Sayyid Jamal Ad-Din "Al-Afghani": A Political Biography by Nikki R. Keddie

By Nikki R. Keddie

. no dw, 1972, 479pp

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22-23; Documen ts, p . 1 56, date table. g , doc. 9 1 ; photo 8. This notation by Jamal ad-Din says that he had left the makan - i m usharraf (probably the Shi'i shrine cities in I raq) in September-October 1 865, h ad entered Tehran i n mid-December [ 1 865] , left Tehran in May-June 1 866, and there lived near the Jam'eh Mosque. He reached Tus [near and probably meaning Mashh ad] in June-July 1 866, left in Sep tember­ October 1 866 , and there stayed in the home of a Mulla Husain in the main street, Khiyaban -e Bala.

All the more curious is the apparent lack of serious discussion of the equally 28 For a summ ary of this account see below, chap. 3, p p. 37-38. 29 The location of Jamal ad-Din in Bombay i n 1 2 75 / 1 859 in Docwnen ts, p. 5, is an error for 1 285 , corrected in Documen ts, p. 1 66 . Lu tfallah , p. 23. T H E F I RS T T W E N T Y - S E V E N Y EARS : 1 8 3 8 / 3 9- 1 86 6 25 important question (which should also have an appeal for South Asians)-the influence India had on Jamal ad-Din. There are a few perceptive remarks on this question in Sayyid Hasan Taqizadeh's ar­ ticles on J amal ad-Din, but otherwise this point, which seems to hold several keys for the understanding of J amal ad-Din's later activities and writings, has been generally neglected.

The links of this chain, wrought by the two tools of delusion and desire together with the instinct and nature of man, continued to i ncrease until man culminated a t the highest state. The result of natural laws was a reaction leading to the conviction that all the above is idle talk which originates i n desires, and that it h a s no truth and n o definition. 36 J amal ad-Din's life and words from his first well-documented ap­ pearance in 1 866-1 868, and continuing thereafter, give evi dence that he was at least skeptical abou t existing positive religions, he held an evolu tionary view of religion, believing that a simpler prophetic re­ ligion was useful for less advanced peoples, and a more rational re­ formed reli gion was wha t most men needed later.

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