Abul Fazl And Badayhal Analysis

Topics: Mughal Empire, Islam, People from Agra, Navaratnas, Birbal, Death penalty / Pages: 4 (850 words) / Published: Jan 30th, 2016
We now look into two different instances during Akbar’s reign which have been recorded by both Abul Fazl and Badayuni in their accounts, and attempt to compare their attitudes through the same.
The two instances are birbal’s death, and the mahzar of 1579. While both Fazl and Badayuni agree in their reporting of birbal’s death... their account gives an interesting psychological insight. There seems to be a discrepancy concerning the mahzar, which we will see in the coming slides.

Mahesh das, commonly known as Birbal, was one of Akbar’s court navratnas. He probably yielded greater influence on Akbar than even Abul Fazl did and when he was killed in 1586, Akbar’s grief about Birbal’s death has been noted by Abul Fazl as follows, and I quote:
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The story goes that in 1577 a Brahmin took material meant for building a mosque and built a temple instead. Following this, Badayuni reports that Sheikh Abdul Nabi, among many others, demanded death penalty which Akbar refused. Abdul Nabi, however, going against his wishes had the Brahman executed. Akbar was already worried about the enormous legal power of ulema and this incident further fuelled the fire. Therefore, when Sheikh Mubarik, Fazl’s father, came to the court, Akbar explained him his difficulties. Sheikh then cited Islamic law, and said that during difference of opinion between the jurists, the Muslim ruler had the authority and the right to choose any one view, his choice being decisive. According to Badayuni, the Sheikh thus ‘wrote a decree affirming the religious supremacy of the …show more content…
According to Badayuni, the Mahzar was instrumental for Akbar to open 'the road to deciding any religious question’. Personally, he saw the mahzar as an attack against Islam, as Akbar could now practically decide on matters as a religious head and overrule the majority of the expert ulema. Further, Badayuni records opposition to the mahzar, led by Abdul Nabi and Makhdum-ul-Mulk, insisting that they signed it 'against their convictions’. Identifying Shiekh Mubarak as its author, Badayuni himself views the mahzar as being destructive for the Muslim community.
On the other hand, in Abul Fazl's history, a seemingly spontaneous uprising of the 'blissfully wise and the right-thinking' held a conference where they claimed Akbar should possess the power to make decisions based on reasoning. The mahzar was then signed and Abul Fazl pens a peaceful, democratic transition of power. Neither opposition nor Shiekh Mubarak’s role is mentioned, which may be due to the nature of his writing. Fazl was in continuous praise of Akbar, dedicated to project him as the perfect man, which is why, according to the Akbarnama, the power of religious precedence, is vested in him. Thus, we see how Abul Fazl through his works depoliticizes the issue, essentially leaves out important aspects of the story and changes the context to uphold his loyalty towards

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