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The Mughals, the Sufi Shaikhs and the Formation of the Akbari Dispensation

  • MUZAFFAR ALAM (a1)

Abstract

This essay places Mughal–Sufi relationship within a larger sixteenth century context, focusing on the strategies the early Mughals adopted to build their power in India. It reviews the positions of the two important sufi groups, the Indian Chishtis and the Central Asian Naqshbandis, juxtaposing the political benefits or the loss that the Mughals saw in their associations with them. While the Naqshbandi worldview and the legacy of the legendary Ubaid Allah Ahrar clashed with their vision of power, in the Chishti ideology, on the other hand, they found a strong support for themselves. The Chishtis then had an edge at the time of Akbar. But the Naqshbandis under Khwaja Baqi Billah (d. 1603) continued in their endeavour to reinstate their place in Mughal India. The paper thus provides a backdrop and makes a plea for re-evaluating the debate on the ideology and politics of Shaikh Ahmad Sirhindi (d. 1624).

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1 This is true of almost all modern historians. Whether they have highlighted evidence to support, qualify or reject the validity of this proposition; the contours of the proposition, itself, has not shifted. See for example Habib, I., ‘The political role of Shaikh Ahmad Sirhindi and Shah Waliullah’ in Enquiry, Vol. 5, (1961), pp. 3655; Ahmad, Aziz, Studies in Islamic Culture in the Indian Environment (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1964), pp. 182–90; Nizami, K.A., ‘Naqshbandi influence on Mughal rulers and politics’ in Islamic Culture, Vol. 39 (1965), pp. 4152; Friedmann, Yohanan, Shaykh Ahmad Sirhindi: An Outline of his Thought and a Study of his Image in the Eyes of Posterity (Montreal: McGill University, 1971); Rahman, Fazlur, Islam, 2nd edition (Chicago: Chicago University Press, 1979), p. 148; ter Haar, J.G.J., Follower and Heir of the Prophet: Shaikh: Ahmad Sirhindi as a Mystic (Leiden: Het Oosters Instituut, 1992); Damrel, David W., ‘The ‘Naqshbandi Reaction’ reconsidered’, in Gilmartin, David and Lawrence, Bruce (eds.), Beyond Turk and Hindu: Rethinking Religious Identities in Islamicate South Asia (Gainesville: University Press of Florida, 2000), pp. 176–98.

2 Rizvi, S.A.A., ‘Sixteenth century Naqshbandiyya leadership in India’, in Gaborieau, Marc, Popovic, Alexandre and Zarcone, Thierry (eds.), Naqshbandis: Historical Development and Present Situation of a Muslim Mystical Order (Istanbul-Paris: Institut Français d'Etudes Anatoliennes d'Istanbul, 1990), pp. 153–65; Dale, Stephen F., ‘The legacy of the Timurids’ in Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society, 3rd Series, Vol. 8, No.1 (1998), pp. 4358; and Buehler, Arthur F., ‘The Naqshbandiyya in Timurid India: The Central Asian legacy’ in Journal of Islamic Studies, Vol.7, No.2 (1996), pp. 209–28, all do provide useful details on the Naqshbandis' relations with the early Mughals. However, they do not discuss the complexities of the Mughals' encounters with Indian Sufis, while Damrel's discussion of some Chishti Sufi rites and practices with reference to Sirhindi, is essentially meant to show his connections with the Chishtis and the similarities in their ‘politics’ and Sufi practices. Compare Damrel, ‘The ‘Naqshbandi Reaction’ Reconsidered’.

3 For the weavers (ha'ikan and safed-baf) of Saharanpur and Thanesar as Gangohi's disciples, see Muhammad Akram ibn Shaikh Muhammad ‘Ali ibn Shaikh Ilah Bakhsh, Sawati' al-Anwar, British Library, India Office Library Ms, Ethé 654, fols. 370a and 385b.

4 Shaikh Badhan ibn Rukun alias Jaunpuri, Miyan Khan ibn Qiwam al-Mulk, Maktubat-i Quddusiya (Delhi: Matba' Ahmadi, 1287 AH./1870), p. 45.

5 Firishta, Muhammad Qasim, Tarikh-i Firishta, Vol. I (Puna: Dar al-Imarah, 1247 AH/1832), p. 344; Urdu transl. ‘Abdul Hay Khwaja (Deoband: Maktaba-i Millat, 1983), p. 552.

6 Rukn al-Din, Shaikh, Lata'if-i Quddusi (Delhi: Matba' Mujtaba'i, 1311 AH/1894), p. 64.

7 Lata'if-i Quddusi, pp. 79–80. For an English translation, see Simon Digby, ‘Dreams and reminiscences of Dattu Sarvani, a sixteenth century Indo-Afghan soldier’, (in 2 Parts), in The Indian Economic and Social History Review, Vol. 2, (1965), pp. 71–2. My translation of some of the words and phrases is different.

8 Lata'if-i Quddusi, p. 83; Digby, ‘Dreams and reminiscences’, pp. 180–81.

9 Compare Digby, ‘Dreams and Reminiscences’, p. 80n.

10 Maktubat-i Quddusiya, pp. 224–25 and 335–39.

11 Simon Digby, ‘Abd al-Quddus Gangohi (1456–1537 A.D.): The personality and attitudes of a Medieval Indian Sufi’ in Medieval India—A Miscellany, Vol. 3, pp. 1–66, in particular pp. 34–66; Rizvi, S.A.A., A History of Sufism in India, Vol. I (Delhi: Munshiram Manoharlal, 2003 reprint), pp. 339–49.

12 Digby, ‘Abd al-Quddus Gangohi’; see also Iqtidar Alam Khan, ‘Shaikh Abdul Quddus Gangohi's relations with political authorities: A reapparaisal’ in Medieval India: A Miscellany, Vol. 4, pp.73–90.

13 Babur however did pay homage to the tombs of Qutb al-Din Bakhtiyar Kaki and Nizam al-Din Auliya in Delhi. Compare Khan, Zain, Tabaqat-i Baburi, trans. Askari, Syed Hasan (Delhi: Idarah-i Adabiyat-i Dilli, 1982), p. 92; Dale, Stephen F., The Garden of the Eight Paradises: Babur and the Culture of Empire in Central Asia, Afghanistan and India, 1483–1530 (Leiden: Brill, 2004), pp. 199 and 331. Babur also visited the shrines of some other saints, like the one of Shaikh Sharf al-Din Yahya Maneri in Bihar (Dale, p. 444). Yahya was however a Firdausi Suhrawardi and not a Chishti saint, as Dale suggests. For his life see Rizvi, S.A.A., A History of Sufism in India (Delhi: Munshiram Manoharlal, 2003 reprint), Vol. 1, pp. 228–40.

14 Allami, Abu al-Fazl, A'in-i Akbari, ed. Khan, Sayyid Ahmad (Aligarh: Sir Syed Academy, Aligarh Muslim University, 2003 reprint), p. 214.

15 Compare ‘Abd al-Rahman Chishti, Mir'at al-Asrar, British Library, Ms. Or. 216, fol. 483; Muhammad Akram ibn Shaikh Muhammad ‘Ali ibn Shaikh Ilah Bakhsh, Sawati' al-Anwar, fol. 381a. For an analysis of Mir'at al-Asrar, see Lawrence, Bruce B., ‘An Indo-Persian Perspective on the Significance of Early Sufi Masters’, in Lewisohn, Leonard (ed.), Classical Persian Sufism from its Origins to Rumi (London: Khanqahi Nimatullahi Publications, 1993), pp. 1932; Lawrence, Bruce B. and Ernst, Carl W., Sufi Martyrs of Love: Chishti Sufism in South Asia and Beyond (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2002), pp. 5864. For ‘Abd al-Rahman Chishti see also Amin, Shahid, ‘On retelling the Muslim conquest of India’, in Chatterjee, Partha and Ghosh, Anjan (eds.), History and the Present (New Delhi: Permanent Black, 2002).

16 Algar, Hamid, ‘A brief history of the Naqshbandi order’ and ‘Political aspects of Naqshbandi history’, in Gaborieau, Marc, Popovic, Alexandre and Zarcone, Thierry (eds.), Naqshbandis: Historical Developments and Present Situation of a Muslim Mystical Order (Istanbul-Paris: Institut Français d'Etudes Anatoliennes d'Istanbul, 1990), pp. 344 and 123–52.

17 al-Din, Fakhral-Kashifi, ‘Ali ibn Husain Wa'iz, Rashhat ‘Ain al-Hayat, ed. Mu'iniyan, ‘Ali Asghar (Tehran: Bunyad-i Nikukari-i Nuriyani, 1977), pp. 516–69 for stories about Ahrar's relations with Sultans ‘Abd-Allah, Abu Sa'id, Mahmud and Babur, for instance.

18 Ibid., pp. 518–19.

19 Ibid., p. 295.

20 Ibid., p. 329. See also Jo-Ann Gross, ‘Multiple roles and perceptions of a Sufi Shaikh: Symbolic statements of political and religious authority’, in Gaborieau, Popovic and Zarcone (eds.), Naqshbandis, pp. 109–21.

21 Khwandamir, Habib al-Siyar (Tehran: Khayyam, 1352 Shamsi/1973), vol. 4, pp. 87 and 109.

22 I intend to maintain a distance here from the scholars who think that all through their history the Naqshbadi Sufis have been involved in one or the other sort of political activity. I have therefore emphasized the words ‘new’ and ‘different’. See also Algar, ‘Aspects of Naqshbandi history’, pp. 123–52, and Jo-Ann Gross, ‘Multiple roles of a Sufi Shaikh: Symbolic statements of political and religious authority’, in Gaborieau, Popovic and Zarcone (eds.), Naqshbandis, pp. 109–21.

23 Compare Chekhovich, O.D., Samarqand Documents (Moscow, 1974), pp. 67, 72, 125, 244 and 247; al-Kashifi, Rashhat, pp. 227, 228, 246 and 328. See also Gross, Jo-Ann, ‘Economic status of a Timurid Sufi Shaikh: A matter of conflict or perception’ in Iranian Studies, vol. 21 (1988), pp. 84104. For Ahrar's estates in Kabul see also, Dale, Stephen F. and Payind, Alam, ‘The Ahrari Waqf in Kabul in the Year 1546 and the Mughul Naqshbandiyyah’ in Journal of the American Oriental Society, vol. 119, No. 2 (1999), pp. 218–33.

24 Cf. Paul, Jürgen, ‘Forming a faction: The Himayat System of Khwaja Ahrar’ in International Journal of Middle Eastern Studies, Vol. 23 (1991), pp. 533–48.

25 Babur, Zahir al-Din Muhammad, Baburnama, English translation by Beveridge, A.S. (Delhi: Oriental Reprints, 1970), pp. 33. Also see Wheeler M. Thackston's translation, (New York: Modern Library, 2002), p. 53; al-Kashifi, Rashahat, p. 531.

26 Baburnama, Beveridge trans., pp. 33 and 34; Thackston's trans., pp. 53–54.

27 Ibid., Beveridge trans., p. 15; Thackston trans., p. 41.

28 Allami, Abu al-Fazl, Akbarnama, Vol. I, ed. ‘Ali, Agha Ahmad and Rahim, ‘Abdur (Calcutta: Asiatic Society, 1877), p.84, English trans. H. Beveridge, (Delhi: Low Price Publications, 2002 reprint), p. 219. See also Baburnama, Beveridge trans., p. 15, Thackston trans., p. 9.

29 Rizvi, S.A.A., A History of Sufism in India (Delhi: Munshram Manoharlal, 2002 reprint), vol. II, p. 177. Rizvi cites Samarqand Documents and a Tashkent Ms. of a tazkira of Ahrar, Maqamat-i Khwaja Ahrar.

30 A History of the Moghuls of Central Asia Being the The Tarihk-i Rashidi of Mirza Haidar Dughlat, E. Denison Ross, English trans. (London: Curzon Press, New York: Barnes and Noble, 1972 reprint), p. 173.

31 Akbarnama, Vol. I, p. 87, English trans., p. 225.

32 Baburnama, Beveridge trans., pp. 89–90, Thackstone trans., p.65.

33 Ibid., Beveridge trans., p. 132; Thackston trans., p. 98–99.

34 Ibid., Beveridge trans., p. 41, Thackstone trans., p. 28.

35 Ibid., Beveridge trans., p. 124, Thackston trans., p. 93.

36 Ibid., Beveridge trans., pp. 61–3, Thackston trans., p. 45.

37 Ibid., Beveridge trans., pp. 61–3, Thackston trans., p. 45.

38 Ibid., Beveridge trans., p. 128, Thackston trans., p. 96.

39 Isfahani, Fazl-Allah ibn Ruzbihani, Mihman-nama-i Bukhara, ed. Satudeh, Manuchehr (Tehran: Bungah-i Tarjuma wa Nashr-i Kitab, 1341Shamsi/1962), pp. 43 and 61. See also Scimmel, Annemarie, ‘Some notes on the cultural activity of the first Uzbek rulers’ in Journal of Pakistan Historical Society, Vol. 8, No.3 (1960), pp. 149–66. Ghijduwani was separated by five links in the silsila before its crystallization under the auspices of Baha al-Din Naqshband.

40 Algar, ‘A brief history of the Naqshbandi order’, in Gaborieau, Popovic and Zarcone (eds.), Naqshbandis, pp. 15–6.

41 See Fazl-Allah ibn Ruzbihani Isfahani, Suluk al-Muluk, British Library, London Ms. Or. 253, Preface, fol. 3a. Isfahani writes that with Babur's help, heresy, which is to say Shi'ism, spread in Mawarannahr and that he, like the Iranian Shi'i leaders played a detestable role in bringing the mosques and other religious centres of the region beyond the river Jihun under the control of the heretic Shi'as. The region was thus afire with their mischief (fitna ). All this happened because he invited the red-capped Safavid qizilbash to come to his help in his fight against the Uzbeks to recover Samarqand and Bukhara. But for Ubaid-Allah Khan's gallant struggle (jihad), the rites and symbols of the true faith would have been completely routed in the region. See also the printed edition of this text by Muhammad ‘Ali Muvahhid (Tehran: Intisharat-i Khwarzimi, 1362 Shamsi/1983), p. 50. For an English translation of this work, see Aslam, Muhammad, Muslim Conduct of State (Islamabad: University of Islamabad Press, 1974), pp. 31–3.

42 Muhammad Sadiq, Tabaqat-i Shahjahani, British Library, India Office Library Ms., Ethé 705, fols. 192b-193a. Khwajagi Ahmad, a disciple of Maulana Muhammad Qazi, who was a disciple of Khwaja Ahrar, died in 949 A.H. He is buried in Dehbid.

43 Baburnama, trans. Beveridge, pp. 619–20, Thackston trans., p. 420; Dale, The Garden of the Eight Paradises, pp. 176–77.

44 Baburnama, trans. Beveridge, pp. 632 and 641–42, Thackston trans., pp. 426 and 432; Dale, The Garden of the Eight Paradises, pp. 427–28. Dale also mentions one unidentified Khwaja Chishti.

45 A History of the Moghuls of Central Asia, p. 398; Akbarnama, Vol. II, p. 194, English trans., p. 301.

46 A History of the Moghuls of Central Asia, p. 398; Khan, Samsam al-Daula Shahnawaz, Ma'asir al-Umara, Vol. II (Calcutta: Bibliotheca Indica, 1891), p. 575.

47 A History of the Moghuls of Central Asia, pp. 398–99. See also Persian text edited by Wheeler M. Thackston, (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1996), pp. 345–47.

48 Bada'uni, ‘Abd al-Qadir, Muntakhab al-Tawarikh, ed. by Ahmad, Kabiruddin, ‘Ali, Ahmad and Lees, W.N. (Calcutta: Bibliotheca Indica, 1869), Vol. III, pp. 45; Ma'asir al-Umara, Vol. II, pp. 575–76. Humayun remained close to Shaikh Muhammad Ghaus until he lost the empire to the Afghans and fled to Iran. The Shaikh then left for Gujarat. When Humayun regained power he returned to Delhi. The emperor, however, died soon afterwards and the saint was disappointed at his reception by Bairam Khan, the regent of the young emperor, Akbar. He then retired to Gwalior where he died in 970 AH. See also Nizami, K.A., ‘Shattari saints and their attitude towards the state’ in Medieval India Quarterly, Vol. 1, No. 2 (1950), pp. 5670.

49 A History of the Moghuls of Central Asia, pp. 399–400; Ma'asir al-Umara, II, 575. Ross's translation of the phrase ‘wa sargardan raft’ here is confusing. He adds the name of Maulana Muhammad in square brackets and translates the phrase as ‘[Maulana Muhammad] returned stupefied’.

50 Akbarnama, Vol. I, p. 253, English trans., pp. 493–94.

51 Muntakhab al-Tawarikh, Vol. II, p. 72. Commenting on Khwaja Hasan's absolute power some of the wits of the period used to say: If our Master be Master Hasan We shall have neither sack nor rope left. For his and other Naqshbandis position at Mirza Hakim's court in Kabul, see Sanjay Subrahmanyam, ‘A note on the Kabul kingdom under Muhammad Hakim Mirza (1554–85)’ in La Transmission du savoir dans le monde musulman périphérique, Lettre d'information, No. 14 (1994), pp. 89–101; Faruqui, Munis D., ‘The forgotten Prince: Mirza Hakim and the formation of the Mughal Empire in India’ in Journal of the Economic and Social History of the Orient, Vol. 48, No. 4 (2005), pp. 487523.

52 Muntakhab al-Tawarikh, Vol. III, p. 40; Ma'asir al-Umara, Vol. II, p. 379; Akbarnama, Vol. II, p. 127, English trans. p. 195.

53 Muntakhab, p. 40.

54 Akbarnama, English trans., Vol. II, p. 194–5, English trans., pp. 301–2; Ma'asir al-Umara, Vol. III, p. 234. Khwaja Mu'in had the monopoly of jade trade with China.

55 Akbarnama, Vol. II, p. 195, English trans., pp. 302–3; Ma'asir al-Umara, Vol. III, p. 234.

56 Akbarnama, Vol. II, p. 21, English trans., p. 37.

57 Akbarnama, Vol. II, p. 128, English trans., p. 197; Ma'asir al-Umara, Vol. III, pp. 234–35.

58 Akbarnama, Vol. II, p. 195, English trans., p. 303; Ma'asir al-Umara, Vol. III, pp. 235–36.

59 Bada'uni writes that he followed ‘many and various rules of life. For some time during the reigns of the Afghan emperors he used to keep company with Shaikh ‘Ala'i, and in the beginning of the Emperor's [Akbar's] reign, when the Naqshbandi order was held in a great esteem, he adapted himself to their rule, and for some time he was attached to the Hamadani Shaikhs, and at last when the Iraqis were in great favour at the Court he spoke as one of their religion’; Muntakhab al-Tawarikh, English trans. Vol. III, p. 74.

60 Akbarnama, Vol. II, p. 64, English trans., p. 97; Ma'asir al-Umara, Vol. I, p. 375.

61 Ma'asir al-Umara, Vol. II, p. 380.

62 Muntakhab al-Tawarikh, Vol. II, p. 267.

63 Ma'asir al-Umara, Vol. II, p. 381.

64 Muntakhab al-Tawarikh, Vol. II, p. 340–41. According to Bada'uni, Sultan Khwaja requested the Emperor at the time of his death to intern him in a grave with a special lamp and to fix a grill facing the sun so that the light thereof might obliterate his sins. He willed so to please the Emperor and because he was a follower of the new faith Din-i Ilahi in which light and the Sun had a special sacred place. The author of the Ma'asir al-Umara (Vol. II, pp. 381–2) dismisses this story as an instance of Bada'uni's bigotry.

65 Muntakhab al-Tawarikh, Vol. II, p. 171. Akbarnama, Vol. II, p. 195, English trans., p. 303 for Sharaf al-Din's revolt.

66 Muntakhab al-Tawarikh, Vol. II, p. 171. Badau'ni also reports that the Khwaja commanded immense respect among the rulers of Kabul and Central Asia. On his way to Samarqand when he arrived at Kabul ‘it happened that Mirza Shah Rukh had just taken the people of Kabul captive, and was returning with them to Badakhshan. By means of the intercession of the Khwaja nearly 10,000 persons obtained deliverance. . .’. Compare Muntakhab al-Tawarikh, Vol. III, p. 40.

67 Compare, for instance, Richards, John F., ‘The formulation of imperial authority under Akbar and Jahangir’, in Alam, Muzaffar and Subrahmanyam, Sanjay (eds.), The Mughal State, 1526–1750 (Delhi: Oxford University Press, 1998), pp. 126–67; Iqtidar Alam Khan, ‘The nobility under Akbar and the development of his religious policy, 1560—1580’ in Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society, 1968, Parts 1–2; Khan, I.A., The Political Biography of a Mughal Noble: Mun'im Khan Khan-i-Khanan, 1497–1575 (Delhi: Orient Longman, 1973), Introduction, pp. ixxx.

68 Compare The Letters of Khwaja ‘Ubayd Allah Ahrar and His Associates, Persian text (ed.), Asom Urunbaev, English translation with notes by Jo-Ann Gross, Introductory essays by Jo-Ann Gross and Asom Urunbaev (Leiden: Brill, 2002), pp. 114, 128, 143, 145, 146, 166 and 169, letters nos. 49 (50), 59 (62), 282 (286), 284 (288), 304 (308) and 306 (310). See also Jürgen Paul, ‘Forming a Faction’, pp. 540–41. Biganagan means strangers, foreigners, which in the context implied the customs and practices introduced and established by the Mongols.

69 Compare Parsa, Khwaja Muhammad, Qudsiyya (Kalimat-i Baha al-din Naqshbad), ed. Iraqi, Ahmad Taheri (Tehran: Kitabkhana-i Tahuri, 1356 Shamsi/1975), p. 61 (text), 51 (Introduction); Jami, ‘Abd al-Rahman, Tariqa-i Khwajagan, ed. Habibib, ‘Abd al-Hayy (Kabul: Intishrat-i Anjuman-i Jami, 1962), p. 89.

70 I.A. Khan, The Political Biography, Introduction.

71 Ma'asir al-Umara, Vol. II, pp. 584–5.

72 John F. Richards, ‘The Formulation of Imperial Authority’.

73 Compare David W. Damrel, ‘Forgotten grace: Khwaja Khawand Mahmud Naqshbandi in Central Asia and Mughal India’, Unpublished Ph.D. Dissertation, Department of Religon, Duke University, 1991, pp. 80–1. Damrel cites Haider, Mansura, ‘Agrarian system in Uzbek Khanates of Central Asia’, Turcica, Vol. 7, 1974, pp. 157–78, and Haider, ‘Urban classes in the Uzbek Khanates, XVI-XVII Centuries’ in Graciela de la Lama (ed.), Central Asia: Papers Presented at the 30th International Congress of Human Sciences in Asia and North Africa (Mexico City: El Colegio de Mexico, 1976); Foltz, Richard C., Mughal India and Central Asia (Karachi: Oxford University Press, 1998), pp. 97–9.

74 Compare Robert Barkley Shaw, ‘The History of Khwajas of Eastern Turkistan’ (ed. N. Elias) in Journal of the Asiatic Society of Bengal, Vol. 66, Part 1, (1899), and René Grousset, Empire of the Steppe, cited in Algar, ‘Political aspects of Naqshbandi history’, p. 128.

75 Cited in Algar ‘The Naqshbandi order: A preliminary survey of its history and significance’ in Studia Islamica, Vol. 44 (1976), pp. 123–52. Emphasis mine.

76 Subrahmanyam, ‘A note on the Kabul Kingdom’; Faruqui, ‘The Forgotten Prince’.

77 Digby, ‘The Sufi Shaykh and the Sultan: A conflict of claims to authority’ in Iran, Vol. 27 (1990), pp. 71–81; Kumar, Sunil, ‘Assertions of authority: A study of the discursive statements of two Sultans of Delhi’ in Alam, M., Delvoye, F.N. and Gaborieau, M. (eds.), The Making of Indo-Persian Culture: Indian and French Studies (Delhi: Manohar, 2000), pp. 3765.

78 For a discussion around this question, see Alam, Muzaffar, The Languages of Political Islam: India 1200–1800 (New Delhi: Permanent Black, 2004), pp. 81114.

79 Compare MirBilgrami, ‘Abd al-Wahid, Sab’ Sanabil, Urdu trans., Barakati, Muhammad Khalil (Bheondi, Maharashtra: Rizwi Kitabghar, 1981), pp. 330–1. Bilgrami wrote the treatise in Persian, of which the original is still unpublished, in 969AH/1562. Later in 974/1567 he compiled the better known, Haqa'iq-i Hindi, in which he gave Islamic meanings to the words and expressions explicitly ‘Hindu’.

80 Akbarnama, Vol. II, p. 154, English trans., p. 237; Currie, P.M., The Shrine and Cult of Mu'in al-Din of Ajmer (Delhi: Oxford University Press, 1989). p. 100; Nizami, K.A., Akbar and Religion (Delhi: Idarah-i-Adabiyat-i-Dilli, 1989), p. 104.

81 Richards, ‘Formulation of Imperial Authority’; Currie, The Shrine and Cult of Mu'in al-Din, pp. 99–102 and 152–4; Nizami, Akbar and Religion, pp. 104–5, 111 and 117.

82 Muhammad Akram ibn Shaikh Muhammad ‘Ali ibn Shaikh Ilah Bakhsh, Sawati' al-Anwar, British Library, India Office Ms. Ethé 652 (I.O. Islamic 2705), fols. 389b-390b; ‘Abd al-Rahman Chishti, Mir'at al-Asrar, British Library, Ms. Or. 216.

83 Akbarnama, Vol. II, p. 195, English trans., p. 303.

84Guyand Jannat Ashyani ba barkhi az kar agahan bezaviya-i u dar shudi va anjuman-i agahi garmi pizirafti’. Abu al-Fazl generally seems to be very meticulous in his choice of words to indicate the evidence and degree of authenticity of what he describes. While describing a person's descent and family line, for instance, if he is certain about it he prefers the simple, ‘ast’ or ‘and’, that is to say: is or are. In cases for which he wants to remain non-committal, he would use expression like ‘khud ra az (. . .) nazhad bar shamurd’, i.e. ‘he counted himself Saiyid-born’. Cf. Ain-i Akbari, pp. 211 and 214, for example.

85 Compare Digby, ‘Shaikh Abd al-Quddus Gangohi’.

86 Mir'at al-Asrar, fol. 427; Sawati' al-Anwar, fol. 381a.

87 Muhammad Sadiq Isfahani, Tabaqat-i Shahjahani, British Library, India Office Ms., Ethé 705, fol. 195b.

88 ShakhDehlavi, ‘Abd al-Haqq, Akhbar al-Akhyar (Deoband: Kutubkhana Rahimiya, n.d.), pp. 227–30.

89 Mutakhab al-Tawarikh, Vol. II, pp. 272–3.

90 Akbarnama, Vol. II, p. 324, English trans., p. 477. This incident, characterized by Nizami as sycophancy (Akbar and Religion, p. 104), could also be taken as an illustration of how Akbar gradually grew antithetical to Sufism. For a discussion around this dimension of Akbar's politics, see Lawrence, Bruce, ‘Veiled Opposition to Sufis in Muslim Asia’ in de Jong, Frederick and Radke, Bernd (eds.), Islamic Mysticism Contested: Thirteen Centuries of Controversies and Polemics (Leiden: Brill, 1999), pp. 436–51.

91 Mir'at al-Asrar, fol. 236a; Sawati' al-Anwar, fol. 389b.

92 S.A.A. Rizvi, A History of Sufism, Vol. II, pp. 181–5. For a comprehensive discussion of Khawand Mahmud's career, see David W. Damrel, ‘Forgotten grace: Khwaja Khawand Mahmud Naqshbandi in Central Asia and Mughal India’, Ph.D. Dissertation, Department of Religion, Duke University, 1991. See also Ahmad, Shamsuddin, Hazrat Khwaja Naqshband aur Tariqat-i Naqshbandiya (in Urdu) (Srinagar: Gulshan Publishers, 2001), pp. 358407.

93 Rizvi, A History of Sufism, Vol. II, pp. 185–93; Rizvi, ‘Sixteenth century Naqshbandiyya leadership in India’, in Gaborieau, Popovic and Zarcone, Naqshbandis, pp. 153–65.

94 Rizvi, A History of Sufism, Vol. II, pp. 195–263 and 336–8.

95 Baqi-Billah, Khwaja Muhammad, Kulliyat-i Baqi-Billah, ed. Faruqi, Abul Hasan Zaid and Faruqi, Burhan Ahmad (Lahore: Din Muhammad and Sons, n.d).

96 Kulliyat-i Baqi-Billah, Section Malfuzat, pp. 31–2.

97 Kulliyat-i Baqi-Billah, Section Malfuzat, p. 35.

98 Kulliyat-i Baqi-Billah, Section Ruq'at, p. 77.

99 Kulliyat-i Baqi-Billah, Section Ruq'at, p. 123.

100 Kulliyat-i Baqi-Billah, Section Ruq'at, p. 118.

101 Algar, ‘A brief history’, and J.G.J. ter Haar, ‘The Naqshbandi tradition in the eyes of Ahmad Sirhindi’, in Gaborieau, Popovic and Zarcone (eds.), Naqshbandis, pp. 21 and 89–90 for references to the wahdat al-wujudi leanings of Khwaja Baha al-Din Naqshband's disciple, Khwaja Muhammad Parsa, Ubaid-Allah Ahrar and his disciple, ‘Abd al-Rahman Jami (d. 1492). The majority of Jami's writings involve either commentaries on Ibn al-'Arabi or elaborations in prose or poetry of his ideas of wujud. See for instance, Jami's Naqd al-Nusus fi Sharh Naqsh al-Fusus, ed. William C. Chittick (Tehran: Mu'asses Pazhohish-i Hikmat wa Falsafa-i Iran, 1991), Editor's Introduction. See also, Morris, James Winston, ‘Ibn ‘Arabi and His Intrepreters, Part II: Influences and Intrepretations’ in Journal of the American Oriental Society, Vol. 107, No. 1 (1987), pp. 101–19; Addas, Claude, The Quest for the Red Sulphur, The Life of Ibn ‘Arabi (Cambridge: The Islamic Text Society, 1993), p. 291.

102 Kulliyat-i Baqi-Billah, Section Malfuzat, pp. 42–3.

103 Kulliyat-i Baqi-Billah, Section Malfuzat, p. 25.

104 Kulliyat-i Baqi-Billah, Section Malfuzat, p. 36.

105 Kulliyat-i Baqi-Billah, Section Malfuzat, p. 29 and Section Ruq'at, p. 137.

106 Kulliyat-i Baqi-Billah, Section Ruq'at, p. 139.

107 Kulliyat-i Baqi-Billah, Section Ruq'at, pp. 122–3.

108 Kulliyat-i Baqi-Billah, Section Malfuzat, pp. 49–50.

109 Kulliyat-i Baqi-Billah, Section Malfuzat, pp. 130–1.

110 Kulliyat-i Baqi-Billah, Section Malfuzat pp. 91, 93, 98, 105, 107, 118, 120, 130, 133, 134 and 135.

111 Kulliyat-i Baqi-Billah, Section Malfuzat, p. 36.

In several ways in the course of conversations over the years, Simon Digby, J.G.J.ter Haar and Sanjay Subrahmanyam have helped me write this paper. Sanjay Subrahmanyam also made significant comments on an earlier draft. I have also benefited from the suggestions of Stephen Dale, Sunil Kumar and Munis Faruqui. Rajeev Kinra and Hajnalka Kovacs's help was valuable in rechecking some of the important references. I am thankful to them all.

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