Elizabeth and Akbar: the Religion of the Ruler

Kenneth Wolfe: “Elizabeth and Akbar: The Religion of the Ruler” Kenneth Wolfe states that in 1530, the people of the country would follow their rulers religion in order to bring peace. This brought conflict among the country dividing it into states. How important was following your rulers religion? Queen Elizabeth I (1533-1603) and Emperor Abu-ul-Fath Jalal-ud-Din Muhammad Akbar of Muhgal India (1534-1606) answer that question. Elizabeth and Akbar, once in power, were determined to bring peace among their country by being the foundation of their country. They used their militaries to take control.

Elizabeth was born Protestant and had several struggles throughout her lifetime; her being a “bastard” and the deatyhs of her loved ones. Elizabeth invented a “Religious Settlement” that made England a Protestant country. Elizabeth tried to make a church that was both a doctrine and had appearance of the religions. Queen Elizabeth was able to resist a religious civil war unlike many other countries, and her sister. Elizabeth became fondly remembered through her religious settlements and skills creating loyalty towards her and is remembered by all England’s generations.

The Mughal Emperor Akbar also experienced a troubled youth. His tutor taught him “universal peace” which is what he followed when he came into power. Akbar was a brutal warrior, but also known to be very spiritual. He was known to be “powerful, magnetic, and inspiring”. After Akbar inherited the Mughal Empire it expanded from all of north and central India which consisted of Muslim and Hindu people. Akbar needed a large army to contain his empire. He was known to be a skilled military leader and married Hindu princesses.

He began to end taxing, and enslaving Hindu’s as they made their pilgrimage to the many shrines of India. And in 1564 he stopped taxing all Islamic countries. Akbar’s religion began to change as he began to make pilgrimages to his shrine every year and even built a new capital, Fatephur-Sikri. Akbar ended up having 3 sons, predicted by Shakih Salim and named to first after him. Akbar was deeply religious by nature and experienced a “ecstasy” during a royal hunt. In 1582 Akbar invented the “Divine Faith” which made the people dedicate their life and honor to Akbar.

Akbar’s leading civil and military appointees are known as mansabdars. They were loyal to the ruler and were assigned revenue. Akbar later divided his empire into 12 large provinces which were lead by a governor. This helped keep order among the Mughal Empire. Akbar’s religious changes and mahzar caused a revolt which he was able to control. He respected the non-Muslims by “universal peace”. The Mughal Empire lasted long due to the fact that Muslims do not rule over Hindu’s and vice-versa (universal peace). Elizabeth and Akbar were able to retain power by respecting all their countries religions and by bring peace.

I would have to agree with Kenneth Wolfe at the fact that Elizabeth and Akbar both retained power by using peace. Although, I believe Elizabeth had contained her country better then Akbar because she did not favor any religion even though she was Protestant. Akbar, although he was Muslim, favored the Hindus. Queen Elizabeth did a better job by containing religious civil wars unlike Akbar who had a revolt. I believe over all that both Elizabeth and Akbar did a great job ruling and bringing religious peace among their country.

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