Inayatullah Khan Mashriqi (Allama Mashriqi) was born on 25 August 1888. He had a passion for mathematics from his childhood. He completed his master's degree in Mathematics from the University of the Punjab at the age of
Inayatullah Khan Mashriqi
Inayatullah Khan Mashriqi (Allama Mashriqi) was born on 25 August 1888. He had a passion for mathematics from his childhood. He completed his master's degree in Mathematics from the University of the Punjab at the age of 19 and broke all previous records. Later, he studied at Christ's College, Cambridge, England, for the mathematics tripos. He was awarded a college foundation scholarship in May 1908. In June 1909 he was awarded first class honours in Mathematics Part I, being placed joint 27th out of 31 on the list of wranglers. For the next two years, he read for the oriental languages tripos in parallel to the natural sciences tripos, gaining first class honours in the former and third class in the latter.
After three years' residence at Cambridge he had qualified for his Bachelor of Arts degree, which he took in 1910. In 1912 he completed a fourth tripos in mechanical sciences, and was placed in the second class. Following year, Allama Mashriqi was conferred with DPhil in mathematics receiving a gold medal in his doctoral graduation ceremony. He left Cambridge and returned to India in December 1912. During his stay in Cambridge his religious and scientific conviction was inspired by the works and concepts of the professor Sir James Jeans.
On his return to India, Mashriqi was offered the premiership of Alwar, a princely state, by the Raja. He declined owing to his interest in education. At the age of 25 he was appointed Vice Principal of Islamia College, Peshawar, by Chief Commissioner Sir George Roos-Keppel. He was made Principal of the same college in 1917. In Oct 1917 he was appointed Under Secretary to the Government of India in the Education Department in succession to Sir George Anderson (1876–1943). Aged 32, he was offered an ambassadorship to Afghanistan, which he declined.
In 1924, at the age of 36, Mashriqi completed the first volume of his book, Tazkirah. It is a commentary on the Qur'an in the light of science. It was nominated for the Nobel Prize in 1925, subject to the condition it was translated into one of the European languages. Mashriqi, however, declined the suggestion of translation.
In 1930 he was passed over for a promotion in the government service, following which he went on medical leave. In 1932 he resigned, taking his pension, and settled down in Ichhra, Lahore.
Allama Mashriqi's fellowships included:
Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, 1923, Fellow of the Geographical Society (F.G.S), Paris, Fellow of Society of Arts (F.S.A), Paris, Member of the Board at Delhi University, President of the Mathematical Society, Islamia College, Peshawar, Member of the International Congress of Orientalists (Leiden) 1930, President of the All World's Faiths Conference, 1937.
Allama Mashriqi was interested in the conflict within various religions. Instead of getting disgusted with the conflict and discarding religion, he tried to fathom the fallacy. To him, messengers from the same Creator could not have brought different and conflicting messages to the same creation. He could not conceive of a contradictory and conflicting state of affairs in the Universe, nor could he accept the conflict within various religions as real.
He delved into the religious scriptures and arrived at the conclusion that all the prophets had brought the same message to man. He analysed the fundamentals of the Message and established that the teachings of all the prophets were closely linked with the evolution of mankind as a single and united species in contrast to other ignorant and stagnant species of animals.
It was on this basis that he declared that the science of religions was essentially the science of collective evolution of mankind; all prophets came to unite mankind, not to disrupt it; the basic law of all faiths is the law of unification and consolidation of the entire humanity. According to Markus Daeschel, the philosophical ruminations of Mashriqi offer an opportunity to re-evaluate the meaning of colonial modernity and notion of post-colonial nation-building in modern times.
Allama Mashriqi is often portrayed as a controversial figure, a religious activist, a revolutionary, and an anarchist; while at the same time he is described as a visionary, a reformer, a leader, and a scientist-philosopher who was born ahead of his time.
After Allama Mashriqi resigned from government service, he laid the foundation of the Khaksar Tehrik (also known as Khaksar Movement) in 1930. He was opposed to the partition of India which he believed played into the hands of the British. In 1934 he founded Al-Islah.
Allama Mashriqi was first imprisoned in 1939, by the Congress Government of the United Provinces of Agra and Oudh (now Uttar Pradesh) during his efforts in resolving the sectarian conflicts between Sunnis and Shias. In 1940, he was arrested during a clash between the police and the Khaksars. The newspapers reported it as the 'battle of spades and guns'. He was only freed from solitary confinement in 1942 after he fasted for 80 days.
On 20 July 1943, an assassination attempt was made on Muhammad Ali Jinnah by Rafiq Sabir who was assumed to be a Khaksar worker. The attack was deplored by Mashriqi, who denied any involvement. Later, Justice Blagden of Bombay High Court, in his ruling on 4 November 1943 dismissed any association of Khaksars.
In Pakistan, Mashriqi was imprisoned at least five times: in 1950 prior to election; in 1958 for alleged complicity in the murder of republican leader Khan Abdul Jabbar Khan; and, in 1962 for suspicion on attempt to overthrow President Ayub's government. However, none of the charges were proved, and he was acquitted in each case.
In 1957, Allama Mashriqi allegedly led 300,000 of his followers to the borders of Kashmir, intending, it is said, to launch a fight for its liberation. However, the Pakistan government persuaded the group to withdraw and the organisation was later disbanded.
Allama Mashriqi died on 27 August 1963.