Jamal al-Din al-Afghani was born in Asadabad, Iran, in 1838; he died in Istanbul, Turkey, on March 9, 1897. A philosopher and politician, he promoted the concept of unity of all Muslims against British rule in particular and against global western interests in general. His call for Muslim solidarity influenced Egypt's nationalist movement, Turkey's Tanzimat reforms, as well as Iran's constitutional and Islamic revolutions.
It is commonly agreed that Al-Afghani was born into a family of sayyids of Asadabad, Hamadan. Al-Afghani himself, however, claimed that he was born in the village of As'adabad, near Kabul, Afghanistan. Neither claim can be verified; the account of Afghani's childhood pieced together from the information provided by his biographer, Mirza Lutfullah Asadabadi, is sketchy at best. Later events in his life, however, indicate that he was educated at home until the age of ten. Thereafter he attended school in Qazvin and Tehran. During his teens, he studied theology and Islamic philosophy in Karbala and Najaf, centers of Shi'ite learning in Iraq.