Akbar presided over a Hindu-Moslem cultural synthesis which culminated in a golden age of culture. Though he never learned to read or write, he was a cultivated man, and surrounded himself with the best minds of his generation. He patronized liberal Moslem intellectuals such as Shirazi, Faizi, and Abul Fazl, the author of Ain-i-Akbari and Akbar Nama, two important Mughal historical works. Akbar welcomed to his court mystics such as Salim Chishti and engaged in dialogues with Jesuit priests. He also invited Abul Fatah Gilana, who had written a commentary on Avicenna, to his court.
Committed to the policy of universal tolerance (sulahkul), Akbar considered himself the ruler of all his subjects and the commander of the faithful. Through his marriages with Rajput princesses, he brought hindus to the ruling dynasty and gave three of the highest positions in his cabinet to hindus. He abolished taxes such as the jizya, a poll tax, that discriminated against non-Moslems. Akbar patronized Indian music and arts, and in many buildings, notably at Fatehpur Sikri, near Agra, he adopted hindu elements in architecture. Every week he appeared in public, and he held an open court.
Akbar participated in the religious festivities of all groups, allowed the Jesuit fathers to establish a church at Agra, and discouraged cow slaughter. In 1575 at Fatehpur Sikri he built a house of worship to which Moslem, Hindu, Jain, Christian, Parsi, and other theologians were invited for dialogue. In 1582 he promulgated a new religious movement, din-i-ilahi, which did not attract many converts.