Fazl-e-Haq Khairabadi

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Fazl-e-Haq Khairabadi (1797– 20 August 1861) was one of the main figures of the Indian Rebellion of 1857. He was a philosopher, an author, a poet, a religious scholar, but is most remembered for issuing a fatwa in favor of Jihad against the 'English' in 1857 and against Wahabi or Salafis.[1][2]


Khairabadi had been a chief judge in Lucknow. After the Indian Rebellion of 1857 failed, believing himself covered by an amnesty Khairabadi surrendered himself to the British authorities on 30 January 1859 at Khairabad.[3] He was tried and found guilty of encouraging murder and taking a leadership role in the rebellion.[3] He had chosen to be his own counsel and defended himself. His arguments and the way he defended his case was so convincing that the presiding magistrate was writing his judgement, exonerating him, when he confessed to giving the fatwa' declaring that he could not lie. He was sentenced for life to the prison at Kalapani (Cellular Jail) on Andaman island with confiscation of his property by the Judicial Commissioner, Awadh Court. He reached Andaman on 8 October 1859 aboard the Steam Frigate "Fire Queen".

Besides being a scholar of Islamic studies and theology, he was also a literary persona, especially of Urdu, Arabic and Persian literature. More than 4,00 couplets in Arabic are attributed to him. He edited the first diwan of Mirza Ghalib on his request.

He had a phenomal memory and memorized the Quran in a little over 4 months. Ha also completed the curriculum in Arabic, Persian and religious studies by the age of thirteen.

On account of his deep knowledge and erudition he was called Allama and later was venerated as a great Sufi. He was also bestowed with the title Imam hikmat and Kalaam (The imam of logic, philosophy and literature). He was considered the final authority on issuing fatwas or religious rulings.[4]

He possessed a great presence of mind and was very witty. There are many stories about his repartee with Mirza Ghalib and other contemporary eminent poets, writers and intellectuals.He and his son Abd al-Haq Khairabadi established Madrasa Khairabad in northern India, where many scholars got educated. He wrote Risala-e-Sauratul Hindia in Arabic language.[5]

Criticism of Wahabi Ideology[edit]

Khairabadi was at the forefront of issuing fatwas against Wahabi or Salafis. He also argued against the idea of Non Finality of Prophethood to defend qadiyanis who claims Mirza ahmed qadiyani as a new prophet. He wrote that, according to the Qur’an and Hadith, the prophet Muhammad is the final prophet, and there can be no other prophet or "messenger" after him. To believe that there can be another Muhammad would necessitate that Allah did something apart from what He has stated in the Qur’an, that is, that Allah has lied. Lying is a flaw and it is impossible for Allah to have a flaw.[1][2]

Personal life[edit]

One of his sons. Abdul Haque was also a leading and respected scholar and was given the title of Shamsul Ulema . His grandson is Muztar Khairabadi. Jan Nisar Akhtar is his great-grandson, and Javed Akhtar and Salman Akhtar are his great-great-grandsons. His next generation is Farhan Akhtar, Mohammad Taheer Ahmed, Syed Vaqar Ahmed, Mohammad Maaz Rizvi and Muawwaz Ahmed Rizvi. The main next generation of Allama Fazle Haq Iqbal Ahmad Khairabadi, Nuhul Haq, Moinul Haq, Saiful Haq. Javed Akhtar, Farhan Akhtar, Zoya Akhtar, Salman Akhtar, Mohammad Taheer Ahmed, Syed Vaqar Ahmed, Mohammad Maaz Rizvi and Muawwaz Ahmed Rizvi also relative of Fazl-e-Haq Khairabad because Muztar Khairabadi was cousin of Fazl-e-Haq Khairabadi.

His lineage through Maulvi Abdul Haque included the leading Hakeem (Traditional Unani Physician) of his time; Ala ul Haq and Moulvi Faizul Haq, who was the Finance minister of the Nawab of Bhopal and chairman of the Public Service commission. Faizul Haq was a scholar in his own right and was bestowed with the title of Najm ul Insha (Star of the intellectuals). He had a son, Fayyaz, who was in the Army, and died relatively young. He also had three daughters, Bano, Amna and Imtiaz. Amna was married to Abdul Jalil who served in the Indian Civil Service and had three sons, Zafar ul Islam, Muzaffar Iqbal and Hafeez Imran, and a daughter Tahira Nasreen. Zafarul Islam served with distinction with Pakistan foreign Service and had a number of Ambassadorial postings and was awarded the Tamgha Qaid e Azam (medal of the order of Qaid e Azam) by the Pakistani government. Muzaffar Iqbal served as chief engineer in Pakistan International Airlines, the national carrier of Pakistan. Hafeez Imran worked with IBM, the Ontario provincial government in Canada and a large bank in the Middle East. He was mentioned in the Marquis Who is Who in the World. The next generation include three children of Zafar ul Islam; Saleem, Rubina and Nael; two children of Muzaffar Iqbal; Muna and Ali; three children of Hafeez Imran; Samir, Asim and Omar. Tahira Nasreen married Bashir Ahmed Allawala and has a daughter, Saman, who is a Psychotherapist.

Imtiaz was married to Mohamed Khalil, who served with the Indian Air force as a pilot during the second world war, as the Aerodrome officer at Bairaghar airfield in Bhopal and later as a Director with the civil aviation department in Pakistan and as regional head with International Civil Aviation Organization of the United Nations. He was awarded the Tamgha Imtiaz or his meritorious services. The three children of Mohammed Khalil are Azra, married to Intesar Siddiqui (Also a descendant of the Allama) and with three children, Saami, Miraal Sara and Sana and Muzaffar Saeed married to Rana with two children Rafay and Salwa

His Death[edit]

Fazl-e-Haq Khairabadi died on February 12 in 1861 while exiled on Andaman Island.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Fazl-e-Haq Khairabadi. Tahqeeq al-Fatwa fi Ibtal al-Taghwa. 
  2. ^ a b Vivek Iyer (2012). Ghalib, Gandhi and the Gita. Polyglot Publications London. pp. 43–. ISBN 978-0-9550628-3-4. 
  3. ^ a b Anderson, C (2007) The Indian Uprising of 1857-8: prisons, prisoners, and rebellion, Anthem Press, London P17
  4. ^ Anil Sehgal (2001). Ali Sardar Jafri. Bharatiya Jnanpith. pp. 213–. ISBN 978-81-263-0671-8. 
  5. ^ Syed Sharief Khundmiri (September 2013). MUQADDAMA-E-SIRAJUL ABSAR. Trafford Publishing. pp. 64–. ISBN 978-1-4669-8688-6. 

Further reading[edit]

  • Bates, Crispin; Carter, Marina (2009). "Religion and Retribution in the Indian Rebellion of 1857". Leidschrif. Empire and Resistance. Religious beliefs versus the ruling power 24 (1): 51–68. 
  • Malik, Jamal (2006). "Letters, prison sketches and autobiographical literature: The case of Fadl-e Haqq Khairabadi in the Andaman Penal Colony". Indian Economic Social History Review 43 (77).