In the 10th century Hijri, certain hostile forces tried to harm Islam in the subcontinent. At the time, on the one hand, Muslim scholars were trying to sort out differences that existed between different sects, and on the other hand, the ruler of India, Jalaluddin Akbar, wanted to influence the hearts and minds of the people with his own views on religion. He encouraged the people adhering to all kinds of faith, and at the same time tried to convince them that in view of the new, emerging realities, religion carried no substance and, therefore, was not required.
By scrapping all religions in India he wanted to create a new religion – Deen-i-Elahi – in which he made himself the focus of everything. He introduced several edicts against Islam. As a result, worshipping sun, fire, water, trees and cows was deemed acceptable. The use of park was allowed openly. Hindu rituals received more attention and respect. Akbar even changed the shehada: “There is no God but Allah, and Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) is His messenger” to “There is no God but Allah, and Akbar is His Khalifa.” Reciting the Holy Prophet’s name in Friday prayer’s Khutba was stopped. He refused to accept that life after death existed. To prostrate (sajda) before him was made compulsory. Prayers, fasting and Haj were declared unnecessary things. Mosques were closed and learning of Arabic was banned. It was also declared that Islam had lost its usefulness.
Akbar was a Muslim. But as he grew up and developed contacts with non-Muslims he distanced himself from Islam. This was the scenario when Hazrat Mujaddad Alif Sani began his mission to revive Islam in India. The circumstances were utterly hostile, but he stood firm and dauntless to challenge them. He first made a jamat (company) of his followers and sent them far and wide to spread the message of Allah, and bring the people back to Shariah of the Holy Prophet (Pbuh).
Hazrat Mujaddad Alif Sani was born on 114th Shawal in 971 Hijri at a place called Sirhind, a small town in the state of Patiala (Punjab), India. Before his birth, his father Abdul Ahad saw a dream that the world had engulfed in darkness. Monkeys, bears and pigs were killing the people. Suddenly a ray of light came out from his chest, followed by a throne on which sat a very pious man. A man accompanying the throne announced: “Here comes the truth to devour falsehood.” The dream came true in the form of his son Ahmed, who later become Mujaddad Alif Sani.
He was called Mujaddad because unlike other Muslim scholars who normally excelled in one area, such as Fiqa or Ahadith, he excelled in all branches of Islamic knowledge and revived the Sunnah and Deen of the Holy Prophet. Since he became Mujaddad in the second millennium, he was called Mujaddad Ali Sani. Alif means thousand and Sani means second. His great grandparents, descendants of the second caliph of Islam, Hazrat Umer Farooq, migrated from Medina to Kabul and then to Sirhind.
At the age of 17, he memorized not only the Holy Quran, but had already excelled in all areas of Islamic knowledge. His father Sheikh Abdul Ahad Farooqi, who himself was a religious scholar, trained him in Islamic studies. After the death of his father, he came to Delhi to benefit from other scholars and Sheikhs, such as Khawaja Baqi Billah Naqshbandi.
The emperor of India in those days lived in Agra. Now the time had come to challenge the new Deen-i-Elahi Akbar had forced upon the people. Sheikh Mujaddad Alif went to Agra and addressed the courtiers of Akbar to ask their ruler not to change the religion of Allah. Akbar, infuriated, asked for a debate between Hazrat Mujaddad and his scholars. Right at the time when the debate started, a hurricane hit the region and injured Akbar and his scholars. Hazrat Mujaddad and his companions remained unscathed. Akbar could not recover from the injuries and died.
After Akbar, Jehanjir held India’s reins. He showed great respect for the mystics and saints, but not more than his rule. Seeing the influence of Hazrat Mujaddad Alif Sani and his large number of followers, his courtiers began poisoning his ears against Sheikh Mujaddad and projected him as a threat to his rule. Jehangir called the Sheikh to his court for explanation.
Against the custom of the court, Sheikh Mujaddad did not bow before Jehangir. The emperor asked him why he did so. The Sheikh daringly told the emperor that a servant of Allah never bows before anyone except Him. The emperor could not restrain himself and gave orders for his killing. The Sheikh did not get scared and remained firm at his place. After a few seconds, unexpectedly, Jehangir revoked his order and asked his men to imprison him.
When governors of Jehangir in different provinces came to know about the treatment rendered to the Sheikh, they turned against the emperor. Muhabit Khan, a mighty governor and a disciple of Hazrat Mujaddad, with the help from the kings of Khurasan and Toran, attacked Jehangir and defeated him. Jehangir was arrested. Muhabit Khan asked Hazrat Mujaddad to become the emperor of India, but he refused.
The Sheikh, instead of being vindictive, asked Muhabit Khan to release Jehangir and put him back on the throne. Muhabit Khan followed his Sheikh’s order. Now, Jehangir, realizing that he was misled by his own courtiers, became an ardent follower of Hazrat Mujaddad.
After completing the mission of his life, restoring Allah’s Deen and Shariah of the Holy Prophet, the Sheikh disclosed to his disciples that within 40 days he would leave the world. After 36 days, on 28 Safar of 1034 Hijri, at the age of 63, he died and was buried in Sirhind.
Hazrat Mujaddad used to say that Allah’s Raza (pleasure) could be achieved only through strictly following the Sunnah of the Holy Prophet, which comprises three parts: knowledge, practice and sincerity.