Ghazi Ilm Din Shaheed

In the 1920′s a young man, Ghazi Ilm Din, was hanged in India for killing the publisher of an inflammatory book defaming Prophet Muhammad (SAW). Find below three articles on this issue.

Story of Ghazi Ilm Deen Shaeed
The only court case Mr Jinnah lost: The Story of Ghazi Ilm Din
A Lost Case, An Upheld Cause

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Story of Ghazi Ilm Deen Shaeed

Ilm Din's family's shop was re-named after him following his execution and still exists in LahoreIlm Din’s family’s shop was re-named after him following his execution and still exists in Lahore

by Abu Rizwan Javaid al-Multaani

The 1920’s in India witnessed the publishing of an inflammatory book vilifying Prophet Muhammad (SAW) thereby adding fuel to the existing Muslim/Hindu tensions. The British Raj ruled India and the creation of Pakistan was still a distant dream in the hearts of the Indian Muslims. The Muslim population was understandably incensed and mass protests were held. Prashaad Prataab had authored Rangeela Rasool (The Colourful Prophet), under the pen name of Pandit Chamupati Lal. The word rangeela means ‘colourful’ but can be understood in this context to mean ‘playboy’.

Rajpal was a Hindu book publisher from Lahore. He took the responsibility of publishing the book in 1923 and pledged not to disclose the author’s real name. Pressure from the Muslim community resulted in the matter being taken to Session court Lahore which found Raj Pal guilty and sentenced him. Subsequently Rajpal appealed against the decision of Session Court in the Lahore High court. The appeal was heard by Judge Daleep Singh who gave leave to appeal on the grounds that on the basis of criticism against the religious leaders, no matter how immoral it is, is not covered by S.153 of the Indian Penal Code. Thus Rajpal could not be sentenced as law did not cover blasphemous criticism against religion. The High Court decision was widely criticised and protests were made against it by Muslims of India. Little did anyone suspect that one young man’s course of action would bring about a significant change in the Law, ensuring that Islam would be covered by blasphemy laws.

Ghazi Ilm Din Shaheed

Ilm Din was an illiterate teenager from Lahore. His father was a carpenter. One day he was passing near Masjid (mosque) Wazir Khan. There was a huge crowd shouting slogans against Rajpal. The speaker thundered: “Oh Muslims! The devil Rajpal has sought to dishonour our beloved Prophet Muhammed (S.A.W) by his filthy book!”

Ilm Din was deeply affected by this passionate speech and vowed to take action. On 6th September 1929 Ilm Deen set out for the bazaar and purchased a dagger for one rupee. He hid the dagger in his pants and waited opposite Rajpal’s Shop. Rajpal had not arrived yet. His flight had arrived at Lahore airport and he proceeded to phone the police in order to request them to provide him security. Ilm Deen did not know what the publisher looked like. He asked a few passer-by’s as to Rajpal’s whereabouts and said that he needed to discuss something with him. Rajpal entered the shop without detection but soon after a man alerted Ilm Din that Rajpal was inside. The young man entered the shop, lunged forward and attacked him. He stabbed his dagger into the chest of Rajpal with such force that his heart was ripped from his body. Rajpal fell dead on the ground. Ilm Deen made no attempt to escape. Rajpal’s employees grabbed him and shouted for help.

Ghazi Ilm Deen Jail CellThe Jail where Ghazi Ilm Deen Shaheed was imprisoned and jailed

The police arrived at the scene and arrested Ilm Deen. He was kept in Mianwali jail. The case went to court and Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah was his defence lawyer. Jinnah urged Ilm Din to enter a plea of not guilty plea and to say that he had acted due to extreme provocation. The fact that Ilm Din was only 19 years old would have also worked in his favour. Ilm Din refused to offer such a plea and insisted that he was proud of his actions. This case was the only one that Jinnah ever lost. The Session Court awarded Ilm Din the death penalty. Against his wishes, the Muslims lodged an appeal, but it was rejected.

Ilm Din’s execution occurred on 31st October 1929. When asked if he had any last requests, he simply requested that he be allowed to pray two rak’at (units) nafl (voluntary) prayer, thus following the example of Khubaib (RA) who also prayed 2 rak’ats nafl before the pagan Quraish executed him.

As the noose was put around the neck of Ilm Din, he repeated before the huge crowd:
“O people! Bear witness that I killed Rajpal to defend our last Prophet Muhammed S.A.W, and today they are going to hang me. I am sacrificing my life whilst reciting the kalimah (shahadah – testimony of faith).”

The young man was killed and the authorities buried him without any Janazah (funeral) prayer being offered for him. Mass demonstrations broke out and the tension between the Hindu and Muslim communities was palpable. The inhabitants of Lahore wanted Ilm Din’s body returned in order to give him an Islamic janaza (funeral). Two celebrated activists — the poet Dr. Muhammed Allama Iqbal and Mian Abdul Aziz — campaigned to have the body of Ilm Din returned to Lahore for the Janaza prayer. The British were worried that this would incite unrest. Only after Allama Iqbal gave his assurance to the British that no riots would erupt, was permission given.

When the body of Ilm Din was exhumed from its grave, it was found to be 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 was 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.”

The killing of Ilm Din had far-reaching repercussions. A provision was added to the Penal Code, making insult to the religious beliefs of any class an offense. Allama Iqbal’s proposal of a separate Muslim state in 1930 resulted in the creation of Pakistan in 1947. The Pakistan Penal Code makes it a crime for anyone who “by words or visible representation or by an imputation or insinuation, directly or indirectly, defiled the name of the Muhammad”. In 1982, President Zia ul-Haq introduced Section 295B to the Pakistan Penal Code punishing “defiling the Holy Qur’an” with life imprisonment. In 1986, Section 295C was introduced, mandating the death penalty for “use of derogatory remarks in respect of the Holy Prophet” in keeping Islam’s hudood (prescribed punishments). Ilm Din’s legacy is still visible across Pakistan, where parks, hospitals and roads carry his name.

The only court case Mr Jinnah lost: The Story of Ghazi Ilm Din !

Aulia_Ghazi_Ilm_Deen_Shaeed

Source: Insaf.pk

“As Iqbal placed the body of Ilm Din into the grave, he tearfully declared: “This uneducated young man has surpassed us, the educated ones.”

The 1920’s in India witnessed the publishing of an inflammatory book vilifying Prophet Muhammad (SAW) thereby adding fuel to the existing Muslim/Hindu tensions. The British Raj ruled India and the creation of Pakistan was still a distant dream in the hearts of the Indian Muslims. The Muslim population was understandably incensed and mass protests were held. Prashaad Prataab had authored Rangeela Rasool (The Colourful Prophet), under the pen name of Pandit Chamupati Lal. The word rangeela means ‘colourful’ but can be understood in this context to mean ‘playboy’. [Nauzbillah]

Rajpal was a Hindu book publisher from Lahore. He took the responsibility of publishing the book in 1923 and pledged not to disclose the author’s real name. Pressure from the Muslim community resulted in the matter being taken to Session court Lahore which found Raj Pal guilty and sentenced him. Subsequently Rajpal appealed against the decision of Session Court in the Lahore High court. The appeal was heard by Judge Daleep Singh who gave leave to appeal on the grounds that on the basis of criticism against the religious leaders, no matter how immoral it is, is not covered by S.153 of the Indian Penal Code. Thus Rajpal could not be sentenced as law did not cover blasphemous criticism against religion. The High Court decision was widely criticised and protests were made against it by Muslims of India. Little did anyone suspect that one young man’s course of action would bring about a significant change in the Law, ensuring that Islam would be covered by blasphemy laws.

Ilm Din was an illiterate teenager from Lahore. His father was a carpenter. One day he was passing near Masjid (mosque) Wazir Khan. There was a huge crowd shouting slogans against Rajpal. The speaker thundered: “Oh Muslims! The devil Rajpal has sought to dishonour our beloved Prophet Muhammed (S.A.W) by his ****** book!”

Ilm Din was deeply affected by this passionate speech and vowed to take action. On 6th September 1929 Ilm Deen set out for the bazaar and purchased a dagger for one rupee. He hid the dagger in his pants and waited opposite Rajpal’s Shop. Rajpal had not arrived yet. His flight had arrived at Lahore airport and he proceeded to phone the police in order to request them to provide him security. Ilm Deen did not know what the publisher looked like. He asked a few passer-by’s as to Rajpal’s whereabouts and said that he needed to discuss something with him. Rajpal entered the shop without detection but soon after a man alerted Ilm Din that Rajpal was inside. The young man entered the shop, lunged forward and attacked him. He stabbed his dagger into the chest of Rajpal with such force that his heart was ripped from his body. Rajpal fell dead on the ground. Ilm Deen made no attempt to escape. Rajpal’s employees grabbed him and shouted for help.

The police arrived at the scene and arrested Ilm Deen. He was kept in Mianwali jail. The case went to court and Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah was his defence lawyer. Jinnah fought Ghazi Ilm Deen’s case on a special request from Allama Iqbal. Jinnah urged Ilm Din to enter a plea of not guilty plea and to say that he had acted due to extreme provocation. The fact that Ilm Din was only 19 years old would have also worked in his favour. Ilm Din refused to offer such a plea and insisted that he was proud of his actions. This case was the only one that Jinnah ever lost. The Session Court awarded Ilm Din the death penalty. Against his wishes, the Muslims lodged an appeal, but it was rejected.

Ilm Din’s execution occurred on 31st October 1929. When asked if he had any last requests, he simply requested that he be allowed to pray two rak’at (units) nafl (voluntary) prayer, thus following the example of Khubaib (RA) who also prayed 2 rak’ats nafl before the pagan Quraish executed him.

As the noose was put around the neck of Ilm Din, he repeated before the huge crowd:

“O people! Bear witness that I killed Rajpal to defend our last Prophet Muhammed S.A.W, and today they are going to hang me. I am sacrificing my life whilst reciting the kalimah (shahadah – testimony of faith).”

The young man was killed and the authorities buried him without any Janazah (funeral) prayer being offered for him. Mass demonstrations broke out and there the tension between the Hindu and Muslim communities was palpable. The inhabitants of Lahore wanted Ilm Din’s body returned in order to give him an Islamic janaza (funeral). Two celebrated activists — Dr. Muhammed Allama Iqbal and Mian Abdul Aziz — campaigned to have the body of Ilm Din returned to Lahore for the Janaza prayer. The British were worried that this would incite unrest. Only after Allama Iqbal gave his assurance to the British that no riots would erupt, was permission given.

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. Muslims from the whole city and millions from adjoining areas attended his funeral. Ilmuddin’s father requested Allama Muhammad Iqbal to lead the funeral prayer and this shivered Dr. Allama Iqbal who replied that I am a sinful person not competent to do this job to lead the funeral of such a matchless warrior. 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.”

The killing of Ilm Din had far-reaching repercussions. A provision was added to the Penal Code, making insult to the religious beliefs of any class an offense. Allama Iqbal’s proposal of a separate Muslim state in 1930 resulted in the creation of Pakistan in 1947. The Pakistan Penal Code makes it a crime for anyone who “by words or visible representation or by an imputation or insinuation, directly or indirectly, defiled the name of the Muhammad”. In 1982, President Zia ul-Haq introduced Section 295B to the Pakistan Penal Code punishing “defiling the Holy Qur’an” with life imprisonment. In 1986, Section 295C was introduced, mandating the death penalty for “use of derogatory remarks in respect of the Holy Prophet” in keeping Islam’s hudood (prescribed punishments). Ilm Din’s legacy is still visible across Pakistan, where parks, hospitals and roads carry his name.

A LOST CASE, AN UPHELD CAUSE!

Source: OpinionMaker

Jinnah-addressing-a-gathering1 Quaid-e-Azam lost only one case during his entire practicing tenure, that too by choice.  He chose to defend a murderer who had been convicted by the trial court, where he had opted for guilty plea and was not interested to defend his act. Quaid-e-Azam urged the accused to enter a plea of not guilty and to say that he had acted due to extreme provocation. The fact that accused was only 19 years old would have also worked in his favour. However, the accused refused to offer such a plea and insisted that he was proud of his actions. This case, cited as Ilam Din vs. Emperor AIR 1930 Lahore 157, was the only one suite that the Quaid ever lost. Given the stance by the accused, technically it was a lost case, yet the Quaid chose to contest it to uphold a cause. It was the case of Ghazi Ilam Din Shaheed.

One Prashaad Prataab had authored a blasphemous book. Rajpal a Hindu book publisher from Lahore took the responsibility of publishing the book in 1923 and pledged not to disclose the author’s real name. Pressure from the Muslim community resulted in the matter being taken to Session court Lahore, which found RajPal guilty and sentenced him. Subsequently Rajpal appealed against the decision of Session Court in the Lahore High court. The appeal was heard by Judge Daleep Singh who acquitted Rajpal on the grounds that criticism against the religious leaders, no matter how immoral, was not covered by S.153 of the Indian Penal Code. Thus Rajpal could not be sentenced as law did not cover blasphemous criticism against religion.

High Court decision was widely criticised and protests were made against it by Muslims of India. Little did anyone expect that one young man’s course of action would bring about a significant change in the law, ensuring that Islam would be covered by blasphemy laws.

Creation of Pakistan was still a distant dream in the hearts of the Indian Muslims. This event was one of the contributory causes that culminated in Allama Iqbal’s proposal for a separate Muslim state in 1930, which resulted in the creation of Pakistan in 1947.

As the noose was put around the neck of Ilam Din, he repeated before the huge crowd: “O people! Bear witness that I killed Rajpal to defend our last Prophet Muhammad S.A.W, and today they are going to hang me. I am sacrificing my life whilst reciting the kalimah shahadah (testimony of faith).”

The young man was buried without any funeral. Mass demonstrations broke out. The inhabitants of Lahore wanted Ilam Din’s body returned in order to give him an Islamic funeral. Allama Iqbal and Mian Abdul Aziz campaigned to have the body of Ilam Din returned to Lahore for the funeral prayer. The British were worried that this would incite unrest. Only after Allama Iqbal gave his assurance to the British that no riots would erupt, permission was given. Around 200,000 Muslims attended the funeral prayer. Maulana 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 Ilam Din into the grave, he tearfully declared: “This uneducated young man has surpassed us, the educated ones.”

The martyrdom of Ilam Din on 31st October 1929 had far-reaching repercussions. A provision Section 295A was added to the Indian Penal Code, making insult to the religious beliefs of any class an offence. The Pakistan Penal Code makes it a crime for anyone who “by words or visible representation or by an imputation or insinuation, directly or indirectly, defiled the name of the Muhammad”. In 1982, Section 295B was added to the Pakistan Penal Code punishing “defiling the Holy Quran” with life imprisonment. In 1986, Section 295C was introduced, mandating the death penalty for “use of derogatory remarks in respect of the Holy Prophet” in keeping with Ilam Din’s legacy.

Since Jinnah defended Ilam Din in his murder trial at appellate level, it can be inferred that he favoured the ‘death sentence for blasphemy’. Same was endorsed by Allama Iqbal.

On his vision of Pakistan, the Quaid had said:  ‘The tolerance and good will Emperor Akbar showed to all the non-Muslims is not of recent origin. It dates back to thirteen centuries ago when our Prophet not only by words but by deeds treated the Jews and Christians after he had conquered them with the utmost tolerance and regard and respect for their faith and beliefs’.

Quaid was an inexorable defender of civil liberties. He stood for Bhagat Singh’s freedom and condemned the British government in the harshest language when no one else dared.

His landmark speech before the Constituent assembly of Pakistan on 11 August, 1947 envisaged equality for all Pakistanis, irrespective of religion, cast and creed: ‘…Now, if we want to make this great State of Pakistan happy and prosperous, we should wholly and solely concentrate on the well-being of the people, and especially of the masses and the poor. If you will work in co-operation, forgetting the past, burying the hatchet, you are bound to succeed. If you change your past and work together in a spirit that everyone of you, no matter to what community he belongs, no matter what relations he had with you in the past, no matter what is his colour, caste or creed, is first, second and last a citizen of this State with equal rights, privileges, and obligations, there will be no end to the progress you will make…We should begin to work in that spirit and in course of time all these angularities of the majority and minority communities, the Hindu community and the Muslim community… will vanish….You are free; you are free to go to your temples, you are free to go to your mosques or to any other place of worship in this State of Pakistan. You may belong to any religion or caste or creed that has nothing to do with the business of the State….We are starting with this fundamental principle that we are all citizens and equal citizens of one State…Now I think we should keep that in front of us as our ideal and you will find that in course of time Hindus would cease to be Hindus and Muslims would cease to be Muslims, not in the religious sense, because that is the personal faith of each individual, but in the political sense as citizens of the State’.

L K Advani, Indian politician, who was once named in a police report for an alleged assassination attempt on Jinnah’s life, while visiting Pakistan, stoked off a huge scandal in India, when he referred to Jinnah as a great leader. At Quaid’s Mausoleum, he wrote: ‘There are many people who leave an irreversible stamp on history. But there are few who actually create history. Quaid-e-Azam Mohammed Ali Jinnah was one such rare individual.

‘The constitution of Pakistan has yet to be framed by the Pakistan Constituent Assembly. I do not know what the ultimate shape of this constitution is going to be, but I am sure that it will be of a democratic type, embodying the essential principle of Islam. Today, they are as applicable in actual life as they were 1,300 years ago. Islam and its idealism have taught us democracy. It has taught equality of man, justice and fair play to everybody. We are the inheritors of these glorious traditions and are fully alive to our responsibilities and obligations as framers of the future constitution of Pakistan. In any case Pakistan is not going to be a theocratic State to be ruled by priests with a divine mission. We have many non-Muslims –Hindus, Christians, and Parsis –but they are all Pakistanis. They will enjoy the same rights and privileges as any other citizens and will play their rightful part in the affairs of Pakistan’

Issue of blasphemy law has to be seen in the spirit espoused by the great Quaid.  Blasphemy has no place in a liberal and tolerant society offering equal opportunities and liberties to each citizen. Blasphemy breeds polarization, hence destabilises the society through mistrust, and hatred. Blasphemy needs to be curbed through harshest capital punishment while ensuring essential safeguards against miscarriage of justice.

Air Cdre Khalid is Masters in Political Science along with War and Strategic Studies. He has also done Air WarCourse, Fellow of Air War College. Instructor’s Course. Senior Command & Staff course. Combat Commander’s Course. He has been a Directing Staff at various institutions of Pakistan Air Force. Presently he is a visiting faculty at:

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