History of Punjab: Rise of Syad Ahmad, the Ghazi
Syad Ahmad, the Ghazi
In the early part of 1827, a Mahomedan fanatic, named Syad Ahmad, having set himself as a
reformer between Peshawar and Attak, declared a religious war against the Sikhs. Pretending
to have received special revelations from heaven, he went to Delhi and found zealous
supporters who believed his strict obedience to the precepts of the Quran. In 1822 he visited
Calcutta and obtained a large number of followers from among the Mahomedan population. He
also sailed for Mecca and Medina on a pilgrimage, before returning to India. He called upon
the faithful to join him in a holy war against the infidel Sikhs, who, he said, had
committed countless outrages on the followers of the Prophet.
Ranjit Singh Sends an Army
Ranjit Singh, having heard of the organization, sent a large force across the Attak to
protect Khairabad. The Syad, at the head of a numerous force, attached this force. However,
the Sikhs were able to repel the assault, and Syad, being completely defeated, retired to the
Syad Ahmad Occupies Peshawar
In 1829, Syad Ahmad sent his army to fight the Peshawar troops, led by Yar Muhammad Khan. The
Peshawar troops were completely routed and their leader mortally wounded. However, Peshawar
was saved by Muhammad Khan, brother of Yar Muhammad Khan, and was recognized as governor.
Syad Ahmad went to Kashmir, but the Sikh troops completely routed them there, and the
reformer was compelled to retire to the west of the Indus. However, after a couple months,
Syad Ahmad attacked Peshawar again, and this time successfully occupies it.
Ranjit Singh Re-occupies Peshawar
The news of the fall of Peshawar was received with alarm at Lahore. The Maharaja sent an
army to Peshawar, and eventually Peshawar was lost to the Syad. Eventually, people became
tired of Syad Ahmad, and began to look upon his authority as a burden. His followers
unanimously declared the Syad to be an imposter, and he was compelled to leave. Ranjit
Singh sent a detachment of troops agains the Syad, and at Balakot, on May, 1831, Syad
Ahmad was slain.