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When most people think of the Emperor Shah Jahan and his wife, Empress Mumtaz Mahal, a great love story and the heady grandeur of the Taj Mahal is likely to come to mind. But less is spoken of the couple’s eldest daughter, Jahanara Begum Sahib, who was a dedicated Sufi scholar.
After the unexpected death of her mother when she was only seventeen, Jahanara took over her mother’s position as First Lady in the courts. She also inherited the responsiblity of looking after her siblings and her family’s extensive household.
Her humble character is reflected by the fact that while her mother Mumtaz Mahal, is buried in the Taj Mahal, Princess Jahanara was laid to rest by choice in a small plot near the shrine of Nizamuddin, one of the Sufi sheikhs of whom she was a great admirer.
It has been noted that in both political and religious spheres she refused to be simply a spectator and that ‘through her patronage of Sufi ritual, scholarship and architecture, she sought to chart a more active collaboration on the part of women in the development of religious thought and material culture.’
The inscription on her grave said simply:
Allah is the Living, the Sustaining.
Let no one cover my grave except with greenery,
For this very grass suffices as a tomb cover for the poor.
The mortal simplistic Princess Jahanara,
Disciple of the Khwaja Moin-ud-Din Chishti,
Daughter of Shah Jahan the Conqueror
May Allah illuminate his proof. 
Princess Jahanara wrote a much acclaimed biography of Moinuddin Chishti, the founder of the Chishtiyah order, titled Mu’nis al-Arwāḥ, and also a biography of Mullah Shah, which was called Risālah-i Ṣāḥibīyah. Her book on her initiation as a Sufi was said to “bear witness to the profundity of her faith and mystical understanding.”