Maniruzzaman Islamabadi

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Maulana Maniruzzaman Islamabadi
Born 1875
Patiya, Chittagong District, Bengal Presidency, British Raj (now Bangladesh)
Died 1950
Language Bengali

Maulana Maniruzzaman Islamabadi (1875–1950), was an Islamic philosopher, nationalist activist and journalist from Chittagong, Bengal, British India (present-day Bangladesh). He assumed the surname "Islamabadi" because "Islamabad" was the official name for Chittagong during the Muslim period,[1][2] it has no relation to Pakistan's capital Islamabad.[2]

Early life[edit]

Maniruzzaman Islamabadi was born in Bamara village in Patiya Upazila of Chittagong district,[3] as he became older, he taught at various traditional madrassas.[1]


Journalism and writing[edit]

Islamabadi began his career as a journalist by editing or managing Muslim reformist periodicals such as the Soltan (1901), Hablul Matin (1912), and journals such as Mohammadi (1903), Kohinoor (1911), Basona (1904) and Al-Eslam (1913).[1] He organised literary conferences at Chittagong in 1922 and 1930 amidst pomp and grandeur. One such conference under the banner of "Chittagong Literary Society" was chaired by Rabindranath Tagore.[4]

Political activism[edit]

Islamabadi's activism started in 1904 with the "Islam Mission Samity" which had undertaken a course of action to preach awareness among Bengali Muslims of their cultural heritage.[5] Referring to the uneducated mullahs’ reservation about learning geography on the baseless ground that the subject was created by the "Kafir English," Islamabadi wrote:

We wouldn’t be able to change our conditions, let alone make progress, until we would take the trouble to review out[sic] history and acquire essential knowledge about geography, science, industry, commerce and agriculture, et cetera.[2]

Islamabadi supported the Indian National Congress and took an active part in the movement for the annulment of the Partition of Bengal, he also participated actively in the Non-cooperation Movement and Khilafat Movement and was the President of the provincial Congress Committee. He, along with Mohammad Akram Khan toured throughout Bengal and organized Khilafat meetings, particularly in Dhaka and Chittagong; in an article titled Asahojogita-o-Amader Kartbya, Islamabadi declared that to protect Khilafat and to acquire Swaraj were the twin aims of the Khilafat movement.

He was one of the architects of the Bengal Pact of 1923, he left Congress politics in the 1930s and joined the Krishak Praja Party and was elected to the Bengal Legislative Assembly in 1937 from this party.[1]


In 1913, Moniruzzaman Islamabadi along with Maulana Abul Kalam Azad, Mohammad Akram Khan, Maulana Abdullahil Baqi and Dr Muhammad Shahidullah led the organizing of the Anjuman-i-Ulama-i-Bangala with headquarters in Kolkata.[6] One of the objectives of this organization was popularizing Bengali language among the Muslim middle class. When the Anjuman-i-Ulama-i-Bangala merged into Jamiat Ulema-e-Hind, in 1921, he became the founder of its branch in Bengal, the Jamiat-i-Ulama-i-Bangalah.[6] He founded the Chittagong branch of the organization and himself became its president.[1]

Through the Anjuman, Islamabadi addressed social ills that plagued the Muslim society like dowry, excessive mahr and young child marriage, without registering the age of consent.[6] Due to its involvement Islamabadi's involvement[clarification needed] with the Krishak Praja Party, the Anjuman viewed the Muslim League as repugnant, lacking religiosity and "not being true Muslims." However, by the 1930s the organization became too innocent[clarification needed] of the reality of a "dissociation of modernity and democracy" and many of its members, including Mohammad Akram Khan abandoned the organization and joined the Muslim League.[7] This made Islamabadi a lonely voice, and he suffered from depression.[7]

Death and legacy[edit]

Islamabadi was a preacher who wanted to give Bengali Muslims a new identity by purifying the modern and invoking universal morality.[7]

Islamabadi wanted to establish an Islamic university in Chittagong but the lack of funds and circumstances of the time did not favor his efforts.[1]


Islamabadi's main objective to project the past glory of Islam, its contributions to the progress of human civilization and thus inspiring the Bengali Muslims to change their conditions manifested in publications such as:

  • Bhugol Shastre Musalman (Muslim contributions in geographical science)
  • Khagol Shastre Musalman (Muslim contributions in astronomy)
  • Korane Swadhinatar Bani (Messages of freedom in the Qur’an)
  • Bharate Islam Prachar (Spreading of Islam in India)
  • Musalman Amale Hindur Adhikar (Rights of the Hindus in Muslim Rule)
  • Moslem Birangana (Heroic Muslim women)
  • Turashker Sultan (Sultan of Turkey)
  • Aurangzeb
  • Nejamuddin Aulia[2]


  1. ^ a b c d e f Hoque, M Inamul (2012). "Islamabadi, Maulana Maniruzzaman". In Islam, Sirajul; Jamal, Ahmed A. Banglapedia: National Encyclopedia of Bangladesh (Second ed.). Asiatic Society of Bangladesh. 
  2. ^ a b c d Kabir, Nurul (1 September 2013). "Colonialism, politics of language and partition of Bengal PART XVII". New Age. Dhaka. Archived from the original on 28 December 2014. 
  3. ^ Rizvi, S.N.H. (1965). "East Pakistan District Gazetteers" (PDF). GOVERNMENT OF EAST PAKISTAN SERVICES AND GENERAL ADMINISTRATION DEPARTMENT (1): 353. Retrieved 7 November 2016. 
  4. ^ Das, Uday Shankar (14 August 2013). "Tagore: The Chittagong Connection". The Daily Star. Retrieved 1 September 2013. 
  5. ^ Chakrabarty, Bidyut (2004). The Partition of Bengal and Assam, 1932-1947: Contour of Freedom. Delhi: Routledge. pp. 35–37. ISBN 1-134-33274-2. 
  6. ^ a b c Amin, S N (1996). The World of Muslim Women in Colonial Bengal, 1876-1939. BRILL. p. 119. ISBN 90-04-10642-1. 
  7. ^ a b c Samaddar, Ranabir. Emergence of the Political Subject. India: SAGE Publications Ltd. pp. 85–96.