Academic journal article Pakistan Historical Society. Journal of the Pakistan Historical Society

Shaykh 'Abd Al-Haq Muhaddith Dehlawi as a Religio-Political Thinker an Analytical Study

Academic journal article Pakistan Historical Society. Journal of the Pakistan Historical Society

Shaykh 'Abd Al-Haq Muhaddith Dehlawi as a Religio-Political Thinker an Analytical Study

Article excerpt

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'Ulamä'' hold an important position in a Muslim society and have played a significant role in history. They have helped in preserving our heritage. So far as their attachments to Islam is concerned, it has been deep and strong. Wherever there has been a challenge to it, they have understood the danger correctly; many of them have been willing to make scarifices. They have tried to preserve the purity of the doctrine and have often proved doughty warriors in the defence of Islam. Their influence has varied from time to time in accordance with the social and political conditions then prevailing. Its extent has also dependent upon their own qualities of learning and piety. Great names stand out in history from their ranks. This Subcontinent has also contributed many eminent names to this roll of honour. From the day the Muslim rule was established on a part of this soil, men born and trained as 'ulamä' began to gain recognition in the world of Islamic learning.1

'Älamgir I died in 1707. His death was followed by rapid decline of the Mughul Empire and with it of the political power of Islam in the Subcontinent. The British and Hindu historians have generally tried to find the causes of the downfall of the Mughul Empire in the policies of 'Älamgir and have seldom probed below the surface to discern the various trends which ultimately plunged the Subcontinent into anarchy and chaos and paved the way for the establishment of British rule. The basic weakness of the Muslim Empire in India was that the Muslims formed a minority of the population. The Muslim arms were almost uniformly successful against the Hindus so long as the Muslims were not seriously divided amongst themselves and they were in political control of the Empire. The situation, however, changed under Jaläl al-Din Muh ammad Akbar (r. 1556-1605). His policies paid initial dividends in the shape of the expansion of the Empire and security of the dynasty against usurpation of authority by powerful nobles or groups.2

Period of Shaykh 'Abd al-Haqq Muhaddith Dehlawi

By the mid-sixteenth century, the "age of gunpowder empires" was in full swing and the där al-Isläm was roughly divided among the three great dynasties of the day: the Ottomans, the Safavids, and the Mughuls. These three states were set on a course of intermittent competition, if not outright conflict. With imperial egos to be assuaged, religious toleration to be promised, borders to be disputed, and alliances to be forged and later broken, the Ottoman, Safavid and Mughul courts were constantly engaged in conflicts. This diplomatic dynamism was added to by the recent arrival of the Portuguese, Spanish, English, French and Dutch traders in the Indian and Arabian Oceans. As potential allies against other competing Muslim states as well as prosperous trading partners, the Europeans were soon included in the diplomatic scope of the various Islamic empires.3 Akbar's policy of political assimilation in Rajputana in the late 1560s proved beneficial in two ways. First, by enticing key Rajputs like the family of Bhärä Mal headed by the Kachhwähah Rajah of Amber into imperial service, Akbar lessened his reliance on the politically turbulent Amirs of Central Asia. Second, securing such allies provided key access to military dominance and supply routes.4 A large number of capable soldiers and administrators also came from Iran and were appointed to high offices. Most of them belonged to the Shiah sect. Religious authority was no longer in the hands of a single ethnic or religious group. There were several sects such as Mahadivism,5 Zikrî Movement,6 Alf Doctrine,1 Nuqtavi Movement8 and Roshania Sect9, besides other Süfî movements. Shaykh Mubarak (d. 1593) had been justly suspected of Mehdvi leaning's and had suffered from the policies of Makhdüm al-Mulk. He and his two sons, Shaykh Abü al-Fadl (d. 1601) and Shaykh Abü al-Faid Faydî (d. …

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