Religious Policy of Akbar – 1

Religious Policy of Akbar – 1
Among all the Muslim who ruled India Akbar was the liberal exponent of religious tolerance. Rising above the prejudices of his age he followed a very tolerant policy. There were certain factors that determined his policy.
1. Liberal parents:
Akbar’s parents were not orthodox. His father Humayun though a Sunni had a leaning towards Shiasm. He is said to have promised the Shah of Persia that he would spread and patronize Shiaism in India. Akbar’s mother Hamida Banu Begum was a shia lady of Persia. She was impressed upon the mind of her young son and the value of the parents which contributed in making his attitude liberal.
2. Liberal Teachers:
Akbars teachers also played a great part in moulding religious views on Akbar. Bairam khan, who acted as his regent and ‘Italiq’ was a shia. He gave him education on liberal and unorthodox lines. Another tutor of Akbar, Abdul Latiff was also a liberal and cultured man. He was considered to be sunni in the shia country of Persia and a shia in the sunni ridden Northern India.
3. Teaching of Bhakthi Reformers:
Bhakts like Kabir, Guru Nanak and Chaitanya preached unity of godhood and universal brotherhood as the fundamentals that existed among the people of various religions. Their teaching had their natural effect upon Akbar.
4. Desire to know the Truth:
It is said that hours together Akbar would sit on a huge flat stone thinking of the mysteries of religions. In these meditations, he had realized that fanaticism was not a part of true religion and that all men in reality are the children of god and hence equal. He had realized that true religion and intolerance could not go together.
5. Akbar’s Rajput Princess:
Akbar had married many Rajput princess and not unnaturally they wrought a profound change in his life. Under their influence he went away from orthodoxy and became very tolerant and liberal in religious matters. It was under their influence that he came to appreciate Hindu philosophy and way of life.
6. Akbar’s association with Abul Faizi and Abul Fazl:
In the formulation of his new tolerant religious policy, these two sons of Sheik Mubarak exerted a powerful influence upon the emperor’s mind and led him from orthodox Islam.
7.Evolution and growth of Akbar’s religious policy:
After the fall of Bairam khan in 1561, Akbar for some time followed the traditional orthodox policy and was guided by the staunch Sunnis. But from 1562 a great change began to be witnessed in his religious policy.