New study on kingship and sainthood in Islam offers a striking new historical perspective

Lahore Mosque and fortAt the end of the sixteenth century and the turn of the first Islamic millennium, the powerful Mughal emperor Akbar declared himself the most sacred being on earth. The holiest of all saints and above the distinctions of religion, he styled himself as the messiah reborn. Yet the Mughal emperor was not alone in doing so. In this field-changing study, A. Azfar Moin explores why Muslim sovereigns during this period began to imitate the exalted nature of Sufi saints.