What Were The Effects Of Reforms Of Shaykh Ahmad Sirhindi On Muslim Society?

What Were The Effects Of Reforms Of Shaykh Ahmad Sirhindi On Muslim Society?

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Sheikh Ahmad Sirhindi influenced Indian Muslims by reviving Islam and setting it free from an amalgamation of other religions; ultimately, these reforms of Sirhindi have become a base of the Two-nation-theory afterwards.

Historical Background: Condition of Muslim society in Akbar’s era

Sheikh Ahmad Sirhindi’s steps for reforming Muslim society
Wrote letters to court nobles and Ulemmahs
Sent his followers into the army and court to influence the court
Idea of Wahdat-ul-Shahood

Influence of Sheikh Ahmad’s reforms
End of Sufism and mystic beliefs
Concept of Wahdat-ul-Shahood prevailed over Wahdat-ul-Wajood
Innovations in deen, Bidat, stopped
Revival of Muslims’ interest in Shariat
Freedom to practice religion
Muslims regained their position in court
Reimposition of Jaziya
Restoration of Qazi office and Ihtsab department
Highlighting the separate identities of Muslims

Critical Analysis



Sheikh Ahmad Sirhindi, reviver of the second millennium, has played an indispensable role in the history of Indian Muslims. He has taken the initiative to stop the amalgamation of other religions in Islam in Akbar’s era. For this purpose, his opposition to the concept of Wahadat-ul-Wajood and Deen-i-Elahi was one major step. After refuting these misguided concepts, he tried to purify Muslim society religiously, politically, and socially. However, the ideology of Tauhid-i-shahodi was the leading entity towards this purification process. He criticized Sufism and tried to spread the Sharia Law. Fortunately, his concept of a Muslim separate identity has proved later a base for the Two-nation-theory. Indeed, this is right to say that Sheikh has performed his Mujadid duty proficiently and devised a true sense of Islamic society. This answer comprehensively discusses the influence of Sheikh Ahmad Sirhindi’s reforms on the history of Indian Muslims.

Historical Background: Condition of Muslim society in Akbar’s era

Akbar’s desire to consolidate his emperor has proved a threat to Muslim society. His inquiries nature and dubious explanation of his court ulemas become a reason for his distraction from Islam. Moreover, his Hindu wives’ beliefs have engulfed him. These factors have engraved menacing concepts in Akbar’s court, such as “Sul-e-Kul”, “Mazhar”, and “Ijtihad”. As a result of these concepts, Muslims have stopped to practise fasting and slaughtering; on the other hand, Hindus and other non-muslims have enjoyed extra religious emancipations. In a nutshell, the mixture of all these societal concepts gave birth to Deen-e-Elahi, and a deteriorated Islamic society came into being.

Sheikh Ahmad Sirhindi’s steps for reforming Muslim society

Sheikh explored the root reasons for all the un-Islamic practices in Akbar’s reign during his stay in Agra. Thus, to mark the loopholes of the emperor, Sheikh chose to highlight them through his writing. For this, he wrote “Ithbat-e-Nabuwiyah” which covers two key issues of Akbar’s era. First, the misleading concept of prophecy, in general, has engulfed Akbar because of his avaricious ulemas and nobles. Second, the philosophical concept of different philosophers distracted the emperor and Muslims from their rootstock. As a result, to emphasize the court’s ulemas and nobles’ religious duty, Sheikh wrote 536 letters to them in 26 years. Fortunately, later on, these letters –Maktubat-i-Imam-i-Rabbani– proved to be a reason for the shift from Akbar’s anti-Muslim reign into Jahangir’s pro-Muslim reign. Moreover, Sheikh has sent his students and Khailfas of scientific school to the court and army. The purpose of this step is to influence the courtiers and soldiers with the teachings of Islam. Nevertheless, Sheikh gave the concept of Wahdat-ul-Shahood-reflection of God in everything- to negate and minimize the negative impacts of Wahdat-ul-Wajood-God is present in everything- in Muslim society.

Influence of Sheikh Ahmad’s reform

In the late 15 century, Muslim society was engraved with Sufism and mystic beliefs along with the concept of supernatural forces. The reason for these practices was mainly Ibn-e-Arbi’s concept of Wahdat-ul-Wajood. Considering this idea, people started perceiving God’s existence in Sufis. However, Sheikh opposed Wahdat-ul-Wajood and brought the concept of Wahdat-ul-Shahood. Additionally, Sheikh pointed out and warned innovation of Bidat in Muslim society with the help of the Quran and Hadith.

According to Quran,

“Today I have perfected the religion for you and completed my favor upon you”

He also gave a reason for Hadith for Bidat. For instance, the Holy Prophet (SAW) said,

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


As time passed, Sheikh’s idea of Wahdat-ul-Shahood prevailed over society and gave way to ending Sufism and Bidat in this era.

Sheikh Ahmad Sirhindi’s major development as a reformer was a revival of Islam. He performed well by reviving the Shariat in the subcontinent. Nonetheless, his effort to devise a Shariat-based society gave output magnificently.  By influencing Jahangir, Sheikh succeeded to give Muslims a state where they were free to practice Islam. Furthermore, the Muslim courtiers who become a hatred community for Akbar got their lost position in court. As a result, the Shariat law gave way eliminating prostration-Zamin boss- and Din-e-Elahi. Mujadid cleared the difference between non-Muslims and Muslims. He influenced Jahangir to reimpose “Jizya” on non-Muslims. In the same manner, the sheikh restored the office of the Qazi and Ihtsab department to secure Muslim’s law legacy. Consequently, these reforms of sheikh became the substructure of the two nation theory in his era and later for the independence of Pakistan.

Critical Analysis

No doubt, Akbar was a great emperor in terms of politics and territorial consolidation, but his desire to fabricate an integrated and politically stable empire pushed him into religious destruction. Unfortunately, his strategy not only harmed him personally but also deteriorated the true essence of Islam. Therefore, at this time, Sheikh Ahmad Sirhindi stood up for tajdeed and proved himself a Mujadid of the Second millennium by rejuvenating Islam.


In a nutshell, society needs a Mujadid when it starts losing its foundation. As the Holy Prophet of Islam said:

“God will send to this community on the eve of every century a man who will renew its religion.       

(According to Sunan-i-Abu Daud)

To be specific, the jeopardy of Din-e-Elahi to Islam and Islamic society religiously, socially, politically, and economically became a reason for Sheikh’s involvement. He not only challenged the emperor’s fallacious concepts but also worked to flourish Islam with its enormity through his writing and practical work. Ultimately, all his efforts gave the fruit of a separate identity of Muslims that later formed a base for the Two Nation Theory.

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