Indian Muslims’ Support for Ottoman Pan-Islamism: The Case of Shibli Nu’mani


  • Arshad Islam



Following their violent suppression of the Indian Revolution of
1857, the British founded and consolidated their secular empire in the Indian
Subcontinent, which marginalized and bypassed religion as far as possible,
particularly Islam, which had been the official religion of the Mughal ancien
régime. Contemporaneous Ottoman efforts to counter European imperialism led
to Sultan Abdul Hamid II’s (r. 1876-1909) policy of pan-Islamism, particularly
the call for Islamic unity against the Russian aggression against Turkey in
1877. It was at this critical juncture that some Indian Muslim scholars gallantly
volunteered to counter this threat, and to preserve the Islamic faith and heritage
worldwide, despite the severe problems faced by the Muslims in India itself.
This study highlights the role of an eminent scholar in this movement, namely
Allama Shibli Nu’mani (1857-1914), who in 1914 conceived the idea of
founding the world-famous Islamic research institute Darul Musannefin Shibli
Academy in his home town of Azamgarh, Uttar Pradesh, India. Shibli was very
active and instrumental in collecting donations from the wealthy landowners
(zamindars) among the Muslim elite in his hometown of Azamgarh for the
Ottoman cause, raising 3,000 rupees, which was handed to Husain Hasib
Afendi, the Ottoman Consul in Bombay in 1877. Furthermore, his eloquent
poetry rallied Muslims across India to support the valour and heroism displayed
in the jihad by Ghazi Usman Pasha against the Russians. Shibli travelled to
Istanbul in 1892 and met with the Pasha, on whose efforts Tamgha-i Majidi
(gold medal) was granted to Shibli on 13th Muharram, 1310/7th August, 1892.
This article is based on Shibli’s major works in Urdu, particularly his arousing
eulogies (qasaid), Turkish archival reports, newspapers and magazines, and
secondary sources in Urdu and English.


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How to Cite

Arshad Islam. (2019). Indian Muslims’ Support for Ottoman Pan-Islamism: The Case of Shibli Nu’mani. Intellectual Discourse, 27(1), 197–220.