Arbab Faizullah Khan Mohmand

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Arbab Faizullah Khan Mohmand, Muhammad Shafi Sabir
Published in Khyber.ORG on Friday, September 16 2005 (http://www.khyber.org)


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Arbab Faizullah Khan Mohmand

Muhammad Shafi Sabir

Tazkara Sarfaroshan e Sarhad

Publishing Date: Friday, September 16 2005

When you are faced with the gun and bullet, it is not easy to stand for the Truth. Very rarely will you find people who will stand for a matter of principle and be prepared to give blood for the cause of it as well. One such person was from Hazar Khwani (District Peshawar) by the name of Arbab Faizullah Khan Mohmand. He wrote a tale of his bravery, his deeds, his promises, and his principles in the textbooks of history with his blood. These tales will never be forgotten by people to come as indeed they are unique in their own sense.

It was the year 1830. Ameer al Mujahideen Syed Ahmad Barelvi Shaheed and his lieutenants are on one of their campaigns. After control of Regi and Tehkal Bala, they are approaching the Peshawar city via Kabuli Gate (Kabuli Darwaza) with pride of victory. Passing through Qissa Khwani, Chowk Yadgar and Bazar Kallaan, they stop at Gol Katri and camp there. The people had had a very bad experience under the rule of the Sikhs and then the local sardars of Peshawar. These soldiers of Allah had set foot to enforce Allah's laws on Allah's land and were thus welcomed with love and pride by the people of Peshawar.

Peshawar was taken over without a single drop of blood being shed. There was no resistance from anybody. The Sikhs had already fled but the people were now waiting for the Mujahideen to punish the local Sardars; which would result in bloodshed because these people will obviously fight back to save their necks. Secondly, these sardars felt that the Mujahideen had unjustly taken over what truly belonged to them. Hence the aftermath of the occupation saw polarization of the political scene; with one group demanding punishment for those who oppressed them while that other group resorting to accusations and threats in order to defend themselves and take back their government. The situation was very sensitive and anything could spark a confrontation between the two parties. To maintain piece and harmony between the two sides, a young man rose to offer his services for this cause. He was a Khan of a small town, Hazar Khwani on the outskirts of Peshawar and his name was Arbab Faizullah Khan Mohmand.

It is narrated by Maulana Ghulam Rasool Mahar that when the Barakzai Ruler Sultan Muhammad Khan sent for Arbab Faizullah Khan for consultation, he was told straight on his face that after failing to win a battle in the plains of Peshawar, what better option is available to you apart from reconciliation in order to avoid a fight in the streets of the city. Upon hearing this, Sultan Muhammad Khan's brothers became angry and declared that they were not prepared to reconcile with Syed Ahmad Shaheed or anybody else and that they would fight. However, Sultan Muhammad Khan pondered over the issue from every angle and in the end, he felt that Arbab Muhammad Khan's advice was well in place considering the present scenario. Therefore, he asked Arbab Muhammad Khan to act as a mediator between him and Syed Ahmad Shaheed.

Arbab Faizullah met with Syed Ahmad Shaheed and told him that Sultan Muhammad Khan was prepared to admit his errors and repent upon them and thus you should also spare him. Syed Ahmad Shaheed started thinking over this and after a long gap, Arbab Faizullah broke the silence and said, "If a Kafir comes to you and says he wants to accept Islam, will you not accept him with welcome arms into the fold of Islam? Sultan Muhammad Khan is not a Kafir but a Muslim so what's stopping you from sparing him? He has repented and has promised that he would not aggravate the population again so It would be better to hand over his country to him; He will forever remember this and be a slave of you for life."

Since Arbab Faizullah Khan personally favored peace, therefore he gave his own guarantee that the Sardars of Peshawar would not commit their old mistakes again. He also said that although you have been victorious, these Sardars are still in possession of vast amounts of ammunition and soldiers. If no peace was established, a never ending cycle of bloodshed would follow. Arbab Faizullah also made it clear that he was acting as a mediator and had nothing to gain from siding with the Sardars of Peshawar and that whenever Sultan Muhammad Khan or his brothers break their promises, he would withdraw his support from them and join Syed Ahmad Shaheed.

These soldiers of Allah had set foot to enforce Allah's laws on Allah's land and were thus welcomed with love and pride by the people of Peshawar

Syed Ahmad Shaheed promised to think over the opinions of Faizullah Khan. Later on he appointed Shah Ismail Shaheed and Arbab Bahram Khan as 'Saalisan' whereas Arbab Faizullah Khan and Mardan Ali were sent to Sultan Muhammad Khan for negotiations. Both the concerned parties met twice at Arbab Faizullah Khan's residence and finally, a peace treaty was signed by all. Later on, when Syed Ahmad Barelvi Shaheed and Shah Ismail Shaheed decided to carry on and move to Panjtar, they were delayed at Hazar Khwani because Arbab Faizullah Khan had arranged for a big feast for the whole Lashkar of Mujahideen's.

It was not long since Syed Ahmad Shaheed had left Peshawar that Arbab Faizullah Khan came to know about some very disturbing news. On further enquiries, it was ascertained that the Sardar's of Peshawar were not sincere in their promises made during the peace pact. Covertly, the Sardar's were conspiring against Shah Ismail Shahid and were laying foundations for an uprising. Arbab Faizullah Khan disclosed this news to his trusted confidant; Maulana Mazhar Ali (who was appointed as Qazi of Peshawar City by Syed Ahmad Shaheed) and instructed him to convey this news to Shah Ismail Shaheed without delay but in utmost secrecy. What next step to take would only be decided once Shah Ismail Shaheed would respond.

The peace treaty was only valid for the valley of Peshawar alone and other areas witnessed confrontations between the Mujahideen and Sardar Muhammad Khan's army. In one such battle near Zaida, Yar Muhammad Khan was faced with stiff resistance from the Mujahideen who numbered just 700 as compared to the enemies 10,000 soldiers and 700 canons. The outcome of the battle went in favor of the Mujahideen and Yar Muhammad Khan was killed in combat. Only two Ghazis were martyred duging this battle.

Meanwhile Qazi Mazhar Ali was not able to convey the news in time to Shah Ismail Shaheed about the conspiracy that was being brewed by the Sardars. When news of Yar Muhammad's death came to Sardar Muhammad Khan, he sent some men to bring in Qazi Mazhar Ali. When Qazi Mazhar Ali appeared before the Sardar, he found that there were already a few sell of Ulema sitting in the sardar's company and that they had prepared a Fatwa of Kufr against the Mujahideen of Syed Ahmad Shaheed. As soon as Qazi Mazhar Ali appeared, Sardar Muhammad Khan demanded to know why his brother Yar Muhammad Khan had been killed. Qazi Mazhar Ali started giving a logical explanation of the whole situation but the Sardar's anger did not die; rather it increased. Qazi Mazhar Ali was stopped in the middle of his explanations and was sent into a room under pretext of consultations with some Ulema. As soon as he was inside, he was attacked by many men at the same time. Qazi Mazhar Ali did not get a chance to defend himself and he was martyred by the Sardar's men.

There are two narrations of the fate of Arbab Faizullah Khan. According to one source, the Sardars had instructed their men to bring in Qazi Mazhar Ali and if Arbab Faizullah Khan was in his company, then he should be brought in too. Later on, Arbab Faizullah was martyred at the same time as Qazi Mazhar Ali. The other source reveals that when Qazi Mazhar Ali was martyred, Arbab Faizullah Khan appeared before Sardar Muhammad Khan in order to ask for explanation of why he had broken the peace pact. Instead of giving an explanation, he was martyred in the same manner.

Sardar Muhammad Khan did not stop at this. He had already arranged for a Kufr Fatwa against Syed Ahmad Shaheed's Mujahideen. Once he had done away with Qazi Mazhar and Arbab Faizullah, he instructed his men to kill all Mujahideen in the vicinity of Peshawar in a certain time span. This was done promptly and many other Mujahideen were killed for no reason at all. Only a few of them managed to get out of the area safely and reported to Syed Ahmad Shaheed.

There is a small tomb in the Old city in Peshawar of modern day times right in front of a local church near the Kohati Gate. Tradition has it that this small tomb is the shrine of Arbab Faizullah Khan. However, some people wrongly associate this tomb with another Wali Allah.

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Arbab Faizullah Khan Mohmand, Muhammad Shafi Sabir
Published in Khyber.ORG on Friday, September 16 2005 (http://www.khyber.org)