Hadhrat Hāfiz-ul-Qurān Abul-Muzaffar Muhiy-ud-Dīn Muhammad Aurangzeb Ālamgīr qaddasa-Allāhu sirrahū (may Allāh sanctify his secret) was the sixth Mughal emperor of India. He was the greatest among all Mughal emperors as well as the wealthiest among all his contemporary kings. He was a pious Muslim, a religious scholar, a Sūfī and a walī (Muslim saint). He was a great king, an excellent general, and the best administrator.
The venerable Aurangzeb was the third son and sixth child of Emperor Shāh Jahān and Mumtāz Mahal (for whom the Tāj Mahal was built). He was born on 15 Zul-Qa’dah 1027 AH, 3rd November 1618 at Dahod, Gujarāt, India. His father was the governor of Gujarāt at that time.
Aurangzeb learned Persian and Arabic and studied the traditional Islamic sciences of jurisprudence, Hadīth, Tafsīr and Tasawwuf. He studied the greatest book of Hadīth Sahīh al-Bukhārī from Hadhrat Mawlānā Muhammad Farrukh Shāh Sirhindī (1038-1122H/1628-1710), son of Khwāja Muhammad Sa’īd ibn Imām Rabbānī. Among his teachers were some of the finest scholars of that time, such as Mawlānā Abd al-Latīf Sultānpurī, Mīr Muhammad Hāshim Gīlānī, Mullā Mohan Bihārī, Mawlānā Sa’d-Allāh Khān, Mawlānā Sayyid Muhammad Qanaujī, Mawlānā Ahmad Jīwan, Dānishmand Khān and Mawlānā Shaykh Abd al-Qawī.
He was a follower of the Hanafī school of Islamic law. He used to study the great books of Sufism, specially writings of Imām Ghazālī such as Ihyā Ulūm ad-Dīn and Kīmyā-i Sa’ādat.
He assumed the throne in 1068H/1659 and became the sixth Mughal emperor of India.
Aurangzeb was only about seven years old when the great Imām and the reviver of Islam in the second millenium, Imām Rabbānī Shaykh Ahmad Sirhindī passed away in 1034 AH. However, some sources suggest that he was blessed with the company of Imām Rabbānī along with his grandfather Emperor Jahāngīr.
He possessed a strong love of the Naqshbandī Sufi masters such as Imām Rabbānī and his descendants. Approximately in 1048H/1638, when he was a young prince of twenty years, he went to the exalted city Sirhind along with his father and swore the allegiance (bai’ah) in the Spiritual Path to the great master of the Naqshbandī order Hadhrat Imām Muhammad Ma’sūm Fārūqī Sirhindī, son and successor of Imām Rabbānī Mujaddid Alf-i Sānī Shaykh Ahmad Sirhindī radiy-Allāhu anhuma. Imām Ma’sūm gave him the glad tidings that he will succeed his father and take the throne of India.
Aurangzeb had begged his shaykh to accompany him perpetually, but the shaykh refused. Instead, on his earnest requests, Imām Ma’sūm appointed his fifth son Shaykh Saif ad-Dīn as the spiritual mentor of Aurangzeb and sent him to the capital to live with and accompany the emperor and guide him in spiritual and religious affairs.
Once Shaykh Saif ad-Dīn reported the spiritual progress of the emperor to his noble father Imām Ma’sūm and told that he has completed his Latāif and has achieved the Sultān al-Azkār (the chief Zikr) and Rābita (perpetual connection with the shaykh), and is now practicing the zikr of Nafī-Asbāt. Imām Ma’sūm replied: “[This faqīr] finds the bātin (interior) of the emperor filled with the cognation of the masters and is hopeful that he will soon be honored with the Fanā-i Qalb (the fanā of heart) that is the first level from the levels of walāyat (sainthood).” [letter 220, volume 3]
In another letter, Shaykh Saif ad-Dīn wrote to his blessed father about the spiritual progress of Emperor Aurangzeb, and wrote these words: “He (Aurangzeb) has found his Source of Determination [Mubda-i Ta’ayyun] to be the Attribute of Knowledge [Sifat al-Ilm] and says that a close relationship is found with that blessed Attribute.” Imām Ma’sūm was so much pleased with the spiritual progress of the emperor that he replied: “[I] was pleased by reading it; [I was] close to start dancing. May the Almighty grant full share from the blessings of this exalted Attribute.” [letter 242, volume 3]
In the elderly age, Imām Muhammad Ma’sūm had pain in the knees and could not walk easily. Aurangzeb sent one of his royal doctors called Sikander Beg who was an Armenian surgeon, to treat his shaykh. However, the treatment did not cure the problem.
Although Imām Ma’sūm did not accompany Aurangzeb for long, he was always anxious and worried about the spiritual training and religious guidance of the emperor. He sent his sons and other shaykhs to live with Aurangzeb and guide him. For this purpose, he specially granted deputyship to some of his qualified and perfected disciples and sent them to the company of the emperor with the sole purpose of his spiritual and moral training. Following deputies of Imām Ma’sūm were specially granted deputyship for training the emperor:
- Hadhrat Muftī Muhammad Bāqir Lahorī
- Hadhrat Shaykh Muhammad Alīm Jalāl-Ābādī
- Hadhrat Mawlānā Muhammad Jān Warskī
- Hadhrat Hāfiz Muhammad Sādiq Kābulī
In 1067H, Imām Muhammad Ma’sūm and most of the Mujaddidī family went for Hajj and visited the holy cities of Makkah and Madinah. While back in India, Aurangzeb was busy in fighting his brother Dārā Shikoh for succession. Imām Muhammad Ma’sūm wanted Aurangzeb on the throne as he was a pious and saintly prince, while Dārā Shikoh was misguided and had anti-Islamic Hinduist beliefs. Since initially Dara Shikoh was a follower of the Qadri Sufi order, Imam Ma’sum sent his eldest son Shaykh Sibghat-Allah to Baghdad to request the head of the Qadri order Hadhrat Ghaws al-A’zam Sayyidina Shaykh Abd al-Qadir Jilani radiy-Allahu anhu that he may remove his support for Dara Shikoh. This request was accepted by Shaykh Jilani, and Dara Shikoh is known to have abandoned the Qadri order.
While in the holy city of Madinah, Imām Muhammad Ma’sūm begged in the court of the Master of the Universe Prophet Muhammad sall-Allāhu alahi wa-sallam for the victory of Aurangzeb. The Final Prophet sall-Allāhu alaihi wa-sallam appeared to him holding a sword in his blessed hands, and indicated the killing of Dārā Shikoh. Thus, with the approval of the Lord of the World Sayyidinā Muhammad alaihi is-salām, Aurangzeb was victorious and gained the throne, while Dārā Shikoh was executed (in 1069H/1659) by a decree (fatwā) issued by the scholars and judges. This incidence is reported in Hasanāt al-Haramain (page 252) and other books of the Mujaddidi order.
It should be noted that Prince Dārā Shikoh, who was the first son of Emperor Shāh Jahān and had a claim on the throne of India, had been misguided due to the company of Hindu yogis and some fake and unperfected Sufis. Though he strongly believed in Islam and Sufism, his Sufism was not the standard orthodox Sufism based on Islamic Sharia, rather he believed in a version of Sufism based on Hindu philosophy. His rule on India would have been a great danger to Islam and a disaster for Muslims, so the saints and scholars made all efforts to prevent it. With the spiritual powers and blessings of Imām Muhammad Ma’sūm, Dārā Shikoh was defeated and Aurangzeb took the throne and served as a just and pious ruler.
During the war of succession, the great deputy of Imām Rabbānī Shaykh Adam Banūrī, who had died quite earlier in 1053 AH, appeared in the dreams of his deputies by the commandment of the Final Prophet sall-Allāhu alaihi wa-sallam and ordered them to support Aurangzeb and fight for him.
When Imām Ma’sūm returned from the Haramain, Aurangzeb had already assumed the throne and Dārā Shikoh had been executed.
Aurangzeb then earnestly requested Khwāja Muhammad Sa’īd Sirhindī radiy-Allāhu anhu, second son of Imām Rabbānī and elder brother of Imām Ma’sūm, to accompany him in the capital, so the Khwāja went to Delhi and blessed the emperor with his company and spiritual guidance even though he was very sick.
After becoming emperor, he memorized the Holy Qur’ān by heart in 1072H/1662.
Imām Muhammad Ma’sūm passed away in 1079 AH. Later, Aurangzeb accompanied his noble sons and nephews and other Sufi masters of the Mujaddidī order for spiritual guidance.
Shaykh Abd al-Ahad Wahdat Sirhindī (1126H/1714), son of Khwāja Muhammad Sa’īd ibn Imām Rabbānī, went for Hajj in 1109H/1697 and after returning, was requested by Aurangzeb to accompany him. He remained with Aurangzeb for about two years.
Relations with Sufi masters
The shaykhs of the Mujaddidī family guided Aurangzeb in religious and worldly issues and wrote letters to him. Following is a short list of such letters:
- Hadhrat Khwāja Muhammad Sa’īd Fārūqī Sirhindī, second son of Imam Rabbanī, wrote nine letters to Aurangzeb (letters 37, 39, 40, 45, 46, 65, 66, 82, 84).
- His shaykh Imām Muhammad Ma’sūm wrote six letters to him (letters 1.64, 2.5, 3.6, 3.122, 3.221, 3.227).
- Hadhrat Khwāja Muhammad Naqshband Sirhindī, the second Qayyūm and second son of Imām Ma’sūm, wrote eighteen letters to Aurangzeb.
- Hadhrat Shaykh Muhammad Ubaid-Allāh Sirhindī, third son of Imām Ma’sūm, wrote nine letters to Aurangzeb.
- Hadhrat Shaykh Muhammad Saif ad-Dīn Sirhindī, fifth son of Imām Ma’sūm and spiritual mentor of Aurangzeb, wrote eighteen letters to the emperor.
Not only the Mujaddidī shaykhs, Aurangzeb had strong connections with many other Sufi shaykhs of various orders. Among them are the following:
- Shaykh Abd al-Latīf Burhānpurī (1066H/1656)
- Shaykh Burhān Shattārī (1083H/1672), of the Shattārī Sufi order
- Sayyid Sher Muhammad Qādrī Burhānpurī, of the Qādrī order
- Mīr Sayyid Muhammad Qannujī, of the Chishtī order
- Shaykh Muhammad Ashraf Shattārī Lāhorī, of the Shattārī order, who wrote a book refuting the Shia creed called “Tuhfat al-Husainī” and dedicated it to Aurangzeb.
- Shaykh Sultān Bāhū Qādrī, a famous Sufi saint who write the book “Aurang-i Shāhī” especially for Aurangzeb and has mentioned him with great titles.
Hadhrat Muhiy-ud-Dīn Aurangzeb Alamgīr passed away from this world in Ahmadnagar on Friday in Zu’l-Qi’dah 1118 AH (20 February 1707).
He was buried in the courtyard of the Sufi shrine of Hadhrat Shaykh Burhān ad-Dīn Gharīb who was a disciple of the great Chishtī master Hadhrat Nizām ad-Dīn Awliyā. The shrine is situated in Khuldābād, Aurangābād district, in the Indian state of Mahārāshtra.
- Hasanāt al-Haramain, by Muhammad Shākir ibn Shaykh Badr ad-Dīn Sirhindī, research and Urdu translation by Muhammad Iqbāl Mujaddidī, published by Maktabah Sirājiya, Mūsā Zaī Sharīf, Derā Ismā’īl Khān district, Pākistān, 1981.
- Rauzat al-Qayyūmiyah, by Khwāja Muhammad Ihsān Mujaddidī, published by Maktabah Nabaviyah, Lahore, 2002. Preface by Muhammad Iqbāl Mujaddidī.