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Mughal Empire

The Oxford Dictionary of Islam
John L. EspositoJohn L. Esposito

Mughal Empire 

Muslim empire on the Indian subcontinent founded in 1526 by Babur (d. 1530), descended on his father's side from Timur Lang (Tamerlane) and on his mother's from Genghis Khan. The empire reached its zenith under four great emperors: Akbar (r. 1556–1605), Jahangir (r. 1605–27), Shah Jahan (r. 1627–57), and Aurangzeb (r. 1658–1707). Mughal rule embraced all of the subcontinent except the far south. After Aurangzeb died, power waned; former provinces became independent states. The British deposed the last emperor in 1857. Akbar introduced administrative systems of the empire, recruiting Persians, Indian Muslims, and Hindu rajputs; he also integrated Hindus throughout his administration and married rajput princesses. His policies of religious tolerance included abolition of the tax on non-Muslims and efforts to reconcile Muslim and Hindu belief. Aurangzeb reversed the policy of religious tolerance in the face of growing Hindu and Sikh opposition and under pressure from the religious scholars. Constant warfare and expansion of the official ruling classes led to a weakened empire. The Mughal Empire stands with the Safavids and Ottomans as one of the three great empires in which some of the highest expressions of Islamic culture were achieved, particularly in architecture.