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Maharajah Ranjit Singh And Sharia


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I am reading 'The real Ranjit Singh' by Fakir Syed Waheeduddin (2nd edition 2001).

The author is the direct descendant of the Fakir brothers who served the Maharajah and the darbar till the end of his life and after. The three brothers were Azizuddin, Nuruddin and Imamuddin. His family still have extant records in their family archives as well as a stock of family oral tradition passed down uninterupted till present times.

Most of us know that Ranjit Singh was a man with legendary popularity in the Panjab with people of all faiths. To reach that position so quickly after the bloodshed of the 1700s is no mean achievement by any standard. This translation of an extant order of Maharajah Ranjit Singh bearing the royal seal (preserved with Fakir Syed Waheeduddin) gives us a possible insight into why he was so popular with all his subjects regardless of faith. Interestingly it sheds light on the use of sharia or teh Quran in the Sikh state. I know this is a VERY contentious and current topic these days. lol. Make of it what you will:

It is hereby decreed by His Highness with the utmost emphasis that no person should practice highhandedness and oppression on the people. Indeed, if even His Highness himself should issue an inappropriate order against any resident of Lahore, it should clearly be brought to the notice of His Highness so it may be amended. Protector of Bravery Malwa Singh should always be advised to dispense justice in accordance with legitimate right and without the slightest oppression and furthermore, he should be advised to pass orders in consultation with the shastras and Quran, as pertinent to the faith of the parties; for such is our pleasure. And should any person fail to act to act in accordance with your advice or instructions, you should send him a formal letter so that it may serve as a proof on the strength of which His Highness may punish him for disobedience..........

For repairs to the old ditch an expenditure of two thousand rupees is hereby sanctioned.

Despatched from the court of his highness

I have heard some ignorant Pakistani Muslims claim that the Maharajah sanctioned the use of a particular mosque (in Lahore) as a stable for horses after one of his conquests. Having read the above I think I can safely consign that theory to the dustbin.

Another really interesting tale from the Fakir family oral tradition is the tale of how when Maharajah Ranjit Singh first entered Lahore in 1799 he strayed away from his men and wondered passed an old octagonal tower by the side of the river Ravi. When he peered inside he was shocked to saw the form of a tiger and turned to go away. When doing this he heard a voice from inside telling him not to be frightened and to enter. Something in the voice made him obey and when he was inside the enclosure he found a frail, old, medium heighted man with a white beard, who summoned him closer. This guy prophesised that he would achieve an independent kingdom in Panjab. He also gave the young conqueror four rules to follow which would ensure the growth and strength of his kingdom. These were:

1) To say his prayers every morning without fail

2) Never to hold court sitting on the Moghul throne

3) To treat all his subjects equally without regard for caste and creed

4) To respect and befriend Fakir Syed Ghulam Mohiuddin of Lahore, a godly man who had been appointed spiritual guardian of the new state whose sons would serve it truly well.

The author goes on to say:

The literal truth of the story is not of much importance. The author believes it , but he does not expect all of his readers to do so. What is really important about this story is its symbolic significance: it is an epitome of Ranjit Singh's state policies and his personal conduct.

Edited by dalsingh101
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Thanks for sharing Dalsingh, that is very interesting. I have the Umdat-ut-Tawarikhwas by Maharaja Ranjit Singhs first diarist Sohan Lal Suri - daftar 2 to 5, but have not got around to reading them as yet.

This may prompt me to do so!

Sikh ithihaas records that is was Baba Sahib Singh who gave Raj Tilak to Ranjit Singh and earlier was said to have prophesized his reign.

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Sikh ithihaas records that is was Baba Sahib Singh who gave Raj Tilak to Ranjit Singh and earlier was said to have prophesized his reign.

I don't think the guy being referred to is meant to be Baba Sahib Singh (who, if I recall rightly, was a blood descendent of one of our Gurus?).

The author is quite open about the source of the 4 rule legend. Apparently Ranjit Singh never mentioned this incident to anyone until many years later. A Iwaz Khan (keeper of the royal elephant stables), 'who had great faith in holy men' called on a wandering fakir who was staying at the Garhi Shahu mosque. The fakir 'commissioned' Iwan to ask Ranjit Singh if he had been following the commandments of the holy man he met in Lahore fort. When he did this, Ranjit Singh turned pale and started to perspire. After he collected himself he related the tale to Iwan and swore him to secrecy until his death. It was after his demise that Iwan told one of the Fakir family the tale (Qamruddin), who then recorded it for posterity in the family archives.

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