t$K. 11J utdtistj ~j - ~
He died within a few months of Aurangzeb’s coming to the throne,”14 and now Khwajah Muhammad Ma’sum became the senior-most member of the family. He was also in contact with Aurangzeb, but apparently these relations became closer when his fifth son Saif-ud-din went to stay at the royal capital. The first volume of Khwajah Muhammad Ma’sum Maktubat (published at Cawnpur) contains one long letter on Jihad-i Asghar and Jihad-i Akbar to ”Prince Aurangzeb” written presumably when the latter was trying to reconquer Qandhar from the Safavids. In this letter the Khwajah quotes traditions prescribing capital punishment for the Shi’ahs. In the second volume of Khwajah’s letters (Published at Ludhiana), there is another letter on spiritual subjects, while the third volume (published at Amritsar) contains four letters addressed to Aurangzeb, written during the last years of the saint. In one of these letters (No. 227), there is a reference to the Emperor having expressed a desire to receive spiritual help from the saint (istimad-i nvajjuh-i gha’ihanah), but his may only be the request of an admirer, and not of a regular disciple. Some interesting letters of the saint are addressed to his son, Shaikh Saif-ud-din, who corresponded with him about the spiritual life of the Emperor. Khwajah Muhammad Ma’sum died nine years after Aurangzeb’s accession to the throne. Ma’athir-i ’Alamgiri, an authentic history of the reign, speaks of his son Shaikh Saif-ud-din being a formal witness at the wedding of Prince A’zam. Next year, on 3 June 1669, the Emperor visited the saint at his residence late at night and returned to the place after spending an hour there Shaikh Saif-ud-din died in
1096/1685. The most important Sirhindi saint at this time, and one with whom Aurangzeb’ close contacts can be historically established was Khwajah Muhammad Naqshbandi II, another son of Khwajah Muhammad Ma’sum. Two small collections of his Maktubat have been recently published by Dr Ghulam Mustafa Khan of Hyderabad and some of them are of great historical significance. One of the letter (Vol. 1, No. 56), written when Aurangzeb was in the Deccan for conquest of Bijapur and Golkonda, contains the following entry:
369 The Mujaddidi Reaction Ch. 18]
”This Faqir had left his native town for the purpose of Hajj. On the way I received an order of the Emperor with his own signature (written in his own handwriting?) and expressed of great enthusiasm and friendship. In accordance with his wishes I came over to his camp. He showed me endless kindness and would not agree to my departure (for Hajj) this year. He called prince Muhammad Kam Bakhsh in his presence and entrusted him to me. He told the prince that he himself had derived great satisfaction in the company of the saints of this silsilah, and that the prince should also derive benefit from me and get busy (in spiritual exercises) under me. Accordingly, the Faqir got the prince busy (in spiritual) exercises and he thoroughly relished it. Next day, according to the wishes of the Emperor, he came to my house. He himself visited me repeatedly.”
Ma’athir-i ’Alamgiri also mentions the saint’s presence in Aurangzeb’s camp at this time and sheds further light on the saint’s close relations with the Emperor. On page 169 of Sarkar’s translation of Ma ’athir-i ’Alamgiri, there is an account of the audience of ”Shaikh Muhammad Naqshbandi (obviously an error for Naqshbandi) of Sirhind” with the emperors. This interview apparently took place between 12 and 16 June 1686, before the royal camp reached Sholapur. At page 189 of the same book, the historian records the marriage, by imperial command, of the three daughters of ’Abd al-Hasan Tana Shah, the last ruler of Golkonda. One of them was married to ”Muhammad Umar son of Shaikh Muhammad Naqshband of Sirhind”. When it is considered that the other two daughter of Tana Shah were married to Sikandar Bijapuri, the ruler of Bijapur, and to a son of Asad Khan, the prime Minister, it becomes obvious that the family of Shaikh Muhammad Naqshband must have ranked very high in the estimation of the Emperor to be placed on a par with them. These marriages took place in the second half of 1689, and if Khwajah Muhammad Naqshband had stayed on in the royal camp till his son’s marriage, his stay there must have extended over several
Bk. II | History of Muslim Civilisation in India & Pakistan 370
years. This is supported by the Mujaddidi accounts. Perhaps the Sirhindi saint to whose influence over Aurangzeb an ironic reference is made by Ni’mat Khan ’Ali in his account of war with Golkonda (Wiqayah) was Khwajah Muhammad Naqshband II.
The above evidence amply illustrates Aurangzeb’s extensive and close contacts with the Sirhindi saints. On the other hand, it is a historical fact that at one time the study of the Maktubat of Hadrat Mujaddid was banned under Aurangzeb’s orders. The relevant order issued by Qadi Shaikh al-Islam (on 1 December 1679) has been reproduced in Ma’araj al-Walayah and the ban finds an echo in Raudat alQayyumiyyah. It may also be relevant to state that there is clear evidence of aurangzeb’s warm regard for some contemporary saints of other silsilahs also, and the only saint to whom he pays a high tribute in his own letters was Shaikh ’Abd al-Latif of Burhanpur who, according to Ma’araj al-Walayah, was very critical of Hadrat Mujaddid
It would be a fair inference on the basis of what has been stated above that, while Aurangzeb was ready to enforce the verdict of the ulema even in case of a book like the Maktubat of the Mujaddid and though conclusive evidence about his having become a disciple of Khwajah Muhammad Ma’sum is not available, there is plenty of reliable evidence indicating his close contacts with Sirhindi saints-particularly Khwajahs Muhammad Sa’id and Muhammad Ma’sum, and the latter’s two sons, Shaikhs Saif-ud-din and Muhammad Naqshband IIand his high regard for them.
There are definite historical links between the Majaddid’s family and Aurangzeb. Even more remarkable is the fact that almost all the steps which are associated with Aurangzeb’s religious policy were advocated forcefully by the Mujaddid in his letters. The Mujaddid had seen those days when, according to him, ”the non-Muslims carried out aggressively (ba-tariq-i istila’) the ordinances of their own religion in a Muslim State and the Muslims were powerless to carry out the ordinances of
The Mujaddidi Reaction
Islam and if they carried them out they were executed.”15 He recalled with great anguish that in those tragic days, those who believed in the Holy Prophet were ”humiliated and were powerless, while those who denied his Prophethood enjoyed high position, and used to sprinkle salt on the wounds of the Muslims with ridicule and taunts.”16
These developments so hurt the sensitive mind and soul of the Mujaddid that, not only was he filled with anger and hatred against Akbar, but against the non-Muslims too. What troubled him even more was that with Akbar’s withdrawal of patronage from Islam, and an aggressive religious revival amongst the Hindus, non-Muslim had started the persecution of Islam. The Mujaddid writes in a letter: ”The non-Muslims in Indian are, without any hesitation, demolishing mosques, and setting up temples in their place. For example, in Karkhet (Kurukshetra) Tank there was a mosque and the tomb of a saint. They have been demolished and in their place a very big temple has been erected.”17 Hindus were even interfering with Muslim observances, but Muslims were powerless to carry out openly many of Islamic injunctions. ”During Ekadashi, the Hindus fast and strive hard to see that in Muslim towns no Muslim cooks or sells food on these days. On the other hand, during the sacred month of Ramadan, they openly prepare and sell food, but owing to the weakness of Islam, nobody can interfere. Alas! the ruler of the country is one of us, but we are so badly off.18
These developments distressed the Mujaddid. Iron entered his soul, and he felt that consideration shown to Hindus in the previous reign had emboldened them. He, therefore, urged a reversal of that policy, and a restoration of the regime when jizyah was imposed on the Hindus, and Islam was the dominant religion. In a number of letters, he expressed his regret at the abolition of the ban on cow-slaughter. He repeatedly called upon the Muslim nobles not to associate with non-Muslims or even unorthodox Muslims, or join them in their assemblies.
Bk. II] History of Muslim Civilisation in India & Pakistan 372
His attitude towards the Shi’ahs was similarly stiff. One of his earliest polemic efforts was the booklet Radd-i Rawafld in which advocated that the Shi’ahs were not Muslims and proposed the harshest treatment for them. Even in later life he remained on the watch against Shi’ah usages getting a foothold in Muslim India. Once the preacher at the principal mosque of Samana did not mention all the four Caliphs in his ’Id sermon. The Mujaddid immediately wrote an open letter to the religious personages of that city, rebuking them and other inhabitants of the place, on the neglect of their duties, and for their failure to deal ”aggressively and offensively” with that ”unjust preacher”.19 In a letter to Shaikh Farid, he criticised association with the Shi’ahs and even stated that the company of Muslim non-conformists was worst than that of non-Muslims.
Shaikh Farid did not accept the Mujaddid’s extremist point of view-and in some of his letters the Mujaddid has expressed his disappointment of his failures and omissions20-but is it a mere coincidence that the attitude which Aurangzeb had towards the Shi’ahs, at least during his early days, was identical with that of the Mujaddid? Summing up the influence of the Mujaddid, Professor Aziz Ahmed says:
”In a way he was the pioneer of what modern Islam is today in the Indo-Pakistan subcontinent-isolationist, selfconfident, conservative, deeply conscious of the need of reformation but distrustful of innovations, accepting in theory but dreading it in practice, and insular in its contact with other civilizations.”21
The Mujaddid’s influence on the subcontinent-especially after its recent revival since the publication of Maulana Abul Kalam Azad’s Tadhkirah in 1919-has been far-reaching, but he cannot be held responsible, either primarily or entirely, for the trends listed by the writer. Many factors have contributed to them, but basically the psychology which these trend reflect is product of our milieu. Practically since the defeat of the Turks at the gates of Vienna in 1683, the Muslim world has been engaged in a struggle with the West, in which it has not been
The Mujaddidi Reaction
gaining the upper hand. The final dismemberment of the Ottoman Empire, coming as it did during the days of the mass media of communication, created a particularly profound impression. The continued pressure of the West on the Muslim world in military, political, intellectual and religious fields has not only driven loyal followers of Islam to a state of frenzy and despair, ”not unlike or unequal to that experienced eight centuries ago by the Christians,” but has also created hatred and bitterness against the West. This has resulted in the development of certain ”complexes”, which were unknown when Islam was triumphant and could afford to take a more relaxed view.
In a way, the psychological situation which confronted Muslim India in the last quarter of the tenth/sixteenth century was something similar to what was faced by the outside Muslim world some centuries later. Muslim political had posed a threat to deal with the problems failed, but ultimately men like Khwajah Baqi Billah, Shaikh Farid and Khan-i A’zam mastered the situation. Still, the position had been so dangerous that it created a reaction on sensitive minds similar to that which the modern Muslim world has felt in the face of the later and bigger crisis. For sheer self-preservation, therefore, Muslim India had to throw up defences and take up attitudes which were unnecessary in the days of a triumphant Islam. The Mujaddid was the spearhead of this reaction to a provocative situation. It would, however, be a mistake to think that he was mentally conditioned to only one limited approach. In view of the situation with which he was confronted, mainly one side of his character came to the fore, but those who have made a thorough study of his Maktubat know that it represented only one facet of his versatile personality. He repeatedly says in his letters that the injunctions change with the times and attitudes, have to vary according to circumstances. Perhaps it may be useful to quote, in this conection, from an article of Professor Khaliq Ahmad Nizami:
Bk II] History of Muslim Civilisation in India & Pakistan 374
”It would be unfair not only to Shaikh ahmad Sirhindi but to history to brush aside his movement as narrow and sectional. There is no doubt that on one or two occasions he has made certain remarks which are bitter and uncalled for, but they are not the essence of his movement. As a mater of fact his attitude was a reaction to Akbai «religious experiments and to the atmosphere it had created at the court As soon as that atmosphere disappeared, his attitude underwent a great change. In letters written subsequently one does not find any bitter criticism or exclusiveness ”92
Pir Baba and Akhwand Darweza When Khwajah Baqi Billah and Hadrat Muiaddid Alf-i-Thani were upholding orthodox Islam in Northern India another group ot prominent religious leaders was fighting heterodoxy on the north-western frontier. References has already been made to Miyan Bayazid Ansan, the founder of the Raushaniyyah sect, and the political and military consequences of his movement. The doctrines of Bayazid have not been authoritatively studied as yet. But if their account in the Dablstan-i-Madhahib is to be accepted, it is obvious that the prevalence of these doctrines would have resulted in the adoption of beliefs and practices quite different from orthodox Islam. According to Major Raverty and the Encyclopaedia of Islam, Bayazid’s doctrines were founded on a version of Isma’ili heresy, while Caroe considers them ”a revival of the Kharijite schism”. Whatever may have been their basis, their popularity was essentially due to their response to local needs and conditions. They had very little in common with the form of Islam in Hind-Pakistan or Afghanistan, and their adoption would have introduced a new and heterogeneous element in the Muslim society.
This danger was fought by Sayyid ’Ali Shah Tirmidhi, popularly known as Pir Baba, whose tomb in the recesses of Buner ”remains to this day the most hallowed shrine in all the frontier country.”23 He came to the Indian subcontinent as a child in the days of Babur and Humayun, but abandoned the world at an early stage and became a searcher after Truth and
The Mujaddidi Reaction
started studying undei various scholars and m\sties When his parents returned home 947/1540, he sta>ed behind, and was later induced by two Pathan (Gigiani) notables to move to the Doaba, close to Peshawar, to combat the spread of heresy in these part. After some time he wished to return home, but the local Pathans successfully dissuaded him from leaving them. Ultimately he retired to a secluded placed in Buner, but whenever he heard of any heterodox preacher, he would visit him and try to counter his influence. He died at an advanced age in 1041/1631 and was buried in Buner.
”Mam of the direct descendants of Pir Baba have \\ielded great influence amongst the Yusufzai’s and other tribes in the north of the Pathan belt. Three centuries later, in the person of Sayyid Akbar Shah, we shall see them taking a great part in supplying the rallying point for the opposition to the Sikhs and later to the British. And there are still among these Sayyids men who are esteemed.”24
Pir Baba was essentially a saint and a mystic. His most important disciple, who was scholar and a writer, was Akhwand Darweza, whom Raverty calls ”the greatest and most venerated of all the saints of Afghanistan.”25 He was Pir Baba’s principal lieutenant in controversies with the sects they considered heterodox-Raushaniyyah or Shi’ahs or even the less orthodox sufis. It was he who coined the word Pir-l-Tarik as the title or Pir-i Raushan, which his followers as Tarikis”. He wrote a large number of books to spread orthodox Islam and refute the views of the unorthodox. Many of these-like Irshad al-Talibin and Makhzani-Islam~ha\e been repeatedly printed. His Tadhkirat al-Akhyar wa al Ashrar. Though written in the language of a controversialist who was deeply hurt by unIslamic practices he saw around him, is an interesting contemporary account of the religious personalities in the Pathan area during the eleventh/seventeenth century-both the orthodox whom he calls Akhyar and the unorthodox whom he calls Ashrar. After his death in 1048/1638, his work was carried on by his son Akhwand Karimah and their many
Bk. II] History of Muslim Civili’uiion in India & Pakistan 376
disciples. Khushhal Khan Khattak refers to his Makhz^n as a book current amongst scholars in his time.
The result of the efforts of Pir Baba, Akhwand Darweza and others holding their point of view was that Miyan Bayazid’s more unorthodox doctrines were abandoned. His pantheistic sufism, which is the main theme of his written works, found expression in the poetry of his descendant Mirza Khan Ansar, and gained currency, but his heterodox views and practices did not strike root. Even Mirza Khan Ansafi, who was probably his grandson and had at one time adopted his doctrine, abjured them before his death, and in course of time became a leading orthodox ’alim of Peshawar.
Production of Islamic Literature in Bengali. We ha^e dealt
with orthodox religious activity at Delhi, Sirhind and in the
Frontier. Signs of religious activity of a somewhat different
nature, but conducive to the strengthening of the forces of
orthodoxy are visible about the same time in distant Bengal.
We have referred in an earlier chapter to the role of thesufis in
the spread of Islam in Bengal, and even the part played by
religious leaders like Hadrat Nur Qutb-i ’Alam in the political
sphere. The religious history of Muslim Bengal is as yet
unwritten, but indications are that after the vigour and energy
displayed by Chaitanya and his prominent disciples, and
particularly owing to the vigorous expression which their
devotion and religious yearnings found in the new Bengali
literature, Islamic influences in the area gradually weakened,
especially outside the principal cities. This happened partly as
the waves of the immigrant sufis and preachers subsided and
partly as an inadequate knowledge of Persian and Arabic
outside the principal towns did not give an opportunity to the
general population properly to assimilate Islam. A vigorous
new Bengali literature was now coming into existent often
under the patronage of the Muslim rulers, and was concerned
largely with the stories of the Ramayana and the Mahibharata
and other Hindu themes. Muslim masses, not well verse in any
language other than Bengali, heard Bengali poems ad stories
The Mujaddidi Reckon Ch. 18]
acted at Hindu festivals
\Jl UUUWi *,•«*’ f- *-*
background became more Hindu than
In the later part of he tenth-sixteenth
we notice a marked literary activity among: ^ &
which increased their knowledge of Islamic
written in the
second half of the sixteenth century:
”All the Bengalis do not understand Arabic, None undersLds the words of your religion ^yone remains satisfied with (Hin u tales) I the despised and the sinful, am in tne
For Eo many peopie blame me that, have pol.uted this
religious book. , h ks which are in
When the learned read frorn he boote, .
In whatever language God is his highest treasure.”
Sayyid Sultan, who belied
floruished from the middle of he ^ ^^ ot
quarter of the seventeenth century ^ v[jay>
books-e.g. Shab-i Mi’ raj (1585), Nrti i g practising Mis mmah~n addition to *afat-i Rasul. H
Bk. II] History of Muslim Civilisation in India & Pakistan 378
sufi, and his disciples carried on his work. Most important of them was Muhammad Khan (circa 1580-1650) who wrote a number of books on Islamic themes. Amongst these Maqtul Hussain on the tragedy of Karbala is a classic of Muslim Bengali literature and is read even at present
These activities were not connected with any movement in Northern India, but Hadrat Mujaddid Alf-i Thani had at least one Bengali disciple and paid him very special attention. Maulana Hamid Danishmand became Mujaddid’s disciple in Sirhind and after his spiritual training returned to Bengal where he established a big khanqah and madrassah at Mangalkot near Burdwan. Shah Jahan gave large lands a waqfio his madrassah which remained till recently an important centre of Muslim orthodox influences.
The Mujaddidi Reaction
NOTES & REFERENCES
Mulla Wa’iz Kashifi, Rashshahat. p 295
For details of a discussion between Shaikh Ahmad and Abu al-Faadl, see S M
Ikram, Riid-i Kaiithat, pp 210-12
This was current among the Gha/navids, early Sultans of Delhi and the Chishti Khanqahs (see K A Nizami, Religion and Politics in India, p 94, footnote 2)
Maklubat, in, 7
Ibid , in, 19
Quoted in S M Ikram, op cit , p 335
Bevcrdge, Tr , Memoirs ofJahangir, II, 161.
Ibid ,11, 11
E G Browne, The Dervishes, p 22
J N Sarkar, Tr Ma’aihu-i ’Alamgin, p 58
Aurangzeb ascended the throne on 21 July 1659 while Khwajah Muhammad
Said and Muhammad Ma’sum passed away on 10 April 1660 and 17 August
Maktubat, Vol I, letter 47
Ibid , Vol, II letter 92
Ibid , Vol II, letter 15
Ibid , Vol I, letter 296
A/iz Ahmed, Studies in Islamic Culture in Indian Environment, p 130
The Islamic Culture, January 1965, p. 50.
O Caroe, The Pathan, p 199
Ibid , p 200
See H G Raverty, Selections from Poetry of the Afghans, Introduction, p. 52.
Early Problems. On the occasion of his crowning ceremony on 3 November 1605, Jahangir issued a number of edicts for the welfare of the people, and granted a general amnesty to all his former opponents. ’Abd al-Rahman, the son of Abu al-Fadl, was promoted to the rank of 2000 and the nobles who had championed the cause of Khusrau during the last day of Akbar were allowed to retain their ranks andjagirs.
Soon, however he was faced with the task of suppressing the revolt of his son Khusrau, who had fled to the Punjab and raised the standard of revolt. Shaikh Farid who had been instrumental in securing Jahangir’s accession again took a leading part in dealing v-ith this challenge and was able to arrest Khusrau Jarungir was pleased so much with the Shaikh s performance that he visited him in his tent, embraced him, conferred on him the title of Nawab Murtada Khan and appointed him governor of Gujarat
Khusrau s rebellion was suppressed with little difficulty, but it incidentally led to a far-reaching development. Khusrau’s cause had been Messed by the Sikh Guru, Arjan Dev, who had aided him with monetary help. After the defeat of Khusrau, the Guru was summoned to the court to answer for his conduct. The Sikh historians say that the enmity of the Hindu Diwan oi Lahore. Chandu Mai, who had a family quarrel with the Guru, was mainly responsible for his troubles. The Guru was unable to give any satisfactory explanation and was ordered to be put to death. As remarked by a modern Hindu historian, the Guru would have ended his days in peace if he had not espoused the cause of a rebel,1 but this punitive action against
Bk. I ] History of Muslim Civilisation in India & Pakistan 382
him marked the beginning of conflict bctuccn the Sikhs and the Mughal government, which later assumed veiy ugly proportions.
hur Jahan and Increase of Persian Influences. Another important event of Jahangir’s reign was his marriage to Nur Jahan in 1220/1611. She was the widow of a Persian nobleman, Sher Afgan, who had beenfaujdar of Burdwan and had met his death while resisting arrest by Qutb-ud-din Khan Koka, the viceroy of Bengal The popular accounts which became current soon after Jahangir’s death made the whole affair reminiscent of the biblical story of David and Absalom but they are not accepted in responsible circles. Nur Jahan was nearly forty when, three years after the death of Sher Afgan. she became the ro>al consort, but she \\as a capable \\oman and soon acquired a gieat ascendency over her husband. In fact, she became the joint ruler of the kingdom. Coins were struck in her name, and Jahangir used to say that he had handed her the country in return for a cup of wine and a few pieces of mutton. Nur Jahan’s relatives were entrusted with the most important posts in the realm. Her father obtained a high office and her brother, Asaf Khan, in course of time, became the Prime Minister, and his daughter, Mumtaz Mahal, ”the Lady of the Taj,” married Prince Khurram, who succeeded Jahangir as Shah Jahan.
The influence of the gifted but masterful queen and her relatives we shall see later, not entneh beneficial, but they were all capable people and, until Jahangir s later years, administration of the Empire was efficient. Their influence attracted from Iran a large number of brilliant soldiers, scholars, poets and civil servants, who played an important role in the administration and the cultural life of Mughal India.
Political Developments. One of the most fruitful achievements of Jahangir’s reign was the consolidation of the Mughal rule in Bengal. This province had been incorporated in the Empire under Akbar, but ”the governors of Akbar’s time, notably Raja Man Singh, contented themselves with securing