to precious stones like rubies, amber, turquoise, emerald having special glow, shines, color and beauty, but, Jamal ud-Din was like a diamond shining and glowing from every angle. HE was a reformist, religious leader, philosopher, writer, journalist and above all a politician and emancipator of the East and Moslem world. In fact what made Jamaluddin a great hero of the east and an enemy of colonialism is indeed his political activism, who’s effects and influence spread beyond the borders of his own country Afghanistan, and touched the destiny of people from Bengal to the Atlantic shores of Africa.
Considering what Afghani had accomplished as a one man, with empty hands and no support from any quarter against the formidable powers of Europe, facing many odds and intrigues of the western countries and their agents and spies, is indeed a great achievement. Contrary to the views of some contemporary writers such as the Author of ‘Afghani’ and Abdoh’ and many others like him Jamaluddin was the most dedicated and unselfish politician and the leader of the East- that while the whole Asia and the Moslem world were in a deep sleep of ignorance during the 19 th century he was fighting with a power of his pen and the strength of his spirit to emancipate his people from the European yoke. He continued his fight by every means, in every city and country, even in the heart of colonial centers such as London, Paris, Berlin, and Petersburg until he died. Although he was unable to see the fruits of his labor in his life time, but certainly all the seeds which he sowed, bore fruits soon after his death. His home land Afghanistan only 22 years after his death received independence and what he wanted form his own pupil Amir Mohammad Azam Khan was accomplished by another student of his, Mahmud Tarzi through his son-in-law Amir Amanullah during his reign.
In Egypt another devoted desciple Sad Zaglole Became the father of modern Egypt, in Turkey, Namek Kamal and his follower Ataturk did what Jamal-ad- Din wanted to be done by Turks. In India his efforts to unite Hindu and Moslems to fight the British was realized, and all his political and social principles were followed by Moslem and Hindu leaders such as Abdul Kalam Azad and Alama Iqbal as well as Gandhi and Pandit Nehru.
He wanted Moslem unity through “Um-ul-Qura” now this is also realized and it’s headquarter has been established in Saudi Arabia, He was in favour of Arab unity soon after the First World War the Arab League came to function on the bank of the Nile.
Jamaluddin was considered ‘new traditionalist’ as well as ‘Islamic reformist; because of Afghani’s teaching today most of the Moslem reject rigid traditionalist as well as pure westernism, as once Sir Sayed Ahmad founder of Aligarh University wanted the Moslems to follow. The middle of the road policy of Jamaluddin is a proper way for the Moslems to be the followed even at present time.
As I stated above, it was mainly political activities of Jamaluddin which has attracted International and world wide attention because during the 19 th century he was the greatest champion of liberty and self-determination for oppressed people of the East and a great fighter against European imperialism. To achieve this noble aim, he was following five main political principals, some times using each principal separately, and more often together. But in application of these principles in order to help his people, he followed the main British political theory which one of their great leaders once stated:
“The British never had a permanent friend but she had always a permanent interest”.