Nonviolent Soldier of Islam

Badshah Khan, A Man to Match His Mountains

Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan persuaded 100,000 of his countrymen to lay down their guns and fight nonviolently to free their people from British imperial rule.

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This book tells the life story of this heroic and little-known Muslim leader, who remained true to Gandhi’s principles of love in action throughout many years of imprisonment and until his death in 1988. 

Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan was a Pathan (or Pushtun) from the borderland between Afghanistan and modern-day Pakistan. He was a devout Muslim and a devoted follower of Mahatma Gandhi. Nonviolent Soldier of Islam tells Khan’s life-story through narrative, 58 photos, and Khan’s own words.

Realizing that Westerners tend to associate Islam with terrorism and nonviolence with Hinduism, Easwaran (Gandhi, the Man) set out to write a tribute to a Muslim who embodied the nonviolent tradition within Islam. Badshah Khan, a Pathan of the former Northwest Frontier Province of India (today, the Taliban of Afghanistan), raised an army of 100,000 unarmed "Servants of God" and later became one of Gandhi's closest companions. Khan and his followers endured a great deal of persecution and imprisonment under the oppressive British rule, thus challenging the myth that passive resistance always works for those who are already peaceful. Though Khan was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize in 1984, far too few people are aware of the man who was known as the "Frontier Gandhi." The publication of this book coincides with the UN General Assembly's proclamation of the beginning of the millennium as the Year and Decade of Nonviolence. Recommended for all libraries.


This moving story about how Abdullah Ghaffer Khan was able to show his people how love and service are far more powerful than the rule of violence and revenge that had long been their custom offers hope to our troubled world today. Gandhi has long been a powerful influence in my life, but I did not know until a couple of years ago about the bond between Khan and Gandhi and how they worked in tandem to support the principle of nonviolence, nor was I aware of the extreme price they paid for remaining loyal to the principles they so much believed in. There is much to learn from their shining examples.