Mujaddid Alif Sani (the reviver of the second millennium), one of the early religious reformers in India was born on June 26, 1564. A firm opponent to the Infallibility Decree in 1579 and Din-e-Elahi in 1581 propounded by Akbar, Sheikh Ahmad Sirhindi challenged the divine status of Akbar’s initiatives taken to create a religious harmony in the opponent cults of India.
Akbar amalgamated the virtues of all main religions and called it Din-e-Elahi and asked the courtiers and public to embrace it. The new religion denied the sublime status of Allah and the Prophets and emphasized on the worship of nature while the revelation was negated. Except his utmost efforts, only nineteen people said yes to his call and adopted the new religion with no divine orders or status. Majority of the followers was Muslims while Hindus did not accept it though it was intended to create good terms with Hindu Rajputs. Being the Emperor of the vast Empire, Akbar started playing with the religion which was strongly opposed by Sheikh Ahmad Sirhindi Al-Farooqui Al-Naqshbandi, the first religious scholar from Sirhind.
Sheikh Ahmad Sirhindi (Mujaddid Alif Sani) received his early education at home. Being the disciple of Khawaja Baqi Billah of Naqshbandia Order, he believed in the true religion and denied the heterodoxies innovated by Akbar. He spoke against the Pantheism of Akbar’s religion and published a pamphlet in which he quoted Imam Ghazali advocating the need of revelation and imperfectness of human thinking and meditation. He raised voice against the Sulh-e-Kul of Akbar propagating the devised religion of Akbar instead of true Islam. He laid stress on the true spirit of Islam and refuted the miracles shown by the saints on the fair name of Islam.
Sheikh Ahmad rebelled against Wahdat-ul-Wujood (the oneness of being) promulgated by Akbar as it was full of errors and went against Islam. It implies that all things are existing within Allah. Instead he floated Wahat-ul-Shahood (oneness of outer appearance) which means that only Fana fillah (forgetting everything except Allah Almighty) state can observe the unity of Allah and the creator. He wrote letters (Maktoobat) to Mughal Emperor to denounce the heterodox preaching and practices of Mughals and asked them to abstain from all sinful innovations on the name of religion. He wrote in one of his Maktoob about the flavors added to religion by Mughals:
“Those flavors will be harmful if they are not utilized compatibility with the Islam. They will cause Allahu ta’ala’s wrath and torment. Maximum possible abstinence from enjoying them is the safest course to follow for real and definite salvation. Those who cannot manage that degree of abstinence should use the medicine requisite for protection. Thereby they will be safe from their harms”.
“So pitiable are those who succumb to the indulgence of their Nafs and fail to enjoy the worldly flavors in manners and doses prescribed by Islam, thereby divesting themselves of the felicitous and everlasting flavors of Paradise. Do they know that Allhu ta’ala sees all? Have they never heard that enjoyment of worldly blessings within the limits of moderation drawn by Islam is the only way of acquiring immunity from harms? In the same letter he says:
“How lucky for those who have attained love of Allah ta’al by abstaining from prohibitions in the world, when the Promised Day comes! How lucky for those who do not succumb to the temptations of the sequined worldly life, who fear their Rabb (the sustainer) and curb their sensuous desires, who advise their household and their inferiors that they should perform their daily Salats (prayers) steadily, how lucky for them!”
Jahangir was more orthodox than Akbar but still he ordered Sheikh Ahmad Sirhindi to bow before him as a symbol of modesty and humility (as he was in habit of getting this prostration), but Sheikh Ahmad refused to do so. Jahangir took his refusal as a personal onslaught and imprisoned him in Gwalior Fort for two years. Later Jahangir realized his mistake and released him discarding the un-Islamic practices of Akbar.
Sheikh Ahmad Sirhindi was rightly called the spiritual guardian of Islam by Iqbal due to the revival of the true essence of Islam. Had he not voiced out against the extended innovations of the Mughal, Islam would have been not its real form and shape today. Naqshbandia order contributed a lot to the rebirth of Islam. Mujaddid Alif Sani wrote many books out of which Risal-e-Nabuwwat, Isbat-ul-Nabat, and Tauheed-e- Shuhoodi are remarkable.