most liberal Muslim king Akbar, who advocated tolerance of all
religions, we should note, was influenced by liberal Sufis,
particularly certain Chishtis but took his liberalism further, going
beyond the bounds of Islam. Not only did the orthodox Muslims (the
ulama) oppose him, many Sufi orders were against him as well,
particularly the Naqshbandi order under the guidance of Ahmad
Sirhindi as already noted.
Akbar's tolerance therefore was probably not so much Islamic or
Sufi but from a Hindu influence. The
other liberal Muslim prince and eldest son of the king Shah Jahan,
Dara Shikoh (1615-1659) inherited the tolerance of his great
grandfather Akbar and perhaps took it further. Unfortunately his own
brother Aurangzeb killed him for his lack of orthodoxy before he
could become emperor. Dara's respect for Hinduism led him to say
that the two religions were like twin brothers. This conclusion
came, not entirely from his Sufi teachers, but from his own studies.
One should note that most Sufis did
not follow Dara and many Sufis criticized him for infidelity.
In fact the fear of another Akbar drove
orthodox Muslims and Sufis to have no mercy with Dara. The only
princes who fought and died with Dara in his fight with his
intolerant brother Aurangzeb were Hindus.