Mujadid Alif Sani, The Revivalist Whose Efforts Saved Sub-Continent Muslims

Mujadid Alif Sani, The Revivalist Whose Efforts Saved Sub-Continent Muslims

The following article is written by Alvina Sajjad, 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.


1) Introduction

2) Conditions prevailing at that time

Prevalence of adulterated Sufism
Innovation in the religion
Amalgamation of religion Islam with other religions
-Bhakti movement
-The policy of Sulh e Kul for vested interests of the rulers
Formulation of Deen-e-Ilahi
Misunderstood concept of Wahdatul Wajood

3) Reforms of Sheikh Ahmad Sirhindi

Purging and reformation of Sufism
Emphasis on Shariah
Concept of Wahdat ul Shahood
✓  Focusing on Muslim Nationalism
✓  Efforts against the Bhakti movement
✓  Criticism and efforts against Deen-e-Ilahi
✓  Religious reformation
✓  Literary services

4) Impacts of efforts of Shaikh Ahmed

Impact on Mughal Emperor Jahangir
Impact on Mughal Court
Impact on Society
Impact on later Mughal Emperors

5) Critical Analysis

6) Conclusion


Sheikh Ahmed Sirhidi, also known as Mujadid Alf Sani, saved the Muslims of India from regulative movements against Islam and immoral activities. He appeared as hope not only for the Muslims of India but for the whole Muslim Ummah of that time. He brought a lot of reforms including the Reformation of Sufism, Concept of Wahdat ul Shahood, Muslim Nationalism, Implementation of Islamic principles, and religious reformation to bring back then Muslims on the right track. He criticized the concept of the Deen-e-Ilahi and Bhakti movements, which were anti-Islamic. As a result, his sustainable efforts proved worthwhile in eliminating the unIslamic practices from the Indian Subcontinent. Thus, Sheikh Ahmed Sirhindi, the father of religiopolitical movements, influenced the Muslims of the Indian subcontinent to have a separate homeland.

Conditions prevailing at that time:

When Sheikh Ahmed Sirhindi, came to Delhi at the age of 36, the Muslims of India indulged in so many un-Islamic practices; including that distorted forms of Sufism where Bidat and Karamat were prevailing among Muslims of India. They had blind trust in Sufism and in the supernatural powers. Ullamas of that time made different innovations in rules & principles of Islam, such as intermarriages between Muslims and Hindus being allowed and many others. Other than that amalgamation of religion Islam with other religions by King Akbar was at its peak. Several movements, including, the Bhakti movement were started which aimed at deteriorating the teachings of Islam. They were preaching love for all religions, but at the same time, were introducing several practices in Islam. Another concept that led Islamic values to deterioration was Sulh-e-kul introduced by Mughal Emperor Akbar. Sulh-e-kul means peace for all, which accepted all religions equally and peacefully. In addition to Sulh-e-kul, Akbar took all matters of religion into his hands by introducing the Infallibility decree. This made him supreme in religious matters. Deen-e-Ilahi and the concept of wahdatul wajood were also ruining the sanctity of Islam. In short, Muslims of the subcontinent were following completely distorted forms of rules in the name of Islam.

Reforms of Sheikh Ahmed Sirhindi:

Sheikh Ahmed Sirhindi reformed the Muslim society by taking several initiatives against the above-discussed challenges. Following are some important efforts of Sheikh Ahmed Sirhindi.

1. Purging and reformation of Sufism

Very first, Sheikh Ahmed Sirhindi reformed Sufism through his books, his writing and preaching of the true meaning and sense of Sufism. He condemned Karamat, the people’s blind trust in supernatural forces that they forgot the true principles of Islam. A lot of his students helped him in his mission of reviving the teachings of Islam.

2. Emphasis on Shariah:

As Sheikh Ahmed belonged to Naqshbandi silsilah, which emphasizes shariah, so, he also enhanced the importance of Shariah in the lives of Muslims through his writings. According to him the only source of authentic and accurate information regarding Islam is Quran Pak and Hadith. People should focus on the rules and principles of Islam mentioned in the Quran not innovated by some ulemas or some emperors.

3. Concept of Wahdat ul Shuhood

Shaikh Ahmad’s concept of Wahdat ul Shuhood insists that the criterion of the true mystic experience is in accordance with the tenets of Islam. All allusions in a state of intoxication are not trustworthy. It tells that Allah cannot be known through mystic experiences, but to know Him perfect one will have to totally based on the revelation of the Quran and the Hadith. He writes in one of his letters that:

“Allah is beyond the beyond, and again beyond the beyond.”

He gave the concept of wahdat ul Shuhood to challenge the concept of Wlahdat ul Wajood, the concept that God and his creatures are the same.

4. Focusing on Muslim Nationalism and Opposing the United Nationhood

Shaikh Ahmed Sirhindi set the base of Nationalism in Muslims of India that they have separate norms and separate ideologies than Hindus & they cannot live together. He was of the opinion that both people, Hindus and Muslims, should live peacefully by strictly following and adhering to their religious paths. But when they came into conflict with Islam, its social and religious political norms and principles, the Sheikh severely attacked them and even informed and warned common Muslims, nobles and grandees, and the Sufis and ulemas of the danger created by them.

Sheikh Ahmed in one of his writings says:

“The work of these wicked persons (kaafirs) is nothing to laugh at Islam and Muslims. If they get an opportunity, they make us abandon Islam or kill all of us or make us kafir again”

5. Efforts against the Bhakti movement:

Shaikh Ahmed Sirhindi, at various places in his writings, raised his voice against the increasing revivalist Hindu forces and cautioned his co-religionists to be alert and careful of their aims and intentions. In one of his letters to Lala Beg Shaikh Ahmad, describing the activities of Hindus say

“For about a century Islam is so oppressed that the infidels are not satisfied with the mere promulgation of the practices of kufr but they even want Islamic norms and practices to be totally abolished, and Islam & Muslims completely rooted out. The situation is serious that if any Muslim follows the path of Islam, he is assassinated”

6. Criticism and efforts against Deen e Ilahi

Sheikh Ahmed Sirhindi worked hard to reform the true sense of principles of Islam. He criticized the Deen e Ilahi of Akbar. That was a dark period of ignorance and Sheikh Ahmed Sirhidi labelled that age as “The age of Islamic poverty.”

Sheikh Ahmed Sirhidi opposed Deen e Ilahi by writing many letters to the nobles of the Mughal Court. Letters, known as Makhtoobat e Imam e Rabbani, mentioned the duty of nobles of the Court to oppose the wrong steps taken by Akbar. He slowly and gradually reformed all the wrong rules and principles introduced in Islam by Akbar.

7. Religious reformations

Akbar’s Deen e Ilahi deteriorated all the norms of Islam by mixing all the religions in Islam. It was mandatory to reform all the Islamic rules and regulations after Akbar. Sheikh Ahmed Sirhindi tried hard during and after the regime of Akbar to reform and bring the true principles of Islam into the Muslim society through his writings and his books. He revived the true methods of Salah, Fast, and Hajj in the Muslims of India.

Impact of efforts of Sheikh Ahmed Sirhindi

1. Impact on Mughal Emperor Jahangir

It was a great achievement of Sheikh Ahmed Sirhindi to bring back the Shariat to society. He wrote a large number of letters to government personalities emphasizing the need for the true teaching of Islam. These letters not only influenced the nobles but also Emperor Jahangir.

In one of his letters to Sardar I Jahan he wrote:

“Now that things have changed and the hostility of people has subsided, it is the duty of the leaders of Islam, the Sadr-i-Islam and the Ulluma that they work for the implementation of the Shariah.”

To the Khan-i-Jahan, another official of the court, he wrote;

“Since the king listens to your words and gives them weight, it would be really great if you could explain to him briefly or in detail as you like the beliefs of the Ahl al-Sunnah- wa-al-Jama. Please inform him of the doctrines of people of the truth and look for every opportunity to talk about Islam and Muslim, defend the tents of Islam condemn end heresy.

As a result, Sheikh Ahmed Sirhidi’s efforts yielded fruit. Jahangir was influenced by his devotion to Islam and came back to Islam completely.

2. Impact on Mughal Court

During the time period during which Sheikh Ahmed Sirhirndi stayed at the court of Jahangir, he had a great opportunity to work on the laws. He used to read Quran ayats in court and explain them to the nobles and Emperor Jahangir. Soon, the Mughal Court had all the Islamic principles implemented.

3. Impact on Society

Sheikh Ahmed Sirhindi criticized innovation in Islam which was the actual reason to change the Islamic values. He explained the Quranic verses and Hadith to the Muslims of society. Sheikh Ahmed Sirhindi explained innovation (Bid’at) in religion as the opposite of Sunnah. He gave some examples to prove it.

 “A nation which invents innovation religion is deprived on the analogy of Sunnah”

People were influenced by his teachings. Resultantly, the true principles of Islam were implemented again in society.

4. Impact on later Emperors

The objectives of re-establishing the supremacy of Islam in the subcontinent, initiated by Sheikh Ahmad Sirhindi were continued by his sons and other Emperors. Later Mughal Emperors, such as Shah Jahan, Aurangzeb, and many others followed the principles of Islam emphasized by Sheikh Ahmed Sirhirndi.

Critical Analysis

Akbar’s regime was a complete terror of the Muslim ideology. His Deen e Ilahi was challenging all the sacred values and norms of Islam. At that time Sheikh Ahmed Sirhirndi challenged all the actions of Akbar, which were anti-Islamic. He not only saved the norms of Islam but also re-established the true principles of Islam in the subcontinent.


Sheikh Ahmad Sirhindi was not only a great scholar but also a reformer of Islam. He saved Muslim society from un-Islamic values and Hindu thought. He eradicated all the evils from the society and Mughal Court and reestablished Society on the basis of Islam. He worked hard till his last breath to spread the true sense of Islam to the Muslims of India. He was a great scholar and a selected reformer to save the Muslims of India from the darkness. His efforts impacted the Indian Muslims to raise their voice for a separate homeland and after years they were able to achieve their homeland in the form of Pakistan.

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