Mujadid Alf Sani : The Man Who Revolutionized Islam

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Who was Mujadid Alf Sani?

A renowned Muslim saint and mystic of the Naqshbandia order, Hazrat Mujadid Alf Sani is known as the reformer of the second millennium. He took on the might of Akbar, the powerful Moghal emperor, to restore the glory of Islam, which Akbar’s anti-Islamic tendencies had seriously jeopardised. 

Mujadid Alf Sani, whose real name was Sheikh Ahmad Sirhindi was a descendant of the second pious Caliph Hazrat Umar Ibn Al Khatab for which he was also referred as ‘Farooqi. He was a well-known follower of Khawja Baqi Billah, a revered saint of the Naqshbandia religious movement. He goes by the name Mujadid-1-Afl-i-Sani (Receiver of Islam during the second Millenium). On June 15, 1564, Sheikh Ahmad was born at Sirhind, the Moghal capital and seat of government for Eastern Punjab. At Sirbind and Sialkot, he studied under the most eminent and knowledgeable instructors. He first committed the Holy Qur’an to memory before beginning to study the Hadith. 

The major figures of Akbar’s court, Abu-al-Fazl and Fazzi, came into contact with him while he was roaming to quench his thirst for mystical knowledge. After learning of his intelligence and unusual mystical perception, Abu-al Fazl and Faizi attempted to entice him to the Court of Akbar. Sheikh Ahmad’s relationship with the famous brothers Abu-al-Fazl and Faizi, however, did not last due to Abu-al Fazl’s anti-Islamic tendencies.

Social Conditions of India

When Sheikh Ahmad launched his reform movement, un-Islamic customs and trends were pervasive in Muslim society. A strong and pervasive belief in Karamat (miracles of the saints) had emerged in society as a result of Hindu influence, which significantly misled the gullible. Many techniques for acquiring magical and supernatural abilities that were foreign to Islam have been created by Sufis. The mystics and Sufis of those times publicly rejected the legitimacy of Sharia (the law of Islam) by characterising it as superficial and external. They proudly displayed their disregard for the Sunnah or Prophetic ExamplesTheologians and ulama stopped citing the Quran and the Hadith in their commentaries and began to view jurisprudence as the exclusive source of religious knowledge. These trends severely reduced the religious spirit and gave rise to the juristic interpretation of Islam.

Akbar’s perception of Islam

Akbar, who controlled the subcontinent at the time and had an anti-Islamic stance, exacerbated the social environment. There are no inclinations of Akbar toward Islamic tenets and ideals. By marrying Hindu women and granting Rajputs and Hindus open access to his court, he promoted Hinduism. Hindu Rajputs were all appointed to higher civil and military offices by him. By introducing Dir i-Elahi, Akbar made a serious effort to pervert Islam. Taking assuming the titles of Mujadid-i-Azam and Imam-i-Adil, he issued directives on matters of religion that were to be taken as authentic and definitive. The influence of Din-i-llahi had a significant impact on Muslim trends and beliefs. It promoted heretical ideas and behaviours and divided Muslim society into various sects.

The role of Sheikh Ahmed in the cleaning of society

 To cleanse the Muslim society from anti-Islamic values,  was an enormous endeavour that required consistent work to transform Islam and Muslim culture in a spiritual and cultural sense.

Sheikh Ahmad undertook the task of ridding the Muslim community of anti-Islamic inclinations by dispatching a number of his disciples to teach genuine Islam in all directions. In their sermons and preachings, he instructed them to place special focus on Ittibat-i-Sunnah (Examples of the Holy Prophet, peace be upon him), as well as Shariah’s laws. The project was actively pursued in India and other nearby Muslim nations.

Read more: How Shah Wali Ullah Cleansed Islam From Foreign Influences

Sheikh Ahmad also started exchanging letters with well-known intellectuals from every Muslim nation. He clarified religious teachings and emphasised the Ittibat-i Sunnah greatly in his letters. Sheikh Ahmad openly condemned anti-Islamic society and was vehemently opposed to atheism. He put a lot of effort into restoring the traditional Islamic teachings and placed a strong emphasis on the idea of tauheed. He debunked Din-illahi’s and vowed vehemently to stop the spread of this evil belief. He advised the Muslims to live their lives following Islamic values. He criticised the ulama who had cast doubt on the legitimacy of sharia-compliant nations and proclaimed that mysticism without Shariat was deceitful.

Sheikh Ahmad Imprisoned

In his letters, Sheikh Ahmad covered a variety of topics including religious revival. He got into a lot of trouble because of this policy. Asaf Jah, the prime minister of Jehangir’s court, informed the emperor that Sheikh Ahmad was becoming more and more well-liked and that his anti-Hindu beliefs were causing instability in the nation. Sheikh Ahmad was called before Jehangir’s court and requested to explain his remarks.

Read more: History of Advent of Islam in the Sub-Continent

Sheikh Ahmad presented himself at the royal court in a very respectable way and bravely supported his claims. Skeikh had not carried out the act of “Prostration,” as someone had pointed out to Jehangir. When requested to do Saiah, he declined, indicating that he would not perform Sajdah in front of a person. He proclaimed that only Almighty God was responsible for Sajdah. Jehangir was furious at the direct response. ordered the Sheikh’s detention in the Gawalior Fort.

Despite being imprisoned, Sheikh Ahmad did not stop preaching the Islamic faith. After two years, Jehangir, feeling contrite, freed him from the fort and honoured him by giving him an honorific garment and a thousand rupees to cover his expenditures. He was offered the choice of staying in the royal court or returning to Sirhind. Sheikh Ahmad chose to remain in the royal court, giving him the chance to share his opinions there.

Sheikh Ahmad and Two-Nation concept

Sheikh Ahmad was a fervent supporter of Muslims remaining independent and wanted to preserve the unique identity of Muslim Nationalism. He placed a strong emphasis on the distinct identity of Muslims and developed a harsh stance toward Hindus.  Sheikh Ahmad was a fervent supporter of the Two-Nation Theory. He supported preserving the distinctions between Muslims and Hindus.

Mujadid Alf Sani stance on whdat-ul-wojood

Some Sufis of Akbar’s era presented the Wahdat-ul-Wajud doctrine. They held that the entire Universe served as a representation of the Almighty God and a means of revealing His omnipotence. The proponents of Wahdat-ul-Wajud held that neither the individual nor God are distinct from one another and that there is no living distinction between Man and the God who created him. Additionally, they held the view that every element in the universe was a manifestation of God, and that worshipping one of God’s creatures was equivalent to worshipping God.

Mujadid Alf Sani
Muadid Alf Sani’s Tomb

This idea was outright refuted by Sheikh Ahmad, who deemed it to be against the fundamental tenets of Islam. He explained his “Wahdat-ul-Shahud” philosophy, which held that the creator and creations were two distinct and independent entities.

 The impact of Mujadid Alf Sani efforts

The efforts of Sheikh Ahmad to cleanse Muslims’ practical and religious lives had a lasting impact on Muslim India’s history. In one of his writings, Allama Iqbal, an Eastern poet and philosopher, lavishly praised Sheikh Ahmad for teaching. He is regarded by Allama Iqbal as the spiritual defender of India’s Muslim population. His movement for Islam revitalised Muslims and is seen as a summons to Muhammad, having profound effects on both theological and practical spheres.

Sheikh Ahmad distinguished between Islam and atheism and continued to spread the religion till his last breath. He successfully persuaded Jehangir to change his religious beliefs and reject his father’s religious practices. Jehangir, who had been influenced by Mujadid’s sermons, gave the orders to read the Khutuba (holy discourse) and slaughter cows following Islamic law. On Mujadid’s recommendation, Jehangir also consented to the building of a sizable mosque.

Conclusion

In India’s history, Hazra tMujadid Alf Sani was the most influential religious figure. He was a well-read academic with a captivating oratory style. During Jehangir’s reign, a permissive environment provided him with the chance to employ his persuasive writing to criticise Akbar’s religious innovations.

The only person in India’s history to challenge Akbar and provoke his fury was Mujadid Alf Sani. He is credited as being the first Muslim to declare his identity by rejecting acts that are not Islamic.

Hazrat Mujadid asked the emperor Jehangir’s permission to leave after spending three years living with him. He then set off for Sirhind. He died on December 10th, 1626, and was laid to rest in Sirhind.


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