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Ilm-ud-din (December 4, 1908- October 31, 1929) was a Muslim who murdered a book publisher named Mahashay Rajpal, for publishing a book Rangila Rasul, that supposedly offended religious values of Muslims. For this his name is often mentioned in Pakistani sources with the honorifics 'Ghazi' and 'Shaheed'.

Why Rangila Rasul was written?[edit]

Rangila Rasul was a book published during the time of Arya Samaj and Muslim confrontation in Punjab during the 1920s. It was a supposedly a retaliatory action from Hindu community against a pamphlet published by a Muslim depicting the Hindu goddess Sita as a prostitute. It was written by an Arya Samaji, Pt. Chamupati in 1927, but the name was never revealed by the publisher Rajpal in Lahore. On the basis of Muslim complaints, Mahasay Rajpal was arrested but acquitted in April 1929 after 5 years of trial. It is believed that the presiding judge was of Christian faith. After several unsuccessful attempts to kill Mahasay Rajpal, he was stabbed to death by a young man named Ilam-Ud-Din on April 6, 1929. The killer was hanged but was hailed as a martyr, and is now accorded the title of "Ghazi" which means he came back from his holy mission alive. Originally written in Urdu, it has been translated in Hindi and English. It remains banned in India, Pakistan and Bangladesh. [1]

Early life[edit]

Ilm-ud-din hailed from city of Lahore, Pakistan (pre-partition). His father was a carpenter. When he was old enough to work he started working alongside his father on his shop. He had a friend named Abdul Rasheed, who was called "Sheeda". Sheeda's father’s shop was in front of the Wazir Khan Mosque. One day both the friends, Ilm-ud-din and Sheeda were passing near the Wazir Khan Mosque. There was a huge crowd near the mosque. People were shouting slogans against Mahashay Rajpal.

At that time Ilm-ud-din decided that he would kill Mahashay Rajpal by going to his shop and running him through with a dagger.

Background for assassination[edit]

Kumar Prasad Preet wrote the book Rang De by the Pen name of Chami Patul Lachi. It was alleged by some sections of Muslim community that the book had made allegations against the Islamic prophet Muhammed.[citation needed]

The book was published in 1923 by a Publisher from Lahore, Mahashay Rajpal[citation needed] as a pamphlet by the name of 'Rangila Rasul', which contained a rescension of hadith from Bukhari, among other sources, along with salacious commentary. Rangila Rasul had a surface appearance of a lyrical and laudatory work on Muhammad and his teachings, for example it began with a poem which went "The bird serves the flowers in the garden; I'll serve my Rangila Rasul," and called Muhammad "a widely experienced" person who was best symbolized by his many wives, in contrast with the brahmacarya of Hindu saints.[2] Various sections of the Indian Muslim Community started a movement demanding the book to be banned, but the British government of India apparently paid no attention to Muslim demands.

Ilm-ud-din unveiled his intention to his friend. According to one account, both of them decided to murder the publisher.[citation needed]


He then went to bazaar and bought a dagger for one rupee. He hid the dagger in his pants and then he headed towards Mahashay Rajpal’s Shop. Mahashay Rajpal had not arrived yet. It was 6 September 1929.

As soon as Ilm-ud-din saw Mahashay Rajpal entering his shop, he attacked him. He stabbed Mahashay Rajpal using the dagger. He was overpowered by the general public.

Then police arrived and arrested Ilm-ud-din, and sent him to Mianwali Jail situated in Punjab Province on October 4, 1929.[citation needed] Later, he was convicted and given the death penalty according to Indian Penal Code.[3]

Trial and execution[edit]

The trial lawyer for Ilm-ud-din was Farrukh Hussain. Ilm-ud-din claimed that he was not guilty. The defence produced two witnesses that claimed that he was not guilty. Two witnesses from the prosecution side claimed that he was guilty. Muhammad Ali Jinnah, then a prominent Indian lawyer, and later the founder of Pakistan, was then sought to appear in the appeal at the Lahore High Court. Jinnah attacked the testimony of the prosecution witnesses but the court overruled his arguments. Jinnah then appealed that there were extenuating circumstances, i.e. Ilm-ud-din was a man of 19 or 20 who was riled up by feelings of veneration for the founder of his faith, which could turn the death sentence into transportation for life. This contention was also rejected.[4]

Jinnah who was at the time considered an ambassador of Hindu Muslim Unity was criticised by the Hindi Newspaper "Pratap" which claimed that this would be a blow to Jinnah's prestige amongst the Hindus. It bears remembering that Jinnah himself had sat on the select committee for the bill that introduced 295-A to Indian Penal Code for which Jinnah sounded a warning that the law might be used to stifle dissent and academic criticism of religion.[citation needed] Then officials took Ilm-ud-din towards the gallows. The authorities buried his body without Janazah prayer in front of the Mianwali Jail but with the intervention of leaders like Dr. Allama Muhammed Iqbal, Mian Amiruddin and Mian Abdul Aziz the Muslims were able to get his body back.[citation needed] Later his body was sent to Lahore for burial by the efforts of Dr. Allama Muhammad Iqbal and his allies.[citation needed]


Muslims from the whole city and millions from adjoining areas attended his funeral.When the body of Ilm Din was exhumed from its grave, it was found to be the intact without any change whatsoever. The kaffan (shroud) had not changed its colour. This occurred on 14th November 1929 — a full 15 days after the hanging. After a two-day journey, the body arrived in Lahore. 200,000 Muslims attended the funeral prayer which led by the Imam of masjid Wazeer Khan, Imam Muhammed Shamsuddeen. Mawlana Zafar Ali Khan said ahead of the burial: "Alas! If only if I had managed to attain such a blessed status!" Allama Iqbal carried the funeral bier along its final journey. As Iqbal placed the body of Ilm Din into the grave, he tearfully declared: "This uneducated young man has surpassed us, the educated ones." Ilmuddin's father requested Allama Muhammad Iqbal to lead the funeral prayer. Dr. Allama Iqbal replied, "I am a sinful person not competent to do this job to lead the funeral of such a great warrior," and referred Syed Deedar Ali Shah the founder of Hizb Ul Ahnaf Lahore for the Namaz e Janaza and Burial."[citation needed] The Janazah Prayer was then led by the Imam of the Mosque Wazeer Khan, Imam Muhammed Shams-ud-deen and Syed Deedar Ali Shah. Because of the large crowd, Namaz e Janaza had to be offered three times. Dr. Sir Allama Mohammad Iqbal and Syed Deedar Ali Shah along with many notable Scholars saw Ilm Ud Din into his grave. It was among the largest funeral processions seen by Lahore.[citation needed] He was buried at the Grave yard of Miani Sahib Bahawalpur Road Lahore, Pakistan. A mosque is also built in Mianwali Jail, Mianwali Pakistan called Ghazi Ilmuddin Shaheed Mosque to honour him and to offer him tribute.[citation needed]