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Thursday, April 2, 2015

Jodha Akbar Shah-i-Iran Track Historical Update - The "Infallible" Daring Diplomatic MasterStroke of Akbar & Sheikh Mubarak | Part-2

Hi all,

This is the Part-2 post related to the present track of Zee TV's show Jodha Akbar - which is about the ruler of Iran who has sent his messengers to the court of Akbar. It is shown that the Iranian ruler asks Akbar to adhere to Islam. He says - "Jodha is a Hindu Queen and hence her son can not be declared the heir to the throne of Mughal Sultanate. This won't be acceptable to the Islamic orthodoxy". The messengers suggest Akbar to get Jodha converted to Islam. In short, it looked as if the Shah of Iran was dictating terms to Akbar.

I have already given the Part-1 update related to this track. That post was about the background of rivalry between the Mughals-Uzbeks-Safavids-Ottomans. This is the continuation of part-1 post. If anyone missed here is the Link:
Jodha Akbar Shah-i-Iran Historical Update - Old Rivalry.Ottomans, Safavids, Uzbeks, Mughals | Pt-1

The first part of this update was HARDCORE political history of 4 Asian rivals. And present post is HEAVILY loaded with various religious conflicts, which have been explained in between the post at regular places. It is possible that after one reading you might not understand the meaning but give it another try. I have given as much explanation as possible, because i want everyone to know about the remarkable thought process of Akbar for i simply love the thinking of this MAN. Hardly, any TV show today will DARE to show all the details of this track, especially in today's world where religious sentiments are very delicate. This post is a sincere attempt to present the crisis and delicate religious situation faced by Akbar. Till date, i have not discussed religious policies of Akbar on this blog because i wanted to be sure about what i write, as there are many conflicting theories on Akbar. This is the first time i am writing about Akbar's thought process on religion. Extreme care has been taken to be completely precise and careful in writing the details here.

Let's start with part-2 now...

We have seen in the previous post how following the break-up of the Timurid empire in the second half of the 15th century, three powerful empires-the Uzbek, the Safavid and the Ottoman-established themselves in Central Asia, Iran and Turkey. The Uzbeks were the natural enemies of the Mughals, having been responsible for the expulsion of Babur and the other Timurid princes from Samarqand and the adjoining area, including Khorasan. In short, Mughals were ousted from their native homeland by the Uzbeks.

At the same time, the Uzbeks clashed with the rising power of the Safavids who claimed Khorasan in Central Asia. It was, natural for the Safavids of Iran and the Mughals to ally against the Uzbek danger especially as there were no frontier disputes between them (with the exception of Kandhar). Infact, we saw Babur and Humayun got help from Safavids, even if the latter had to agree to some "implicit conditions(discussed below in this post)" of Safavids.

The most powerful empire in West Asia at the time was that of the Ottoman Turks. The Ottomans had overrun Asia Minor and Eastern Europe, and also conquered Syria, and Egypt and Arabia by 1529. They had received the title "Sultan of Rum" from the "shadowy" Caliph, The Egyptian Abbasids living at Cairo. So from, 1517 to 1924, Ottoman Caliphate was regarded as the head of Sunni Muslims in the World. They also assumed the title of Padshah-i-Islam.

The rise of a Shiite power in Iran made the Ottoman Sultans conscious of the danger to their eastern flank. The Ottoman threat from the west made the Persians think about friendship with the Mughals, particularly when they had to face an aggressive Uzbek power in the east along with Ottomans to their West. As we saw in earlier post, the Mughals refused to be drawn into a tripartite Ottoman, Mughal, Uzbek alliance against the Persians as it would have upset the Asian balance of power. There was a major reason for this -> If Safavids were extinguished, then it would later leave the Mughals alone to face the might of the Uzbeks in the East. Hence, the continuation of Safavid dynasty was in interest of Mughals to keep Uzbeks engaged with them also. As it was, the Mughals were wary of a closer relationship with Ottomans too, since they were not prepared to countenance the claim to superiority made by the Sunni Turkish Sultan as successor to the Caliph. These were some of the factors which were really worth thinking about.

Who is the Caliph ??

Till now, i have used the word Caliph in my post many times. Let me tell the importance of this term. In Islamic World, a Caliphate is a form of Islamic government led by a Caliph. Caliph is a person considered as political and religious successor to the Prophet Muhammad and a leader of the entire Muslim community. In Hindi, we call it Khilafat and Khalifa respectively.

Now, since the Muslim community had divided into two sects - Shias and Sunnis. Hence, the Sunni ruler of Ottoman Empire was regarded as the Caliph of the Muslim World. In precise terms, the Ottoman Sultan was "automatically" regarded as the head of ALL the Sunni Muslim Kingdoms of the Islamic World. All the Sunni Muslim kingdoms used to take a "deed of investiture" from him. It means the kingdom ruled "under the stamp" of the Caliph. The coins which were issued in these kingdoms normally had the mention of Caliphs. Mostly, the Delhi Sultanate rulers who ruled Delhi before the Mughals, used to take a deed of investiture from the
Caliph. This had it's own advantage also, because it provided a sort of "immunity" to these kingdoms from other Sunni kingdoms, at times.

On the other hand, the Shah of Iran was regarded as the Head of Shia community of Islamic World. Hence, both of them had their importance in Islamic world, within their sects.

The system can be seen similar to the Pope. Like, Pope is considered as the worldwide leader of all the Catholic churches. Same was the system here.

Problem of Akbar and his ancestors with the Shah of Iran

Now, Akbar was a ruler in Hindustan. Though, he was a Sunni, but his kingdom had both Shia and Sunni subjects. We saw, his father and grandfather took help of Shia rulers of Iran. But, this help came at some "dear costs" which are not well-known to many of us. I am mentioning them here.

In part-1 post we saw that Babur received help of Iranian generals for capturing Samarqand. But, he had to accept the 2 demands:
a. Accepting a "Shia-Taj",
b. Minting of coins in "Shia texts".

Above two acts automatically made Babur an avowed vassal of the Iranian rulers(Shias). It is clear, because the coins were also struck in Shia fashion, despite the fact Timurids were Sunnis. Babur remained loyal to Shah Ismail of Iran.

When Humayun lost his empire he was unwilling to move towards Persia. It was only after pressure of his followers and after Bairam Khan's welcome by the Shah of Iran, Humayun became ready to go to Iran. Bairam Khan did homage, probably willingly, to Shah Tahmasp, but Humayun was forced to accept the Shia Taj from the very hands of Shah Tahmasp of Iran. Bairam Khan who was also a Shia was treated EQUAL(!!) to Humayun by Shah Tahmasp. When Humayun sought shelter at the court of Shah Tahmasp, the Iranian monarch agreed to help him, provided he transferred Kandhar to Iran after its conquest from his half-brother, Kamran. Humayun had little choice but to agree. Bairam Khan was a favorite of Shah of Iran and when Kandhar was won by Mughals, Shah of Iran "appointed" Bairam Khan as the Amir of Kandhar. Humayun also changed of the title of his Sultanate to "Musnad-i-Emarat*", which reflected complete surrender to Iranian influence.! 

* Musnad - Sayings of Prophet(PBUH)
* Emarat - Building

In short, we saw how the Shah of Iran maintained his strong hold "subtly" in the background. They treated Babur and Humayun as vassals and interfered in the internal matters. Shah Tahmasp also captured Kandhar taking advantage of the confusion following Humayun's death. When Akbar ascended the throne in 1556, then also Shah Tahmasp of Iran sent a farman, according to which he condoled death of Humayun and "recognised" Akbar as the next ruler after Humayun. Hence, the practice which existed in the time of Babur and Humayun was continued here also. Iranian hegemony was again on display.  

Akbar was a minor that time, hence he could not do much. In 1560, Bairam Khan was removed from office. He was to go for Haj.  For the first time, instead of going through Gujarat route, Bairam moved northwards, probably towards Iran to ask for Iranian intervention, but he was defeated by forces of Akbar under Pir Mohammad. Then, he was given one more chance to go to Haj, this time he proceeded honestly for Haj, but he was assasinated by a Pathan on the way, due to some personal rivalry.

Shah of Iran sent another letter to Akbar in 1562, whose reason i am unable to dig till now. This letter was
NOT answered by Akbar. { I am still trying to find the reason of this letter, but a striking point which is noteworthy is that, the year 1562 also marks the beginning of matrimonial alliance of Akbar with the Rajputs of Hindustan. }

The Shah of Iran also sent 2 more letters in 1570's. In one of the letters, he had "recommended" Akbar to appoint an officer in his nobility. In short, what we see is continuous behaviour like a Big Brother from the Shah of Iran, despite having no hand in running the administration in Hindustan. The issue which started with Babur was carried forward in Akbar's reign also by the Shah of Iran.

The Age of Akbar : Thinking a way out

Akbar wanted to get himself freed from this hold. But, he was looking for an opportunity. Iran was going VERY STRONG under the rule of Shah Tahmasp of Iran. He died in 1576. And, this was a time, quite ripe for Akbar to get away from the hold of Iranians.

But, there was one problem for Akbar.

If he somehow, frees himself from the hold of Shah-i-Iran, then also he was STILL seen as a "deputy" of Ottoman Caliph. As a Muslim sovereign, Akbar had automatic relations with the
Caliph. The Caliph of Islam, as the Law demands, always claimed religious obedience from all the followers of the faith. As we read above, all the Sunni Muslim Kingdoms were  automatically seen as being under the suzerainty of Ottoman Caliph. Akbar wanted to do something, where he would be free from this "supervision" as well. Time was ripe for this as well in 1578, when the forces of Ottoman Empire failed in Georgia and the Turkish prestige in Europe was on decline, and their wazir was assasinated. 

Akbar conducting religious debates

The MasterStroke of Sheikh Mubarak : "Infallibility" Decree / Mazhar

The timing was perfect now. Because,

a. Enough had been seen from the side of Iranians, now there was no limits for further tolerance.
b. Ottoman Caliphs were also on a decline.
c. A
kbar wanted to contain the orthodoxy in Hindustan, as I mentioned in the God track also. {Hence, i called this Shah-i-Iran track as the extension of God Track, earlier.}

Akbar consulted his ministers. Father of Abu'l Fazl - Sheikh Mubarak came up with a novel idea. In the beginning of September 1579, Shaikh Mubarak produced a formal document in his own handwriting, drafted in such a way as to settle that the Emperor must be accepted as the "supreme arbiter" in all disputed cases, whether ecclesiastical or civil. We need not trouble about the technical discussions which raged round the interpretation of the legal terms, Mujtahid* and Imam-i- Adil.

* - Mujtahid is recognized as an Islamic scholar who is competent in interpreting sharia by "the utmost effort".

 It will suffice to say that Akbar was solemnly recognized as being superior in his capacity of Imam-i-Adil(the MOST Just) to any other interpreter (mujtahid) of Muslim law, and practically was invested with the attribute of infallibility,  in case of disputes in interpretation of Islamic law. This clause was added in order to gain hold over the orthodox elements. This document was signed by the Ulemas, some signed willingly and some signed it unwillingly. :-P

I mentioned about this part in the God Track Update also. See the Point no. 4 in that post.
Link: Jodha Akbar Historical Update | Akbar trying to be God ?

From one document, where Akbar assumed huge powers, he aimed to attack 3 authorities.
a. Orthodox elements in Hindustan
b. Ottoman Caliph
c. Shah-i-Iran

Following is the translation of that document, which is called Mazhar, but European historians call it Infallibility Decree ; as preserved in the text of Badayuni.

Note the words which i have turned bold below. They are important. They are the implicit clauses which gave Akbar enormous powers. Try to understand the hidden meaning.

"Whereas Hindostan is now become the centre of security and peace, and the land of justice and beneficence, a large number of people, especially learned men and lawyers, have immigrated and chosen this country for their home.

Now we, the principal Ulema, who are not only well-versed in the several departments of the Law and in the principles of jurisprudence, and well acquainted with the edicts which rest on reason or testimony, but are also known for our piety and honest intentions, have duly considered the deep meaning, first, of the verse of the Koran :-

" Obey God, and obey the Prophet, and obey those who have authority among you " ; and secondly, of the genuine tradition :-

" Surely the man who is dearest to God on the day of judgement is the Imam-i-adil ; whosoever obeys the Amir, obeys Thee ; and whosoever rebels against him, rebels against Thee "

" And thirdly, of several other proofs based on reasoning or testimony : and we have agreed that the rank of Sultan-i-adil is higher in the eyes of God than the rank of a Mujtahid.

' Further, we declare that the King of the Islam, Amir of the Faithful, Shadow of God in the world, Abul-fath Jalal-ud-din Muhammad Akbar, Padshah Ghazi (whose kingdom God perpetuate !), is a most just, a most wise, and a most God-fearing king.

{ I found the following part very cleverly drafted...}

'Should, therefore, in future a religious question come up, regarding which the opinions of the Mujtahids are at variance, and His Majesty, in his penetrating understanding and clear wisdom be inclined to adopt, for the benefit of the nation and as a political expedient, any of the conflicting opinions which exist on that point, and should issue a decree to that effect-

" We do hereby agree that such a decree shall be binding on us and on the whole nation.

" Further, we declare that should His Majesty think fit to issue a new order, we and the nation shall likewise be bound by it ; Provided always, that such order be not only in accordance with some verse of the Koran, but also of real benefit to the nation ; and further, that any opposition on the part of his subjects to such an order passed by His Majesty shall involve damnation in the world to come and loss of property and religious privileges in this.

" This document has been written with honest intentions, for the glory of God and the propagation of the Islam, and is signed by us, the principal Ulama and lawyers, in the month of Rajab in the year nine hundred and eighty-seven (987).

Now, i am telling what effect this document had on various authorities:

1. On the Ulemas in Hindustan:

Akbar assumed supreme powers, with the sanction of Ulemas, though some of the Ulemas were forced to sign this document. :-P Also, the document clearly made it known that any opposition to the "interpretation" of Akbar in case of dispute among the interpreters of Shariat shall be taken as valid, and the opposition shall amount to "damnation". 

This document was very cleverly drafted. In this document, Akbar identifies himself as the protector of Islam and calls himself Ghazi(slayer of infidels), but in actual means this was his policy of "balancing" the strong stance he took against the orthodoxy. So cleverly was this document drafted that many among the best of the scholars could not understand the hidden agenda and those who could understand were helpless, like Badayuni.!

That document assured to Akbar, so far as any written instrument could have such effect, the utmost power that any man could claim to exercise within the limits of Islam. The decree had no concern with any other religion. Although it purported to have been devised for the propagation of Islam, and to recognize the authority not only of the Koran, but of the genuine traditions of the Prophet, yet, as Badayuni laments, " the superiority of the intellect of the Imam(Akbar in this case) was established, and opposition was rendered impossible." Badayuni was right, as by this step, Akbar rendered impossible all opposition to any future developments of his religious policy.

In simple words, this decree gave Akbar a lot of freedom to take decisions rationally and NOT as per the established "words of law". According to Abu'l Fazl, Akbar rejected Taq'lid and adopted the path of Rah-i-Aql(rational reasoning).

* - Taq'lid literally means "to follow (someone)", "to imitate". In Islamic legal terminology it means to follow a mujtahid in religious laws and commandment as he has derived them. A mujtahid is a person who is an expert of Islamic jurisprudence, but we saw Akbar was placed above the mujahid also.!!!

This step was a great innovation and akin to "severe blasphemy" according to some scholars and according to some scholars this bold step was what separated Akbar from rest of the monarchs.!!

2. On the Shah-i-Iran and Ottoman Caliph:

This document as it is suggested, was intended to fix the position of Akbar in the Muslim World by eliminating him from the religious and political control of Persia, but without committing him to the allegiance of the Ottoman Caliph. It aimed, indeed, at pronouncing Akbar to be "Caliph of the age" (Khalifat-ul-zaman), and as such, it was a protest against the Ottoman pretensions. His renunciation of the Shia creed would have been sufficient to effect the rupture with Iran, but the simple acknowledgment of the Sunni creed would have brought him technically, at least, under the authority of the Ottoman Caliph - who was the acknowledged Caliph of the Prophet and Leader of the Faithful (amiru'l-muminin). 

Just like the title of Mariam-Uz-Zamani , which literally means "Mary of the Age" is for Harka Bai. Similarly, Khalifat-ul-zaman, which means "Caliph of the Age" is a title which Akbar took.!

So the Mughal Ulema simply placed Akbar above the "mujtahidin-the Shia Ulema of Persia" ; and therefore put him beyond Persian religious jurisdiction. Akbar was therefore declared, implicitly, to be the head of the Shia community. !!!

At the same time he was left free to assume the leadership of the Sunni, and that course was indicated by the use of the Caliph's title-Amiru'l-muminin - in the Persian text of this document. He assumed the title of "Khalifatu'l-zaman" or Khalifatu'llah, and thereby not only maintained Mughal independence of the Ottoman Sultan, but Akbar also challenged his right to have the title of Caliph.

It was somewhere during this time, that the issue of pilgrimage to Mecca also came up. Regarding difficulties faced by pilgrims to Mecca, Akbar pointed out that with the conquest of Gujarat, a new route had been opened. It is interesting to note that according to Badayuni, Akbar stopped the Haj pilgrimage for sometime as a part of his state policy.

In Mughal history written after 1579, the words Khalifa and Khilafat, is used not only with reference to Akbar personally, but also of his ancestors, and this title is used by Mughals as late as 1858. The word Khalifa is used even by the orthodox Sunni coutier Badyuni, but the most striking case is that of Abu'l Fazl himself in the Akbarnama. The word is used in 3 different senses by him, though distinction in some cases is difficult to define, and there is a tendency to confuse, which is probably intentional. :-P

First it is used in a sense closely approximating the orthodox Khalifatu'l Rasuli'llah, and coincides with the less orthodox form which was used by earlier Egyptian Abbasid Caliphs till 1517 of the form Khalifatu'llah. The view that Akbar ,was regarded as the
Caliph of the Faithful is supported by the use of the title amiru'l-muminin, in the mazhar itself, as one of Akbar's titles. The second sense seems to imply the Sufi idea of one directly inspired of God. The third sense is, that of the rightful heir of Caliph.  These ideas were summed up in the more general form Khalifatu'l -zaman, meaning the Caliph of the Age. 

The constant reiteration by Abu'l Fazl, cannot be without some motive, it was the anti-Ottoman propaganda to enable Akbar, when freed from Persian hegemony, to start forth as the Caliph of his age, thereby posing a DIRECT CHALLENGE to the Ottoman Caliphs, since Akbar assumed the same title which was RESERVED for Ottomans.!!! A daring 'adventure'.

We saw that the troubles in Persia rendered any year after 1576 safe for the final step, as far as any danger of Persian interference was concerned. But an open renunciation of the Shia faith would have disturbed Akbar's Shia subjects, so it was advisable to "disguise" the renunciation of Persian allegiance, and this was done very cleverly and carefully in the document which could be "offensive only to those who realized its implications". :-P

It is significant that the mazhar of 1579 contains no single clause which an orthodox Shia could not accept.

The Mughal Ulema, regarding the relative positions of a just king (sultan-i-adil) and the mujtahidin (the guardians of the Faith and Traditions), opined that a just leader (Imam-i-'adil) was superior in standing to all, including the mujtahidin, and must be obeyed. The document of 1579 said Akbar was THE MOST JUST (a'dal). The consequence was clear. He was renouncing the Iranian hold. Even among JUSTS' , Akbar was given the status of THE MOST JUST.!!

The mazhar is concerned with authority, not with doctrine. So Akbar was placed above the mujtahidin, freed from the religious and political control of Persia, and placed in the position of Caliph - which was a direct challenge to the Ottoman pretensions to the leadership of the Faithful. The mazhar document has NO CONNECTION with the Din-e-Illahi..

Iranians and Ottomans:  
Iran never recognized this act of independence and resisted it diplomatically and occasionally by arms, but it was not until 1853 that the last Mughal ruler Bahadur Shah II, as a last resort, reversed the step of Akbar by a secret avowal of allegiance to Persia and the Shia faith. {Not going into details here.}

The consequences of the Turkish attitude, however, were even more lasting. The 'tussle' lasted for as long as there was a Mughal Badshah ruling over Delhi. Since, Akbar had taken the title of Caliph, hence Sunni Muslim opinion in India tended to remain indifferent to the fate of the Ottoman Caliph, till the rule of Mughals. But, when Bahadur Shah II was, consequently, driven first into the arms of Persia in 1853, and then from his throne after 1857, the Daru'l-Khilafat was empty, so the Indian Sunni was agained forced to look to Turkey/Ottomans. You all might be knowing that the Indians Sunnis started the Khilafat Movement under Ali brothers along with Mahatama Gandhi's Non-Cooperation Movement, after the Ist World War, when Britain abolished the Turkish Caliphate. Had a Mughal Ruler been ruling, the situation could have been different.!!

Folks, note that with this SINGLE document of 1579, Akbar laid a path which his dynasty followed till it's end in Hindustan till 1858, for the next 300 years. Religion was very powerful factor those days, and Akbar had that HEART to counter every such force. From one document , he achieved 3 objectives. This document framed by the father of Abu'l Fazl was a remarkbale piece of work, which separated the Mughal dominions from the Ottoman jurisdiction, as well as the hold of Iranians..

About the Show Jodha Akbar: 
I tried to dig as much as possible and whatever info was obtained has been written here. I have tried to give best explanation and to OPEN the thought process of Akbar and Sheikh Mubarak before you. I think along with the powerful stand taken by Akbar, he was also lucky to have such brilliant Sufi intellectuals who were present with him. He had the political muscle and the support of many generals and this also assisted him in taking such daring experiments. It is not a small act to LAY CLAIM to the title of Ottoman Sultan and throw the authority of Iranian ruler who had maintained his hold over the Mughal house since the times of his grandfather. It was simply akin to playing with fire.!! 

Akbar could not completely cut off his relations with the Iranians or afford to see their destruction because of the lurking danger of the Uzbeks. As mentioned before, Akbar could not hold allegiance to any one empire or be openly hostile to anyone either. He wanted to remain PERFECTLY INDEPENDENT. He needed a way to address all these concerns and Sheikh Mubarak, the father of Abu'l Fazl, came up with the BRILLIANT IDEA of the mazhar. Isn't this awesome?

The present track of Jodha Akbar is a track where it is shown that the Shah of Iran is again interefering in the internal religious matters of the Mughal Sultanate. This is CV's method of showing the final nail in coffin, after which Akbar will simply thrash the Iranian hold on his Empire. By the way, i am still curious about the letter which was sent by Shah-i-Iran in 1562 which was NOT answered by Akbar, as i wrote in my post initially.!! This track has a LOT of potential to show the political and religious issues which Akbar faced before issuing the document of 1579. It would be nice to see the involvement of Sheikh Mubarak, the father of Abu'l Fazl in this.

Here ends the part-2 update of this track. Hope you all enjoyed reading this.
This article has been posted under the Mughals section of history_geek's blog.

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  1. Abhay,

    This post - the first time I have ever read your views on the Infallibility Decree - is outstanding for the depth of coverage of the complex Islamic religio-political world in the most simple manner possible.

    You once told me you had been reading about Akbar's views on religion for the last 2 years and this post clearly reflects that research and understanding. No words to describe your efforts and hard work. Simply terrific.!!

    Regarding my views, I have read the post but would like to read it a few more times before I say anything. For one, it is a complex subject and two, it is a delicate topic. I wish to be absolutely sure of every word I write on this.

    Thanks a ton for this post!

  2. ABhay, once again thank you very much and appreciate all your hard work in putting together this document and sharing with all of us. If not for you I would never have come across to read this information. I have read it once but have to read a couple more times and will get back.

  3. Well said Sindhu di , I agree it completely :):)
    Abhay ,
    Tfs for this post , really ur hardwork n efforts to bring out a post on such delicate topic is most appreciable n deserves Applauses :):):)

  4. Thanks alot Abhay Like me many of my friends and viewers of Jodha Akbar are indebted to you a lot for the above details in the post given indetail. i understood it but how the cvs with less nr convince audience about Akbar's finding
    solution to the present problem and address the situation is really very exciting to watch. i doubt the intelligence of cvs whether they do it properly or not. i feel atleast in the last minute they refer your blog-this article and make changes if they have done anything wrong and rectify their faults. Hatsoff to you for you research and interest in sharing it with somany people like us. thanks once again

  5. Kembang TanjoengApril 2, 2015 at 5:46 PM

    Such a genious move by Akbar the master of diplomacy. Sheikh Mubarak was the pivotal point of all this. Akbar is certainly THE MAN as you have said. He was definetly a head of his time. We need a leader such as Akbar.

  6. Abhay, this particular article is the most well researched, brilliantly presented one of yours, that I have read so far. I salute your efforts and energy in putting together sensitive facts pertaining to religion and politics of that era. The information has been presented in a simple and straightforward manner that is easy to comprehend.

    I have always been in awe of Akbar's personality, but after learning that the Shehenshah chose the path of 'Rah-i-Aql, I respect him for his attitude, thinking and choice. Later on, it was this choice that enabled him to apply and justify his belief of religious freedom for non Islamists living under his rule.

    The compilation of the document in 1579 authorized Jallauddin Mohammad not only to break free off Persian/Iranian dominance but also exercise full religious authority over Hindustan. It is amazing that the principles laid out in this document were followed for the next three hundred years.

    I have read that Akbar had learning disabilities, however, he was a smart and shrewd Shehenshah who incorporated the teachings of his advisors to his advantage and was one the finest administrators of Hindustan.

    A sincere thank you for presenting an outstanding, educative article.

  7. Abhay, I not know, After reading this post,

    Tarrif Karu, mee uski jisnee tumhe Banya, Big smile

    I think, God also feels proud for you, He made a Good creation, Thanks to you & your Parents, Giving such a decent Values.
    about post i will write, later, But which depth is coming,;;;;;;;;;;;;;feeling Pearl are spreading this post. i not know, I should pick pearl or Run away,Lol, or i should feel, this post essence again again & read this again again.

  8. Charu, well said, you totally grass-up this, post, theme, thanks

  9. Abhay. My my! I must say this was one of the best posts I have read on the blog so far. It is so well presented, and your views on the decree were wonderful to read. :)

    Religion has always been an integral part of Hindustan, and Akbar dealt with this delicate situation in such a great manner. Akbar himself was a tactician, but was gifted with several others in his court who helped him clear all obstacles.

    The amount of research you have done, and to present it in such a simple manner for the lay man! Thanks you so much for all of this and thanks for making the JA watching experience even better with these articles. :D

    Please do Direct Message this to Dearest Manish. I would love to see this well presented on the show.

    Thanks for this Abhay. :)

  10. Thank you Ayushi :)

  11. radhika. i wnt 2 add 2 u words. wid 'tis post abhay took level of his writing 2 another level. simply brilliant n awestruck by his understanding. i m reading 'tis post again n again. ryt u r, sm1 cn only write lyk 'tis when he iz reading akbar 4 long tym wid dedication. abhay - this blog rockz n i m blessed 2 b part of 'tis blog. thnks dear 4 all info. thnks iz not a word vich does justice 2 ur efforts bt i hv no other word wid me.

  12. CHaru

    Well said!

    We had a discussion on Akbar's learning "disabilities" on Abhay's historical threads on IF a long time back. At that time, we found there was no proof to say he had learning disability. He was only illiterate but he had a sharp mind and an awesome memory. He could remember for a lifetime what he heard just once.!

  13. Mehak

    After reading this post, when I saw the episode of April 2, I was disappointed by the way Sheikh Mubarak was shown beseeching Akbar not to go against the Shah of Iran and the idea of standing up to the Shah came from Salim!!!

    There could not have been a worse NR than this.

    But I am still hoping like you that the CVs will do some course correction soon and show the actual unfolding of events leading to the declaration of the Mazhar by Akbar. I want to see Sheikh Mubarak emerge as a strong-minded individual with liberal thinking who has the daring and the ability to draft such a far-reaching document as the mazhar.

  14. Iqra

    Beautifully put :)

    But you have to write your views on the topic too - you would have greater understanding of what was involved and how tough it must have been for Akbar to take such a daring decision in those days. I really want to hear from you, so pls don't disappoint. :)

  15. Abhay

    Sharing observations from my reading:

    When Akbar returned to Agra after winning the Gujarat campaign, many notable persons came to offer felicitations to him and one of them was Sheikh Mubarak. He had earlier been hounded out of the Mughal sultanat for his liberal views, which were considered blasphemous by the ulema. But, by now, he had been able to reconcile with Akbar through the intervention of Mirza Aziz Koka.

    (In the mean time, Faizi also had won a place in Akbar's court by his literary attainments. Abul Fazl had been introduced to court in 1572. Both these navratnas were Sheikh Mubarak’s sons. Akbar was a lover of merit, and he did not fail to mark the literary attainments of the family.)

    Sheikh Mubarak made a significant speech expressing the hope that the Emperor might become the spiritual as well as a temporal leader of the people. It is said that from the very beginning, Akbar had a mind to combine 'the roles of the Caesar and the Pope into one'. (Abhay, your use of the Pope simile reminded me of this quote.) The speech of the much-persecuted Mubarak pleased Akbar, who pursued it silently for six years (1573-79) along with Mubarak and finally acted on it in 1579 by issuing the mazhar.

    Some people believe that the mazhar was dictated more by political reasons than religious and that Sheikh Mubarak’s welcome speech of 1573 had nothing to do with the declaration of the mazhar.

    Interestingly, the 1570s, especially after the conquest of Gujarat, saw a shake-up of the Mughal administration and an almost total reorganization. A very important part of the new system included the branding of horses, maintaining registers of royal soldiers under Amirs and Jagirdars and conversion of confiscated lands into Crown lands.

    As you mentioned elsewhere, the 1570s also saw the emergence of the shipping business and the opening up of the Gujarat route for Haj.

    It was a most crucial time for Akbar to establish himself as the final authority over everything that happened in his empire and to consolidate the empire that he had established after years of war, rebellions and struggle.

  16. History-geek,
    No words to applaud ur talent in explaining complx matter in simplest way possible.! We just enjoy reading. n go with the flow.! With the result, no qstn remains to be asked:). I really wonder the talent n brain of Sheik Mubarak, to hv formulated such a mazhar! As u said, the time was also most opportune fr Akbar.
    But still history-geek, I think we r forgetting one point here.Everything became o.k. because Akbar was a benevolent king. Instead, if he was a ruthless , cruel king, then this would amount to dictatorship,placing supreme power in one person who would do whatever he thought was right. Having said that, I completely agree n applaud the subtle way in which Akbar declared his independence. i am curious to know how this decree was used by other mughal emperors after Akbar?

  17. Abhay i sharing, which i read Ganga kee Dhara book,page no 105.

    Babur wants, in his salnat, Hindu, will live, Happy Life. or he wants to Ban,

    or Akbar is saying i became king, but which advicing i getting, i feeling wrong.
    i am listening again again, Babur -Nama;;;;;;;;where is written, Kingdom should be betterment for Awam. but betterment should be feel by Awam. i want, My realtionship, should astablish with Awam, But i feeling bound, (here he is feeling pressure,with BK also.) one line, is written, i not know i should write or not, so confuse.

    so i think, first indipendence is necessary.Then mind indipendence is necesssary
    or Mind indipendence kee liye, i needed, intelligent people. i very tired -up, listening talks, which has no meaning.

  18. Ayushi

    Yes, Babur ruled in 1526 that killing cows was banned in India. This is mentioned in the Baburnama also.


    The Mughal emperor Babar ruled in 1526 that killing cows was forbidden. In his Wasiyyat namd-i-majchfi (Persian: secret testament‎) to his son and successor, Humayun, dated First Jamadi-ul-Awwal 935 Hijri (11 January 1529), Babur wrote,

    The realm of Hindustan is full of diverse creeds. Praise be to God, the Righteous, the Glorious, the Highest, that He had granted unto you the Empire of it. It is but proper that you, with heart cleansed of all religious bigotry, should dispense justice according to the tenets of each community. And in particular refrain from the sacrifice of cow, for that way lies the conquest of the hearts of the people of Hindustan; and the subjects of the realm will, through royal favour, be devoted to you"

  19. Abhay and friends,

    I have been struck by Akbar's qualities and looked up his ancestry to find out whether his tolerance and liberalism was inherited or just his own persona. And was not really surprised to find that indeed he came from a line of great people who were drawn to mysticism and free-thinking in terms of religious leanings.

    I have made a separate post on this - link:

    Please do share your views on Akbar inheriting and then expanding on his religious tolerance. :)

  20. Abhay

    I was reading that in 1576-77, a question did arise on the legitimacy of Akbar's wives because he had more than 4 wives and of different faiths/communities.

    The present NR in the show is then within limits?!

    What do you feel? :)

  21. Geeta,
    Other Mughal rulers simply used this "decree" as it is. I mean, once Akbar had freed himself from the hold of the external forces, his successors found it quite easy to maintain that position. :)

  22. It is true. Islam permits 4 legal wives, hence this happened. Quite possible CV's might be employing this. :)

  23. Was Jodha third wife or as some claim fifth one?

  24. She is called 3rd "legal wife" Geeta. Though Akbar married 4 ladies before her, but were they actual marriages or were the ladies having status of wives or concubines is not known. We know Salima Begum and Ruqs were legal wives.

  25. Apprently, the chief mulla tried to defend Akbar by saying a man could take any number of wives by Mut'a marriage but had to retract his statement after he was denounced by other orthodox ulema.

    Akbar even let discussions be held on the validity of taking 9 wives in the Ibadat Khana but no solution was reached till he became the Mujtahid.

    In that case, the Jodha isssue may not be resolved till the mazhar is declared. :) Akbar may then say he only can decide if his marriage is valid or not.

  26. Abhay

    Who do you think is the Shah of Iran in the show at present? You mentioned Khudabanda once, I believe?

    In that case, i read that Khudabanda was partially blind and the administration was mostly handled by his wife, Mahd-i-Ulya. Did this make it easier for Akbar to announce the mazhar in 1579 since the ruler of Persia was not very strong?

  27. That means till Bahadur Shah, no other emperor faced any problem frm Shah of Iran.:)

  28. Yes,
    This was surely one of the factors. A weak Persian ruler would be an added advantage to Akbar's thought process. :)

  29. If you mentioned that a woman ruled the Shia kingdom from behind the veil, then people would not believe you. :)

  30. Completely agree. This is quite funny Radhika. Isn't it ? Many don't believe even those things which were quite true, even when they are clearly written. ;)

  31. Dear Abhay.....Akbar had 9 legal wives..who are u have the name list? Was it forbidden to know his wives faces? Is there any illustrations of his wives?

  32. Hi Mirah

    Abhay will post on the wives of Akbar.

    His wives were kept under purdah in the harem and outsiders and males could not see them without permission.

    You can see the MUZ's picture in the Glory of Faith painting - her face was described to the painter for the portrait. :)

  33. Hi Mirah,
    Hope you got answer. Radhika has answered above. :)
    Will be posting about wives too in future.

  34. thnks dear radhika. its written in post only. khalifa is head of al sunnis bt akbar taking his position iz nothing shrt of innovation. how cn he do tat. nd 'tis cn lead 2 prblm frm ulema ppl. abhay has xplained well. he did not mis nything 2 b mentioned by me.

  35. Friends,

    Pls read this news article on an important 17th century bridge commissioned by Emperor Jahangir that connected Agra and Delhi, which is today in danger of disappearing forever: