The following article is written by Hania Iman, 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. Besides, the knowledge, case studies, quotes, and examples have been taught to him by Miss Irum Arif, the country’s top CSS and PMS Pakistan Affairs coach. For years, Miss Irum Arif, also Sir Kazim’s student, has been known for her teaching methodology and how she helps her students understand questions asked in the exam. Therefore, to help thousands of CSS and PMS aspirants who visit Cssprepforum and Howfiv for better preparation, we have 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.
Shaikh Ahmad Sirhindi, one of the famous Muslim reformers, rejuvenated Islam in the subcontinent by preaching the true teachings of Islam. He was given the title of Mujaddid Alf Thani by Mullah Abdul Hakeem, because of his guidance of the then Muslims towards the true spirit of Islam in order to save them from the darkness of Kufr and shirk. In fact, through his criticism of Din-e-Ilhai and the worldly Ulemas of that time, he reformed the Islamic practices which were intermingled with Hindu customs and practices common in the Mughal court. Moreover, he purified the teachings of Sufism and promoted the concept of Wahdat ul Shahood among the people. As a result of his efforts, Islam revived again in its true spirit not only among the common people but also in the Mughal court. Thus, Sheikh Ahmad Sirhindi is rightly called a Reformer of his time. According to the poet of the East, Allama Iqbal:
He was the guardian of the estate of millah in IndiaAllama Iqbal
Whom Allah awakened at the right time
Reform Movement of Sheikh Ahmad Sirhindi
At the age of 19, he went to Agra in 1582 and was not pleased with the deteriorated situation of Islam at the time of Akbar. He was against Din-e-Ilahi and the concept of Wahdat-ul-wujood. At the age of 36, he met Khwaja Muhammad Baqi Billah, a religious saint who helped him in a number of ways. Because of the politics and policies of Akbar religious situation of Muslims deteriorated and people were afraid of Islam. Sirhindi has labelled this age as “the age of Islamic poverty”. That was the time when there was a need for an entity, that would help Islam and its people to hold on to the religion. Sheikh Ahmad Sirhindi stood up against the bida’at and innovation against Islam. He has raised his school of thought on the basis of Sunnah which carries the peace of the hereafter and the harmony of society.
1- Emphasis on Shariah and Sunnah.
His methodology produced belief instead of raising doubts; that’s why Shaikh made Islamic teachings the epicentre of all his efforts which practically explained the Sunnah that has engraved a phenomenal effect on Muslims of India. He has never been involved in any kind of Physical fight but rather has influenced people with his true teachings using shariah and sunnah. According to Shaykh, the innovation in religion was such a practice that had no linkage to the age of Prophet Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him) and his followers (Sihabas). He maintained that the customary and habitual things are not included in innovation in religion. He has proved his stance using the following evidence regarding the issue of Bid’at ‘
“Today I’ve perfected the religion for you and have completed my favour upon you”.(Quran)
These examples of Shaikh elucidate that they are in connection with religious matters and the customary innovation is not included in it. Shaikh considered it extremely harmful to obey a ruler who believes in any kind of innovation in religion. It is not the duty of every individual to cope with the innovation in religion rather it is the responsibility of the rulers.
“A nation which invents innovation in religion is deprived on the analogy of Sunnah.”
To implement the Shariah and Sunnah Sheikh wrote a book named Ithbat-un-Nabuwat and wrote letters to the Mughal emperors called Makhtubat-e- Rabbani. The Maktubat provided a lot of information on religious, mystical, social and political themes.
2- Differentiated Islam from Hinduism
The increasing activities and thoughts of the Hindu rulers and preachers greatly annoyed Shaikh Ahmad Sirhindi. So far as the internal and private affairs of Hindus and Hinduism were concerned, Shaikh Ahmad did not at all interfere in it, because, according to the teachings of the Quran, he was of the opinion that both the 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 Shaikh severely attacked them and even informed and warned them.
3- Reaction against Din-e- Ilahi
One of the main reasons for the diversion of Muslims from Islam was Din-e-Ilahi. The Muslims were inclined to learn Hindu teachings. In order to find a middle ground among Hindu, Jain, Parsi and Islam, Mughal Emperor Akbar proclaimed his Din-i-Illahi.
- Greet each other by saying Allahu Akbar (Akbar is great).
- Distribute food during life and not after death.
- Birthday parties for friends and family without meat.
- Early marriages were prohibited.
- Name Ahmad and Muhammad were banned.
- Everyone had to bow in front of him (Zameen Bos)
The reaction of Sheikh Ahmed Sirhindi to Akbar’s thoughts and activities was most powerful and he openly criticized his attitude towards Islam and Muslims. He then started writing letters (Makhtubat-e-Imam-e-Rabbani) to Nobles and Imams living at the Mughal court to stop Akbar from spreading Dine-e-Elahi. Unlike, other Sufis and scholars Sheikh refused to bow down in front of Akbar neither did he follow any of his rules against Islam.
4- Reaction against the Ulema-e-Su
He also criticized people around Akbar for deviating him from the true teachings of Islam and called them Ulema-e-Su (worldly Ulemas).
“As you know better than in the previous regime all types of darkness and disturbances were only because of the Avaric of the Ulema-e-Su.”
Here the criticism was on rulers that rulers must be on the right path because they are souls and the people upon which they rule are like bodies. If the soul goes wrong, the body is bound to go astray. Meanwhile, there were revivalist movements too such as the Bhagti movement. It was essentially a revolt against religious discrimination, social inequalities, and caste distinction. But sheikh remained determined and said,
“Do what they want to do but they cannot interfere in Islam (Islamic values) which is a threat to Muslims.”
5- Criticism on Fabricated concept of Wahdat-ul-Wujood
It was not only a theory but also a hidden power that has an effect on the thinking and actions of a man. Shaykh was well aware of the political and social deviation on the basis of “Wajoodi philosophy” which is why he struck a heavy blow on this philosophy. He has paved the way for a positive change on both levels in it. He asserted that the experience of God, i.e. Wahdat-ul-Wujud which the Sufis do is Blasphemy.
6- Reformation of society
The rules of orthodox Islam were restored in the administration to bring the lives of the people according to the teaching of the Quran. The Persian festival Nauroz and music at court were abolished. The teaching and practising of other religions were stopped under royal orders. Jizya was re-imposed on the nonbelievers in order to spread Islam and put down the practice of betrayal. Thus the quality of administration changed and the liberalism of the day of Akbar stopped.
7- Impact on Mughal Emperor Jahangir
Shaikh Ahmad spent 20 years of his life in king Jahangir’s age. A common friend of Sheikh Ahmad Sirhindi and Jahangir, Sheikh Fareed Bukhari took a promise to Jahangir that he will work for Islam. After the conquest of the Kangra fort, Emperor Jahangir asked Shaikh Ahmad if he accompanied him, he would slaughter a cow, demolish the idols, construct a mosque and propagate Islam. The Shaikh accompanied the Emperor to the Kangra Fort and Jahangir acted according to his commitment.
Here it is necessary to mention that the sheikh influenced people in a very peaceful way by influencing the Mughal emperors thus, he became the reason for changing the lives and thinking of then Muslims. His focus was to struggle, to restore the pure doctrine of Islamic thought and compel the Muslims to follow. The focus on Shariah and Sunnah is the key feature that has put a great influence on the Muslims of India. It would not be wrong if we say Sheik Ahmad Sirhindi acted as an angel, who dragged Muslims out of the political turmoil and thus, played a great role in achieving Pakistan in the name of Islam.
Sheikh Ahmad Sirhindi was a social reformer, great Alim, Sufi and Mujaddid. He initiated a process of social change, inspired by the Islamic Ideal, in an age, which was becoming secular. The role of Sheikh Ahmad Sirhindi was to save the Muslims of the society from un-Islamic values and customs in the sub-continent and their impact on society. It was a great achievement of Shaykh Ahmad Sirhindi to bring the Shariat back into society. He wrote a large number of letters to Government personalities emphasizing the need for the true teaching of Islam. He eradicated the evils of this class of society, and through letters strongly stressed upon those to follow the direction of the Holy Prophet.
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