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Fazal-e-Haq (1797– 20 August 1861) was one of the main poets 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 of armed fighting in favor of Jihad against the British empire in 1857.[1][2]

Died20 August 1861 (aged 64)
Andaman Islands, Bay of Bengal, British Raj, now India



Fazl was born into a family of Indian Muslims. Shortly after the Indian Rebellion of 1857 failed, he was covered by an amnesty and was arrested by the British authorities on 30 January 1859 at Khairabad for inciting violence.[3] He was tried and found guilty of encouraging murder and 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 phenomenal memory and memorized the Qur'an in a little over 4 months. He has 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]

The emphasis on Finality of ProphethoodEdit

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] This reflects his deep insight to the political, social and religious environment which was emerging with the growing influence of Englishmen and at last capture of Delhi by them.

Personal lifeEdit

One of his sons. Abdul Haque was also a leading and respected scholar and was given the title of Shamsul Ulema. His descendants have been major poets in Indian sub-continent that includes grandson Muztar Khairabadi, great-grandson Jan Nisar Akhtar and great-great-grandson Javed Akhtar. His descendants include Zoya Akhtar and Farhan Akhtar - children of Javed Akthar.[6]

His DeathEdit

Fazl-e-Haq Khairabadi died on 20 August 1861 while being in exile at Andaman Islands.[citation needed]

See alsoEdit


  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.
  6. ^ "Javed Akhtar", Wikipedia, 14 January 2019, retrieved 24 January 2019

Further readingEdit

  • 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 and Social History Review. 43 (77).