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Ilm Deen known as Ilm-ud-din (4 December 1908 – 31 October 1929) was a Punjabi Muslim carpenter who assassinated a book publisher named Mahashe Rajpal for publishing the book Rangila Rasul, which was perceived as derogatory towards the Islamic prophet, Muhammad, by the Muslim community.[1]

عِلم الدین
Born4 December 1908
Died31 October 1929 (aged 21)
Resting placeMiani Sahib Graveyard, Lahore, Punjab, British India (now Pakistan)
Criminal chargeMurder
Criminal penaltyExecuted
Criminal statusBuried on 6 November 1931



In 1923, Mahashe Rajpal published an anonymous pamphlet titled Rangila Rasul, which contained a reexamination of hadiths 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 and called Muhammad "a widely experienced" person who was best symbolized by his many wives, in contrast with the Brahmacarya of Hindu saints.[2]

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.[3]


Ilm Deen was deeply affected by this book and vowed to take action. On 6 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 for Rajpal at some distance from Rajpal's shop. Rajpal had not arrived yet. Ilm Deen did not know what Rajpal looked like. He tried to find out where Rajpal was through people that were around. Rajpal entered the shop and Ilm Deen did not notice him but soon someone alerted him that Rajpal was inside. The young man entered the shop, lunged forward and attacked him. He stabbed his dagger into the chest of Rajpal. Rajpal fell dead on the ground. Ilm Deen made no attempt to escape. The police arrested Ilm Deen and took him to Lahori Gate Police Station. Later Ilm Deen was shifted to Central Jail Mianwali.

Trial and executionEdit

The trial lawyer for Ilm-ud-din was Farrukh Hussain. Ilm-ud-din admitted that he committed the murder in full conscience. Two witnesses from the prosecution side also claimed that he was guilty. Muhammad Ali Jinnah, then a prominent Indian lawyer, and later the founder of Pakistan, was then sought out to appear in the appeal hearing at the Lahore High Court.[4] Jinnah 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 imprisonment for life. This contention was rejected by the court. Ilm-ud-din was convicted and given the death penalty according to the Indian Penal Code, and subsequently executed.[1]


Around 600,000 people attended his funeral. As Allama Iqbal placed the body of Ilm Din into the grave, he tearfully declared: "This uneducated young man has surpassed us, the educated ones".[5][1]


  1. ^ a b c Rumi, Raza (30 October 2015). "Blasphemy it was not". The Friday Times (newspaper). Retrieved 22 April 2019.
  2. ^ 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.
  3. ^ Soli J. Sorabjee (25 June 2006). "Insult to religion". Indian Express (newspaper). Retrieved 22 April 2019.
  4. ^ Where history meets modern comforts Dawn (newspaper), Updated 30 March 2014, Retrieved 22 April 2019
  5. ^ "Until we start denouncing Ilm-ud-din's legacy Mumtaz Qadris will keep sprouting up in Pakistan". The Nation. 10 October 2015. Retrieved 1 November 2018.