Badshah Khan's Islamic Nonviolence
I feel incredibly inspired by the wisdom, vision and life of Abdul Ghaffar Khan, better know as Badshah. As a Muslim I feel that this path is one completely in tune with the inner unity and love of Islam.
For those who are unfamiliar with this great Muslim figure, I suggest reading Eknath Easwaran's book, Nonviolent Soldier of Islam.
Badshah Khan was a Pathan who defied the British much like his contemporary Gandhi. He created the largest nonviolent "army" in the world, the Khudai Khitmatgars. They were Pathans who set to follow the example of the Prophet and his followers during their time in Mecca, by showing unswerving patience, love and restraint in the face of brutality and violence. Sadly, he was imprisoned for more than half his life, first under British rule in India, and later in Pakistan as the North-West frontier became a part of it during partition
This is a powerful, courageous figure who led a movement to bring education, peace and prosperity to his people. This is Islamic liberation theology much like that of great Christian figures such as Oscar Romero. Islam is full of many figures like this. I cannot claim to be able to share anything new about Badshah Khan, yet I would like to share a few quotes.
This is the oath that the Khudai Khitmatgars had to take:
"I am a Khudai Khitmagar; and as God needs no service, but serving his creation is serving him, I promise to serve humanity in the name of God.
I promise to refrain from violence and from taking revenge.
I promise to forgive those who oppress me or treat me with cruelty.
I promise to refrain from taking part in feuds and quarrels and from creating enmity.
I promise to treat every Pathan as my brother and friend.
I promise to refrain from antisocial customs and practices.
I promise to live a simple life, to practice virtue and to refrain from evil.
I promise to practice good manners and good behavior and not to lead a life of idleness.
I promise to devote at least two hours a day to social work."
Here is a quote from Khan:
"I am going to give you such a weapon that the police and the army will not be able to stand against it. It is the weapon of the Prophet, but you are not aware of it. That weapon is patience and righteousness. No power on earth can stand against it."