Who was Jinnah?

As soon as we hear the name Muhammad Ali Jinnah, popularly known as Jinnah, the picture of a person whom we consider utterly Muslim communal and hold responsible for one of the biggest tragedy in the history of Bharat; partition, comes to our mind. But actually who was Jinnah? Was he such a big follower of Islam and biased towards Muslims? Was he so much communal in nature? Was he the only living soul alive at that time responsible for partition?
Jinnah was born as Mahomedali Jinnahbhai in Wazir Mansion, Karachi Sindh, then a province of the Bombay Presidency of British and his family belonged to the Ismaili Khoja branch of Shi’a Islam. Now Khoja is one sect of Islam, where we can not consider people to be only Muslims. Historians have different views on the birth of this sect, out of which two are most widely accepted.
Over five hundred years ago, some people in India and Iran held a belief about God. They believed that God entered into everything in the Universe and that everything has the essence of God. The believers of this originally were Hindus. Among the leaders of this belief was Peer Sadruddeen, an ancestor of the Aga Khans in Iran as well as one Hindu known as Sahadeva Joshi. With this belief, they made up a religion which they labeled as Sat Panth meaning Right Path. The followers of this new path came to be known as Khojas. The Khoja faithful who took their lessons from the Bawas came to be known as Bhagats. The other story says that, Peer Sadruddin lived for some time amongst the rich Hindu landowners of Sindh known as the Thakurs. After studying their way of life, he enlightened them to a new faith. He converted the Thakurs to Nizari Ismaili Islam, these converts could no longer be called Thakurs or Hindus and they came to be known as “Khawaja” which overtime became phonetically corrupted as “Khoja”. In a nut shell, this one sect of Islam unlike others, originated from Hindus and they only formed its first generation.
Khojas retained many Hindu traditions including the one about ten incarnations (God entered into some human beings, Dashavatar) of Vishnu only difference being that to nine incarnations, they added Hazrat Ali as the tenth and last incarnation (Avatar). Obviously this belief is in absolute contradiction to the basic principles of Islamic belief in Tawheed — the Oneness of God. According to which belief in any form of human relationship with God such as entering of God into human body is considered as SHIRK — polytheism. The pure belief in the absolute Unity of Allah is the foundation of Islam and one who contradicts it cannot be called a Muslim. The creed of this new religion was hugely influenced by social traditions of the Hindus; some of these traditions are still to be seen in marriage ceremonies although many have disappeared with the times. Also the Khoja Ismailis are not governed by Sunnite (Hanafi law). They are very different from Hannafi Law and bear striking similarities with Hindus Civil Laws. Like the Khoja Ismaili only approve of divorce by a marriage council, by intervention and arbitration. They see to the settlement of wife by the husband when she is divorced. Their jamat also does not perform polygamous marriage without the consent of the first wife. So no doubt that Khojas are Muslims, but keeping all these and many more factors like these they can be called as equally Hindus too, and Jinnah belonged to this sect only.
This was regarding the religion to which he belonged, but when we talk about his personal beliefs then people say that Jinnah was more of a British than a Muslim. One thing which no one denies is that he was not an observant Muslim and dressed throughout his life in European-style clothes, and spoke in English more than his mother tongue, Gujarati, forget about Urdu. His thoughts were completely western and he was well above the religious lines.
His political career too reflects that his views were never extremist. As he rose to prominence in the Indian National Congress expounding ideas of Hindu-Muslim unity and helping shape the 1916 Lucknow Pact with the Muslim League. He also became a key leader in the All India Home Rule League. He criticized Gandhi’s support of the Khilafat Movement, which he saw as an endorsement of religious zealotry. By 1920, Jinnah resigned from the Congress, warning that Gandhi’s method of mass struggle would lead to divisions between Hindus and Muslims, and he initially avoided joining the All India Muslim League, founded in 1906, regarding it as too communal. Some historians like H M Seervai and Ayesha Jalal also assert that Jinnah never wanted partition; it was the outcome of the Congress leaders being unwilling to share power with the Muslim League. It is asserted that Jinnah only used the Pakistan demand as a method to mobilize support to obtain significant political rights for Muslims.
One can easily infer that a drastic task like partition was not possible for this man alone to accomplish, especially after realizing the fact that he was not a religious fanatic. But whatever the case may be, we can see that Jinnah was not at all that much Muslim and communal as we regard him to be and it is upto us to decide as to who actually Jinnah was?


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4 thoughts on “Who was Jinnah?”

  1. Hey want to grab this opportunity to throw some more light on Jinnah’s family background.
    Jinnah was born to gujarati trader jinnabhai Thakkar. a hindu rajput belonging to lohanna community( Some belief says Lohana community is ancestor of Luv whom we all know is elder son to lord Shri Ram) Jinnahs mother was meethibai.
    Jinnabhai after marriage adopted islam and became a Khoja Shia. you have already cited many details about Khoja shia community.
    You have already mentioned jinnahs name i.e. Mahomedali Jinnahbhai. It was his name for during whole of his education period.
    he changed his name to Mohammad Ali Jinnah when he joined INC. Jinnah left INC when a fellow gujarati leader insulted him. that fellow gujarati barrister was Gandhi who went on to become our father of nation and Jinnah went on to become Qadid e azam of pakistan.
    Jinnah married to a non muslim lady named as rattanbhai. The couple had two offsprings both having same birth day. one born on August 14 1919 named as Dina(agirl child) other exactly after 28 years ie 14 August 1947 named as PAKISTAN.
    Dina also had disbelief toward islam she married an parsi converted to christian Neville Wadia. Dina had one son who converted back into Parsi and is one of the most succesful business man of India NUSLI WADIA.
    Dina was the only legal heir of Jinnah. Jinnah when went to pakistan in his will he named his Jinnah house in Mumbai to his sister in his will. but now Dina has filed a pettition in court stating that she should be given possession for jinnah house currently in government control. She cites two reason for demand one that jinnahs will was never read in India and the other the more important reason stated by her is that since Jinnah was a khoja shia. Muslim Personal Law Board doesnt apply on him. Hindu laws should be applied on Jonnah in India and according to Hindu laws Offspring are rightful heirsunless a will is shown.

  2. Thanks Rahul, for correcting me,
    I knew that Thakkars are from Lohanna community but now thanks to you we know that they are trading community

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