The Mughals and the Sufis

Islam and Political Imagination in India, 1500–1750

By Muzaffar Alam

Subjects: India And South Asian Studies, Sufism, History, Asian Studies
Hardcover : 9781438484891, 468 pages, August 2021
Paperback : 9781438484884, 468 pages, January 2022

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Table of contents

Preface and Acknowledgements

1. Introduction: A Long View of Sufism and Political Culture in India

2. The Mughals, the Sufi Shaikhs, and the Formation of the Akbari Dispensation

3. A Sufi Critique of Religious Law, Tasawwuf, and Politics in Mughal India

4. Shah Madar, Sufi Religion, and a View of "True Islam" in a Mughal Chishti Tazkira

5. Strategy and Imagination in a Mughal Sufi Story of Creation

6. In Search of a Sacred King: Dara Shukoh and the Yogavasisthas of Mughal India

7. Piety, Poetry, and the Contested Loyalties of Mughal Princesses, c. 1635–1700

8. The Naqshbandi Shaikhs of Sirhind in Aurangzeb's Empire and Its Aftermath

Conclusion

Bibliography
Index

Examines the relationship between Mughal political culture and the two dominant strains of Islam's Sufi traditions in South Asia: one centered around orthodoxy, the other focusing on a more accommodating and mystical spirituality.

Description

Based on a critical study of a large number of contemporary Persian texts, court chronicles, epistolary collections, and biographies of sufi mystics, The Mughals and the Sufis examines the complexities in the relationship between Mughal political culture and the two dominant strains of Islam's Sufi traditions in South Asia: one centered around orthodoxy, the other focusing on a more accommodating and mystical spirituality. Muzaffar Alam analyses the interplay of these elements, their negotiation and struggle for resolution via conflict and coordination, and their longer-term outcomes as the empire followed its own political and cultural trajectory as it shifted from the more liberal outlook of Emperor Akbar "The Great" (r. 1556–1605) to the more rigid attitudes of his great-grandson, Aurangzeb 'Alamgir (r. 1658–1701). Alam brings to light many new and underutilized sources relevant to the religious and cultural history of the Mughals and reinterprets well-known sources from a new perspective to provide one of the most detailed and nuanced portraits of Indian Islam under the Mughal Empire available today.

Muzaffar Alam is George V. Bobrinskoy Professor in South Asian Languages and Civilizations at the University of Chicago. He is the author of several books, including, The Languages of Political Islam: India 1200–1800 and The Crisis of Empire in Mughal North India: Awadh and the Punjab, 1707–1748.

Reviews

"An exceptional work of meticulous research and detailed scholarship." — Midwest Book Review