Friday, January 27, 2006

muhammad ali

Muhammad Ali was born in the late 1760s in the small port of Kavala. His father was an Ottoman soldier of Albanian origin and a tobacco trader. When Selim III raised an army in 1798 to send to Egypt against Napoleon, the governor of Kavala in Thrace supplied three hundred men, the second in command being Muhammad Ali. The peace Amiens in 1802 and the British evacuation of the Nile found Muhammad Ali responsible for several thousand Albanian and Bosnian troops.

When the British left Egypt in 1803, Ali sided with the Mamluks and drove the Turkish government from Cairo. He then played one Mamluk faction against another. Finally, with the aid of the Cairo populace, he chased the Mamluks, deposed the new governor who just arrived from Istanbul, and was recognized as governor by the citizens of Cairo. Later he was appointed Pasha of Egypt by Selim and asserted his full submission to him.
Finances cramped him severely. War in Lower Egypt, and the passage of troops, had reduced the Delta to Barrenness. Previously, taxes and levies supported an Egyptian army, but Muhammad Ali found little to levy and taxes quite insufficient. In order to raise fund he surveyed all land holdings, seized land grants upon which payment to the state were in arrears, abolished the ancient system of land tenure, and expropriated the remaining fiefs (multazim).

As land taxes increased, Muhammad Ali turned his attention to commerce and established a government monopoly on the export of grain, in which the profit often reached 500 %. Irrigation system was improved, which provided water all the year around, and doubled the production of the land such as wheat, barley, beans, rice, sugar, sesame, indigo, short staple cotton, and later Egypt was able to export long staple cotton in large number.

Besides finance improvement, his other successful endeavors were sanitation and education. When great plagues and cholera raged every year, he organized a more effective quarantine and appointed committee for sanitation, which was given enough fund and absolute authority. The result is the general improvement of health condition and the restriction of the visitation of the diseases.

The first schools established by Ali were for the military. Most of the instructors in these schools were French. Egyptian boys were often sent to study in France and England. The polytechnic schools were founded, preparatory schools to feed the polytechnic were organized in Cairo and Alexandria, and medical college was established. In connection with the schools a government press was set up at Bulaq near Cairo. Newspapers printed in both Arabic and French. These educational activities made Egypt a leader of the Arab world in the intellectual life.

Muhammad Ali continued to make some improvement. Alexandria was transformed into Mediterranean city resembling Marseilles, Genoa and Naple. Construction for public use was carried out on a large scale, including barracks for the army, dockyard for the navy, office buildings for bureaucracy, schools, hospitals, palaces ECT. The Mahmudiya canal was dug, and country roads were improved and widened for better transportation.

Organization of the finances of Egypt and destruction of the Mamluk power enabled Muhammad Ali to widening his rule. He dispatched his able sons on military expeditions to the Hijaz, Sudan, Crete and the Morca. In 1833, Crete, Egypt, Syria, Adana and Tarsus were assigned to Muhammad Ali, for which he agreed to pay 150,000-Pound sterling a year tribute to Istanbul. His son Ibrahim governed Hijaz and Ethiopia consisting a few Red Sea ports, and later he became the governor of Syria also. Ali’s other son took Sudan and founded the city of Khartoum.

When Muhammad Ali declared his independence, Ottoman forces invaded Syria but were destroyed at Najib by Ibrahim in 1839. Five days later, Mahmud II died, and before July was out the Turkish fleet deserted to join the Egyptian at Alexandria. Muhammad Ali was now master of the situation, and the Porte prepared to surrender to his demands. However, a joint note from Austria, England, France, Prussia and Russia informed that they were concerned with the developments within the Middle East and recommended that no action be taken on Muhammad Ali’s claims without their approval. Later, after he refused the Treaty of London in 1840, signed by British, Russia, Prussia and Russia, Muhammad Ali had to face the military action against the four powers. Acre was captured by British-Austrian troops. Forcibly, Ali recalled his son Ibrahim from Syria and accepted the British term.

The defeats of 1840 and the diplomatic negotiation of 1841 gave Muhammad Ali full power in Egypt, but left him and old and broken man. However, ha has proved that he was a great ruler of Egypt who has reformed Egypt to modern country. He lived on until 1849, however, in 1847 the government passed to his grandson, Abbas.
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Thursday, January 05, 2006

Jamaat Islami

Jamaat Islami is one of the oldest Islamic movements and has been influential in the development of Islamic revivalism across the Muslim world in general and India and Pakistan in particular. It was founded in Lahore on 26th August 1941 through the efforts of Maulana Sayyid Abu al-A’la Mawdudi (d. 1979), an Islamic thinker and political activist who worked for the revival of Islam in India.


Mawdudi had been involved with the struggle since 1938 and opposed the Congress Party, believing that Hindu rule behind the secular nationalism would bring the end of Islam in India. He had been equally opposed to the Muslim League, which he believed to be a secularist entity. Mawdudi was supported by a number of Ulama who joined him in Lahore to form the new organization. Among them were Maulana Sayyid Abul Hasan Ali Nadvi and Muhammad Manzur Nu’mani of Deoband. Soon after its creation, the party established its headquarters in Pathankut, in east Punjab, led by Mawdudi as its first president. Between 1941 and 1947, the Jamaat spread its messages across India through its widely distributed literature, rallies, conventions, and public sessions.

The Jamaat followed the teachings of Mawdudi, which emphasize the exoteric dimensions of faith, disparage traditional Islam, rationalized faith, and predicate eschatology and salvation on social action. Since the 1960s the party has also developed a women’s wing as well as semi autonomous organizations such as publication houses and unions, especially a student union, Islami Jam’iyat Tulaba.

Following the partition of India, the Jamaat divided into three separate units for India, Jammu and Kashmir, and Pakistan. Mawdudi, along with the bulk of the original party leaders and members, left India for Pakistan and established the headquarters of Jamaat Islami of Pakistan in Lahore, and soon became fully immersed in Pakistani politics. Mawdudi and the Jamaat quickly approached the Ulama and other self-style religious movements in pressing the newly formed state for an Islamic Constitution, most notably in Objective Resolution of 1949. Jamaat’s activism in these years culminated in an open confrontation with the government over the role of religion in politics.

In 1951 the Jamaat became directly active in politics by taking part in the Punjab election. The anti-Ahmadiyah agitation in Punjab enhanced the party’s political standing. Although the agitations were led by the Ulama and religious groups such as Anjuman Ahrar, the Jamaat’s role proved critical in providing juristification for them, especially in the form of a book, “Qodiyani Mas’alah”. In 1957 the Jamaat declared that it would participate in the national elections of 1958 as a full-fledged party. But during Ayub Khan’s rule, the Jamaat’s offices were closed down, its leaders were excoriated in government-sponsored publications, its activities were restricted and Mawdudi himself was imprisoned. The Jamaat became more concerned with the removal of Ayub Khan and the restoration of a political climate that would be conducive to religio-political activism. Therefore, the Jamaat joined the alliance of political parties that advocated restoration of democracy and an end of Ayub Khan’s rule.

During the issue of Bangladesh, the Jamaat spearheaded a political movement that consciously appealed to religious sentiment to weaken the Bhutto regime. It was the Jamaat and the movement of Nizami Mustafa that undermined the Bhutto government and in 1977 provoked a military coup d’etat. In Zia ul-Haq period, Jamaat leaders occupied important government offices, including cabinet posts, and the party’s views were reflected in government programs.

By the end of the Zia period it was apparent that the Jamaat had become a powerful political force with significant social and cultural influence, due to its organizational structure and ability to manipulate the religious factor in Pakistan’s political balance. The Jamaat remains an important political party capable of influencing the course of politics through the use of its organizational muscle.
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