Remembering the trailblazer, Sir Syed Ahmed Khan

Sir Sayyid Ahmad Khan, (born Oct. 17, 1817, Delhi—died March 27, 1898, Alīgarh, India), Muslim educator, jurist, and author, who is credited to have given the basis for the Two-Nation Theory which later was envisaged as a seperate country, Pakistan.

Following are five major contributions made by Sir Syed to the Muslim cause

  • Founder of the Anglo-Mohammedan Oriental College at Alīgarh, Uttar Pradesh, India, and the principal motivating force behind the revival of Indian Islām in the late 19th century.
  • His works, in Urdu, include Essays on the Life of Mohammed (1870) and commentaries on the Bible and on the Qurān.
  • He printed a pamphlet entitled ‘The Causes of the Indian Revolt’ (Asbab-e-Baghawat-e-Hind), in which he did his best to clear the people of India, and especially the Muslims, of the charge of Mutiny. In spite of the obvious danger, he made a courageous and thorough report of the accusations people were making against the Government and refused the theory which the British had invented to explain the causes of the Mutiny.
  • The onset of the Hindi-Urdu controversy of 1867 saw the emergence of Sir Syed as a champion for the cause of the Urdu language. He became a leading Muslim voice opposing the adoption of Hindi as a second official language of the United Provinces (now Uttar Pradesh). Sir Syed perceived Urdu as the lingua franca of the United Provinces. 
  • His advocacy of Islam’s rationalist (Muʿtazila) tradition, and a broader, radical reinterpretation of the Quran to make it compatible with science and modernity, continues to influence the global Islamic reformation.