The following article is written by Hamza Obaid, 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.
Sheikh Ahmed Sirhindi influenced the Muslims of the sub-continent like no one else did. He solidified the foundation of true Islamic sense; thus, laying the foundation of modern Pakistan.
Historical Perspective: The condition of India during his time
Reforms introduced by Sheikh Ahmed Sirhindi
✓ Purification of Muslim Society-Belief in Shariat and Sunnah
✓ Root cause of all problems-Ulema Su
✓ Condemned the new religion- Din-e-Elahi
✓ Separate identity of Muslims
Influence of reform movement on Indian Muslims
✓ True teachings of Islam re-established in the society
✓ Ruler’s work on rejuvenating Islam
✓ Re-imposition of jizya
✓ Influence on later rulers and ulemas
✓ Hinduism practices were abolished
✓ Birth of Two-Nation Theory
The revival of Islam in the 16th century in the Indian subcontinent was the result of the efforts of Sheikh Ahmed Sirhindi-also known as Mujadid Alif-i-Thani. He revived the lost soul of Islam in India through his reforms and teachings by criticizing the then ulemas, who were working to please the ruler for worldly gains. He took various measures to achieve his goal of rejuvenating Islam. For example, he wrote letters to the nobles to condemn Din-i-Ilahi, purified the teachings of Sufism and criticized the misuse of the philosophy of Whadat ul Wajood in the hands of ulemas and King Akbar. Consequently, his reform movement had a profound influence on the next ruler and Muslims of India and the true essence of Islam found its roots in the society. Moreover, the birth of the Two Nation Theory was also the result of Sheikh’s efforts that made the difference between the two religions, Islam and Hinduism, clear in the minds of the Muslims. Critically, Sheikh Ahmed Sirhindi was the guiding light the then Muslims were in desperate need of, to get them out of the malice of misery. Hence, Sheikh rejuvenated the roots of Islam in the subcontinent and made Muslims aware of their identity.
“He was the Guardian of the Muslim faith in India whom God had given a timely warning”-Dr. Allama Muhammad Iqbal
In the early 16th century, Muslims of the Indian subcontinent had deviated from the Islamic path. The then Ulemas were working to please the ruler and stopped preaching Quran and Hadith. Consequently, the ruler-Akbar- propagated his Din-i-Elahi, which further worsened the condition of Islam. People were allowed to practice their own beliefs. The Hindu wives of Akbar contributed to the propagation of Hinduism, and many Hindus were allowed to become part of the royal court. As a result, Islam had lost its roots in society. Hindus were dominating society, and Muslims were facing many hardships. The revival of Muslims seemed more and more difficult.
Reforms by Sheikh Ahmed Sirhindi:
Sheikh Ahmed Sirhindi enlightened the then Muslims with the teachings of Islam. He strongly condemned the innovations in religion and called these innovations bidat. Moreover, he said, “A nation which invents innovation in religion is deprived on the analogy of sunnah.” He was a strong believer that religion is complete, and innovations only deformed its shape rather than beautifying it. In addition to this, he was strongly against the then Ulemas. He believed that the downfall of Islam in the Indian sub-continent was because of these Ulema-e-Su. Besides, the then ulemas were working to please the King-Akbar- for their personal gains. Thus, Sheikh deemed the Ulemas the root cause of all the problems and prohibited innovations in the religion.
The newly introduced Din-e-Ilahi was causing havoc to shatter the foundations of Islam in the sub-continent. Hindus were getting more and more important in society. Mujaddid Alif Thani condemned Din-e-Ilahi openly and wrote many letters to the nobles in order to revive the weakened soul of Islam. He believed that the ruler was the one everybody looks at as a role model, but Akbar was portraying it in a completely wrong manner. Furthermore, Muslims had lost their identity as a ruling nation, and Hindus started dominating. He made Muslims aware of their separate identity. Briefly, he reignited the lost fire in Muslims through his teachings and condemned the new religion openly.
Influence of Reform Movement:
Sheikh Ahmed Sirhindi’s teachings had a great impact on the Muslims of the sub-continent. The Muslims started following Shariah, and the true teachings of Islam had been re-established. Moreover, the emperor Jehangir- influenced by Sheikh started the rejuvenation of Islam in India. Mosques were built and old ones were reconstructed. Muslims regained higher official positions in the royal court. Consequently, the situation of Muslims in society improved. Non-Muslim traditions were eradicated from society. Thus, the teachings of Sheikh Ahmed Sirhindi revamped the situation of the then Muslims. Islam was practised freely and more commonly. Stan Lane Pole, who observed the situation of the subcontinent during Jahangir’s rule said:
“The mosques that had been abolished during Akbar reign were reconstructed, and Arabic and Islamic learning was encouraged”
Similarly, there was the re-imposition of jizya- a tax on non-Muslims living under the rule of Muslims-which was abolished during the rule of Akbar. The step was essential for the glory of Muslims, and the stronghold of the ruler in the society. Also, Sheikh’s teachings greatly influenced the next rulers and ulemas. Aurangzeb Alamgir was greatly influenced by the teaching of Sheikh. He built a society of Islamic rules and morals. Similarly, many ulemas including Shah Wali Ullah were deeply impressed by the teachings of Sheikh. Concisely, Sheikh not only had an impact on his generation but people coming after centuries.
In addition, Muslims who indulged in wrong practices, like belief in Karamats and inter-religion marriages left them for good. The real sense of Sunnah was being followed in society. In many conquests during Jehangir’s reign, a cow was slaughtered. With the lessening influence of Hindus, an idea of separate identity was born in the minds of people. Thus, the first stone of the two-nation theory was laid by Sheikh Ahmed Sirhindi, which resulted in the formation of Pakistan.
Sheikh Ahmed Sirhindi was the first person in the Indian sub-continent who revamped the weakened soul of Islam. He emphasized on true teachings of Islam. He openly revolted against the then ruler, and even faced imprisonment but did not leave the right path. He was focused on the restoration of Muslim identity, which was lost. He had a great influence on nobles, commoners, and even the coming generations. Due to his great influence on people of the sub-continent, he was also known as Mujaddid Alif-e-Thani. As aptly said by Allama Iqbal
The one who did not bow his head to Jahangir–Allama Muhammad Iqbal
Whose warm breath lends heat to the freemen
In a nutshell, Sheikh Ahmed Sirhindi was the reformer Muslims were in dire need of. His teachings created a ripple effect in society and eradicated many social, religious, and political evils. Sheikh, indeed, encountered unorthodox beliefs and made people aware of true Islamic teachings. He not only influenced the people of his generation but coming generations too. He was the one who laid the foundation of the two-nation theory and modern Pakistan.
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