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Intolerant Letters by Shaikh Ahmad Sirhindi

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    Intolerant Letters by Shaikh Ahmad Sirhindi

    The other side of the picture. Otherwise, Shaikh Ahmed Sirhindi is believed to have struggled against Akbar's new practices like prostration before the rulers, etc.


    Past present: Letters of discontent - DAWN.COM


    Throughout the Muslim rule in the subcontinent, from the Sultanate period to the Mughal rule, the views of the ulema contradicted those of the rulers. Despite state policies being in contradiction to religion according to the ulema, the rulers did not permit them to interfere with the state.


    During Akbar’s rule, the ulema disapproved of his policy of sulh-i-kul or peace with all. When Mullah Mohammed Yazdi issued a fatwa, several disgruntled nobles and the ulema rebelled against Akbar who dealt with it in a diplomatic manner. He cancelled the maddad-i-ma’ash jagirs belonging to the ulema, only to reallocate them after interviewing the ulema and confirming their loyalty. He also appointed bureaucrats to supervise their conduct, so that in case of misconduct they could be reprimanded. He then continued with his policy undeterred.


    During the reign of Jahangir, a religious scholar, Ahmad Sirhindi (d. 1624) wanted to convince Jahangir to change Akbar’s policy towards non-Muslims. He tried to influence the nobles to help fulfil his ambitions and wrote letters to them, expressing his fanatical ideas.


    In a letter to Shaikh Farid, a devout Muslim who had supported Jahangir’s succession to the throne against his eldest son Khusrau, Sirhindi wrote that Islam was in critical condition, and insisted that as a man of faith, it was Shaikh Farid’s responsibility to take action to revive the glory of Islam. In the same letter he expressed his pleasure on the assassination of Guru Arjan Dev, the fifth Sikh Guru, regarding it an admirable step. He further explained that the government should adopt a policy to humiliate Hindus and that the imposition of jizya rightly kept the infidels in a state of subordination. According to Sirhindi, this was the right time to convince the emperor to eliminate un-Islamic practices which had become a part of the Muslim culture and to eliminate the influence of the infidels. He appealed to Shaikh Farid to play a role in reviving the purity of Islam. If no action was taken and idolatry continued to flourish, the emperor and his nobles would be responsible for damaging the cause of Islam by not creating a consciousness about sharia among the Muslims.


    He wrote another letter to Aziz Khan Kuka, Akbar’s foster brother and opposed Akbar’s religious views. In the war of succession, Sirhindi supported Prince Khusrau against Jahangir, yet retained an important position at the court. In his letter, Sirhindi lamented that the forces of Islam were becoming weaker and at this juncture, his contribution would help annihilate irreligious practices and innovations which were influencing the Muslims. He also said that Islam could only be purified by reverting to its original teachings.


    Shaikh Ahmad Sirhindi wanted to destroy Akbar’s diplomatic relations with the Hindus. In one of his letters addressed to Lala Beg, he expressed his views that sacrifice of the cow was an Islamic rite.


    However, the majority of the ulema and people remained estranged from his movement. Jahangir continued with Akbar’s policy and was a great admirer of his father. In Tuzk-i-Jahangiri, he praised Akbar’s wisdom and sagacity.


    Shaikh Ahmad Sirhindi was not popular among the Muslims because of his extremist religious views. When Jahangir summoned him to his court, he found him arrogant and rude and did not hesitate to send him to the fort of Gwalior for a brief period of imprisonment.


    During the emergence of communalisn in the 1930s, Shaikh Ahmad Sirhindi was resurrected by some ulema and projected as the champion of Islam. In Pakistani historiography, I.H. Qureshi and S.M. Ikram eulogised him as the defender of Islam and the man who saved it and protected it from the heretical views of Akbar.


    Writers of history textbooks portrayed the same image. As a result, Akbar and his policy of sulh-i-kul, multi-cultural unity and secularism were condemned while Shaikh Ahmad Sirhindi’s orthodoxy and religious extremism were appreciated. Sadly, his anti-Hindu, and anti-Shia views are also accepted without criticism, totally negating their dire impact on society today. Today, Pakistani society is paying a heavy price for these misdemeanours.



    We should care for each other more than we care for ideas, or else we will end up killing each other.

    #2
    Re: Intolerant Letters by Shaikh Ahmad Sirhindi

    ^ Was Sirhindi right or wrong? For most Pakistanis he would be a pious and devout muslim.

    Akbar versus Sirhindi, taleban versus Pakistani state...and the life goes on.
    “The world will not be destroyed by those who do evil, but by those who watch them without doing anything." Albert Einstein

    Comment


      #3
      Re: Intolerant Letters by Shaikh Ahmad Sirhindi

      I think we see at extremes all the times. Akbar's policies must have instigated Muslims. If you go by strict teachings of Islam, its specifically forbidden to marry non-Muslim (other than Ihl e Kitaab), but for political mileage Akbar did went against this, which might have affected Muslim sentiments. On the other hand, writing to authorities or people have reach to power corridors for humiliation of people from other faiths is also not justified.
      We should care for each other more than we care for ideas, or else we will end up killing each other.

      Comment


        #4
        Re: Intolerant Letters by Shaikh Ahmad Sirhindi

        I cannot believe the distorted things coming from Pakistani media. A part from my imagination that tells the difference of original words in letter and words writer chose to narrate those letters, only a coward Muslim scholar/leader can express pleasure on killing of a non-Muslim even in battlefield and wish for humiliation of other faith.

        Another thing we forget when reading history that is Hindu and Muslims of that time were not same as today. There were a lot of matters of conflict between Hindu and
        Muslim, and we test those events by bringing ourselves in court of justice with today’s overwhelming so-called peace making theories.
        Turn the table...
        Sun to sahi jahan main hai tera fasana kya.

        Comment


          #5
          Re: Intolerant Letters by Shaikh Ahmad Sirhindi

          Originally posted by ajazali View Post
          I cannot believe the distorted things coming from Pakistani media. A part from my imagination that tells the difference of original words in letter and words writer chose to narrate those letters, only a coward Muslim scholar/leader can express pleasure on killing of a non-Muslim even in battlefield and wish for humiliation of other faith.

          Another thing we forget when reading history that is Hindu and Muslims of that time were not same as today. There were a lot of matters of conflict between Hindu and
          Muslim, and we test those events by bringing ourselves in court of justice with today’s overwhelming so-called peace making theories.
          I agree that most of times Dawn presents one side picture. There is no month passed that they publish something like this, but again people do have accessibility to the sources which portray things in that manner. There is always a room to counter these things through other valid sources.
          We should care for each other more than we care for ideas, or else we will end up killing each other.

          Comment


            #6
            Re: Intolerant Letters by Shaikh Ahmad Sirhindi

            Hindsight is a wonderful thing ... Islam grew out of a weak position with its mercy and then the Muslim world became strong and came with it arrogance and disdain for others. Then we lost the favour of Allah (SWT) and came worldly pleasures and distraction from piety towards grandeur and then came weakness and wealth and splitting up ... Then came humiliation and then came the stage that shaikh Sirhindi was living in ... He saw the softness of his own time and the strictness of the time before his own ... and although sincere to the cause of Islam - I think he was a reactionary to the condition of the day and what he was advocating would not be true to Islam ... Just like the political Islamists of today.

            The problem is about following the simple rule ...

            Strictness on oneself and leniency on others ...

            There is a strictness on oneself and strictness on others
            This becomes leniency on oneself and strictness on others
            This becomes leniency on oneself and leniency on others
            This becomes the recipe for change of power

            If Akbar had continued to be lenient on the others while actually becoming stricter and more self-critical in the Islamic sense then that would have saved us ... Instead the advice he was given was to stop being lenient on others - with no advice on being more strict on himself.

            To earn the favour of Allah (SWT) we MUST be self-critical and be strict on ourselves to be adherent while being soft on others - that will draw them to become close to our way of life.
            The Prophet(SAW) said:
            "I am leaving you two things and you will never go astray as long as you cling to them -- they are the Book of Allah and my Sunnah." [Reported by Al- Haakim - Sahih].

            Comment

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