Pan-Islamism, Anjuman-i-Khuddam-i-Kaaba and Muslim Identity Construction in Colonial North India

Muhammad Abrar Zahoor, Farooq Ahmad Dar & Muhammad Sajid Khan



Anjuman Khuddam-i-Kaaba (Society of the Servants of Kaaba) was established in May, 1913, with the objective of protecting holy places of Islam located, then, in the domain (modern day Saudi Arabia) of Turkish Empire. The establishment of such an organization was necessitated by the rising tide of pan-Islamism. The rising trend of pan-Islamism in India was due, mainly, to the particular conditions of Muslim elite (ashrafiah) who felt disempowered and rendered irrelevant under the colonial administrative structure. This loss of temporal Muslim authority in India made Muslim elite take refuge in asserting their identity as deeming themselves part of larger community of Muslim world (ummah). Moreover, the reformed and willed individual self who believed in struggle within inner-self and outer mundane life, started asserting his/her identity as a Muslim who was poised to do his/her best for the community of Muslims. The contemporary declining conditions of Muslims and their subjugation by colonial powers encouraged their solidarity on the basis of ummah as increasingly relevant to take refuge in. The establishment of Anjuman Khuddam-i-Kaaba was but one such expression of assertion of Muslim identity by bringing sanctity of the sacred places of Islam in political arena. It envisioned massive projects for the welfare of Muslim community of India including making its own ship making company to facilitate pilgrims of Hajj (sing. Haji, plu. hujjaj) besides its main function i.e. the protection of holy places of Islam in Makkah and Madina.


Keywords: Anjuman, Religious Identity, Pan-Islamism, Ummah, Hajj, Reformism, Colonialism


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