Religious Freedom during the Sultanate Period
Keywords:Sultan, Religious Freedom, Shariah Principles, Akhlaqi, Non-Muslims, Hindus.
Religious Freedom means the freedom of practicing one's religion under a state or majority that adheres to some other religion. While this right of freedom of religion has been documented by the international forums and United Nations during the twentieth century it is worth considering that how the Muslim rulers have provided this right to their non Muslim subjects due to Islamic injunctions. The paper seeks to highlight the issue of religious freedom during the Sultanate period, while doing so an attempt has been made to highlight the various principles that shaped the religious policies of the Sultans towards their non-Muslim subjects. Despite the fact that Sultanate period is not monolithic and there were various ruling dynasties as well as their religious dispositions were different, likewise that their non-Muslim subjects were also heterogeneous in terms of their beliefs and practices, it is argued that there were certain principles governing the religious policy of the Sultan towards their subjects generally allowing them to practice their religion without coercive measures. Thus the paper highlights that despite the despotic tendencies of the Sultan the religious affairs of the non-Muslim subjects were dealt in lieu with some religious, political and ethical norms and principles. Finally it is concluded that the Non-Muslim subjects enjoyed a good degree of religious freedom during the Sultanate period.
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