Syed Ameer Ali


Born on April 6, 1849 at Chimsura, Bengal, Syed Ameer Ali was a man of many parts. Distinguished in the history and practice of law, a daring pioneer in the task of political organization of the Muslims of Indo- Pakistan Sub-continent, eminent as a historian of Islam, deeply connected with the fortunes of Muslim lands, a defender of the faith against the ignorance and prejudice of the west, an informed critic of the British Imperial policies in India, a prolific and persuasive writer and a scholar equally at home in the knowledge of the West and the wisdom of the East.

He obtained his Bar-at-Law from Inner Temple, England in 1873 and returned In India.

Syed Ameer Ali was the first Muslim Barrister of Calcutta High Court. He remained a member of the Bengal Legislative Council (1878- 79 and 1881-85) and was a nominated Member of the Imperial Legislative Council (1884-85). He was also named as Law Professor, Calcl1tta University (1881). As a Judge of Calcutta High court (1890-1904) he was the first Muslim to sit on Calcutta Bench. He realized the need for the political training of Indian Muslims and founded the National Mohammedan Association (later Central National Mohammedan Association) in 1877.

Syed Ameer Ali played a leading part in securing separate electorates for Muslims under the Minto Morley Reforms Act. As an ardent pan-Islamist he was deeply concerned with the fate of Khilafat and of Turkey. He organized the Red Crescent Society during the Balkan war to help the Muslim side.

He authored a number of books such as 'Critical Examination of the Life and Teachings of Mohammad', 'Spirit of Islam " 'Ethics of Islam', , A Short History of Saracens', 'Personal Law of the Mohammadens', 'Mohammedan Law', and 'The Legal Position of Women in Islam'.

He died on August 3, 1928.


Author: Zia-ur-Rahman Zabeeh
Ex. Director General, Pakistan Post, Islamabad
Artist: Professor Saeed Akhter
National College of Arts, Lahore
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