How the reform movement of Sheikh Ahmed Sirhindi influenced the history of Muslim India?

How the reform movement of Sheikh Ahmed Sirhindi influenced the history of Muslim India?

CSS Solved Pakistan Affairs Past Paper 2020 | How has the reform movement of Sheikh Ahmed Sirhindi influenced the history of Muslim India?

The following question of CSS Pakistan Affairs 2020 is solved by Arooj Nadeem under the supervision of Miss Nirmal Hasni. She learnt how to attempt 20 marks question and essay writing from Sir Syed Kazim Ali, Pakistan’s best CSS and PMS English essay and precis teacher with the highest success rate of his students. This solved past paper question is attempted on the pattern taught by Sir to his students, scoring the highest marks in compulsory and optional subjects for years, and uploaded to help aspirants understand how to crack a topic or question, how to write relevantly, what coherence is, and how to include and connect ideas, opinions, and suggestions to score the maximum.

Question’s breakdown:

In this question, the examiner asks you to write about the influence of Sheikh Ahmed Sirhindi’s reform movement, not who Sheikh Ahmed Sirhindi was. So, writing his political, religious, and social impacts and proving it till the last of your sentence award you the maximum score. You don’t need to explain the history of Sheikh Ahmed Sirhindi in this question.

Outline 

1- Introduction 

Sheikh Ahmed Sirhindi influenced the religious and political history of the Indian sub-continent by rejuvenating Islam and condemning the un-Islamic practices, thus, highlighting the Muslims’ separate identity.

2- Historical Perspective: The condition of India during his time

  • Ulema ceasing to refer to Quran and Hadith
  • Practising un-Islamic customs and traditions by then Muslims
  • The growing trend of joint nationalism in the Sub-continent 
  • Promulgation of Wahdat-ul-Wajood and Sulh-i-Kul

3- Influence of Sheikh Ahmed’s reform movement 

Religious influence 

  • Purification of the religious and practical life of Muslims
  • Renaissance and propagation of true Islamic values
  • Influence on the Mughal emperors
  • Wahdat-ul-Shahud encountering Wahdat-ul-Wajood
  • Re-emposition of Jizya

Political influence 

  • The birth of the Two-Nation Theory
  • The revival of Muslim’s higher civil positions in the Mughal Court

Social influence

  • Prohibition of inter-religious marriages
  • Freedom to follow Islamic rituals and traditions

4- Critical analysis 
5- Conclusion 

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Answer to the Question

Introduction 

The religious and political efforts of Sheikh Ahmed Sirhindi, also known as Mujadid Alf Sani, left an imperishable mark on the history of Indian Muslims. By opposing bluntly the then newly-born deen, Deen-i-Elahi, condemning the misconceptions related to Wahadat-ul-Wajood, and pulling the Muslims of the sub-continent out of the religious, cultural, and moral crisis, he revived the true spirit of Islam and, as a result, laid the first stone of Two Nation Theory. Besides that, he also differentiated the Muslims from the Hindus. His sustainable efforts proved splendidly worthwhile in eliminating the un-Islamic practices from the Indian subcontinent. Thus, Sheikh Ahmed Sirhindi, the father of religiopolitical reform movements, influenced the Muslims of the Mughal period and sowed the seed for the subsequent generations to have a separate homeland, Pakistan. This answer comprehensively discusses the influence of Sheikh Ahmed Sirhindi’s reform movement and how it impacted the history of Muslim India. 

Nothing ruined the Muslim society during Akbar’s era religiously, politically, and socially the way Deen-e-Elahi did. It changed the nature and spirit of Islam. Un-Islamic practices and a widespread belief in karamat and supernatural powers became a common tradition. Apart from this, the mystics and scholars started openly denying the authenticity of Sharia by declaring it superficial. On the other hand, ulema ceased to refer to Quran and Hadith. Consequently, Emperor Akbar’s propagated concept of joint nationalism aggravated the un-Islamic social environs. Above all, Wahdat-ul-Wajood and Sulh-i-Kul, peace with all promulgated at the time of Akbar, further exploited many heretical customs and practices in United India. 

That was the time when Sheikh Ahmed appeared on the horizon as a saviour of Islam. On the one hand, he started eliminating the un-Islamic tendencies by rebuking the newly born deen, Deen-e-Elahi; on the other hand, he started rejuvenating Islam by preaching actual Islamic values simultaneously. He also presented the concept of Wahdat-ul-Shahud by encountering the prevalent idea of Wahdat-ul-Wajood and greatly emphasized that the creator and creatures are two different and separate entities. With that, all the Islamic rituals became part and parcel of society. Accordingly, sending his several disciples across the subcontinent to preach the real Islam impacted India greatly. Therefore, the great practice of slaughtering cows, ordering khutbas, taking Jizya, and constructing prominent mosques was again started due to Sheikh’s reform movement. All of his efforts to revitalise Islam and gather the then Muslims under Haq’s banner helped him significantly influence Jehangir to alter his religious views, abandon his father’s practices, and win him honour and the title of Mujadid Alf Sani. Shaykh Ahmed Sirhindi made an extraordinary effort, which non-Muslim Scholars had even appreciated. Hence, the steps of Sheikh Ahmed Sirhindi purified the religious and practical life of Muslims.

As far as the political influence of Sheikh Ahmed Sirhindi was concerned, he never took part in politics. Still, all of his preachings and efforts gave birth to Two Nation Theory in the subcontinent, an impregnable political slogan. He staunchly believed that the Muslims and the Hindus are separate identities; thus, their amalgamation on any grounds would lead both identities towards complete distraction. Although he never tried to sculpt Muslim nationalism, he fought against Akbar’s confused policies for restoring Islam and drew a distinctive line between Muslims and Hindus. Moreover, his Islamic Renaissance movement helped Muslims to achieve their lost glory. Hence, the influence of Sheikh Ahmed paved the way for the coming reformers, like Shah Walli Ullah, Sir Syed Ahmed Khan, Syed Ahmed shaheed and others in the political arena. Allama Iqbal did praise Sheikh Ahmed Sirhindi for his work by saying;

“He was the guardian of the Muslim faith in India whom God had given a timely warning.”

The social condition of the Muslims was interlinked with the religious situation prevailing in United India. It soon became better when the Muslim society started moving back towards Islam, which resulted in the prohibition of inter-religious marriages, the root cause of social evils of that time. Moreover, the abundant Islamic rituals were restored as Sheikh Ahmed Sirhindi persuaded the Muslims to adopt simple life in the light of Islam and Sunnah. As aptly said by Allama Iqbal:

نہیں ہے اللہ کو اس مومن کی پرواہ
کہ جس کی روح خوابیدہ ہے اب تک
مرا دل کیا لگے مکتب میں ہم دم
نہ ہو اک بھی جواں بیدار جب تک   

Critical Analysis 

Akbar’s motivation and intention behind introducing a new religion, Deen-e-Elahi, was solely based on political grounds rather than a religious one. However, his promulgated Deen-e-Elahi aggravated the already fragile Islamic belief of then Muslims. As a result, Muslims started suffering politically, socially, and, above all, religiously. To counter all those social, political, and religious evils, the only personality who came forward with a distinctive ideology was Sheikh Ahmed Sirhindi. He did not only challenge Akbar’s Deen-e-Elahi but also re-established the lost glory of Islam by propagating true shariah in the Indian subcontinent. 

Conclusion

It is a fact that every action reacts. Similarly, Sheikh Ahmed Sirhindi, as a personality, and his preachings were the reaction of Akbar’s propagated practices and his newly promulgated deen. It was none but Sheikh Ahmed Sirhindi who openly discussed social, political, and religious matters by adopting and propagating true Islamic values and helped Muslims have a distinctive identity from Hindus. Not last but least, his efforts impacted the Indian sub-continent sow the seeds of the Two-Nation Theory, a concept on which Muslims successfully secured a separate homeland, Pakistan. 

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