4 December 1908|
Lahore, Punjab, British India (now Pakistan)
|Died||31 October 1929
Central Jail Mianwali, Punjab, British India (now Pakistan)
Ilm-ud-din (4 December 1908 – 31 October 1929) was a Muslim who murdered a book publisher named Mahashe Rajpal for publishing the book Rangila Rasul, that supposedly offended religious values of Muslims. For this his name is often mentioned in Muslim sources with the honorifics Ghazi and Shaheed.
In 1923 Rajpal published an anonymous pamphlet titled Rangila Rasul, which contained a recension of hadith from Bukhari, among other sources, along with an allegedly 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.
Various sections of the Indian Muslim community started a movement demanding that the book be banned. In 1927, the administration of the British Raj enacted a law prohibiting insults aimed at founders and leaders of religious communities.
Ilm-ud-din lived in Lahore in British India, where he worked in his father's carpentry shop. He and a friend, Abdul Rasheed, were passing the Wazir Khan Mosque when they witnessed a crowd shouting slogans against Mahashe Rajpal. Ilm-ud-din decided that he would kill Rajpal with a dagger. He bought a dagger, hid it in his clothing and stabbed Rajpal at his shop on 6 September 1929. He was then overpowered by the general public and arrested by the police.
Trial and execution
The trial lawyer for Ilm-ud-din was Farrukh Hussain. Ilm-ud-din claimed that he was not guilty and had two witnesses to support his plea. 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. He was convicted and given the death penalty according to the Indian Penal Code.
Jinnah then appealed on the grounds of extenuating circumstances, saying that Ilm-ud-din was a man of 19 or 20 who was affected by feelings of veneration for the founder of his faith. He asked for the death sentence to be commuted to transportation for life. This contention was also rejected.
Jinnah, who was at the time considered an ambassador of Hindu Muslim unity, was criticised by a 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.
Ilm-ud-din was hanged and then buried without the Janazah prayer in front of the jail. Intervention of scholars such as Allama Muhammed Iqbal, Mian Amiruddin and Mian Abdul Aziz caused the Muslims to be allowed to retrieve his body for reburial in Lahore on 14 November 1929. Some sources say that these scholars performed the reburial, although this is doubtful. What is known is that upon asking, Allama Iqbal refused to lead the procession.
- Kelly, John Dunham (1991). A Politics of Virtue: Hinduism, Sexuality, and Countercolonial Discourse in Fiji. Chicago, United States: University of Chicago Press. p. 208. ISBN 978-0-226-43031-7.
- "Insult to religion".
- Hoodbhoy, Pervez. "Miracles Are Needed to Rescue Pakistan". Retrieved 12 March 2015.