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Tariqah-i-Muhammadiya


Tariqah-i-Muhammadiya Muslim revivalist movement in the early nineteenth century. Its aim was to establish the code of life advocated by Prophet muhammad (Sm). Shah Sayyid Ahmad (1780-1831) of Rai Barelwi and Shah Ismail (1782-1831) were the pioneers of the movement. Both of them emphasised the interpretation of the Holy quran and and the Sunnah of the Prophet (Sm). Followers of Tariqah-i-Muhammadiya supported sufism and the need for having a spiritual guide for correct thought and action.

The Tariqah-i-Muhammadiya movement began in northern India and reached Bengal during the 1820s and '30s. A gathering of about ten thousand followers who came to meet him marked sayyid Ahmad's visit to Calcutta in 1820. He visited Calcutta once again in the next year on his way to Makka and he propagated his doctrines during his three months of stay there. Sayyid Nisar Ali alias titu mir (d. 1831), the peasant and religious leader, became his disciple at this time.

In propagating Tariqah-i-Muhammadiya and resisting the colonial rule in the rural areas, Titu Mir was followed by the Ali Brothers - Waliyet Ali (1791-1835), and Inyet Ali (1794-1858) of Patna. Their anti-British activities were conducted in several districts, such as Malda, 24 Pargana, Jessore, Faridpur, Rajshahi and Bogra. They declared a jihad (crusade) against the firinghee raj (British Rule) and stirred the people to join the war.

Local cells were set up to collect money for remitting to northwest frontier region where jihad against the British was fought in full swing under the leadership of Sayyid Ahmad. But the political environment changed in the mid-nineteenth century, when a section of the Muslim intelligentsia began to rethink about the unequal war against the British. Maulana karamat ali jaunpur came up with an alternative theory of peaceful co-existence with the British rulers and the Tariqah-i-Muhammadiya movement gradually subsided. [Manzur Ahsan]