Carl Schmitt’s well-known declaration that “all significant” modern political concepts are “secularized theological concepts” has sometimes been treated as hyperbole: a metaphorical axe aimed at the frozen sea of legal positivism, a provocation rather than a thesis. In this article, I demonstrate the fecundity of this thesis by applying it to secularism, a concept undeniably central to the Liberal state; crucially, however, I do so in the context of early modern South Asian history and ongoing debates over the secularism of premodern Mughal polity. As I argue, Jalāl ud-Dīn Akbar (1542–1605 CE) – a monarch of the Mughal dynasty often cast by South Asian secularists as a precocious emblem of the neutral state – was, in fact, an ideal type of Schmittian sovereign, who nonetheless stands equidistant from both Schmitt and his Liberal opponents in his stance toward religious pluralism. The theological correlate to Akbar’s “secularism” was an Islamicate theology of religions, which provided a contentful religious justification for religious pluralism, very different from contemporary “post-metaphysical” arguments. The final section of the article takes a critical turn, as I examine Akbar’s legendary reputation in the present, my intervention into his “secular” mythos, and the special difficulties involved in applying Schmittian concepts to an early modern, non-Western sacred king.