Sir Sayyid Ahmad Khan's
History of the *Bijnor* Rebellion (1858)

APPENDIX -- Sir Sayyid's Prayer for Peace at Moradabad


As it is my heartfelt desire, and prayer to God, that our Government, and the people of India, be so connected together as to be of one accord in the administration of this country; therefore, whenever I find such unanimity between them on any subject I become exceedingly glad of it, and wish to have it recorded for future remembrance. The Thanksgiving for the Peace of this country of the 28th July from the part of the Muhammadans of Moradabad being of the above nature, I record as follows: -­

All the Muhammadans of this town joined unanimously in subscribing a sum of 500 Rupees for alms to the poor, and an illumination; and it was proposed that all the Muhammadans should assemble together at a mosque in a large square, and after prostrating themselves before God, a prayer prepared for the occasion should be read out.

Accordingly, at about 4:00 P.M. on the day appointed, all the Muhammadans assembled at the mosque, near the shrine of Shah Boolaqi; when having bowed their heads and bent their knees to the glory of God, as their religion requires, they then joined in the 'Thanksgiving' written for the occasion; the Priest standing on the highest pinnacle of the mosque, while the people stood around him, read the 'prayer' to God in a solemn and impressive manner. The reader paused after each sentence of the 'prayer,' when all the congregation with the utmost humility exclaimed in the presence of God, "Amen!"

They prayed first for Queen Victoria, and then for the Viceroy; Lord Canning. They also mentioned in their prayer the name of Mr. Reade, a Member of the Sadr Board of Revenue.

The number of hearers was not in my opinion less than 12 or 15 thousand, all of them entirely devoted in their hearts towards God, and all of them felt true affection for the Almighty, and thanked him for his great mercies. After prayers, alms and food were abundantly given to the poor. In the mosque above mentioned, as well as the shrine of Shah Boolaqi, illuminations of great magnificence were displayed; on two towers were hung on each door, transparencies on which the words 'Queen Victoria' were written in the English and Persian characters. On the same night the whole town was illuminated, but the illuminations in the Juma Musjid, near the bank of the Ram Gunga river, and in the other seven celebrated mosques in the town, the magnificence and splendour was the greatest.

The principal promoters of this gratifying spectacle were Qazee Abbas, the Qazee of the town; Sydooddeen Ahmed Khan, a rais; Sheikh Zeinooddeen; and Meer Zahur Hussein, a Wakeel of the Civil Court; but all the Muhammadans, servants of the Government, as well as the private residents of the town, assisted them.


O God! thou alone art our true Protector. To thee only, O God! do dominion and sovereignty justly belong. O God! thou art the sole ruler of the universe. King of Kings! thou exaltest whomsoever thou wilt, and at the command the great are brought low. O God! thou holdest the Universe; the lives of thy creatures, and the hearts of men in thy hands. Thou swayest them according to thy will, and whatsoever thou desirest, that they do. Thy ways are the ways of wisdom; and mercy governeth thy works. None can stay thy hands. We are thy helpless servants, O God! From the crowns of our head to the soles of our feet we are sinners before thee. O God! our unfortunate deeds have plunged us deep into the ocean of guilt; we are ever transgressors in thy sight.

1. Without thy divine help we are not one moment free from sin. There is none beside thee, O God, our God! to pardon our iniquities; none but thee to rescue us from the floods of sin which have overwhelmed us. With broken, contrite hearts, we implore thee in thy name and for the sake of our most holy Prophet to forgive us our sins. Thy mercy, O God! far exceedeth thy just indignation. In thy mercy look down on us and forgive us. As a dirty garment cleansed from its filth, wash out and purify our sinful hearts, we beseech thee. O God! in thy boundless mercy purge us thoroughly of the foul sins which defile our hearts and make us clean. Blot out our transgressions, O God! Grant us thy Holy Spirit and strengthen our souls, for other help and refuge we have none, beside thee O God!

2. Our sins have multiplied exceedingly. O God! Our untoward acts, O God, were countless in thy sight. We believe that thou wilt one day doubtless reward each man according to the deeds he has committed, for thou hast so declared by the mouths of thy faithful prophets. In that day, none can expect deliverance but through thy mercy and grace; for all men are sinners in thy sight. But within the last two years, especially, thou hast looked down with wrathful indignation on thy wretched servants for their unfortunate misdeeds. Lord! we repent us of our sins. We pray thee, O God! to forgive us our iniquities. Pardon our sins, we beseech thee, O God. Amen.

3. O God! the times just passed away have been very eventful to thy creatures. Neither man nor dumb cattle, the beasts of the field nor the fowls of the air, nay, nor even the inanimate trees and rocks, that cover the face of the earth, have enjoyed peace and quiet. No man was assured of life, property or his honor. The late disturbances tossed heaven and earth into confusion. In thy merciful kindness thou hast put away from us, O God, the evils and calamities of the revolt. O God! thou hast renewed thy mercy towards thy helpless servants, and hast restored to us the peace and comfort thy servants enjoyed through thy grace in the days preceding the disastrous disturbance. O God! we give thee our heartfelt thanks for this thy mercy vouchsafed us. O God! the prayers and thanksgiving we now offer up to thy throne and august presence, though inadequate and worthless, yet in thy gracious mercy accept them, O Lord!

4. O God, we humbly acknowledge thy great goodness in having placed us under just rulers. For a hundred years thou has continued to us, thy people of Hindustan, the blessings of justice and equity. Thou hast shown us the evil tendency of our foolish deeds during the late unfortunate years, by depriving us temporarily of these our rulers, and hast now re-established our Government, and given us back our just and impartial Governors. We approach thee with hearty thanks for thy merciful kindness, and beseech thee in thy great goodness to accept our prayers and praise.

5. O God! the benefits thy servants receive at the hands of their fellow creatures truly come from thee, and in offering our thanks to the creature we recognize thy gracious hand. Thou, the great Creator, working through the creature for our good. Thou readest the innermost thoughts of the hearts of all men; for nothing is secret or hidden to thee.

Thou didst put mercy into the hearts of our rulers towards the people of Hindustan who were participators in these calamitous events.

Thou didst constrain the heart of our gracious Sovereign Queen Victoria, long may she reign over us, to issue a proclamation overflowing with mercy and forgiveness. We thank thee from our hearts, and with our lives hold ourselves grateful to the Queen.

O God! accept our thanks and grant this our prayer. Amen.

O God! may Victoria be our Queen, the Empress of the World.

6. Nothing can obliterate from the minds of the people of Hindustan the kindness and benevolence which His Excellency the Viceroy of India, Lord Canning -- may he long rule -- exhibited. Deeply considering the true cause of the outbreak, His Excellency advocated the issue of this merciful Proclamation, nor has his firm conviction been ever shaken in carrying out its terms, thus restoring peace to the people of India, and securing their hearts' attachment by the obligation he has thus laid them under and drawing from them their thanks and prayers. 0 God! accept our prayers. Amen.

O God, be thou our inheritance and Lord Canning our Viceroy.

The people of Hindustan regard the attribute of mercy with a more longing, eager desire than the wearied traveller does the water brook when oppressed by intense heat of the weather under the intense rays of a scorching sun and surrounded by the infinite waste of a sandy desert. When they meet a ruler who regards them with eyes of pity and kindness, the people love him from the bottom of their hearts, and thank him from their very souls. All the people of India are aware that from an intimate knowledge of the true causes and conditions of the outbreak, Mr. Reade, Member of the Sudder Board, regarded the people of India with compassionate eyes. For this we offer him our thanks, and pray for him from our hearts. May the Almighty answer our prayers. O God: may Mr. Reade ever remain our safeguard and be blessed by thee.

7. It is now our prayer that the Great God may ever extend his grace and mercy, protection and good-will, peace and comfort to us, and bless and prosper the people of India in their willing submission to the Government, and grant that our rulers may ever be gracious and merciful to their subjects, the servants of God. Amen. Amen.


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