Akbar the Great

October 15 in 1542, the 3rd Mughal Emperor Jalal al-Din Muhammad Akbar was born in Umerkot (now in the Sindh province of Pakistan). Akbar was the son of Humayun and the grandson of Babur who founded the Mughal Empire of India in 1526 CE.

Akbar was descended from the great Mongol military rulers Tamerlane and Genghis Khan. Akbar had a strong personality that helped him grow his power and influence over his empire. He is often considered as the real founder of the Mughal Empire in India.

He succeeded to the throne at the age of 13, but being too young to rule independently the country was effectively governed by a regent, Bairam Khan, who was himself successful in recapturing territory that had been usurped at the death of the young emperor’s father. However, in 1560, at the age of 18, he took control of the government.

Akbar expanded the empire from its original territories, making extensive conquests to the west, east, and south. He successfully won the allegiance of the Rajputs. He demonstrated his shrewdness by marrying two Rajput princesses and giving Rajput princes positions of authority in his government. He established an efficient administration of what was a huge multi-credal empire.

A large number of commentators believe that he was a great man but he also has his trenchant critics too. Right-wing Hindus revile him as just another Muslim invader, responsible for the death of many tens of thousands of their co-religionists, while the Muslims consider him as the traitor of Islam who founded a new faith called Din-e-Ilahi.

Dirk Collier says, “Be all of that as it may, even his detractors will have to admit that he was one of the most spectacularly successful monarchs the world has ever witnessed; and his eventful, often dramatic life story will remain a source of inspiration to many generations to come.”

Akbar died on October 27, 1605 CE in Fatehpur Sikri, Agra, Mughal Empire (modern-day Uttar Pradesh, India).

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