India: How Islam Came To India

February 21, 2013 - Comment

The Timeline For Islam Religion In India 570 CE – Islam founder, Muhammad is born in Mecca. He had profound influence in Western Asia, India, and Africa. 610 CE – Muhammad attains religious experience and receives instruction from the divine voice to adopt the name ‘Prophet’. 630 CE – Mecca is taken over by Mohammad

The Timeline For Islam Religion In India
570 CE – Islam founder, Muhammad is born in Mecca. He had profound influence in Western Asia, India, and Africa.
610 CE – Muhammad attains religious experience and receives instruction from the divine voice to adopt the name ‘Prophet’.
630 CE – Mecca is taken over by Mohammad and followers.
632 CE – Abu-Bakr father in law of Muhammad, succeeds Muhammad
637 CE – Ctesiphon the Persian capital is occupied by Arabs.
641 CE – Islam spreads to Egypt.
654 CE – Islam spreads to North Africa
711 CE –Muslims start the conquest of Sindh in Afghanistan.
962 CE- The Ghaznavid dynasty stabilized rule in Afghanistan till 1186 CE
997 CE – 17 raids are conducted by a Turkish dynasty ruler Mahmud in Gujarat. He is known well as the ‘Sword of Islam’
1200 CE – Indian religions are replaced by Islam.
1203 CE – Upper India is conquered by Arabs.
1398 CE – Delhi conquered by Ottomon Turks.
1447 CE – Arabs lose Afghanistan, Persia and India
1526 CE – India is finally taken over by Arabs.
1947 – Pakistan separates from India, becomes a Muslim country.

After the Muslims invaded India, Islam came to India. In the 7th and 8th century itself, the Arabs increased trade activities at the Malabar Coast. It was in the 12th century that Islam expanded in the northern region of India. After this Islam gradually became a part of the cultural and religious heritage of India.
Since ancient times, the Indian subcontinent and Arabia have had trade relations. The Malabar region was visited by a number of Arab traders. The Malabar region helped link them with South East Asian ports. The first contact with India was the Arabs who were newly Islamized. In 630 AD the first ship carrying Muslim travelers arrived at the coast of India. The Mappilas in the Malabar region were the first community to get converted to Islam and maintained connections with the Arabs. Along the Indian coast missionary activities were carried out intensively and Islam was embraced by many of the natives also.
The very first mosque in India was built in the Malabar Coast, called the Cheraman Perumal Juma Masjid. In the Asia Pacific region, the mosque that is the largest is Delhi’s Jama Masjid.
An Arab army which was led by Muhammad bin Qasim, conquered Sindh province in the 8th century. Punjab also got added to the Ghaznavid Empire by Mahmud of Ghazni in the initial part of the 10th century which later led to the formation of Delhi Sultanate.
Consolidation Of Islam Religion
In the 16th and 17th century, the Mughals ruled a major part of Pakistan and India. In Southern Asia, they consolidated the Islam religion. Muslim faith, culture and arts slowly spread in India. The Muslims ruled India which had a large majority of Hindus. Even before the Mughals arrived, there were quite a number of Muslims in India. It was in the 8th century that the Muslims arrived first in the country. A Muslim ruler from Afghanistan invaded Punjab in India, in the 10th century up to 11 times. He took away a lot of loot but did not gain success politically.
In the 12th century, the country was invaded again successfully leading to the formation of the Delhi Sultanate. Delhi city got devastated in the invasion of Muslims in 1398. It is out of the Mongol Empire’s descendants who lived in Turkestan in the 15th century that the empire of the Mughal’s grew. These descendants had become Muslims and got the Middle East culture assimilated in India. At the same time they retained the elements of their roots of the Far East. The cunning and military skills of their Mongol ancestors were retained by them.
Babur’s role in bringing Islam To India
Babur was the very first Mughal Emperor. He was a descendant of Tamerlaine and Genghis Khan. In 1504, from Turkestan he moved to India when some princes from India invited him to defeat one of the Indian rulers. However Babur took over throne. Even if Hinduism as a sophisticated civilization was tolerated, trade with the rest of the Islamic countries including Persia continued. It was Babur who brought in Islam confidently from Central Asia but was not offensive towards the Hindus.
Jehangir’s Role In Promoting Islam
Emperor Jehangir, the son of Akbar adopted the Islam religion once again as the religion of the state. He had a number of Sufi’s and Shias from Persia as members of the heterodox Islamic sects in the locality, besides a number of Hindus, in his court. He encouraged the development of Urdu language as the Mughal Empire’s official language. An Arabic script is used in the Urdu language.
Aurangzeb An Observant Muslim
Emperor Shah Jahan’s son was Aurangzeb who was an extremely religious and fanatic Muslim who ruled for 5 decades. He was the Mughal Emperor who was responsible in ending the policy related to religious tolerance which the earlier Mughal Emperors followed. Over the whole of the empire he imposed the Islamic or the Sharia law. He re-imposed the punitive tax on the Hindu subjects and tore down shrines and temples of Hindus in thousands.
As far as cultural influence and economic rise is concerned in India, a prominent role has been played by the Muslims. The Muslim Personal Law governed the jurisdiction matters related to wakf properties, inheritance and marriage.
It was as the result of a concept termed as Kafa’a that various castes developed amongst the Muslims. Muslims that came from the foreign ancestry, the Arabas, derived a superior status called Ashrafs. The Ajlafs were the ones who converted to Muslims from Hinduism and hence have a lower status as compared to the Ashrafs.
The Divine Faith – Din-I-Illahi
It was Akbar who took the initiative of beginning the Din-i-Illahi or Divine Faith a particular religion which was to be followed in the courts. The Din-i-Illahi religion was propounded with the main intention of merging some of the best elements of different religions including Islam.
Spreading Of Islam
Islam was majorly spread by the Islamic mystics or the Sufis. Their approach towards Islam was unorthodox and this made practicing Islam much easier for Hindus. Islam was propagated by a number of trained Sufis including, Hazrat Khawaja, Ata Hussain Fani Chishti, Muin-ud-din Chishti, Sarkar Waris Pak, Qutbuddin Bakhtiar Kaki, Ashraf Jahangir Semnani, Nizam-ud-din Auliya, Sheikh Alla-ul-Haq Pandwi, Sarkar Sabir Pak, Amir Khusro and Shah Jalal.
After the gradual end of the Mughal Empire, the Muslim power also started waning off slowly. A lot of Muslims fought against the British for attaining freedom.