Bk. II ] History of Muslim Civilisation in India & Pakistan 350
autobiograhical Hal Namah, however, shows that his followers w^re acting on these principles even before he was at war with the Mughals. ”The immediate cause of his warlike exploits is thus narrated in Hall Namah, (ff. 471). A caravan returning from India, halted at a village peopled by ultra fanatical group of his followers. Infuriated by the gross neglect as they thought, by the caravan people of the affairs of the next world, the villagers looted and destroyed the property of the caravan, which brought upon them the wrath of the authorities in Kabul....”39
The implementation of Bayazid’s doctrines and looting of the caravans led to drastic action by the authorities in Kabul, and a conflict between him and the Mughals started which did not cease during the remaining years of his life. Bayazid’s other tenets brought him in conflict with orthodox ulema. According to the Dabisran, Bayazid did not think it necessary for a person to perform ablutions before prayers or face the Qiblah at the time of prayer. These doctrines led to orthodox opposition by Pir Baba and Akhwand Darweza with we shall deal later.
Miyan Bayazid Ansari died in 989/1581, and the mantle of leadership fell on his son Jalal-ul-din usually referred to as Jalala by the Mughal historian In 989/1581, when Akbar was returning from Kabul after dealing with his brother Hakim, the orthodox ulema of the area brought Jalal-ud-din to him and wanted him to be punished for his unorthodox tenets. Possibly taking into consideration the age of the young man, or according to Akhwand Darweza as he ”himself was a heretic, ” Akbar was not disturbed by Jalal-ud-din’s views, and let him go scotfree.This proved a costly gesture, as Jalal-ud-din soon led an active rebellion against the Mughals. In 994/1586, the Raushaniyyahs closed both the roads between, Kabul and the Indus, and even besieged Peshawar. Only after two years was the hostile confederacy broken up, but Jalal-ud-din escaped, tried to enlist the help of ’Abdullah Khan Uzbeg, and in
1008/1599 even sacked Ghazni. Shortly afterwards, he was wounded in the course of an inter-tribal conflict and died as a
Religion at the Court of Akbar
result of injuries at the age of thirty-two. Trobule with his successors, however, continued and only in the reign of Shah Jahan did the descendants of Pir Raushan accept employment under the Mughals.
Apart from its religious and political aspects, the Raushaniyyah movement had an important literary side, and led to the composition of a number of prose and poetical works in Pushtu.
Bk. II ] History of Muslim Civilisation in India & Pakistan 352
NOTES & REFERENCES
1. Dhakiraial Kh*anm.1.W ’ ’’
2. W. Haig, Tr (Bada’um’s) Muntakhakal-TaHarikh, HI. 127
3 Ibid., 111. 12S
4. //)U . in. 129.
5. W.H. Lowe, Tr (Bada’uni’s) Muntakhatal-Tawarikh, II, 279-80.
6. Abul Kalam A/ad, Tadhkirah (1st edn.), p. 30.
7. Dr. I. H Qureshi, The Muslim Community, p. 140.
8 V.A Smith. Akbar, The Great Mogul, p. 55.
9. The references arc to the first edition of the translation of A’in-i Akbari in Biblolheia Indies Series (Calcutta).
10. Bada’uni says that Akbar discouraged Muslims from becoming disciples, but encouragvd others (II, 339).
11. Abu a\-Fad\,A’in-i Akbari, I, 175.
12. Akbar Namah, in, 390-400.
13. Aziz AhnnyJ, Snulits in Islamic Culture in Indian Environment, p. 171.
14. Qureshi, op. nf p 146
15. Maclagan, The ,/r*uns and the Great Mogul, p. 55.
16. See pp. 204 and 205 of the Din-i-Ilahi by Makhan Lai Roychoudhury. I have not been able u> trace the original statement attributed to Smith. Possibly his name has been entered by mistake but there is much to support the statement attributed to him The disastrous fire at Lahore occurred in 1006/1597. Writing about 1004’1595, i e. two years earlier, Dr Ishtiaq Husain Qureshi says: ”There seems to be little doubt that he | Akbar] did not pursue his enquiries or experiments actively after 1595” (op. cit.. p. 149). An analysis of Bada’uni’s account confirms, this view. He closes his book contains nothing on the subject regarding 1003/1594, but the entry for the previous year refers to Khan-i A’/am’s return from Mecca and joining the royal disciple. There is plenty of evidence in the accounts of contemporary Portuguese and local writers to show that he remained not only an orthodox but a very staunch Muslim even after this. During the years 997/1589 and 998/1590 there were no new orders, though in the following years new regulations were introduced. Apparently, many of the royal orders remained a dead letter and were not given effect to by the provincial governors. According to jain accounts, their leader Harvijay obtained from Akbar in 992/1584, new farmans removing jizyah and jatra tax from Hindus in Gujarat, although it is well known that Akbar passed general orders abolishing these taxes in 970/1564 and 972/1562, respectively. (M.S. Commissiriat, A History of Gujarat, II, 231). Commissiriat, the historian of Gujarat, quotes from letter written between 1010/1601 and 1013/1604 (viz. towards the end of Akbar’s reign) that ”owing to standing orders of the emperor
353 Religion at the Court of Akbar I Ch 17
no new temple could be erected on the hill of Shalruniaya (i c. Girnar hill-,)” (ib>id., II, 240).
17. Roychoudhury, op. cit, pp. 204-05.
18. M aelagan, op. cit., p. 59 also see chapter ”An Imperial Farman” in C.H Payne, Akbar and the Jesuits.
19. Payne, op. cit., pp. 195-97.
20. Alkbar Namah, in, 1118, 1119,
21. F«or a sketch of Shaikh Farid’s life, see S.M. Ikram, Rud i-Kainhar pp 172-86.
22. A kbar Namah, in 1210.
23. fftid.. Ill, 1260
24. Kuq’at-i Abu al-Fadl, p. 13.
25. See The Cambridge History of India. Ill, 150. This view has been contested by Professor ’Irfan Habib of Aligarh but has been accepted by Sir Wotseley Haig, C.H. Payne, R.H. Tripathi and many other senior scholars.
26. C.H. Payne, op. cit . p. 204.
27. fbid., p. I’i8.
28. IMaktubal-i Khwajah Baqi Billah (Urdu trans.), p. 43.
29. ”Contemporary writers-Bada’uni as well as Abu al-Fadl-refcr to Akbar’s innovations as Muridi-discipleship. Even Vincent Smith admits that the
organisation was ”an Order rather than a church”. In the interest of historical accuracy, they should be feferred to as an Order and not as ”Divine Faith”. An Order or a system of discipleship is something in addition to and not in place of a Faith. It is noteworthy that Birbal, who was a prominent disciple is recognised as an orthodox Hindu. It is very hard to believe that men like Khan-i A’zam had abandoned Islam, although his discipleship has been specifically recorded by Bada’uni and others.
30. Lowe, Tr., op. cit.,11,323.
31. Ibid., II, 275.
32. Dr.K.R. Qanungo, Sher Shah, pp. 422-23.
33. Pannikar, A Survey of Indian History, p. 249.
34. Writing about the religious revival at Bindraban, near Mathura, brought about by Rup, Sanatana, etc., Sir Jadu Nath Sarkar says: ”The fame of the new Vaishnava Fathers rapidly spread over this Hindu world. Money began to pour in from pious believers particularly the royal house of Jaipur, whose head Raja Man Singh had lived in Bengal as viceroy and general, and also from many wealthy merchants of Northern India” (Chailanya’s Life and Teachings, p. 3). For an account of a grand temple of Gobind Deva built by Man Singh in 1590 at Bindraban and other temples in the suburbs of Malhura built by other Rajput princes (including one by Raja Bhagwan Das), see Growsc, Mathura-A District Memoir. Rup and Sanatana represented the sober side of Vaishnavaism. The Epicurean branch was founded by Vallabhacharya (d. 1530-31) but was placed on a firm footing by his son Vithaleshvara, whose disciples included Birbal and Todar Mai..When in 1572, Todar Mai was sent against Dawud in Bihar, he first visited Vithaleshvara at Gokal(near Malhura) to obtain his blessings. With Todar Mai among his disciples, it is not surprising that the Vallabhachari leader was able to get all sorts of grants and concessions. This can be seen in the Farmans issued, not only by Akbar, but by his mother Hamidah Banu Begum and by, ’Abd al-Rahim Khan-i Khanan also (now published by Diwan Bahadur K.M. Jhaveri). Other support which Vaishnava revivalists got from Man Singh, Birbal
Bk. II ] History of Muslim Civilisation in India A. Pakistan 354
and Tobar Mai can only be a matter of speculation at present, but even what is known indicates the size and nature of the problem with which Islam was faced. Sec Dr Moin-ul-Haq’s introduction to Dhakhirat al-Khwanin, I, 25. Dabistan-i Madhahib, p.251
Ibid. Translation Uken from Dr.Qureshi’s paper read before Indian History Conference, 1941.
Encyclopaedia of Islam, I, 1122. lbitt.,\, 1123.6
THE MUJADDIDI REACTION
Khwajah Baqi Billah (971-1012/1563-1603). The old mystic order of Islam in India, particularly the Chishtiyyah, normally disassociated itself from affairs of the State. Towards the end of Akbar’s reign, a new religious order entered the subcontinent which followed a different approach, which has been vividly described by Khwajah ’Ubaidullah Abrar, a distinguished Naqshbandi saint, in his statement:
”If I were after spiritual prominence, no disciple would be left with the other saints. But I have another mission, viz., to bring comfort to the Muslims. To achieve this, I have to associate with the worldly rulers, gain influence over them and thereby fulfil the objectives of the Muslim.”1
Khwajah Baqi Billah, who introduced the Naqshbandi order into Hind-Pakistan was born in 971/1563 at Kabul. After completing his scholastic education at his birthplace and Samarqand, he visited several saints and wandered far and wide in spiritual quest. In this connection he spent some time in Kashmir, visited Lahore where, according to one account, he had his first meeting with Akbar’s Mir Bakhsi, Shaikh Farid, and later moved to Delhi Here, he settled down in the hospice of a famous Chishti saint, who once came out of hi$ prayer-room at the dead of night, and told the Khwaja to leave forthwith for Transoxiana. At Bukhara he was initiated into the Naqshbandi order by a leading saint whose father and pir was the spiritual guide of ’Abdullah Khan Uzbeg, the ruler of Turkistan. He asked Khwajah Baqi Billah to make the Indo-Pak subcontinent the field of his activities.
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Khwajah Baqi Billah came first to Lahore, where he spent more than a year during the viceroyalty of his friend Qulich Khan, and then left for Delhi. After his second visit to the subcontinent he did not live for more than six or seven years, but during this brief period he brought about a veritable revolution in the spiritual life of Muslim India. For one thing, before his death in 1012/1603, he had firmly established the Naqshbandi order in the Indo-Pak subcontinent. After his death one of his early and favourite disciples Shaikh Taj Sambhali migrated to the Hijaz, where he translated Naqshbandi classics into Arabic and introduced the order which was to gain so much importance during the last days of the Ottoman Empire. But the Khwajah’s work was not confined to the extension of the Naqshbandi silsilah, he had such a self-effacing disposition, all contemporary accounts like Zabdat al-Maqamat emphasise this-and so systematically did he obliterate the traces of his work that it is difficult to reconstruct his history properly. The names of many persons to whom his letters were addressed are not given and their importance cannot be easily realised. Even the names of his disciples have not been properly listed. In this brief contemporary biography there is no reference to Shaikh ’Abd al-Haqq Muhaddith, the foremost religious scholar of the period, being his disciple, which, according to the Tabaqat-i Shah Jahani and a biography of the Shaikh, he was. The numerous letters addressed by the Shaikh to the Khwajah bear witness to their close relationship. Similarly, the Khwajah’s biography contains no reference to his special relationship with Qulich Khan, and we can infer this only from a letter of Mujaddid addressed to the latter in which he claims kinship with the viceroy on account of his close relations with his murshid. In these circumstances, it is not surprising that his work has not been properly evaluated, but a close study of whatever material is available leaves no doubt that not only is Khwajah Baqi Billah’s work memorable because of his having firmly planted the Naqshbandi order in the subcontinent, but that he also provided the ”rallying point around which the orthodox nobles, sufis and ulema gathered during the last days
The Mujaddidi Reaction
of Akbar. No single person was responsible for turning the tables against Akbar’s heterodoxy, but the spiritual leadership of those who did so clearly belongs to Khwajah Baqi Billah. A mere enumeration of the names of his known disciples, admirers and co-workers is enough to bring this out. Foremost amongst the Khwajah’s helpers was Shaikh Farid, to whose dominant position during Akbar’s last days a reference has already been made. Considering that he had undertaken to bear the entire expenditure of the Khwajah’s hospice, he can only be considered as Khwajah’s active co-worker. Other Muslim nobles of the day who had great regard for the Khwajah include Qulich Khan, the devout viceroy of Lahore, ’Abd alRahim Khan-i Khanan. The commander-in-chief of the Deccan, Mirza Husam-ud-din, brother-in-law of Abu al-Fadl and Khani-A’zam, the Deputy of the Realm, So far as the sufis and the ulema of the time were concerned it is enough to mention only two names-Hadrat Mujaddid Alf-i-Thani and Shaikh ’Abd alHaqq Muhaddith. The great change which the Khwajah’s presence in the capital brought about may be seen in the case of Sadr-ijahan, who was Akbar’s chief ecclesiast during his later years and played an important part in reconciliation between Jahangir and his father. In 1002/1593, he had become one of Akbar’s disciples and Bada’uni has described the lengths to which he was prepared to go. Six years later we see him approach Khwajah Baqi Billah with a desire to become his disciple. As the Khwajah was keeping indifferent health and this important noviate needed special attention, he entrusted his spiritual education to a distinguished disciple, viz. Hadrat Mujaddid Alf-i-Thani, and the latter’s letters addressed to Sadr-i Jahan show that the Sadr was firmly drawn into the inner Naqshbandi circle.
Khwajah Baqi Billah who died in 1012/1603 must have had extraordinary spiritual powers. The way he influenced those who came across him may be seen even in the case of the Mujaddid. The latter first met him at the advanced age of thirty-six. By then he had written a couple of pamphlets, had
Bk. II] History of Muslim Civilisation in India & Pakistan 358 helped Faidi in the writing of his Tafsir and was a powerful pen. His vast potentialities were already there, but now there was an awakening and, indeed, a tremendous heightening of his spiritual and intellectual powers, and this cannot be attributed to anything other than his pir’s influence, encouragement and guidance. The Mujaddid paid his pir the highest compliment which a Muslim can pay by saying that since the days of the Holy Prophet there was never such guidance and ennobling companionship as was provided by the Khwajah, and he was grateful to God that if he was not alive in the day of the Prophet, at least he had been given this opportunity.
Through his great spiritual powers, saintly character, spirit of dedication, the basic attraction’ of the Naqshbandi order in a society dominated by Turani rules and nobles and his own links with the great saints of Central Asia, the Khwajah was able to obtain quick results in a very short time. Still, he had his limitations. His health which had never been very good was worn out by fasts and nightly vigils. By temperament also he was too mild and self-effacing to make a dynamic leader. His was the path of self-purification, suffering and self-sacrifice. He was a stranger to bitterness and anger. When a disciple of his was tormented by the people of Sambhal and wanted to retaliate, he sternly rebuked him. All honour is to him as a saint. Purity of character and spirit of silent dedication coupled. With a penetrating insight into the minds of men enabled him to work wonders within a short time, but he could not lead a broad-based, popular movement. At best, he could provide solace and guidance to those who approached him and, in the bewildering confusion of Akbar’s reign, his steady light illuminated the path of many men in key positions. This was of great value. In Akbar’s days the Muslim spiritual leaders had either (like Shaikh ’Abd al-Haqq) moved away from the court or had themselves fallen a victim to the prevailing spiritual anarchy. Now a saint had come to the capital, who was in close contact with the great nobles, whose spiritual powers were unlimited and whose faith was as solid as
The Mujaddidi Reaction
a rock. Naturally his presence provided a welcome anchorage, but Muslims had been so hurt by some of Akbar’s innovations and actions that soon there was a powerful reaction against his policy and the orthodox Islam moved from a purely defensive position. This was essentially the work of a disciple of Khwajah Baqi Billah, who brought the gifts of a dynamic personality, a powerful pen;’ great organising ability, a vigorous intellect and ripe scholarship to the task, and completely altered the situation.
Hadrat Mujaddid Alf-i Thani 972-1034/1564). Khawajah Baqi Billah’s most prominent disciple was Shaikh Ahmad, popularly known as Mujaddid Alf-i-Thani (”Reviver of Islam during the Second Millennium”). He was born on 26 June 1564 at Sirhind, the capital of East Punjab during Mughal rule. After receiving a thorough education at Sirhind and Sialkot, the young Ahmad set up as a teacher at his native place, but was soon attracted to Akbar’s capital, Fathpur Sikri. Here he move in the most distinguished intellectual circles, and seems to have, favourably impressed Abu al-Fadl, and his versatile brother, Faidi. Shaikh Ahmad’s views and temperament had little in common with those of the two brothers (though he seems to have passed through a period of youthful free-thinking and at one time wrote verses with the poetic surname of Kufri, ”the heretic”), but they had enough respect for each other’s learning to be able to carry on this intellectual comradeship in spite of the difference in views. According to a biography of the saint, written shortly after his death by one of his disciple, he helped Faidi in the completion of his commentary on the Holy Qur’an. Another contemporary biography refers to a discussion between the Shaikh and Abu-al-Fadl regarding the role of Prophets, in the course of which Abu-al-Fadl used strong language about a statement attributed to Imam Ghazali. Shaikh Ahmad took offence at this and discontinued going to Abu-alFadl’s gatherings, but the latter sent for him and apologised for his remarks.2
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Possibly it was this discussion which led the Shaikh to write a small booklet entitled Ithbat al-Nubuwwah (”Affirmation of Prophethood”) of which an incomplete version, along with Urdu translation, has recently been published by Dr Ghulam Mustafa Khan of Hyderabad. It is a well written, dignified pamphlet containing copious quotations from the writings of Imam Ghazali justifying the need for Prophethood and explaining the inadequacies of human intellect.
Shaikh Ahmad’s literary career had begun a little earlier, when ’Abdullah Khan Uzbeg, the king of Transoxiana, besieged Mashhad, the local Shi’ah ulema addressed an ”Open Letter” of protest to the ulema of Transoxiana. The arguments contained in this letter were being repeated by Shi’ahs in India in support of their creed nd Shaikh Ahmad undertook to reply to them. He ace,,1 iingly wrote his Radd-i Rawqftd (”Refutation of the Rafidis”). It is a brief polemical pamphlet reiterating familiar arguments, but gives some indication of the style which was to characterise Mujaddid’s maturer work. After a time, the Shaikh returned to Sirhind and began to devote himself to religious and intellectual pursuits.
In 1008/1599, he visited Delhi and went to see Khwajah Baqi Billah, who asked him to spend a few days in his hospice. Shaikh Ahmad agreed, and within two days requested the Khwajah to admit him to his discipleship. This request was readily accepted and the Khwajah initiated Shaikh Ahmad into various stages of spiritual development under the Naqshbandi order. The new disciple greatly impressed his spiritual guide, who wrote in a letter about him:
”Shaikh Ahmad is an individual from Sirhind, rich in knowledge and vigorous in action. I associated with him for a few days, and noticed truly marvelous things in his spiritual life. He will turn into a light, which will illuminate the world.”
After a stay of six weeks Shaikh Ahmad returned to Sirhind with his spiritual powers greatly heightened, and
The Mujaddidi Reaction
convinced that he had a major role to play in the religious life of the times. He twice visited Delhi during the lifetime of his murshid, who deputed him to work at Lahore, and frequently referred those who came for mystic initiation to him to his gifted disciple. On Khwajah Baqi Billa’s death, Shaikh Ahmad rushed to Delhi, but soon retired to Sirhind, which remained the main seat of his activities. He carried on his work partly through personal guidance and oral instructions, but he had by now discovered his great literary gifts, and knew that he could also fulfil his mission by addressing well-written and effective epistles on religious and public subjects to important personages of the day. Khwajah Baqi Billah had by his warm praise and encouragement, made Shaikh Ahmad aware of his potentialities. He had also facilitated the achievement of his task by providing him with useful contacts with persons in key positions in the State, and by stimulating their interest in Islam. Shaikh Ahmad was just the person to make full use of these opportunities. He felt deeply on religious matters, was a profound scholar, a master of polemics, and possessed a polished and forceful literary style. He began addressing letters written in a language which would move mountains to leading nobles of the State, bemoaning the sad state in which Islam had fallen in India, and reminding them of their duty. Among the persons he addressed were, besides Shaikh Farid whom he addressed repeatedly, Khan-i-A’zam, Sadr-i Jahan, Khan-i Jahan, and ’Abd al-Rahman Khan-i Khanan.
It is not true, as many have held, since Maulana Abul Kalam Azad eloquently put forward this view in his tadhkirah, that but for these letters Muslim noble^ would not have stood by Islam, or but for the efforts of Shaikh Ahmad, Akbar’s heterodoxy would have superseded Islam in India. Generally speaking, the Muslim nobility had not been unmindful of its responsibilities, and Akbar’s heterodoxy had died with him even before Shaikh Ahmad took an active hand in the matter. But it would be wrong to underrate the importance of his letters on contemporary and subsequent history. Akbar’s
Bk. II] History of Muslim Civilisation in India & Pakistan 362
religious policy had failed even without these letters, but that was merely a negative situation. An attempt at introducing certain religious innovations was made and it failed, and the status quo should have been restored. The fact that merely the status quo was not restored was due partly to the general atmosphere in the country and partly to Shaikh Ahmad’s efforts. He contributed largely to the swing of the pendulum from Akbar’s heterodoxy to Aurangzeb’s vigorous ultraorthodoxy, rather than a return to Babur’s and Humayun’s policy of laissez faaire. The rhetorical appeal of Shaikh Ahmad’s letters kindled religious fervour, and resulted in a religious revival which, though it took some time to bear fruit, deeply influenced the history of this subcontinent and, indeed, of the Muslim world.
Shaikh Ahmad’s letters also dealt with subjects other than the message of religious revival, and they brought him into serious difficulties. In some of his letters, he had dealt with his own spiritual elevation, and had stated that in his trances he observed that at one time he had gone ahead of the four leading Companions of the Prophet. The theologians criticised these claims, and asked Emperor Jahangir to take action. It is also stated that the Shi’ah wazir, Asif Khan, who could not have the fond of the anti-Shi’ah views of Shaikh Ahmad, also dwelt on political dangers inherent in the growing influence and organisation of Shaikh Ahmad. Accordingly in 1028/1619, he was summoned, through the governor of Sirhind, to the Emperor’s court and asked to explain his statements. The Shaikh behaved at the court withtgreat dignity and courage. He made it clear that there could be no question of his considering himself superior to the Companions of the Prophet, and gave an explanation of the relevant entry in his letters. The Emperor seemed to be satisfied with this, when somebody pointed out that the Shaikh had not observed the court etiquette and not performed the Sijdah (deep obeisance), which Akbar had prescribed for everybody coming into the royal presence.3 The Shaikh replied that he was not prepared to perform the sijdah
The Mujaddick Reaction
before any human being. Jahangir did not like this and ordered the Shaikh to be imprisoned in the fort of Gwalior.
It appears from a letter that the Shaikh’s house, garden library and other belongings were also confiscated.4 The Shaikh faced the situation with confidence and determination and did not waver from the position he had taken up. When his sons and relations tried to secure his release, he wrote to them not to waste their time in that pursuit.5 His disciples were also harassed. The Shaikh advised them to stand the ordeal coolly and with patience.6 Quoting Shaikh Muhiyy-ud-din Ibn ’Arabi, he says that when an ’Arif is visited by some calamity or misfortune, he should not pray to God for averting it; he should calmly and patiently enjoy whatever calamity is sent by his Beloved, God.7
Jahangir has been criticised for his conduct towards the Mujaddid, but the Mughal government found it advisable to keep a watch on the activities of religious leaders, with large, devoted followings. Even Shah Jahan, an orthodox Muslim, had to expel from his dominion Shaikh Adam Banori, a celebrated disciple of the Mujaddid, after getting him interviewed by his wazir, Sa’dullah Khan, and the celebrated scholar Mullah’ Abd al-Hakim. Jahangir took similar action against some other saints with large followings. One of them was the Afghan saint Ahmad Sun (the patron of Khan Jahn Lodi who later rebelled against Shah Jahan) who was imprisoned during the first year of Jahangir’s reign. The biographers of the saint throw a revealing light on the action taken against him. ”One of the royal courtiers cited the case of the Safavids, who were originally pirs and dervishes, but with the help of their followers had ascended the throne of Iran. Another said that even now there were persons living in the garb of dervishes, whose fanatical followers exceeded the army of a province, and named Ahmad Sun.”8 There is no evidence to connect Shaikh Ahmad of Sirhind with worldly ambition, but Jhangir’s action against him may well have been on political consideration.
Bk in History of^us^im Civilisation in India & Pakistan 364
After about a vear ^e Shaikh was released from the fort, presented with ”a ctress °fhonour and Rs. 1000 for expenses,”9 and given the option of accompanying the royal camp or returnin” to Sirhit1^- ^he Shaikh preferred to remain in the royal camp Accoenjoyed by him me conditions prevailing in the royal camp In one of these, he has given a detailed account of a lengthy conversati1’11 w’th the King on religious subjects, which the King heard with great interest and apparent satisfaction.
Shaikh Ahmjd was in the royal camp for nearly three years His letters wr’tten during this period contain very few biographical detai’s» hut seeing the contemporary entries in Jahangir’s Tuzuk, one ’s struck by the fact that during this period easygoing Jahangir was unusually religious, and it would not be surfr’sm£ if the Emperor’s ultra-orthodox mood may have sometri>nS to ^° w’th the Shaikh’s presence in the camp. Dealing wii^ thg conquest of Kangra and his visit to that place early in 103’/1622> Jahangir says:
”...I went to(ee tne f°rt °f Kangra, and gave an order that the Qadi, the Ch/ Justice (Mir ’Adi) and other learned men of Islam should accoinPanv me and carry out in the fort whatever was customary £cording to the religion of Muhammad. Briefly... by theSrace ot God, the call to prayer and the reading of the Ktutba and the slaughter of a bullock, which had not taken pla>e from the commencement of the building of the fort till now, *’ere carried out in my presence. I...ordered a lofty mosque to b’built ins’de the fort.”11
The Mujaddidi Reaction
It is quite possible that Shaikh Ahmad was one of the ”other learned men of Islam” accompanying Jahangir at Kangra. Soon after, the saint’s health began to fail, and with the Emperor’s permission he returned to Sirhind. Here he lived, in seclusion, devoting himself to charity and prayers till his death on 10 December 1624.
Mujaddid’s Influence on the History of Muslim India. Shaikh Ahmad, the most forceful and original thinker produced by Muslim India before the days of Shah Wali Ullah and Iqbal, occupies a high place, not only amongst important religious personalities of the Indo-Pakistan subcontinent, but of the entire Muslim world. His exposition of Tawhid-i Shahudi was a distinct contribution to Islamic thought. Perhaps even more important was the attitude of vigorous self-confidence and selfassertion which he contributed to Muslim thinking, and the like of which had been rarely seen since the days of Ibn Taimiyyah. He joined the Naqshbandi order, but the white heat of revivalist fervour which one finds in his writings is not visible even amongst early Naqshbandis, and the fact that, in spite of Shah Wali Ullah’s emphasis on moderation, the Mujaddidiyyah revivalist branch ultimately superseded other branches of Naqshbandiyyah order, not only in the Indo-Pak subcontinent, but in the Ottoman Empire, was possibly a factor in creating that atmosphere which favoured the rise and acceptance of Wahabism. Mujaddid Alf-i-Thani has enjoyed considerable reputation amongst sufi circles outside his land of birth. The Naqshbandiyyah order is Central Asian and Turkish in origin, but, remarkably enough, the branch of the order which was prevalent in the later days of the Ottoman Empire was not the original Central Asian Naqshbandiyyah but the revivalist Mujaddiyyah branch.12
We are here concerned primarily with Mujaddid’s influence over the course of affairs in the Indo-Pakistan subcontinent. While discussing Akbar’s religious policy, we have referred to the circumstances which made its failure inevitable. The inability of Hindus and Muslims to common
Bk II] History of Muslim Civilisation in India & Pakistan
?p;- itual brotherhood was the result of the basic concept of the orthodox Hindus that Muslim are untouchables. This attitude became aggressive as a result of the revivalistic fervour of the Vaisanavia Gosains of Mathura. It became more marked during Akbar’s era of toleration, but the writings of the Mujaddid which reveal the anguish’ which he felt at the low position of Islam under Akbar and even later, also militated against the success of Akbar’s policy. In fact, it has been stated that the swing of religious policy from Akbar to Aurangzeb was, in a considerable measure, due to the influence and teachings of Mujaddid Alif-i-Thani.
Mujaddid’s forceful and eloquent letters, which he addressed to the leading nobles at Jahangir’s court, calling upon them to rise in defence of Islam and uphold the dignity of their religion, have not been translated to English. It is not easy for anyone who has not read them in the original Persian to form an adequate idea of their power and effectiveness. These letters were addressed. They were really ”open letters” and copies of these letters-not less forceful than the poems with which Byron tried to engender enthusiasm for the cause of Greek independence, or Mali tried to reawaken Indian Muslims-were soon made out, supplied to Mujaddid’s disciples and admirers, and otherwise given wide circulation.
It has been stated by Mujaddidi writers that Aurangzeb became a disciple of Khwajah Muhammad Ma’sum, son and successor of the Mujaddid. Even Aurangzeb’s contemporary satirist, Ni’mat Khan ’Ali, refers to this in his Wiqayah, but the statement is not entirely free from doubt. Two collections of Khwajah Muhammad Ma’sum’s letters have been published. In the Cawnpur edition, which has received wider circulation, there is a long letter dealing with spiritual subjects addressed by the Khwajah to Aurangzeb before he came to the throne. In the Amritsar edition, there are many letters addressed to Aurangzeb dealing with political matters, and thus supporting the theory of relationship between the saint and the Emperor, but the authenticity of these has yet to be established. Khwajah
The Mujaddidi Reaction
Muhammad Ma’sum did not live very long after Aurangzeb’s accession to the throne, but the official history of the period refers to him and his brother’s visits to the Emperor’s court, receiving high honours and rich rewards. After his death, his son, Shaikh Saif-ud-din, came to stay at the royal uipitai, and was apparently in close contact with the Emperor The court history speaks of the Shaikh. Next year, on 3 June 1669, the Emperor visited the saint at his residence, late at night, and returned to the palace after spending an hour there.13
It has been stated, on the doubtful authority of Raudat-alQayyamiyyah, that Aurangzeb became a disciple of Khwajah Muhammad Ma’sum, son of Mujaddid Alf-i-Thani. This statement is not free from doubt. The Sirhindi saint with whom Aurangzeb seem to have had closest relations in early days was Khwajah Muhammad Ma’sum. He was the eldest surviving son of the Mujaddid and presumably ranked higher in the family hierarchy. Even otherwise, his tastes must have appealed to Aurangzeb. He was a great scholar, and in addition to many long letters in Arabic was author of several works, including a book on Hadith. His Maktubat were published in 1965, and show a great mastery of style. These letters do not seem to have been arranged chronologically, and some of these clearly addressed to Aurangzeb as a prince have been captioned as if they were addressed to Aurangzeb. While Khwajah Muhammad Ma’sum’s letters deal mainly with spiritual matters, two of Khwajah Muhammad Sa’idiyyah covers 216 pages only, but contains as many as nine letters addressed to Aurangzeb. While Khwajah Muhammad Ma’sum’s letters deal mainly with spiritual matters, two of Khwajah Muhammad Sa’id’s letters to Aurangzeb urge him to uphold Shariah, put down heresy, build mosques and madrassah and lookafter the uleina. ’Alamgir Namah, the court history of Aurangzeb’s first ten years of reign, refers at one place to a gift of three hundred ashrafis to ”Shaikh Muhammad Sa’id and Shaikh Muhammad Ma’sum” and at another place to a presentation of a khil’ah^nd two thousand rupees to the ”pious Shaikh Muhammad Sa id .