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Introduces the mythical chief of the good 20th-century Sunni circulation.
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Additional info for Ahmad Riza Khan Barelwi: in the path of the prophet
For him the suspension of religious law in lands under British control meant that the normal rules of conduct in other spheres of life no longer applied either. They also boycotted the British courts, settling their differences themselves. The movement was highly successful in forging a sense of unity and self-help among poor Bengali Muslims for a while. However, British reprisals, and the lack of strong leadership after Dudhu Miyan’s death in the 1860s led to the movement’s decline (Metcalf, 1982: 68–70;Ahmad Khan, 1965).
For instance, without a qadi it now became impossible to have marriages annulled. As a result, women began to declare themselves apostates from Islam, since apostasy automatically terminated a marriage. In the 1930s, Maulana Ashraf ‘Ali Thanawi (d. 1943), a famous Deobandi scholar (‘alim), tried to solve this problem by arguing that apostasy had no effect on the marriage contract, while at the same time proposing both that the conditions under which marriages could be dissolved should be made less stringent and that in the absence of a qadi, ‘ulama or other “righteous Muslims” acting together could dissolve a marriage in his stead.
The name derives from the word farz (Arabic fard; plural fara’iz or fara’id), or duties of Islam. The leader of this movement was Haji Shari‘at Ullah (d. 1840), who returned to Bengal in 1821 after living in the Hijaz in western Arabia for many years. 044 10/12/2004 5:11 PM Page 34 34 AHMAD RIZA KHAN BARELWI among Bengali weavers and peasants, he preached renewed commitment to the duties of Islam (daily prayer, the Ramadan fast, and the pilgrimage, among other things). Shari‘at Ullah also believed that sufism should be limited to the few, for its esoteric teachings were likely to be misunderstood by ordinary believers.