ISLAMABAD: Today marks Sir Syed Ahmad Khan’s 202nd birthday. Sir Syed Ahmed Khan was born on October 17th, 1817 in Delhi. His family was renowned for the positions they held during the Mughal regime.
Sir Syed, was an Indian Muslim pragmatist, Islamic reformist and philosopher of nineteenth-century British India. Born into a family with strong ties with the Mughal court, Syed studied the Quran and sciences within the court and later studied law from the University of Edinburgh.
In 1838, Syed Ahmad entered the service of East India Company and went on to become a judge at a Small Causes Court in 1867, and retired from service in 1876. During the Indian Rebellion of 1857, he remained loyal to the British Empire and was noted for his actions in saving European lives.
After the rebellion, he penned the booklet The Causes of the Indian Mutiny – a daring critique, at the time, of British policies that he blamed for causing the revolt. Believing that the future of Muslims was threatened by the rigidity of their orthodox outlook, Sir Syed began promoting Western-style scientific education by founding modern schools and journals and organising Muslim entrepreneurs.
In 1859, Syed established Gulshan School at Muradabad, Victoria School at Ghazipur in 1863, and a scientific society for Muslims in 1864. In 1875, he founded the Muhammadan Anglo-Oriental College, the first Muslim university in South Asia. During his career, Syed repeatedly called upon Muslims to loyally serve the British Empire and promoted the adoption of Urdu as the lingua franca of all Indian Muslims.
Syed heavily critiqued the Indian National Congress.
Syed maintains a strong legacy in Pakistan and Indian Muslims. He strongly influenced other Muslim leaders including Allama Iqbal and Jinnah. His advocacy of Islam’s rationalist (Muʿtazila) tradition, and at broader, radical reinterpretation of the Quran to make it compatible with science and modernity, continues to influence the global Islamic reformation.
Many universities and public buildings in Pakistan bear Sir Syed’s named Founder of Modern Education for Muslims in the Indian Subcontinent, Sir Syed laid the foundations of thought later on followed and further developed by Allama Iqbal.
Poem was written by Allama Iqbal on Grave of Sir Syed.
Iqbal was a great admirer of Sir Syed and his Educational Movement and also a close friend of Sir Syed’s grandson, Sir Raas Masud, and often visited and participated in Aligarh University events.
Allama Iqbal was also awarded an honorary Degree Literature degree by Aligarh.
Sir Syed was presented with the title of Jawa’d-Ul-Daula and Arif -e-Jang by Bahadur Shah Zafar II. He was honored when Sir Syed University was named behind after his name.
Sir Syed Ahmad Khan breathed his last on March 27, 1898.