AKBAR, EMPEROR OF INDIA. 27
starting upon any important undertaking, or that during -
the siege of Chitor he made a vow to make a pilgrimage
to a shrine in Ajmir after the fall of the fortress, and that
after Chitor was in his power he performed this journey
in the simplest pilgrim garb, tramping barefooted over the
glowing sand,33 it is impossible for us to look upon Akbar
as irreligious. On the contrary nothing moved the Em-
peror so strongly and insistently as the striving after re-
ligious truth. This effort led to a struggle against the most
destructive power in his kingdom, against the Moham-
medan priesthood. That Akbar, the conqueror in all do-
mains, should also have been victorious in the struggle
against the encroachments of the Church (the bitterest
struggle which a ruler can undertake), this alone should
insure him a place among the greatest of humanity.
The Mohammedan priesthood, the community of the
Ulemas in whose hands lay also the execution of justice
according to the dictates of Islam, had attained great pros-
perity in India by countless large bequests. Its distin-
guished membership formed an influential party at court.
This party naturally represented the Islam of the stricter
observance, the so-called Sunnitic Islam, and displayed the
greatest severity and intolerance towards the representa-
tives of every more liberal interpretation and towards un-
believers. The chief judge pf^Agira sentenced mjgji to death
because they were Shiltes, that, is tCL3ay they^belongpadUto
the other branch of Islan^and the Ulemas urged Akbar to
proceed likewise against the heretics.34 That arrogance
and vanity, selfishness and avarice, also belonged to the
character of the Ulemas is so plainly to be taken for
granted according to all analogies that it need hardly be
mentioned. The judicature was everywhere utilized by
the Ulemas as a means for illegitimate enrichment.
** Noer, I, 259.
w J. T. Wheeler, IV, I, 156.