Collected Works of Sayyid Jamal al-Din al-Afghani Asadabadi
Sayyid Jamal al-Din "al-Afghani" Asadabadi Collected Works al-A`mal al-Kamilah
Sayyid Jamal al-Din Asadabadi (1838-1897) became renowned as "al-Afghani." Born into a Turkic-speaking Shi`ite family in a small Azeri town near Hamadan, he undertook some seminary studies in the 1850s at the Shi`ite shrine cities of Najaf and Karbala. There or earlier he came under the influence of the esoteric Shaykhi school of Shi`ism that had grown up around the theosophical teachings of Shaykh Ahmad al-Ahsa'i. Thereafter Sayyid Jamal al-Din always kept with him some of al-Ahsa'i's writings, and we may think of him as a reformist Shaykhi of the sort Azerbaijan often produced. In 1855 he then went to Bombay in British India in search of a modern education. He was there during the great uprising of 1857-1858. As a young man of 20, he was struck by the ways that Muslims and Hindus for a time successfully cooperated in opposing British domination, as well as by the obvious power of religion to mobilize local groups for anti-imperial purposes. He returned to the Iraqi shrine cities until 1865. In the late 1860s he served as an adviser to the king of Afghanistan, but lost out in faction fighting at the court. He went on to have a turbulent but influential career as a political thinker and activist and religious reformer in Istanbul, Cairo, Paris, Hyderabad and Tehran. He opposed Nasiru'd-Din Shah's award of a Tobacco Monopoly to a British concern in 1890. He spent the last years of his life in exile from Iran as a guest of Sultan Abdulhamid II, working with other expatriate Iranians on the Ottoman "Pan-Islamic" project aimed at bringing together all Muslims, including Shi`ites, around the sultan-caliph in order to oppose European Christian colonialism in Muslim lands. As late as the 1890s in Istanbul he was defending the ideas of Shaykh Ahmad al-Ahsa'i. For a fuller account and a brief bibliography, see Iraj Bashir, Jamal al-Din al-Afghani. See also Nikki Keddie's magisterial 1972 biography of him, and Juan R. I. Cole, "New Perspectives on Sayyid Jamal al-Din al-Afghani in Egypt," in Rudi Matthee and Beth Baron, eds., Iran and Beyond: Essays in Middle Eastern History in Honor of Nikki R. Keddie (Costa Mesa, Ca.: Mazda Publishers Inc., 2000), pp. 13-34.
Namih-ha-yi Tarikhi va Siyasi. Ed. Abu al-Hasan Jamali Asadabadi. Foreward by Muhammad Muhit
Tabataba'i. (Tehran: Presto [Amir Kabir], 3rd edn., 1981). Digitally reprinted, East Lansing, Mi.: H-Bahai, 2001.