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Inayatullah Khan Mashriqi

Inayatullah Khan Mashriqi
Born (1888-08-25)25 August 1888
Amritsar, Punjab, British India
Died 27 August 1963(1963-08-27) (aged 75)
Lahore, Punjab, Pakistan
Other names Allama Mashriqi
Alma mater University of the Punjab
Christ's College, Cambridge
Organization Khaksar movement
Movement Indian independence movement
Pakistan Movement
Religion Islam

Inayatullah Khan Mashriqi, also known as Allama Mashriqi, (25 August 1888 – 27 August 1963) was a Pakistani mathematician, logician, political theorist, Islamic scholar and the founder of the Khaksar movement.

Mashriqi was a noted mathematical intellectual who became a college Principal at the age of 25, and then became an Under Secretary, at the age of 29, in the Education Department of the Government of India. He wrote an exegesis of the Qur'an which was nominated for the 1925 Nobel Prize. He was offered an ambassadorship to Afghanistan at age 32, but he declined all honours.

He subsequently resigned government service and in 1930 founded the Khaksar Movement, aiming to advance the condition of the masses irrespective of any faith, sect, or religion.[1] As its leader, he was imprisoned several times. Through his philosophical writings, he asserted that the science of religions was essentially the science of collective evolution of mankind.


Mashriqi had a passion for mathematics from his childhood.[1] He completed his Master's degree in Mathematics from the University of the Punjab at the age of 19 and broke all previous records. In October 1907 he matriculated at Christ's College, Cambridge, England, to read for the mathematics tripos. He was awarded a college foundation scholarship in May 1908.[2] In June 1909 he was awarded first class honours in Mathematics Part I, being placed joint 27th out of 31 on the list of wranglers.[3] For the next two years, he read for the oriental languages tripos in parallel to the natural sciences tripos, gaining first class honours in the former and third class in the latter.[4][5]

After three years' residence at Cambridge he had qualified for his Bachelor of Arts degree, which he took in 1910. In 1912 he completed a fourth tripos in mechanical sciences, and was placed in the second class. Following the year, Mashriqi was conferred with DPhil in mathematics receiving a gold medal in his doctoral graduation ceremony.[6] He left Cambridge and returned to India in December 1912.[7] During his stay in Cambridge his religious and scientific conviction was inspired by the works and concepts of the professor Sir James Jeans.[8][page needed]


On his return to India, Mashriqi was offered the premiership of Alwar, a princely state, by the Raja. He declined owing to his interest in education. At the age of 25 he was appointed Vice Principal of Islamia College, Peshawar, by Chief Commissioner Sir George Roos-Keppel. He was made Principal of the same college in 1917. In Oct 1917 he was appointed Under Secretary to the Government of India in the Education Department in succession to Sir George Anderson (1876–1943).[9] He became headmaster of the High School, Peshawar on 21 October 1919.

Aged 32, he was offered an ambassadorship to Afghanistan, which he declined.[citation needed]

In 1930 he was passed over for a promotion in the government service, following which he went on medical leave. In 1932 he resigned, taking his pension, and settled down in Ichhra, Lahore.[10][page needed]

Nobel nomination

In 1924, at the age of 36, Mashriqi completed the first volume of his book, Tazkirah. It is a commentary on the Qur'an in the light of science. It was nominated for the Nobel Prize in 1925,[11][full citation needed] subject to the condition it was translated into one of the European languages. Mashriqi, however, declined the suggestion of translation.[12]


Mashriqi's fellowships included:[8][page needed]

  • Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, 1923
  • Fellow of the Geographical Society (F.G.S), Paris
  • Fellow of Society of Arts (F.S.A), Paris
  • Member of the Board at Delhi University
  • President of the Mathematical Society, Islamia College, Peshawar
  • Member of the International Congress of Orientalists (Leiden), 1930
  • President of the All World's Faiths Conference, 1937

Mashriqi's philosophy

Mashriqi was interested in the conflict within various religions. Instead of getting disgusted with the conflict and discarding religion, he tried to fathom the fallacy. To him, messengers from the same Creator could not have brought different and conflicting messages to the same creation. He could not conceive of a contradictory and conflicting state of affairs in the Universe, nor could he accept the conflict within various religions as real. Either Religion was a fraud and the prophets were impostors who misguided and disrupted mankind, or they were misprojected by their followers and misunderstood by the mankind.[citation needed]

He delved into the religious scriptures and arrived at the conclusion that all the prophets had brought the same message to man. He analysed the fundamentals of the Message and established that the teachings of all the prophets were closely linked with the evolution of mankind as a single and united species in contrast to other ignorant and stagnant species of animals.[citation needed]

It was on this basis that he declared that the science of religions was essentially the science of collective evolution of mankind; all prophets came to unite mankind, not to disrupt it; the basic law of all faiths is the law of unification and consolidation of the entire humanity.[8][page needed] According to Markus Daeschel, the philosophical ruminations of Mashriqi offer an opportunity to re-evaluate the meaning of colonial modernity and notion of post-colonial nation-building in modern times.[13]

Political life

Mashriqi is often portrayed as a controversial figure, a religious activist, a revolutionary, and an anarchist; while at the same time he is described as a visionary, a reformer, a leader, and a scientist-philosopher who was born ahead of his time.[1]

After Mashriqi resigned from government service, he laid the foundation of the Khaksar Tehrik (also known as Khaksar Movement) in 1930.[14][full citation needed] Mashriqi was opposed to the partition of India which he believed played into the hands of the British.[citation needed]

He founded Al-Islah in 1934.[citation needed]

Imprisonments and allegations

Mashriqi was first imprisoned in 1939, by the Congress Government of the United Provinces of Agra and Oudh (now Uttar Pradesh) during his efforts in resolving the sectarian conflicts between Sunnis and Shias. In 1940, he was arrested during a clash between the police and the Khaksars. The newspapers reported it as the "battle of spades and guns". He was only freed from solitary confinement in 1942 after he fasted for 80 days.[citation needed]

On 20 July 1943, an assassination attempt was made on Muhammad Ali Jinnah by Rafiq Sabir who was assumed to be a Khaksar worker.[15] The attack was deplored by Mashriqi, who denied any involvement. Later, Justice Blagden of Bombay High Court, in his ruling on 4 November 1943 dismissed any association of Khaksars.[16]

In Pakistan, Mashriqi was imprisoned at least five times: in 1950 prior to election; in 1958 for alleged complicity in the murder of republican leader Khan Abdul Jabbar Khan; and, in 1962 for suspicion on attempt to overthrow President Ayub's government. However, none of the charges were proved, and he was acquitted in each case.[8][page needed]

In 1957 Mashriqi allegedly led 300,000 of his followers to the borders of Kashmir, intending, it is said, to launch a fight for its liberation. However, the Pakistan government persuaded the group to withdraw and the organisation was later disbanded.[17]


Mashriqi died on 27 August 1963.

Mashriqi's works

Mashriqi's prominent works include:

  • Armughan-i-Hakeem, a poetical work
  • Dahulbab, a poetical work
  • Isha’arat, the "Bible" of the Khaksar movement
  • Khitab-e-Misr (The Egypt Address), based on his 1925 speech in Cairo as a delegate to the Motmar-e-Khilafat
  • Maulvi Ka Ghalat Mazhab
  • Tazkirah Volume I, 1924, discussions on conflicts between religions, between religion and science, and the need to resolve these conflicts
  • Tazkirah Volume II. Posthumously published in 1964
  • Tazkirah Volume III.

Edited works

  • God, man, and universe: as conceived by a mathematician (works of Inayatullah Khan el-Mashriqi), Akhuwat Publications, Rawalpindi, 1980 (edited by Syed Shabbir Hussain).

See also


  1. ^ a b c S. Shabbir Hussain, Al-Mashriqi: The Disowned Genius, Lahore, Jang Publishers, 1991
  2. ^ The Times, 23 June 1908, page 12.
  3. ^ The Times, 16 June 1909, page 9.
  4. ^ The Times,17 June 1911, page 6.
  5. ^ M. Aslam Malik,Allama Inayatullah Mashraqi, page 3.
  6. ^ The Times, 13 June 1912, page 7
  7. ^ M. Aslam Malik,Allama Inayatullah Mashraqi, page 4.
  8. ^ a b c d S. Shabbir Hussain (ed.), God, Man, and Universe, Akhuwat Publications, Rawalpindi, 1980
  9. ^ Hira Lal Seth, The Khaksar Movement Under Search Light And the Life Story of Its Leader Allama Mashriqi (Hero Publications, 1946), p 16
  10. ^ Shan Muhammed, Khaksar Movement in India, Pub. Meenakshi Prakashan, Meerut, 1973
  11. ^ M.Aslam Malik,Allama Inayatullah Mashraqi
  12. ^ Allama Mashriqi – a great genius, Pak Tribune, 11 July 2006. (accessed on 30 November 2006)
  13. ^ Markus Daeschel, Scientism and its discontents: The Indo-Muslim "Fascism" of Inayatullah Khan Al-Mashriqi, Modern Intellectual History, 3: pp. 443–472, Cambridge University Press. 2006
  14. ^ Khaksar Tehrik Ki Jiddo Juhad Volume 1. Author Khaksar Sher Zaman
  15. ^ Jinnah of Pakistan, Calendar of events, 1943. Accessed on 2 March 2007
  16. ^ Akbar A. Peerbhoy, Jinnah Faces An Assassin, Bombay: Thacker & Co., 1943
  17. ^ Obituary, The Times, 29 August 1963

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