Al-Islah (1932) literary journal. The patriotism and love for tradition generated by the Khilafate Movement helped in building the psyche of the Muslims of the time. But the ulema and madrasah teachers and students were little attracted to cultivating their mother tongue in Bangla. This attitude hurt the sentiments of muhammad nurul haque (1907-1987), a second year student of the government aliya madrasah of Sylhet. To help promote culture of Bengali among the Muslims of Sylhet he ventured into bringing out a hand-written quarterly journal Abhijan. In cooperation with some teachers and fellow students he decided in 1932 to go for printing the journal. Its name was then changed to Al-Islah.
The first issue of Al-Islah was published in November-December 1932 with the objective of promoting Islamic culture through the mother tongue and establishing a common meeting ground around young as well as mature writers. For want of a printing press of its own and lack of funds the publication of the journal was interrupted at different times. But honesty, earnestness, strong will-power and self-confidence led Muhammad Nurul Huq to achieve remarkable success and earn for himself a memorable place in the annals of Bengali periodicals. He edited the journal for long 53 years – from 1932 to 1984.
After running for 11 years (from Agrahayan of 1339 to Choitra of 1356 BS), the journal's publication was temporarily suspended. The second phase of its journey began in 1363 BS. Its publication was once again suspended when the liberation war began in March 1971. The third phase of its publication began in 1385 BS and ended in 1391 BS. At the beginning its publisher was M Abdur Rahman. From Joishtha 1341 until Boishakh-Ashwin 1391 BS Muhammad Nurul Huq himself was its editor and publisher.
At the beginning, Al-Islah did not receive much of a support from the English educated Muslims. From the third year its literary section became richer. From then onwards the ulemas began distancing themselves from Al-Islah for its editorial support to the Muslim League politics. This coincided with the increasing support from the English-educated sections. Well-known writers of Bangladesh and Assam used to write articles for Al-Islah. On 16 September 1936 the kendriyo muslim sahitya sangsad (Central Muslim Literary Society) was established in Sylhet. On 28 June 1939 the society's executive committee decided, subject to some conditions, to take over Al-Islah. Ever since, the journal is being published as the mouthpiece of the society.
Al-Islah played a glorious role in the language movement. Pakistan was created in the month of Sravan of 1354 BS and in the following month the journal carried an editorial in support of Bengali as a state language of the country. This was the first ever editorial in support of Bengali by a newspaper of East Pakistan. In its issue of Kartik-Choitra 1354 BS, the journal published an article on Pakistan's state language by Muhammad Muslim Choudhury.
Seven years after the death of its founder-editor Muhammad Nurul Huq, Al-Islah began appearing in a new format from the month of Sravan in 1401 BS and it is still being published. Since 1401 BS those who have been its editors are Raghib Husain Choudhury M A Karim Choudhury, Abdul Hai Minar, Harunuzzaman Choudhury and Abdul Hamid Manik. Currently, its editor is Selim Awwal. [Nandalal Sharma]