Two Nation Theroy

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“Two-Nation” theory and Islamic revivalism

“Two-Nation” theory

  • Two Nation Theory's phenomenon basically sprigged up with the advent of Islam in the Sub-Continent.
  • The sense was very unique about Pakistan's creation that it was generally based on ideological commitments in the light of Islam.
  • The basic concept behind Two Nation Theory was Muslims and Hindus was two separate nations from every expects, So It was the right of Muslim to had their own homeland in the Muslims majority areas of Sub-Continent, where they can live their life according the majestic teachings of Islam.
  • And this concept was merely adequate in giving rise to two different political thinking which were responsible in partition of Sub-Continent.


  • Sir Syed Ahmed Khan, a great Muslim leader and a great philosopher. Every time, Muslims was forced by Sir Syed to get modern education. Sir Syed was a first man in Sub-Continent history to introduce a word "TWO NATION" for Muslims and Hindus and introduced an idea to become a pioneer of Two Nation Theory.
  • Syed Ahmed Khan tried his level best for the Muslims comprehend their differences with the Hindus with many expects including religion, social, language, and international identity and for this reason he diverted attention of the Muslims towards Two Nation Theory.
  • The possibly main reason for which Sir Syed introduced this theory is the downfall of Muslims, Muslims Hindus controversy, language problem, and the hatred by Hindus and British upon Muslims of South Asia.
  • Due to Hindu Muslims non acceptance behavior, Syed Ahmed Khan realize that the both Nations cannot live together any more. During the Hindu Urdu Controversy, he came forward with Two Nation Concept and declared that Muslims were a separate Nation.
  • He said: “I am convinced now that Hindus and Muslims could never become one nation as their religion and way of life was quite distinct from each other.”


  • The Two Nation Theory had played a vital and sole role in demanding of Pakistan. Every Muslim leader took advantage of this theory.
  • Many events had been occurred with the role of Two Nation Theory and every Muslim leader, who was the supporter of an independent Muslim state, did dependent on Two Nation Theory.
  • The whole period of Independence from 1857-1947 was just relied on Two Nation Theory. After the Hindi-Urdu Controversy, Muslim felt that they were a separate nation from Hindus and they started to demand for a separate homeland.


  • The entire freedom movement revolves around the Two Nation Theory which became the basis for the demand of Pakistan.
  • It means that the Muslims of the Sub-Continent were a separate nation with their distinct culture, civilization, literature, history, religion and social values.
  • Islam the religion of Muslims was based on the concept of Tauheed and therefore could not be merged in any other system of religion.
  • It means Islam gives us a concept of Two Nation Theory. Muslims of India would ultimately have a separate homeland, as they could not live with the Hindus in Sub-Continent.
  • The demanding and achieving of Pakistan was only based on the Two Nation Theory and completely revolving around this theory.


Islamic revivalism

  • Throughout the 19th and 20th centuries, in a trend that had begun at the 18th, many thinkers in the Muslim world felt that Islam was going through a period of social decline, political weakness and economic disintegration, expressing itself in different regions where reform movements and schools, while taking into account spiritual and environmental differences of each region, showed an essentially similar character.
  • This pushed those thinkers to propose projects of deep reform in beliefs, ideas and practices based on them.
  • These reformers were convinced that their opinions, policies and programmes were fundamentally similar to those of early Islam, and among the reformist phenomena there were clear differences as to the main theme: some insisted more on purification than others, some were more proactive; and their forms also varied according to local differences and different religious historical experiences.
  • However, the general view presented a clearly defined character: an invitation to return to primitive Islam, the end of moral and social abuses, the general deterioration which the umma (the global Muslim community) had undergone over the centuries, since the fall of Baghdad in 1258 at the hands of the Mongols, and, as a proposed solution to these problems, the adoption of an attitude of moral and religious positivism.
  • The second half of the 19th century was a period of great richness in the history of the modern Islamic movement, when a group of Muslim intellectuals, in different parts of the world, rigorously examined the fundamentals of Islamic jurisprudence.
  • The central theological problems at the core of these examinations focused on the validity of the knowledge derived from sources external to the Qur’an and the methodology of traditional sources of jurisprudence: the Qur’an, the hadith (traditions of the Prophet Muhammad), ijma (consensus of the Muslim community), and qiyas (analogical reasoning).
  • The epistemological step adopted was to reinterpret the first two, the Qur’an and the hadith, and to transform the last two, ijma and qiyas, in the light of scientific rationalism.
  • Among those who had a strong impact were al-Afghani (1838-1897), Sayyid Ahmad Khan (1817-1898), Muhammad ‘Abduh (1849-1905) and Amir ‘Ali (1849-1928), who presented Islam in a way that was consistent with modern ideas and rational sciences.
  • They were fascinated with what the West had achieved in technological and scientific progress: the Newtonian conception of the Universe, Spencer’s sociology, Darwinian ideas and even Western style of life.

Sayyid Ahmad Khan and the Aligarh movement

  • He said that religion should be adaptable with time or else it would become fossilised, and that religious tenets were not immutable.
  • He advocated a critical approach and freedom of thought and no dependence on tradition or custom.
  • He was also a zealous educationist—as an official, he opened schools in towns, got books translated into Urdu and started the Mohammedan Anglo-Oriental College at Aligarh in 1875.
  • He also struggled to bring about an improvement in the position of women through better education by opposing purdah and polygamy, advocating easy divorce, and condemning the system of piri and muridi.
  • He believed in the fundamental underlying unity of religions or ‘practical morality’. He also preached the basic commonality of Hindu and Muslim interests.
  • He argued that Muslims should first concentrate on education and jobs and tries to catch up with their Hindu counterparts who had gained the advantage of an early start.
  • Active participation in politics at that point, he felt, would invite hostility of the Government towards the Muslim masses.
  • Therefore, he opposed political activity by the Muslims. Unfortunately, in his enthusiasm to promote the educational and employment interests of the Muslims, he allowed himself to be used by the colonial government in its obnoxious policy of divide and rule and, in later years, started propagating divergence of interests of Hindus and Muslims.
  • The Aligarh Movement emerged as a liberal, modern trend among the Muslim intelligentsia based in Mohammedan Anglo-Oriental College, Aligarh.
  • It aimed at spreading
  1. Modern education among Indian Muslims without weakening their allegiance to Islam;
  2. Social reforms among Muslims relating to purdah, polygamy, widow remarriage, women’s education, slavery, divorce, etc.
  • The ideology of the followers of the movement was based on a liberal interpretation of the Quran and they sought to harmonise Islam with modern liberal culture.
  • They wanted to impart a distinct socio-cultural identity to Muslims on modern lines. Soon, Aligarh became the centre of religious and cultural revival of the Muslim community.

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