Aligarh Movement | Syed Ahmad Khan

Indian Muslims consider the Aligarh Movement to be their most significant socioreligious movement. Syed Ahmad Khan (1817–1899), who has been called the most well-known Muslim person, organized it. In 1817, Syed Ahmad Khan, a member of a Muslim noble family, enlisted in the Company as a judge. Upon realization, he understood that Muslims would have to adjust to British authority. Syed Ahmad consequently counselled Muslims to embrace Western education and public service. 


  • Syed Ahmed Khan was a devoted employee of the British government's court system and was born into an honourable Muslim family.
  • He was appointed to the Imperial Legislative Council in 1878 after retiring in 1876. He received a knighthood in 1888 for his commitment.
  • Despite his conviction that the Quran was the final authority, he attempted to harmonize Western scientific education with Quranic teachings that were to be interpreted in light of modern rationality and science.
  • He asserted that religious doctrines are subject to change and that, else, they will become fossilized.
  • Instead of placing complete trust in tradition or habit, he argued in favour of a critical mindset and intellectual freedom.
  • He established schools in towns as an official, had texts translated into Urdu, and established the Mohammedan Anglo-Oriental College in Aligarh (later the Aligarh Muslim University) in 1875.


  • According to the British view of the 1857 uprising, the major conspirators were Muslims. This opinion was further supported by the Wahabis' actions.
  • But when nationalist political activity grew, the authorities began to think that Muslims could be utilized as partners to counter it, as evidenced, among other things, by the creation of the Indian National Congress.
  • This was to be achieved through thoughtfully accommodating Muslims.
  • Syed Ahmed Khan (1817–98) led a group of Muslims who were willing to accept official backing to improve educational and employment prospects for Indian Muslims, which would in turn encourage growth.


Syed Ahmad Khan espoused the idea of "practical morality," commonly known as the essential oneness of all religions.
He also emphasized the inherent parallels between Muslim and Hindu interests.
According to Syed Ahmed Khan, Muslims should prioritize jobs and education to catch up to their Hindu counterparts who have an advantage.
It intended to spread:
  1. Islam-affirming social reforms among Muslims regarding purdah, polygamy, widow remarriage, women's education, enslavement, divorce, and other issues. Modern education among Indian Muslims without damaging their allegiance to Islam.
  2. The movement's philosophy was founded on a liberal reading of the Quran, and its goal was to bring Islam and contemporary liberal society together.
  3. They aimed to give Muslims a distinctive sociocultural identity that followed contemporary norms.
  4. He thought that becoming actively involved in politics at the time would encourage the government to be hostile to the Muslim masses. He disapproved of Muslim political activity as a result.
  5. Unfortunately, he allowed himself to be used by the colonial authority in its offensive programme of divide and rule, and in later years, he started spreading the idea that Hindus and Muslims have different interests because of his eagerness to advance Muslims' educational and job objectives.
  6. Tahdhib-ul-Akhlaq (Improving Manners and Morals), Syed's periodical, served as a platform for the progressive social principles he advocated.
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  • In 1862, he founded the Scientific Society to translate works on science and other topics into Urdu.
  • He also started an English-Urdu publication where he published ideas for social transformation.
  • The Mohammedan Oriental College, which eventually developed into the Aligarh Muslim University, was founded as a result of his proposal.
  • It helped its students acquire a contemporary attitude.
  • This intellectual movement is referred known as the Aligarh Movement.
  • Social reformer Syed Ahmad Khan fought against the purdah system, polygamy, and the Muslim divorce regime.
  • He emphasized the significance of keeping Islam's core principles while doing away with unreasonable social conventions and promoting a logical reading of the Quran.
  • Additionally, he supported easy divorce, opposed purdah and polygamy, and denounced the piri and muridi systems to elevate the status of women.


A liberal, contemporary movement among Muslim intellectuals based at Aligarh's Mohammedan Anglo-Oriental College gave rise to the Aligarh Movement. The religious and cultural resurgence of the Muslim community quickly centred around Aligarh. Syed Ahmad Khan thought that collaborating with the British administration would be in the best interests of Muslims. India was only able to develop into a fully-fledged nation with the assistance of the British. He was against Muslims taking part in Indian National Congress operations as a result.

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