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Policy of Sulh-i Kul

Let us study the religious tolerance policy of the Akbar and the history of the Sufi religion in India. Also, learn about the Sulh-i-Kul principle, which promoted peace and stability.

Akbar, the third Mughal emperor, was known as Akbar the Great. He was a scholar and had Sanskrit literature translated. Akbar had a great interest in philosophical and religious matters. He was influenced by Sufi mysticism. Akbar implemented the policy of religious tolerance and tried to make the various religions coexist in peace. Sulh-i-Kul means absolute peace or peace for all. This policy was devised by Abu’l Fazl and implemented by Akbar during his reign. Let us learn more about the Sulh-i-Kul principle.

Akbar and his Religious Views

Jalal-ud-din Muhammad Akbar reigned from 1556 to 1605. During his reign, the work Akbar did was so popular that he is known as Akbar the Great. Akbar’s influence extended over most of the Indian subcontinent due to his political and economic dominance. Akbar developed a stable and strong economy in India, and the Mughal Empire expanded three times in wealth and size during Akbar’s reign.

Akbar was a powerful ruler, but he was also kind and just. He did not believe in the orthodox idea of forcing Islam upon everyone. Akbar adopted liberal policies of religious tolerance and tried to create harmony and peace between the Muslims and Hindus.

Akbar regarded all religions as equal but inclined more towards Sufism and proclaimed, “The wisdom of Vedanta is the wisdom of Sufism”. 

Akbar arranged many debates between various religious groups as he liked knowing about the beliefs of other religions. Akbar’s religious views included not discriminating between various religions and focusing more on religious tolerance and peace ideas.

Akbar decided to form a new religion made from ideas derived from various religions called Sulh-i-Kul which means universal peace.

Let us learn about Sufism which inspired Akbar to form the religion Sulh-i-kul.

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The people who practice Sufism are regarded as Sufis. There are various orders of Sufis called Tariqa. The main four orders of Sufi are:Chisti, Qadiriyya, Suhrawardiyya and Naqsh. Most of the original precepts of the Sufi orders could be traced back to Muhammad through Ali ibn Abi Talib. Sufism is the mystical aspect of Islam. The Sufi, some pictures of different traditions from Islam, is usually a product of modern Islamic fundamentalists and western orientalism. 

Sufism was an incredibly important part of Islam and has influenced Islam in many ways. Jahangir, the Mughal emperor, preferred the company of Sufi saints to his contemporaries. 

The Sufis believe that it is possible to draw closer to God, and the divine presence of God can be more fully embraced in this life. 

The Sufis believe in the divine light being transmitted from the teacher’s heart to the student’s heart. The devotion to Muhammad is an important practice in Sufism. 

Let us now learn about the Sulh-i-Kul.

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Akbar was liberal in his religious views. He considered religions to be equal, and no religion should be dominating over the other religion. The Arabic term Sulh-i-Kul translates to universal peace or peace within all. It is divided from a Sufi mystic principle. It aims for harmony and relationships of peace among various religions. 

Akbar was inspired to implement this principle to unify the diverse population in India. Religious tolerance is an important principle of Sulh-i-kul. It also includes respect, compromise, and balance to maintain peace and harmonious relationships among various religions.

 Akbar liked knowing about the beliefs of various religions and the organised religious debates to do so. Hearing the beliefs of all these religions, he was inspired to form a religion that would combine beliefs from various existing religions.

Sulh-i-Kul intended to establish peace between various religions and equal treatment for all people regardless of what religious beliefs they followed. Hence, Akbar formed the religion Din-i Ilahi which was based on the principle of Sulh-i-Kul. Dini Ilahi means the religion of God. It helped in promoting religious tolerance. 

The Suhl-i-Kul survived for some time after Akbar; however, it did not gain much popularity, and not many people joined this movement. Shah Jahan’s eldest son attempted to resurrect this principle in the 17th century. However, efforts were halted by his brother, who later executed him.

Such is the policy of Sulh-i-Kul, which Sufism inspired.

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Jalal-ud-din Akbar was a great Mughal ruler who influenced most of the Indian subcontinent and was noble and just. He came up with the principle of Sulh-i-kulṣ to promote the idea of religious tolerance and peace. Suhl-i-kul grants freedom of expression to all religions because they don’t try to undermine other religions or the emperor. Akbar believed all religions to be equal but was more inclined towards Sufism. Sufism focuses on Islamic ritualism, spirituality, esotericism, and asceticism. The people who practice Sufism are called the Sufis. Akbar formed a new religion called Din-i Ilahi based on Sulh-i-kul.


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What inspired Akbar to develop the principle of Sulh-i-kul?

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