Effects Of Social Reforms Of Shaykh Ahmad Sirhindi On Muslim Society In The Sub Continent

Effects Of Social Reforms Of Shaykh Ahmad Sirhindi On Muslim Society In The Sub Continent

The following article is written by Dr Sobia Sangrasi, a student of Sir Syed Kazim Ali. Moreover, the article is written on the same pattern, taught by Sir to his students, scoring the highest marks in compulsory subjects for years. Therefore, to help thousands of CSS and PMS aspirants who visit Cssprepforum and Howfiv for better preparation, Sir Syed Kazim Ali has uploaded this article so they can understand how to crack a topic or a question, how to write relevantly, what is coherence, and how to include and connect ideas, opinions, and suggestions to score the maximum.


Working for the rejuvenation of Islam, Sheikh Ahmed Sarhindi, a great Muslim scholar, devoted his life to preaching Islamic laws in light of the Quran and Shari’ah. Nevertheless, despite suffering from great calamity, he did not put off his struggle and continued eradicating un-Islamic practices from society. In the long run, his untiring efforts resulted in the religiously, socially, and politically revival of the Muslim community.


The then situation of the Sub-continent

  • Akbar’s concept of Din-i-Illahi
  • The prevalent concept of Wahadat-ul-Wajood
  • Misrepresentation of religious teachings by Ulama-e-Su

Influence of Sheikh Ahmed Sirhindi’s reformist movement

Religious influence:

  • Revival of Sunnah and Shari’ah
  • Emphasis on prayer and fasting
  • Criticism of innovation in religion

Social influence:

  • Eradicating un-Islamic practices from society
  • Countering unorthodox Sufism and mystic beliefs
  • Presenting Islam as a complete code of life

Political influence:

  • Incredible impact on Jahangir’s rule
  • Prevail the atmosphere of awareness in the sub-continent
  • Concept of Two-Nation Theory

Critical analysis


Sheikh Ahmed Sirhindi, a reformer of the second millennium, has transformed the history of the Muslims of the Subcontinent through his religious teachings. During the reign of Akbar, when Islam had lost its true essence by the amalgamation of various schools of thought, including the growing concept of Bid’at (innovation in religion), accepting Akbar’s Din-e-Ilahi, and prohibiting cow slaughter, Sheikh Ahmed Sirhindi appeared on the horizon as a saviour of Islam. Moreover, having a deep knowledge of the Qur’an and Hadith according to the context of time, he was the first person who strongly condemned Akbar’s move to form a new religion. Similarly, by taking several steps, such as emphasising prayer and fasting, reviving Sunnah as a source of guidance, and reforming society by preaching the true essence of Islam, he transformed the fortune of the Indian subcontinent. Thus, it is no exaggeration to say that Sheikh Ahmed Sirhindi protected Muslims from religious, political, and social turmoil by criticizing Akbar’s implementation of unorthodox policies in the religion. In short, being the noticeable figure of the then sub-continent, he cleared the path for the Muslims of the sub-continent by preaching the teachings of Islam according to the need of time, hence, saving Muslims’ from the great mayhem.

The then situation of sub-continent

Nothing has hampered Islam the way Akbar’s concept of amalgamating the religions forming Tauheed-Ilahi and misinterpreting religious teachings done by the Sufis and Ulema did. Furthermore, Bhakti Movement promoted common nationalism, Jurisprudence based on un-Islamic principles; the concept of Wahadat-ul-Wajood further impeded the spread of Islam. Following that, concepts of Bid’at, Karamat, and Mysticism became so prevalent compelling Muslims to remain aloof from Islam’s actual guidance and principles. Taking all things together, observing such impediments in the path of Islam, Sheikh Ahmed Sirhindi took the task of rejuvenating Islam according to the context of time and maintaining the distinct image of the religion across the world. Therefore, to accomplish every piece of work, he, along with his followers, started religious teachings at the nook and corner of the sub-continent.

Influence of Sheikh Ahmed Sirhindi’s reformist movement:

Religious influence

Seeing Muslims shattered and deviated from the path of Islam, Sheikh Ahmed Sirhindi enthusiastically indulged himself in reviving the teachings of the Holy Quran and Sunnah according to the context of time. Through his writings and speeches, he gave a new look at religious practices. He highly emphasized the prayer and fasting that were being neglected at the very time. Besides, during the very time when Ulama-e-Su were involved in the practice of making new innovations in the religion, he was the first person who strongly criticized the very act by citing the following verse of the Qur’an and the saying of the prophet.

Today  I’ve  perfected  the  religion  for  you  and  have  completed  my favor  upon  you”.


“He  who  invents  something  false  which  has  no  linkage  with  the religion  of  Islam  is  forbidden”. 


Social influence

During the reign of Akbar, Muslim society suffered religiously and socially to a greater extent. Dismally, Muslim society was ridden with un-Islamic practices and trends. Granted that, to eradicate the far-reaching influence of such evils from Muslim society, Sheikh Ahmed Sirhindi undertook the task of purifying the Muslim society by convincing Mughal emperor Jahangir to re-implement the Islamic practise that was abolished by Akbar, such as cow slaughter, re-impose Jizya on Hindus, and prohibit the concept of Sulh-i-kul (peace with all religions). Moreover, he cleared the concept of the then Sufi’s, who fell short in encompassing Islam as a whole, that Walayat (closeness with Allah) is incomplete without the teachings of the Qur’an and Sunnah. As a result, the whole society came under the flag of Islam through the efforts of Sheikh Ahmad Sirhindi.

Political influence

Sheikh Ahmed was not in politics; nevertheless, his teachings paved the way forward for the Two-Nation theory. Supplementing and in some ways over-shadowing all the concerns of that time, he was convinced that Hinduism and Islam are merely two different religions; therefore, he opposed all the ideas to bring Hinduism and Islam together on the religious level. Apart from this, he created an atmosphere of awareness in the sub-continent through his teachings, which became one of the reasons for the separate identity of Muslims. Furthermore, he adopted a very stern attitude against Hindus; consequently, he re-imposed Jizya on them and demanded the destruction of Hindu temples. He was a firm believer in the Two-Nation theory. In case, he placed a greater emphasis on the separate identity of Muslims.

Critical analysis

At the time of the sub-continent, when all the forces were working to contain the spread of Islam by merging it with other religions, Sheikh Ahmed Sirhindi was the only person who realized the high time and enthusiastically worked to rejuvenate Islam and shape society according to the Islamic regimes. Even though he faced several challenges in the accomplishment of very task by emperors, and Sufi’s, he never gave up and continued his mission of spreading the real spirit of Islam across the sub-continent. Through his religious knowledge, he convinced Muslims that they belong to a unique religion Islam, which by no means can adhere to other religions. Thus, he paved the way for future reformists and revive the lost glory of Islam with an overwhelming victory.


Critically, Sheikh Ahmed Sirhindi was not only a scholar but also a social reformer who played a pivotal role in establishing Islamic culture and rituals in society. Ironically, during the reign of Akbar, the sub-continent indulged in numerous evils for worldly gains that led the society towards the edge of darkness. It was a great achievement of Sheikh Ahmed Sirhindi to bring back the Sharia’h in society. To fulfil such arduous missing, he wrote several letters to government officials emphasizing the need for actual teachings of Islam. Thus, his sincere efforts changed the tone of administration and curb the liberalism initiated by Akbar turning Mughal society into an Islamic state. Last but not least, his teachings not only worked for the restoration of Islam but also made the path clear for the Two-Nation theory by inducing a separate identity of Muslims and Hindus in the minds of the Muslims of India.

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