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68. Haji Shariatullah

Faridpur district
Dhaka district
Known forFaraizi Movement

Haji Shariatullah (1781–1840) was an eminent Islamic reformer of the Indian subcontinent during the Mughal Dynasty. He is known for founding Faraizi movement.

Early life
Haji Shariatullah was born in east bengal Faridpur district, in 1781. He was the son of an ordinary farmer. After getting his early education from his village, he went to Arabia in 1799 to perform Hajj at an early age of 18 years he stayed there for next 19 years and was greatly influenced by beliefs of Sheikh Muhammad Abdul Wahab. He got education from the Madrasa al Rahimia (founded by Shah Waliullah's father, Shah Abdul Rahim). He was the one who gave Muslims their rights in difficult times. He had a son named Mohsin-ud-din.

 Life in Saudi Arabia

He stayed there from 1799 to 1818 and got his religious education. He learnt Arabic and Persian from his teacher, Maulana Basharat. During his stay in Arabia he came into close contact with Wahabism started by Muhammad bin Abdul Wahab. He was really influenced by the point of views of the Wahabi Movement. While he was in Arabia, he kept on thinking to be of help to his Muslim brothers in East Bengal.

Faraizi Movement

On his return to Bengal he sought to purify Islam that was impaired by the Hindu influence. The condition of the Muslims at his return was pathetic. He saw Islam being crushed gradually from Bengal and his people downtrodden by Hindu and British zamindars. Muslims had become superstitious and gone astray. Islam was being invaded by non-islamic religions, traditions, customs and cultures. Government imposed unnecessary taxes upon the farmers and the low class. Farmers were not appreciated for their hard work nor were given rights or money they deserved. Britishers had crushed the Muslims economically at their arrival in subcontinent so that they could not rise against them. They also made sure that Muslims should remain illiterate and uneducated. Thus, Muslims became politically backward and were unaware of laws and regulations. Due to this, Haji Shariatullah started this movement in 1818. He was sure that a revival of Islam is crucially necessary. Haji Shariatullah awakened the Muslims of Bengal by initiating the Faraizi movement. It was simply a peaceful protest against the cruelty of the government. This alarmed the Hindu and British Landlords and they exiled Haji Shariatullah to Nawabganj, accused of being behin the protest and disturbance in East Bengal. Later he died in Dhaka district in 1840. But the movement was carried along by his son, Mohsin-ul-Mulk, who was more learned and active in the movement than his father. He divided the East Bengal into areas he called circles and appointed khalifas for each of them. The khalifas were made responsible for the social, political and religious development of the circles.

Source : Wikipedia

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