Shah Jahan was an orthodox Sunni, but his favourite eldest son Dara was
a believer in Akbar’s eclecticism. During the latters reign the conflict
between orthodoxy and mysticism continued. It was resolved in favour of the
orthodox Sunni School of thought through war of succession which saw
Aurangzeb ascend the throne. Before and after his accession to the throne
Aurangzeb maintained contact with Khwaja Muhammad Masum, son of
Shaikh Ahmad Sirhindi. On the other hand Dara and Jahanara were disciples
of a Qadiri Sufi saint, Mulla Shah, a Persian well known for religious
tolerance.
     The Qadiri school of Sufis found a foothold in India in Akbar’s reign. Its
principal centre was Uch in Sind. One of the early advocates of its teachings
in India was Shaikh Abdul a well-known theological scholar Haq of Delhi
and contemporary of Akbar, Jahangir and Shah Jahan. Mir Muhammad,
better known as Mian Mir, who lived at Lahore and was a highly respected
friend of the Sikhs was also a member of this School.
     Aurangzeb’s religious and political ideas were totally irreconcilable with
the mysticism and liberalism generally associated with Sufism. He ruled
according to the shariat and this necessitated codification of its principles in a
rigid form (Fatawa-i-Alamgiri).
Abul Fazl’s Background
The most important historical writer of the age of the Great Mughals is Abul
Fazl Allami. Born in 1550, he was murdered at the instigation of Prince
Salim in 1602. His father, Shaikh Mubarak, was a famous scholar and sufi;
he played an important role in the development of Akbar’s religious views
and policy. His brother Faizi was a poetlaureate in Akbar’s court. He was
himself a first-rate scholar and writer, a firm believer in eclecticism, an able
and loyal servant of the state, a man of extraordinary industry, and an
intimate friend of Akbar.
     Commissioned by the Emperor to write a history of his reign, he
produced two outstanding works. His narration of facts and his chronology
are generally accurate. But his style, though brilliant, is too rhetorical and
involved to make a direct appeal to the reader. It is also marked by the
flattery of his patron whom he considered a superman. On the whole, Abul