Religion and Philosophy in Medieval India
THE SUFI MOVEMENT
- Islam was founded by Prophet Muhammad.
- two major sects that arose within Islam – the Sunnis and Shias
- Sunnis, there are four principal schools of Islamic Law,
- These are based upon the Quran and Hadis (traditions of the Prophet’s saying and doings).
- Of these the Hanafi school of the eighth century was adopted by the eastern Turks, who later came to India
- orthodox Sunnism- rationalist philosophy or Mutazilas professed strict monotheism
- God is just and has nothing to do with man’s evil actions.
- Men are endowed with free will and are responsible for their own actions.
- Mutazilas were opposed by the Ashari School
- Ashari school
- Founded by Abul Hasan Ashari (873-935 AD)
- Believes that God knows, sees and speaks.
- Quran is eternal and uncreated.
- Greatest exponent Abu Hamid al-Ghazali (1058-1111 AD), credited with having reconciled orthodoxy with mysticism.
- Al-Ghazali attacked all non-orthodox Sunni schools.
- Sufis owed their allegiance to the Quran as much as the Ulemas did
- Influence of the ideas of Ghazali was greater because of the new educational system provided for setting up of seminaries of higher learning (called madrasas)
- scholars were known as ulema played an important role in the politics of medieval India.
- The Sufis
- Mystics, pious men who were shocked at the degeneration in political and religious life
- opposed the vulgar display of wealth in public life and the readiness of the ulema to serve “ungodly” rulers
- free thought and liberal ideas
- against formal worship, rigidity and fanaticism in religion.
- interpreted religion as ‘love of god’ and service of humanity
- divided into different silsilahs (orders) with each silsilah having its own pir (guide) called Khwaja or Sheikh
- pir and his disciples lived in a khanqah (hospice)
- owed their allegiance to the Quran as much as the ulema did
- Al-Hujwari known as Data Ganj Baksh (Distributor of Unlimited Treasure)
- fundamental and moral principles, teachings and orders, system of fasting, prayers and practice of living in khanqahs had already been fixeds
- Abul Fazl while writing in the Ain-i-Akbari speaks of fourteen silsilahs of the Sufis divided into two types:
- Ba-shara were those orders that followed the Islamic Law (Sharia) and its directives such as namaz and roza. Chief amongst these were the Chishti, Suhrawardi, Firdawsi, Qadiri and Naqshbandi silsilahs.
- Be-shara silsilahs were not bound by the Sharia. The Qalandars belonged to this group.
The Chishti Silsilah
- Order was founded in a village called Khwaja Chishti (near Herat)
- Founded by Khwaja Muinuddin Chishti
- Ajmer the main centre
- Serving mankind was the best form of devotion and therefore he worked amongst the downtrodden.
- Disciples: Sheikh Hamiduddin of Nagaur and Qutubuddin Bakhtiyar Kaki
- Sultan Iltutmish dedicated the Qutub Minar to Qutubuddin Bakhtiyar Kaki
- Sheikh Fariduddin of Ajodhan (Pattan in Pakistan) popularised the Chishti silsilah in modern Haryana and Punjab
- Baba Farid respected by both Hindus and Muslims. His verses, written in Punjabi, are quoted in the Adi Granth
- His most famous disciple Shaikh Nizamuddin Auliya (1238-1325) was responsible for making Delhi an important centre of the Chishti silsilah
- He saw the reign of seven sultans
- His followers were the noted writer Amir Khusrau
- Sheikh Nasiruddin Mahmud, popularly known as Nasiruddin Chirag-i-Dilli (The Lamp of Delhi).
The Suhrawardi Silsilah
- founded by Sheikh Shihabuddin Suhrawardi
- established in India by Sheikh Bahauddin Zakariya (1182-1262)
- Sheikh Bahauddin Zakariya openly took Iltutmisht’s side in his struggle against Qabacha and received from him the title Shaikhul Islam (Leader of Islam)
- maintained close contacts with the state
- accepted gifts, jagirs and even government posts in the ecclersiastical department
- firmly established in Punjab and Sind
- others silsilahs are the Firdawsi Silsilah, Shattari Silsilah, Qadiri Silsilah, Naqshbandi Silsilah
Importance of Sufi Movement
- infused a new liberal outlook within Islam
- laid the foundation for more liberal movements of the fifteenth century
- believed in the concept of Wahdat-ul-Wajud(Unity of Being) which was promoted by Ibn-i-Arabi (l165-1240)
- much exchange of ideas between the Sufis and Indian yogis. In fact, the hatha-yoga treatise Amrita Kunda was translated into Arabic and Persian
- Notable contribution: service to the poorer and downtrodden sections of society
- Nizamuddin Auliya was famous for distributing gifts amongst the needy irrespective of religion or caste.
- encouraged equality and brotherhood
- attacked by the orthodoxy- denounced the ulema
- contributed greatly to the growth of a rich regional literature- chose to write in local languages
- Baba Farid recommended the use of Punjabi
- Shaikh Hamiduddin, before him, wrote in Hindawi.
- Syed Gesu Daraz was the first writer of Deccani Hindi
- Also, in Bengali
- Amir Khusrau (l 252-1325) the follower of Nizamuddin Auliya created a new style called sabaq-i-hindi
THE BHAKTI MOVEMENT
- development took place in Tamil Nadu between the seventh and twelfth centuries
- Nayanars (devotees of Shiva) and Alvars (devotees of Vishnu)
- Bhakti saints composed their verses in local languages
- also translated Sanskrit works
- Jnanadeva writing in Marathi, Kabir, Surdas and Tulsidas in Hindi, Shankaradeva popularising Assamese, Chaitanya and Chandidas spreading their message in Bengali, Mirabai in Hindi and Rajasthani.
- Devotional poetry was composed in Kashmiri, Telugu, Kannad, Oriya, Malayalam, Maithili and Gujarati.
- believed that salvation can be achieved by all
- no distinction of caste, creed or religion before God
- Ramananda, whose disciples included Hindus and Muslims His disciple, Kabir, was a weaver.
- Guru Nanak was a village accountant’s son. Namdev was a tailor
- stressed equality, disregarded the caste system and attacked institutionalized religion
- did not confine themselves to purely religious ideas. They advocated social reforms too
- opposed sati and female infanticide
- Women were encouraged to join kirtans.
- Mirabai and Lalla (of Kashmir)
- Non-sectarian Bhakti saints
- Kabir and Guru Nanak
- ideas were drawn from both Hindu and Islamic traditions
- aimed at bridging the gulf between the Hindus and the Muslims
- believed that the way to God was through personally experienced bhakti or devotion
- Creator is One
- Sikhs incorporate his songs in the Adi Granth
- beliefs and ideas were reflected in the dohas (Sakhi)
- emphasised simplicity in religion and said that bhakti was the easiest way to attain God
- refused to accept any prevalent religious belief without prior reasoning
- advocated performance of action rather than renunciation of duty
- belief in the unity of God led both Hindus and
Muslims to become his disciples
- ideas were not restricted to religion
- Guru Nanak
- exponent of the Nankana school
- objective was to remove the existing corruption and degrading practices in society.
- establishment of an egalitarian social order.
- a social reformer as he was a religious teacher
- improvement in the status of women
- Guru Granth Sahib, the holy book of the Sikhs
The Vaishnavite Movement
- sakar form of God
- centered around the worship of Rama and Krishna
- main exponents were Surdas, Mirabai, Tulsidas and Chaitanya
- medium of poetry, song, dance and kirtans
- Surdas (1483-1563)
- disciple of the famous teacher, Vallabhachara
- blind poet
- The love for Krishna was also expressed through the songs of Mirabai (l 503-73)
- Spread in the east through the efforts of Chaitanya (1484-1533). The devotion for Krishna was expressed through Sankirtans (hymn session by devotees)
- Ramananda (1400-1470): famous of the Rama bhaktas was Tulsidas (l 532-1623) who wrote the Ramacharitmanas
THE IMPORTANCE OF THE BHAKTI AND SUFI MOVEMENTS
- Bhakti movement was a socio-religious movement that opposed religious bigotry and social rigidities.
- emphasised good character and pure thinking
- Kabir and Nanak stressed upon the reordering of society along egalitarian lines
- Kabir and Nanak had no intention of founding new religions but following their deaths, their supporters grouped together as Kabir panthis and Sikhs respectively
- Under Maharaja Ranjit Singh, the Sikhs grew into a formidable political force in the politics of North India.
- The Sufi theory of Wahdat-al-Wujud (Unity of Being) was remarkably similar to that in the Hindu Upanishads.
- we find Sufi poets such as Malik Muhamniad Jaisi
composing works in Hindi.
- The use of terms such as Krishna, Radha, Gopi, Jamuna,
Ganga etc. became so common in such literature that an eminent Sufi, Mir Abdul Wahid wrote a treatise Haqaiq-i-Hïndi to explain their Islamic equivalents.
Philosophy in Medieval India
- Vishistadvaita of Ramanujacharya
- modified monism
- ultimate reality is Brahman (God) and matter and soul are his qualities
- Sivadvaita of Srikanthacharya
- Shiva exists in this world as well as beyond it.
- Dvaita of Madhavacharya
- stands in opposition to non-dualism and monism of Shankaracharya
- world is not an illusion (maya) but a reality full of differences
- Dvaitadvaita of Nimbaraka
- dualistic monism
- God transformed himself into world and soul
- This world and soul are different from God (Brahman)
- Suddhadvaita of Vallabhacharya
- Vallabhacharya wrote commentaries on Vedanta Sutra and Bhagavad Gita
- God and soul are not distinct, but one
- Philosophy came to be known as Pushtimarga (the path of grace) and the school was called Rudrasampradaya
For Other Topic of Art and Culture : Click here
Visit Abhiyan PEDIA (One of the Most Followed / Recommended) for UPSC Revisions: Click Here
IAS Abhiyan is now on Telegram: Click on the Below link to Join our Channels to stay Updated
IAS Abhiyan Official: Click Here to Join
For UPSC Mains Value Edition (Facts, Quotes, Best Practices, Case Studies): Click Here to Join