Thursday, 7 August 2014

Mullahs and wars in Tribal Areas

Ahmed Shah Abdali had induced descendants of Mujaddid Alf Sani to move to Kabul after his raid of Delhi in 1748. On their arrival, and with patronage from the court of Ahmed Shah, and later Timur Shah (1772-93) and Shah Zama (1793-1800), they gained pre-eminence at the Afghan court. The were also granted lands in Kabul, Kohistan, Jalalabad, Kandahar and Herat where the influence of the Naqshbandiya-Mujaddidiya line grew to its strongest (p.41). It is Alf Sani's majuddadi militancy that informs the Pakhtun personality.

The piri-muridi tradition was strong among the Pakhtuns till another great man in the tradition of Naqshbandiya-Mujaddadiya chain became their patron in chief, Shah Waliullah. The big tradition of the warlord mullah in the Tribal Areas must begin with Abdul Ghafur (1793-1878) of upper Swat who got his early education at Hazrat Ji of the Mujaddadiya silsila in Peshawar who found him in violation of the tariqa, after which he joined a Qadiri-Suhrawardiya-Chistiya teacher of a multiple order. Ghafur became the akhund whose line was to be the owners of Swat because he fought on the side of Amir Dost of Afghanistan against Ranjit Singh and won for his Yusufzai followers the lands of Swat and Mardan. The 'Miangul' descendants of Ghafur were first known as akhund but were later called wali.

Akhund Ghafur set up the throne of Swat and in 1849 put Syed Akbar Shah on it as Amir of Swat, the Syed being a former secretary of Syed Ahmad of Rai Bareilly, but after his death took the throne himself. He kept his line with the Mujaddadi chief mullah of Kabul open and derived a lot of power from the Kabul throne through the mystic silsila. His military might was respected in the region surrounding Swat, but his authority spread far and wide when he accepted, as murid, Mullah Najmuddin of Hadda, a khalifa or appointed deputy of Syed Ahmad of Rai Bareilly. (Syed Ahmad of Rai Bareilly had come to the Frontier from Delhi to defeat the Sikhs and establish an Islamic state, but was killed at Balakot in today's Hazara district in 1831.)

The new Mujaddadi wave rolled back the earlier maverick mysticism fitfully represented by such 'heretic' saints as Pir Roshan Bayazid Ansari (1525-1560) who united the Pakhtuns against the Mughals and remained true to the reputation of warrior mystics. The Mujaddadis rejected Pir Roshan's cutting down of the namaz and other central tenets in the tradition of Mansur Hallaj. (Former cricket captain Majid Khan's son cricketer Bazid Khan is named after the Pir-e-Roshan.) The great tradition that came to Swat was given in the hands of the Hadda Mullah of Mohmand. He came to Swat and proclaimed an eclectic silsila led by the Mujaddadi school.

Hadda Mullah fought Amir Abdur Rehman Khan of Kabul on the one hand and battled the British on the other. As a pupil of Syed Ahmad Shaheed of Rai Bareilly who fought South India's most immaculate jihad in the Frontier, Hadda Mullah created a stronghold in 1897 when he saw his follower from Kabul Sadullah Khan Sartor Faqir fighting the British at Malakand. The Miangul line of Akhund Ghafur was soon disenchanted by the politically suicidal but heroic strategies of Hadda Mullah and broke from their family silsila to go to the less warlike school of Manki Sharif.
But the Akhund Ghafur-Hadda Mullah legacy was moved forward by one Fazl Wahid Haji Sahib of Turangzai (1842-1937), which was really the teachings of Mujaddid Alf Sani and Shah Waliullah. Turangzai is supposed to have gone to Deoband in India's Saharanpur to learn the Quran where he saw the most militant of all clerics Maulana Mahmudul Hasan preparing a group of pupils to go to Hijaz in Saudi Arabia. He insisted on going to haj with Maulana Mahmudul Hasan and seemed to have repeated the experience of Shah Waliullah himself when he came under the Wahabi influence of Haji Imdadullah in Makka. Haji Turangzai's first bayt was with Imdadullah, the one he took at the hand of Hadda Mullah was his second.

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