Akbar Theory of Kingship

Factors that Influenced Akbar Theory of Kingship:

  • The Mongolian tradition- the tradition of Yasha by Changez Khan influenced Akbar. Yasha means rejection of all sorts of religious discrimination (i.e. secular ideas were dominant).
  • The Mughal tradition- In this tradition, the divine right of kingship was encouraged.
  • The impact of Secular policies of some of the earlier Sultan’s of Delhi like Alauddin Khalji and Muhammad-Bin-Tughlaq.
  • The impact of Bhakti and Sufi movements that contributed to the development of composite culture in India.
  • Akbar’s theory of kingship was influenced even by Indian elements such as the concept of Chakravarti ruler (Universal King).

Abul Fazl’s Exposition Theory of Kingship under Akbar:

He calls kingship as Farr-i-Izadi (divine light) that emanates from God and falls directly on the king. It symbolizes the declining role of intermediaries in the matter of kingship.

In other words, we can say it undermined the role of the ulema class. In one sense it is not a new thing even the earlier rulers like Balban and Alauddin Khalji had already downsized the role of Ulema class. For example, Balban declared kingship as Niyamat-i-Khudai (gift of God).

But the speciality of the theory of Kingship conceived by Akbar and explained by Abul Fazl lies in the fact that in this theory of Kingship both Islamic and Hindu elements were assimilated.

Abul Fazl compares the four elements of nature with four important organs of society, for example fire was identified with warrior class, air was identified with merchant class, water was identified with intellectual class and earth with the working or labour class. In this chronology of Social organs he placed intellectual class at 3rd position. This phenomenon also shows that Abul Fazl was inclined to neutralise the role of highly pretentious and orthodox Ulema class.

Above all, in the description given by Abul Fazal, we don’t find the words like Dar-ul-Harb/Dar-ul-Islam anywhere. It means in this changed situation these words have lost their meaning so the state under Akbar was essentially based on Dar-ul-Sulha (peace for all).

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