This work examines the historical works and historiographical sources of Akbar's reign to strike a balanced evaluation of the relative importance of the works of Abu'I Fazl, and of the intellectual and political movements of his time.
Full recognition is given here, for the first time, to Abu'l Fazl's influential contribution to epistolography, historiography and Islamic philosophy. The so-called "religion", the Din Ilahi, is discussed from the point of view, both religious and political, of Abu'L Fazl and the political elite, and many false assumptions often made are exploded by the force of evidence from contemporary sources.
Contemporary and later mystical, philosophical and historical literature in Persian, Hindi and Arabic, to be found in libraries scattered throughout India, the Middle East, U.K. and Europe, is assessed. Thus the religious and intellectual history of the Muslims of Akbar's time can be considered against the wider perspective of the religious tensions in Muslim India from the thirteenth to the sixteenth centuries; and the nature of their response to contemporary challenges is discussed on the basis of firm historical evidence.
New light is thrown upon some of Akbar's institutions; upon the 'Ibadat Khana, and the Translation Bureau (the Muktab Khana); upon the Declaration (Mahzar); and upon the composition and influence of the elite of his time, with a detailed analysis of the character and beliefs of such leading members as the sanctimonious and avaricious Shaikh 'Abdu'n-Nabi, the profuse yet orthodox Shaikh Farid Bukhari and that incomparable anecdotist, the able, fluent yet frustrated Mulla, 'Abdu'I-Qadir Bada'uni.
In short, this work aims at giving an authoritative account of the life of Abu'I'Fazl and of his contribution to a period which is still largely misunderstood even by its admirers.
About the Author:
Dr. S.A.A. Rizvi, M.A., Ph.D., D.Litt. (Agra University), has been working as Reader in the Department of Asian Civilizations at the Australian National University Canberra since 1967. In 1969 he was elected a fellow of the Australian Academy of the Humanities, and is the only Indian member of this body. Before joining the A.N.U. he worked as Head of the History Department, Jammu and Kashmir University, and was also Secretary of the History of the Freedom Movement, Government of U.P. Dr. Rizvi was a Research Associate in the school of Oriental and African Studies, University of London, from 1962-1963 and was a Fellow in the same institution in 1969. In 1972 he was a Visiting Professor at the Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi.
Among Dr. Rizvi's most important publications are following: Source Book on Medieval Indian History, in Hindi, Vols, I-X (Aligarh Muslim University); Freedom Struggle in U.P., Vols. I - VI (U.P. Government); Muslim Revivalist Movements in Northern India in the 16th and 17th Centuries (Agra, 1965); Fatehpur Sikri (New Delhi, 1972); Hindi translations of the Muqaddmah of Ibn Khaldun (Lucknow, 1961); Haqaiq-I Hindi (Varanasi, 1957); and Alakh Bani (Aligarh, 1971). He has also contributed chapters to the Cambridge History of Islam and to the Cultural History of India, published by the Clarendon Press, Oxford. His research articles have been published by a large number of international journals.
Chapter 1Aspects of Religious and Political Challenges(Thirteenth to Sixteenth Centuries)
Chapter 2The Mubarak Family
Chapter 3Abu'l Fazl's Religious Discussions (The 'Ibadat Khana)
Chapter 4The End of the Old Order (The Mahzar)
Chapter 5The Mughal Elites in Akbar's Reign
Chapter 6Translation Bureau of Akbar (The Makatb Khana)
Chapter 7Historians and Histories of the Mughal Empire in Akbar's Reign
Chapter 8Insha (Epistolography) in Akbar's Reign
Chapter 9Religious and Political Thinking of Abu'l Fazl
Chapter 10The Din Illahi
Chapter 11Views of Men believed to have been Members of the Din Illahi
Chapter 12Aspects of the Orthodox Muslim Attitude in Akbar's Reign
Chapter 13Abu'l Fazl as an Administrator and a Soldier
Chapter 14Abu'l Fazl's Character and His Place in History
Appendix A: Muktabat I-'Allami, Fourth Daftar
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