By Usha Sanyal
Introduces the mythical chief of the good 20th-century Sunni circulate.
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Additional info for Ahmad Riza Khan (Makers of the Muslim World)
Sayyid Ahmad Khan’s reformist ideas were intimately connected with the political context of late nineteenth-century British India. He came from a family which had been associated with Mughal rule, and he keenly felt the loss of that rule. In his view, Muslims had lost out to the British because they had failed to keep up with the scientific progress of the West and had allowed their practice of the faith to lapse as well. Judging that British rule over India was there to stay for the foreseeable future, he set out on the one hand to cultivate good relations with the British and on the other to encourage Muslims to acquire the new linguistic and scientific skills necessary to succeed in the new era.
Qadis (judges who applied Islamic law) were frequently not appointed to British Indian courts either. Thus the application of AngloMuhammadan law in British Indian courts was often in the hands of non-Muslim judges. This made even simple matters such as the dissolution of a marriage, for example, impossible, as such a decision was invalid in Muslim eyes if made by a nonMuslim judge (Zaman, 2002: 25, 27). The other alternative was to take the issue under dispute to a Muslim princely state where British laws were not in place and where a qadi could be found.
1943), a famous Deobandi scholar (‘alim), tried to solve this problem by arguing that apostasy had no effect on the marriage contract, while at the same time proposing both that the conditions under which marriages could be dissolved should be made less stringent and that in the absence of a qadi, ‘ulama or other “righteous Muslims” acting together could dissolve a marriage in his stead. These ideas were accepted by the political party, Jamiyyat al-‘Ulama-e Hind,which had been founded afterWorldWar I and which was dominated by Deobandi ‘ulama, and it became the basis for the Dissolution of Muslim Marriages Act of 1939 in British India.