Haji Shariatullah was born in Banderlakola, Faridpur district, in 1781. He was the son of an ordinary farmer. After getting his early education from his village, he went to Arabia to perform Hajj at an early age of 18 years. He stayed there from 1799 to 1818 and got his religious education. He learnt Arabic and Persian from his teacher, Maulana Basharat. During his stay in Arabia he came into close contact with Wahabism started by Muhammad bin Abdul Wahab. On his return to Bengal he sought to purify Islam that was impaired by the Hindu influence.
Haji Shariatullah awakened the Muslims of Bengal by initiating the Faraizi Movement. He started his movement among the most depressed section of the Muslim society; the farmers and the artisans. He called upon the people to discard un-Islamic practices and customs, and to act upon the commandments of faith, the “Faraiz”, or duties. He requested them to observe strictly the principles of faith and rules of Shariah, and to refrain from Hindu practices. This movement was mainly religious and social in character. The growing popularity of the movement amongst the people of Bengal alarmed the Hindu landlords who harassed Haji Shariatullah.
After the death of Haji Shariatullah in 1840, his son, Muhammad Mohsin, popularly known as Dadhu Mian, organized the movement and carried on the work of his father. He also visited Arabia at an early age but was more politically active than his father.
This article was last updated on Sunday, June 01, 2003