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Thread: Growth and Evolution of Islam in Indo Pak Subcontinent

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    Growth and Evolution of Islam in Indo Pak Subcontinent

    The glory and splendor, the solid achievement and the established traditions, the sound administration and magnificent culture of the Muslims empire have been the significant features of the Muslims history of the subcontinent.

    Arabs, as traders entered the sub-continent within a two years after their conversion to Islam. The Muslim traders played a very significant role in preaching Islam in the subcontinent, as Hitti remarks that it has passed through three distinct stages “originally a religion, Islam later became a state and finally a culture”.The Arab Muslims conquered Sindh in the seventh century A.D. Sea faring and maritime interest of the Arabs on the coast of India were considerable even before Islam: and under a centralized government of Umayyad, the commercial activities expanded in the subcontinent. Mohammad bin Qasim, the conqueror of Sindh made Sindh Dar-ul-islam and based his policy on the Sharia; the laws of Islam. The majority of converts who entered the fold of Islam belonged to lower caste of Hindus to whom Islam at once brought that social equality which Hinduism had denied them from a long time. Arab missionary activities also played a significant role in the large scale conversion of Hindus. As T.W. Arnold says, “But for the arrival of the Portuguese, the whole of this coast would have become Mohammedan”.Feroze Shah Tughlaq in his autobiography writes, “I encouraged my infidel subjects to embrace the religion of the Prophet. The new converts were favoured with presents and honours”.

    Islamic influence first came to be felt in the Indian sub-continent during the early 7th century with the advent of Arab traders. Arab traders used to visit the Malabar region , which was a link between them and the ports of South-East Asia to trade even before Islam had been established in Arabia. According to Historians Elliot and Dowson in their book ‘the history of Indians as told by their historians’, the first ship bearing Muslim travelers was seen on the Indian coast as early as 630 AD. H.G. Rawlinson, in his book: Ancient and Medieval History of India y J. Sturrock claims the first Arab Muslims settled on the Indian coast in the last part of the 7th century AD.The Arab merchants and traders became the carriers of the new religion and they propagated it wherever they went. However, it was the Muslim conquests in Persia, including the provinces of Kirman and Makran, which brought the Arabs face to face with the then ruler of Sindh, who had allied with the ruler of Makran against the Muslims. But, it was not until the sea borne trade of the Arabs in the Indian Ocean was jeopardized that serious attempts were made to subjugate Sindh.

    The invasion of Muhammad bin Qasim ushered the way for spread of Islam in sub-continent.But,to say that the invasions were reasons of spread of Islam is absolutely wrong because if it so then why Halaku khan could not succeed in spreading Buddhism anywhere in the World?
    Preaching of Islam: [FONT=verdana, geneva, lucida, 'lucida grande', arial, helvetica, sans-serif]History is witness that there were some major groups of elements who preached, propagated and popularized Islam. Among them were Sufis, Ulemas and reformers. All are discussed below in detail:

    A: SUFIS:
    IN the Subcontinent, the Sufis made untiring, selfless and incessant struggle for the spread, growth and evolution of Islam. The spread of Islam stems from the invasion of Muhammad Bin Qasim in the Subcontinent, but roots of Sufism took shape and became an institution in the 12th and 13th century. The two great pioneers in this filed were Shaikh Abdul Qadir Jilani and Hazrat Shahabuddin Suharawardy. Four branches of Sufism, namely Qadriya, Chishtiya, Suharawardya and Naqshahbandya were introduced in the Subcontinent can be traced to the time when the first Sufi, Muhammad Alfi, came to the Subcontinent. It was their affection, sympathy, fraternity and unlimited philanthropist actions that won the hearts of people.

    1. Shaikh Ismail Bukhari: CENTRE: CENTRAL PUNJAB (LAHORE)
    Due to his attractive personality people accepted Islam in large number. Thousands of Hindus attended his sermons every Friday and it was generally believed that no unbeliever came into personal contact with him without being converted to Islam.

    A Great Sufi, popularly known as ‘khowaja Ajmeri’ converted thousands of non-Muslims to Islam. While in Delhi on his way to Ajmer he is said to have converted Seven hundred Hindus to Islam. He also introduced ‘Chishtya silsila’ in India.

    A highly educated person, Bahaudin Zakaria was the founder of ‘SHORWARDI silsila’ in India. His alluring personality and policy of public welfare impressed non-Muslims to embrace Islam at a grandiose scale.
    Farid was an eloquent Panjabi poet. With his elegant speech and wide spread message of peace, he became successful in winning hearts of non-Muslims.[/FONT]5. NIZAM-UDIN-AULYA: CENTRE: NORTH-INDIA (DELHI)
    His vision of the world was marked by a highly evolved sense of secularity and kindness. Historiographer Ziauddin Barani claims that his influence on the Muslims of Delhi was such that a paradigm shift was affected in their outlook towards worldly matters. People began to be inclined towards mysticism and Islam. His disciple Amir Khusro was reason of introducing new modes to Sufism, say Qawali’.

    Hazrat Ali Bin Osman Hujweri, popularly known as Data Ganj Bux. He was leading Sufi philosophers of the day. He did immense missionary work in his individual capacity and set an outstanding example for future generations.[/FONT][FONT=verdana, geneva, lucida, 'lucida grande', arial, helvetica, sans-serif]Above all, it was the sheer straggle of the Sufis which paved the way for the future Islamic state in the Subcontinent. Had the Sufis shunned their practice of Islamic teachings in the 13th and 14th century, it would have been difficult to implant a Muslim civilization in the country where a well-organized Hindu community had lived for centuries
    There were many disruptive forces at work in the Muslim community of post-Aurangzeb India. This was a period of social and political disintegration of Muslim India which was intensified by Hindus nationalism. This political situation was capriciously dealt by many Ulemas.
    Shah Walliullah found not only political but also spiritual downfall of the Muslims of India. The greatest and the most poisonous of them was the sectarian differences, between the Sunnis and Shia’s.Besides, economic and social factors were also responsible for that breakdown. He thought his first duty as a reformer was to reinterpret Islamic values. Shah Waliullah went back to the original sources of the Islamic law, the Quran and the Hadith.The socio-political condition of the Muslims also needed reforms. On economic front, Shah suggests that basic needs and requirements of human life should be fulfilled and the institutional development was essential.However, apart from Shah Walliullah, there were many prominent Ulemas who did brilliant work for work of Islam and Muslim community. Among them, Sheikh Ahmed Sirhindi (Mujadid Alif Sani) and Sheikh Abdul Haq were noteworthy.
    The Islamic clergy also paved the way for growth of Islam in sub-continent. Using their Friday sermons and power to issue fatwas they were able to exercise greater influence on the polity than were Hindu priests. With the rulers on their side, it was much harder to challenge them. Hence, there was a systematic cycle of Islamic preaching and way of life, which attracted liberal non-Muslims.
    The whole blame and repercussions of war of independence fell over Muslims. The revolutionary personality took the task. According to the need of time, the policy of Sir Syed was based on unquestioned loyalty to the British government. He was the earliest modernist in the history of Islamic thought. When in 1867, the ‘Hindi-Urdu controversy’ started, Sir Syed gave the idea of ‘TWO-NATION THEORY’.Religiously,English missionaries produced literature designed to create doubts in the mind of the average Muslim. He managed to interpret those thoughts for western education with interest of Muslim nation. To save the Muslim from the charges of disloyalty and also raising the intellectual level of Mulsims,Sir Syed wrote immensely:” loyal Mohammedans of India”; a magazine “tahzib-ul-akhlaq”.His biggest achievement was creation a ‘British Indian Association Aligarh(which later resulted in creation of ALL-INDIA MUSLIM LEAGUE) and Aligarh movement.IQBAL: The poet philosopher Iqbal played an important role in stipulating the spirit into the Muslim nation in Indo-Pak. He became the greatest exponent of the Muslim Milat of the subcontinent. His words were mighter then sword. For awakening the Muslims from dead sleep, he says:And for stressing unity in Muslim nation, he says:Thus, though reformers like Iqbal were modern and final architecture of Muslim nation but their role in building a nation is liable for tribute.
    Islam in sub-continent grew more strongly because of Islamic rule there.But, at the same time, it is wrong to assume that if missionaries had not received a fresh impulse under the Muslim dynasties, its propagation would have been checked. Islam grew more and more with or without the backing of political power to it, especially during the British rule. According to the Census report of 1891: “It is satisfactorily proved that since last twenty years, out of very 10,000 persons in Bengal, Islam has gained 650 persons.So,lets have a look that how MUSLIM rule helped in growth and evolution of Islam.
    • INVASION OF INDIA:With the political factor as reason’detre of invasion of Hindustan, Muhammad bin Qasim established first ever Muslim rule in India. Thus starts the history of Muslim rule in India.
    It is noteworthy to observe that the how the Muslim rulers supported the elements which were ingredients for growth and evolution in Islam. Let’s check the few examples:A: SULTAN Mohammad Toghluq transferred numerous saints and Sufis to Daulatabad.B: Masud, the son of Sultan Mahmud while coming to Lahore, brought with him Sufis like Ali Makhdum Hajweri of Ghazni.C: Sher Shah Suri in his short reign played a particularly decisive role in creating several new urban centers particularly like Delhi and Rohtas.These urban centers were viewed as ‘MUSLIM COLONIES’.E: Rulers like Ahmed Shah of Ahmadabad or Adil Shah of Bijapur maintained a relatively close connection with indigenous traditions. Ahmed Shah incorporated Hindu and Jain architectural motifs into his buildings without inhibition.
    F: Mughal rulers like Akbar and Jahangir tried to be eclectic in their tastes, and others like the Deccan rulers encouraged unique local-flavored styles. Some of the more enlightened Islamic rulers invested in vital public works. This pretended them to be more an Indian ruler then a Muslim ruler.Thus, their non-Muslim subjects had good courtesy towards them and this helped in spread of Islam.
    Agriculturally developed societies played a crucial role in this transformation. The interests of the mercantile community were such that they wished agricultural taxes to be high but trade duties to be low. By and large, Islamic rulers implemented exactly such a regime. This enabled the founding of new trading and manufacturing centers that emerged wherever Islam took hold. For the desert areas of the world, Islam came as a big boon - providing wealth from trade that would have been unimaginable considering the poverty of the natural landscape.
    The growth in migration, trade and development of Hindustan ushered the Muslim community and Islam in Hindustan. That is why historian call things like ‘indo-Islamic culture/architecture’. In culture,. In architecture, the use of ceramic tiles in construction was inspired by architectural traditions prevalent in Iraq, Iran, and in Central Asia. In technology, there is also the example of Sultan Abudin (1420-70) sending Kashmiri artisans to Samarqand to learn book-binding and paper making. Many Islamic rulers developed Karkhanas - i.e. small factories during their reign. Towns were hub of in particular industries.Like,Mirzapur for carpets, Firozabad for glass wares, Farrukhabad for printing, Lucknow for barware, Srinagar for papier-mâché, Benaras for jewelry and textiles, and so on.
    • Flaws in Hinduism; a blessing in Disguise:
    The social evils of Hindu society and the peaceful efforts of Muslim missionaries were the main causes of conversion to Islam. Hinduism had evils such as notorious caste system and social lacks. At this front, Islam was viewed as sigh of relief and complete code of conduct particularly for low-caste Hindus and Buddhists.
    Last edited by Arthur; 12-14-2011 at 06:41 PM.

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