Published online by Cambridge University Press: 19 May 2014
While Shiʿi Islam and its imperial expressions were known in the Deccan sultanates from the sixteenth century and expressed in court-sponsored production of theology, it was only in the eighteenth century that Shiʿi political theology emerged in North India in the new state of Awadh. In this paper, I argue that one can discern in the theology of Sayyid Dildar ʿAli Nasirabadi (d. 1820) a clear attempt at forging a new Shiʿi theological dispensation to bolster the state, based upon a tripartite attack on three rival approaches to faith and politics: Akhbarism, Sufism, and the Sunni rationalism of Farangi Mahall. A careful examination of these textual practices within the Awadhi context demonstrates one example of how Indian thinkers responded to the decline of Mughal power and articulated alternative epistemologies in vernacular contexts before the advent of the British Empire.
An original version of this paper was presented at a workshop at Royal Holloway, University of London, in September 2011 and I am grateful to Justin Jones for the invitation and discussion. I thank Francis Robinson and Saiyid Nizamuddin Ahmad for their comments on the written version. Another version was presented at the seminar of the South Asia Institute at the University of Texas at Austin in October 2013. I am grateful to Syed Akbar Hyder for the invitation and to Gail Minault, Kamran Ali, Azfar Moin and other participants for their valuable comments and discussion.
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6 Rizvi, Shāh Walī-Allāh, pp. 190–195.
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9 On Sayyid Ghulām Ḥusayn, see al-Lakhnawī, Nuzhat al-khawāṭir, p. 1053; on Mullā Ḥaydar ʿAlī, see Khayrābādī, Fażl-i Imām, ʿAmad-nāma, ed. Shahābī, Intiẓāmullāh (Karachi, 1956), pp. 2–3 Google Scholar, al-Lakhnawī, Nuzhat al-khawāṭir, p. 960, and Raḥmān ʿAlī, Taẕkira-yi ʿulamāʾ-yi Hind, pp. 54–55; on Mullā Bābullāh, see Khayrābādī, ʿAmad-nāma, p. 8. The latter two had been students of Mullā Ḥamdullāh.
10 On Tafażżul Ḥusayn Khān, see al-Lakhnawī, Nuzhat al-khawāṭir, p. 940; Rizvi, Shīʿīs in India, vol. II, pp. 227–230. ʿAbd ʿAlī, having spent fifteen years with Ḥāfiẓ Raḥmat Khān, fled and found another Rohilla patron in Rampur. See ʿAlī, Raḥmān, Tazkira-yi ʿulamāʾ-yi Hind (Lucknow, 1914), pp. 122–123 Google Scholar; al-Lakhnawī, Nuhzat al-khawāṭir, pp. 1021–1023; Farangī-Maḥallī, Mullā Valīullāh, al-Aghṣān al-arbaʿa li-l-shajara al-ṭayyība(Lucknow, 1881), pp. 121–126 Google Scholar; Anṣārī, Muftī Rażā, Bānī-yi dars-i niẓāmī (Lucknow, 1973), pp. 103–125 Google Scholar; Rizvi, Shāh ʿAbd al-ʿAzīz, p. 73; Hamilton, Charles, An Historical Relation of the Origin, Progress, and Final Dissolution of the Government of the Rohilla Afghans in the Northern Provinces of Hindostan (London, 1787), pp. 220–237 Google Scholar; Fayżbakhsh, Muḥammad, Farraḥbakhsh , tr. Hoey, William, Memoirs of Delhi and Faizabad, being a translation of the “Tārīkh Farrahbakhsh” of Muhammad Faiz-Bakhsh from the original Persian (Allahabad, 1888), vol. II, pp. 3–12 Google Scholar; Cole, Roots of North Indian Shiʿism, pp. 48–49; Barnett, North India between Empires, pp. 92–93; Āfrīdī, Dawr, Tārīkh-i rūhilkhand (Delhi, 1986), pp. 57–77 on the conflict between Shujāʿ al-Dawla and Ḥāfiẓ Raḥmat Khān and his consequent deathGoogle Scholar; cf. Rāmpūrī, Muḥammad Najm al-Ghanī Khān, Tārīkh-i Awadh (Lucknow, 1976), pp. 314–331 Google Scholar; Kākorvī, Tavārīkh-i mulk-i Awadh musammā bih Muraqqaʿ-yi Khusravī, p. 68; Niẓāmī, Muṣṭafā Ḥusayn, Tārīkh-i Rūhilkhand 1707 tā 1775: Gul-i raḥmat ka taqābulī jāʾiza (Lucknow, 1986), pp. 105–111 Google Scholar.
11 Iṣfahānī, Abū Ṭālib, Tafżīḥ al-ghāfilīn [History of Asafu’d Daulah Nawab Wazir of Oudh], tr. Hoey, William, (Allahabad, 1885), p. 3 Google Scholar; Fisher, A Clash of Cultures, pp. 66–67; Qureshi, Hamid A., The Mughals, The English, and the Rulers of Awadh from 1722 to 1856 (Lucknow, 2003), pp. 83, 124–128Google Scholar.
12 Anon., Āʾīna-yi ḥaqq-numā, fol. 47; Kintūrī, Shudhūr al-ʿiqyān, vol. I, fol. 136r; Ardistānī, al-Ḥisn al-matīn, vol. I, pp. 91–92.
13 Anon., Āʾīna-yi ḥaqq-numā, fols. 51v–56v.
14 Fisher, A Clash of Cultures, p. 77; Qureshi, The Rulers of Awadh, p. 253.
15 Fisher, A Clash of Cultures, pp. 136–138.
16 Anon., Āʾīna-yi ḥaqq-numā, fols. 65–67; Cole, The Roots of North Indian Shiʿism, pp. 179–180.
18 Anon., Āʾīna-yi ḥaqq-numā, fol. 67v; Rizvi, Shīʿīs in India, vol. II, p. 131; Cole, The Roots of North Indian Shiʿism, p. 129.
20 Rizvi, Shīʿīs in India, vol. II, pp. 139–146; Jaʿfar Ḥusayn, Qadīm lakhnaw, pp. 231–236.
21 On the Madrasa-yi Sulṭānīya, see Chawdhurī, Fāżil Nabīl, “Sulṭānīya”, Khāndān-i Ijtihād (Lucknow) X (October 2008), pp. 8–28 Google Scholar. Shūshtarī's Awrāq al-dhahab (cited above in n. 6) is primarily a biography of Sulṭān al-ʿulamāʾ; cf. al-Lakhnawī, Nuzhat al-khawāṭir, pp. 1082–83; al-Kāẓimī, Aḥsan al-wadīʿa, pp. 52–56. On Sayyid Ḥusayn, see al-Lakhnawī, Nuzhat al-khawāṭir, p. 954; al-Kāẓimī, Aḥsan al-wadīʿa, pp. 56–58.
23 ʿAlī Fāżil, “Hiba-nāma va vaṣīyat-nāma-yi Sayyid Dildār ʿAlī”, Kitāb-i Shīʿa I, 2 (1389 Sh/2010), pp. 153–154.
24 Umar, Urban Culture in Northern India, pp. 7–9.
27 Āzād, Āb-e ḥayāt, pp. 419–428; Sadiq, Urdu Literature, pp. 145–163; Hyder, Syed Akbar, Reliving Karbala: Martyrdom in South Asian Memory (New York, 2006), pp. 30–40 Google Scholar; Zaidī, ʿAlī Jawād, A History of Urdu Literature (New Delhi, 1993), pp. 159–169 Google Scholar; idem, Mir Anis (New Delhi, 1986); Naqvī, Hilāl, Bīsvīñ ṣadī awr jadīd marsiya (London/Karachi, 1994), pp. 33–90 Google Scholar.
32 Sayyid Dildār ʿAlī, Asās al-uṣūl, pp. 4–6.
35 Sayyid Dildār ʿAlī, Asās al-uṣūl, pp. 162–190.
36 Sayyid Dildār ʿAlī, al-Shihāb al-thāqib (MS British Library, Delhi Arabic 909), fol. 2v–3r.
38 Jaʿfarīyān, Rasūl, Siyāsat va farhang-i rūzgār-i ṣafavī (Tehran, 1388 Sh/2009), pp. 678–680, 797–805Google Scholar. For Qummī's texts, I have consulted the following manuscripts: al-Fawāʾid al-dīnīya (MS Tehran Majlis-i Shūrā 3479), and Ḥikmat al-ʿārifīn (MS Tehran Majlis-i Shūrā 4013).
39 On the music and dancing theme, see Jaʿfarīyān, Siyāsat va farhang-i rūzgār-i ṣafavī, pp. 931–955.
40 For an excellent study of Sufism and anti-Sufism in the Safavid period that provides the background for these Indian discussions, see Ata Anzali, Safavid Shiʿism, the Eclipse of Sufism, and the Emergence of ʿIrfān (unpublished PhD dissertation, Rice University, 2012).
41 Rizvi, Saiyid Athar Abbas, A History of Sufism in India (Delhi, 1992)Google Scholar, vol. II, pp. 36ff; Vassie, Roderic, “ʿAbd al-Raḥmān Chishtī and the Bhagavadgita”, in The Heritage of Sufism II, (ed.) Lewisohn, L. (Oxford, 1999), pp. 367–378 Google Scholar; Chittick, William, “Notes on Ibn ʿArabī's influence in the subcontinent”, Muslim World, LXXXII (1992), pp. 218–241 Google Scholar; Lipton, G.A., Muḥibb Allāh Ilāhābādī's The Equivalence between Giving and Receiving: Avicennan Neoplatonism and the School of Ibn ʿArabī in South Asia (unpublished MA dissertation, University of North Carolina, 2007)Google Scholar.
43 Rizvi, Shāh Walī-Allāh, pp. 256–277.
44 Muḥammad ʿAlī Bihbahānī, Risāla-yi khayrātīya dar ibṭāl-i ṭarīqa-yi ṣūfīya, (ed.) Mahdī Rajāʾī (Qum, 1371 Sh/1992).
57 Shāh ʿAbd al-ʿAzīz, Tuḥfa-yi isnāʿasharīya, pp. 5–62; Rizvi, Shāh ʿAbd al-ʿAzīz, pp. 261–269. For a famous Shiʿi polemic claiming Ibn Sabāʾ was merely a legendary figure, see Murtaḍā, Sayyid, ʿAbdullāh bin Sabāʾ (Najaf, 1956)Google Scholar; for a recent scholarly assessment, debunking the black myth but arguing for the historicity of the figure, see Anthony, Sean, The Caliph and the Heretic: Ibn Sabāʾ and the Origins of Shiʿism (Leiden, 2011)Google Scholar.
58 Shāh ʿAbd al-ʿAzīz, Tūhfa-yi isnāʿasharīya, pp. 62–199; Rizvi, Shāh ʿAbd al-ʿAzīz, pp. 269–280.
59 Shāh ʿAbd al-ʿAzīz, Tuḥfa-yi isnāʿasharīya, pp. 199–231; Rizvi, Shāh ʿAbd al-ʿAzīz, pp. 280–282.
60 Shāh ʿAbd al-ʿAzīz, Tuḥfa-yi isnāʿasharīya, pp. 231–276; Rizvi, Shāh ʿAbd al-ʿAzīz, pp. 282–286.
61 Shāh ʿAbd al-ʿAzīz, Tuḥfa-yi isnāʿasharīya, pp. 276–314; Rizvi, Shāh ʿAbd al-ʿAzīz, pp. 286–290.
62 Shāh ʿAbd al-ʿAzīz, Tuḥfyi isnāʿasharīya, pp. 314–348; Rizvi, Shāh ʿAbd al-ʿAzīz, pp. 290–293.
63 Shāh ʿAbd al-ʿAzīz, Tuḥfa-yi isnāʿasharīya, pp. 348–473; Rizvi, Shāh ʿAbd al-ʿAzīz, pp. 293–304.
64 Shāh ʿAbd al-ʿAzīz, Tuḥfa-yi isnāʿasharīya, pp. 473–493; Rizvi, Shāh ʿAbd al-ʿAzīz, p. 304.
65 Shāh ʿAbd al-ʿAzīz, Tuḥfa-yi isnāʿasharīya, pp. 493–529; Rizvi, Shāh ʿAbd al-ʿAzīz, pp. 304–305.
66 Shāh ʿAbd al-ʿAzīz, Tuḥfa-yi isnāʿasharīya, pp. 529–699; Rizvi, Shāh ʿAbd al-ʿAzīz, pp. 305–337.
67 Shāh ʿAbd al-ʿAzīz, Tuḥfa-yi isnāʿasharīya, pp. 699–779; Rizvi, Shāh ʿAbd al-ʿAzīz, pp. 337–352.
68 Shāh ʿAbd al-ʿAzīz, Tuḥfa-yi isnāʿasharīya, pp. 779–810; Rizvi, Shāh ʿAbd al-ʿAzīz, pp. 352–355.
69 Ibid., pp. 356–470. The most extensive refutation of the Tuḥfa was Nuzhat-i isnāʿasharīya by Ḥakīm Mīrzā Muḥammad Kāmil Kashmīrī (d. 1235/1819–1820), known as the Fourth Martyr (shahīd-i rābiʿ) – see Kashmīrī, Mīrzā Muḥammad Mahdī, Takmila-yi Nujūm al-samāʾ (Qum, 1978), vol. II, p. 422 Google Scholar; Rizvi, Saiyid Athar Abbas, A Socio-intellectual History of the Isnāʿasharī Shīʿīs in India (Canberra, 1986), vol. II, pp. 96–97 Google Scholar.
71 Sayyid Dildār ʿAlī, Ṣawārim-i ilāhīyāt, pp. 237–241; idem, Ḥusām al-Islām (Calcutta, 1218/1804), p. 405; cf. Rizvi, Shāh ʿAbd al-ʿAzīz, p. 391.
72 Sayyid Dildār ʿAlī, Ṣawārim-i ilāhīyāt, p. 97; idem, Ḥusām al-islām, pp. 11–14.
73 Cole, The Roots of North Indian Shiʿism, pp. 204–209.
74 Ibid., pp. 163–165; cf. al-Lakhnawī, Nuzhat al-khawāṭir, p. 1085. Akhbārī's work is called Maʿāwil al-ʿuqūl li-qilaʿ Asās al-uṣūl [Intellectual arguments to destroy the foundations of jurisprudence] and mentioned in the famous bio-bibliography of Shiʿi texts, al-Dharīʿa ilā taṣānīf al-shīʿa of Āqā Buzurg Ṭihrānī (Volume 2, no.7). Some of Dildār ʿAlī's students responded with works such as Muṭāriq al-ḥaqq wa-l-yaqīn li-kasr muʿāwil al-shayāṭīn [Pathways of truth and certainty destroying the satanic arguments].
75 Anon., al-Radd al-qaṣī ʿalā Dildār ʿAlī, (MS British Library, Delhi Arabic 967), fol. 294v–298r. Further examination of this text alongside the Akhbārī text of Maʿāwil al-ʿuqul may prove them to be the same.
77 ʿAlī Akbar b. Mīrzā Asad al-Dīn Sirāj al-Ḥaqq Mawdūdī, al-Fawāʾid al-Mawdūdīya, MS British Library Delhi Persian 953, fol. 92v–131v.
78 Anon., Radd-i Shihāb-i thāqib, MS British Library Delhi Persian 1190, fol. 171v–172r.
82 This text, of which only the initial volume appeared, was originally lithographed and published by the Nāṣirī Press in Jaunpur in 1913. A new typeset edition is being prepared by Mahdī Khāja-pīrī and will be published by the Iran Cultural Centre in New Delhi with an introduction by Akbar Subūt. On Nawnehravī, see Nawgānvī, Taẕkira-yi Bē bahā, p. 381.