Abū al-Fażl “ʿAllāmī” ibn Mubārak, Šayḫ d. 1011/1602

The leading courtier and most trusted confidant of the Mughal ruler Akbar.

Abū al-Fażl “ʿAllāmī” ibn Mubārak was the second son of the distinguished scholar Šayḫ Mubārak Nāgawrī (d. 1002/1593) and younger brother of the poet Fayḍī (see author 65.) Abū al-Fażl’s early education under his father’s tutelage greatly shaped much of his later liberal outlook.

Abū al-Fażl arrived at the court of Mughal ruler Akbar in 982/1574 and gained the ruler’s high favor for his scholarly criticism of the narrow-mindedness of the ʿulamāʾ (people of religious learning). He rose to prominence in Akbar’s inner circle and was crucial in helping formulate Akbar’s policy of religious toleration. He also promoted the principle of Sūlh-i-kul (universal peace) as the basis of Akbar’s power and emphasized the divine character of Akbar’s kingship, all the while restraining the religious influence of the ʿulamāʾ. In 1011/1602 he was murdered by a group of bandits at the request of Akbar’s son Salīm (later to become Mughal ruler Jahāngīr; see author 110), an act for which Akbar never forgave his son.

Abū al-Fażl’s greatest literary accomplishment is the monumental Akbar-nāmah. Among his many works is a Persian translation of the Bible. Authors of later generations admired his style and sought to imitate it.


Akbar-nāmah     The Book of Akbar

Completed between 1004/1596 and 1013/1604.

Akbar-nāmah is a monumental work on the history of Akbar’s reign and his ancestors comprising three volumes: a history of Akbar’s ancestors, Akbar’s reign (down to the 46th regnal year), and an administrative report of Akbar’s empire.

Āʾīn-i Akbarī     Akbar's Regulations [Gladwin Trans.]

An administrative report of Akbar’s empire and the third volume of the Akbar-nāmah, the Āʾīn-i Akbarī is a detailed account of the geographical and historical description of Akbar’s institutions from the royal stables to the treasury. It was the first work of its kind in India.

Ruqaʿāt     Letters

Ruqaʿāt is a collection of private letters from Abū al-Fażl to his friends and contemporaries compiled by his nephew Nūr al-Dīn Muḥammad.