Qazi Saiyid Nurullah Shushtari His life and works



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The Rise and expansion of Islam brought basic changes in the history of the Indian sub-continent. Though the early invasions of Muslims did not leave a deep effect, the migration of religious scholars and Muslim saints to this vast country provided a favourable opportunity for preaching Islam and making Indians acquainted with the tenets of this religion. Islam, before becoming a military power in India, had already reached this land as a faith. Contacts with the Indians and exchange of views on a cultural and scientific level, particularly in the 3rd and 4th centuries of the Islamic era, played an important role for cultural expansion in this region. Relations between non-lndian Muslims and the Indians became so firm that they could rule for about eight centuries over the greater part of this sub-continent.

Muslims did not enter this country as invaders and ransackers, but rather they preferred to settle down here. It was for this reason that India during the reign of Muslims rulers was an independent country. The golden age of Muslim rule in India started with the victory of Babur over Delhi and reached its zenith during the time of Akbar the Great. The presence of learned scholars, creative artists, artisans and craftsman caused blooming Islamic culture in this vast land in such a manner that Indians named Akbar the Great as the founder of medieval civilization in India. As Pandit Jawahar Lal Nehru says in "The Discovery of India":
"Akbar made such an edifice which remained standing hundreds years after even during the reign of his unworthy successors".
After Akbar, the most powerful Muslim ruler in India was Aurangzeb, the successor of Shahjahan. He ruled for forty eight years over a great part of this sub-continent. His harsh conduct with non-Muslims created differences among the followers of different castes, creeds, sects and religions. It was on account of this that the second half of his reign was spent in suppressing rebels. By this conduct he was deprived of the support of many non-Muslim nobles at his court. He died in 1707 A.D., and his death led to differences among his successors and caused the downfall of Mughal empire in India.
In the early 17th century, the East India Company entered this country and established its factory at Surat city. Some years after that they laid the foundation of Madras city in South India. In 1662 A.D. Bombay island was given as a dowry gift by the portugese to Charles II, the king of England. He transferred it to the East India Company. In the early days of the year 1690, the foundation of Calcutta city was laid and in this way the Britishers were able to obtain vast opportunities in India. The decline of power in the capital, the incapability of the rulers and corruption in government machinery caused dissaticfaction among the people. The result was that the Britishers in less than one hundred years were able to occupy the country from Bengal province to Punjab. The hold of British rule over India brought bad consequences over every class of the people and the followers of different religions. All the big posts were held by the Britishers. In their conduct they treated the Indians like captive slaves and undesired living beings. Seeing this condition Nehru wrote:
"This was the first time that Indians went under the domination of the foreigners".
The foreign rule that had deprived the people of their spiritual and material values was leading the peoples of India towards ignorance and illiteracy. Among them the condition of Indian Muslims was worse than the others. One of the causes of the backwardness of Indian Muslims can be found in their hatred for their enemies and the British officers. The abstinence of Muslims from the Britishers was to such an extent that they did not allow their children to learn British customs, manners and even their language. On the other side, the British rulers tried to ensure that Muslims should not again be involved in the politics of the country. In that age of development, the backwardness of Muslims helped them succeed in their aim and object. In the year 1871 A.D. Dr. William Hunter, by the order of Lord Mayo, was appointed to make a survey of the educational condition of Muslims and the causes of their opposition with British government. Dr. Hunter prepared a detailed report in which he pointed out that Muslims believe that:
1. The British government has closed the doors of employment upon Muslims in such a manner that no Muslim has the right to enter government service.
2. All the door of education have been closed upon them, and that has been the reason of their illiteracy and ignorance.
3. The establishment of Judicial courts under British law has been the main reason for the unemployment of thousands of Muslim judges and their religious authorities. This too has reduced their interest in religious studies.
4. The occuption of the Muslim Trust by Britishers is considered one of the main reasons of the decline of Muslims in scientific and cultural fields.
At one place, about the courts of justice and the general condition of Muslims, Hunter writes:
"It was a time when all the judiciary courts were administrated by Muslims, but in less than one hundred years the situation changed so much that there is only one Muslim magistrate out of 239".
The backwardness of Muslims, and the progress of the followers of other religions, was a great problem before Muslim thinkers. The revolution by Indians in 1857 against the Britishers and their failure caused them to be crushed. This revolution also frightened the Britishers and made them very cautious. Muslims were considered the main factors behind it, and open enemies of the Britishers. It was for this reason that Indians in general and Muslims in particular were kept away from education. This policy of the Britishers lead the Muslims to utterly pitiable condition and was a serious threat to the life of Muslims in India.
Hindus were further advanced in education than the followers of other religions. They made and effort to acquaint themselves with the modern sciences and the new world in which they lived. Religious reform was the first step that could make the people of the followers of different religions realize their poor condition. Raja Ram Mohan Rai was the first reformer, who tried to make Hindus adjust with the environment and the requisite of the time. His success and his followers in this field prepared the ground for learning the English language, the key that opened the gates of the modern world to them. This step was the main reason that they surpassed the followers of other religions in the field of moderen education. Besides that, the acquaintance of Indians with English language was felt very soon in Indian society. A large number of Hindus could enter different government institutions by getting education in modern sciences. The entry of Hindus in the modern world inspired Muslim leaders and made them to think to regain their socio-political situation, and make further efforts for this cause.

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