Religion during Shah Jahan was under the stringent control of the Emperor. During the initial period of his rule, he was very stern regarding the practice of other religions and a staunch follower of Islam. [ [ It may be noted here that the attitude of the different Mughal Emperors towards religion was markedly different from one another. This was because in this vast sub-continent, the Muslim rulers felt that they were precarious islands in the middle of a sea of Hinduism, and as a result, the attitude of the Mughals in regard to religion varied from one extreme to the other. Thus while there were liberal-minded emperor like Akbar who accepted all religions, there were also intolerant and orthodox emperors like Aurangzeb and Shah Jahan.
During the time when Shah Jahan ruled over the land, the religions of India were numerous. Hinduism itself was not monolithic: its four distinct castes- Brahmin at the top of the hierarchy, Kshatriya, the warrior caste, Vaishya or agriculturist, and finally the Sudras, each with their own code of conduct- were subdivided into a multitude of sub-castes (there are also sects like the Jains (510 BC), or the mysterious tantric cult of Kali). Then there was the Sikh religion, founded by Guru Nanak (1469-1538), a monotheistic religion with its own sacred book, the Guru Granth Sahib, that preached equality. Buddhism still maintained its adherents in several comers of the country, and there were also the innumerable pagan religions of the various tribes in the northern hill tracts, Assam, and the southern peninsula.
Shah Jahan favoured Islam. He was a Sunni Muslim who dressed in Muslim fashion, did not permit the Hindus to wear Muslim dress, sported a beard, used alcohol in a restrained manner, prayed regularly and kept fasts on Ramzan. During the early years of his reign he exhibited fanaticism also. He stopped the practice of Hindus keeping Muslim slaves, imposed pilgrimage tax on the Hindus, though he removed it shortly ... (More)