Akbar, Mughal Emperor of India
1542-1605/949-1014 AH (r. 1556-1605/963-1014 AH)
India

Jalal al-Din Akbar was the third Mughal Emperor of India, and one of the most influential rulers of that dynasty. He was born Abu al-Fath Muhammad in 1542/949 AH in Sind (lower Indus River Valley). When he assumed the throne he took the regnal title Akbar ("Great"). His honorific name (laqab) Jalal al-Din means "Glory of the Faith." Upon his death he was given the epithet 'arsh-ashyani ("he who nests at the divine throne"). 


Akbar inherited the small kingdom in northwestern Hindustan surrounding Delhi that his father Humayun had reunited just before his untimely death in 1556/963 AH. Under his leadership, this kingdom would greatly expand, and by the end of his reign, Afghanistan, Sind, and Hindustan were united for the first time under Mughal rule.1


Aside from uniting a large geographic area, Akbar also achieved a major feat in facilitating the integration of Central Asian and Indic courtly culture.2 Unlike previous Muslim rulers in India, Akbar actively forged alliances by orchestrating marriages between members of the Muslim Timurid nobility and the indigenous Hindu Rajput clans, as well as allowing Rajput elites to advance in the bureaucracy and take active part in the administration of the empire.3

 

Similarly, Akbar was interested in facilitating dialogue between the various religious groups in India, including Christian, Jain, Hindu, and Muslim. Religious tolerance was encoded through imperial policy, and interfaith contact was encouraged through the dual institutions of the 'ibadat-khana (house of worship) and maktab-khana (translation bureau).The former was a space in which all faiths were welcomed to discuss religious ideas. The latter was an organization dedicated to scholarship where Hindu texts were translated to Persian.

 

Akbar was a dedicated patron of architecture and literature, and Mughal India flourished as a cultural capital during his reign. In the architectural sphere, he is most famous for constructing the city Fatehpur Sikri to commemorate his conquest of Rajputana. Initiation of construction on the Red Fort at Agra (Lal Qil’a) and Lahore Fort (Shahi Qil’a) also began during his reign.


Notes:


  1. Davies, "Akbar."
  2. Thackston, History of Akbar, x.
  3. S. Inayat A. Zaidi, “Akbar and the Rajput Principalities: Integration into Empire,” in Habib, Akbar, 15-24.
  4. Davis, "Akbar."


Sources:

Davies, Collin C. “Akbar.” Encyclopedia of Islam, Second Edition, 2012. http://dx.doi.org/10.1163/1573-3912_islam_COM_0033. Accessed August 18, 2017.

Abu’l-Fazl. The History of Akbar. Edited and translated by Wheeler M. Thackston. Vol. I. Cambridge, Massachusetts and London: Murty Classical Library of India and Harvard University Press, 2015. 

Habib, Irfan, ed. Akbar and His India. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1997.
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Variant Names
Akbar, Mughal Emperor of India
ابو الفتح جلال الدين محمد اكبر پادشاه
Original
Abu al-Fath Jalal al-Din Muhammad Akbar Padishah
Transliterated
اکبر
Variant
Akbar
Transliterated
Akbar the Great
Translated
Akbar, Emperor of Hindustan
Translated
ابو الفتح
Alternate
Abu al-Fath
Transliterated
Abu'l-Fath
Alternate transliteration
جلال الدين محمد
Alternate
Jalal al-Din Muhammad
Transliterated
Jalal ud-Din Muhammad
Alternate transliteration
Jalaluddin Mohammed
Alternate transliteration
عرش اشياني
Alternate
'Arsh-Ashyani
Transliterated
Arsh Ashiyani
Alternate transliteration
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