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Muslim conquest of South Asia
The history of the Muslim Rajput coincides with the Muslim conquest of South Asia. The Rajputs started converting to Islam due to various reasons beginning with the conquest of Indus Valley from Multan to Debal by Muhammad bin Qasim, the Arab general of Umayyad Caliphate from Taif(now in Saudi Arabia) in 712 AD. At the time of arrival of Islam, the north and western regions of South Asia were ruled by Rajput clans. The Rajputs and Muslim armies fought many battles for the control of South Asia. Sultan Mahmud of Ghazni conquered the regal power of Rajput Maharaja Jayapala Shahi of the North Western South Asian(modern day Pakistan) region by 1026, through successive battles.
In 1527, the Muslim Janjua Rajput clan aided the Mughal conquest of South Asia by taking part in the Imperial Mughal armies as Generals. Hindu Rajputs also took part in these conquests as allies and even took part in marriages with the Mughals such as Raja Man Singh of the Kachhwaha clan, who aided Emperor Akbar in 1568 against the Sisodias.
The Mughal princes and emperors had maternal Rajput blood. Emperor Bahadur Shah I's mother was a Muslim Rajput Nawab Bai Begum Sahiba (second wife of Emperor Aurangzeb) being the daughter of Raja Taj-ud-Din Jarral (Raja Chatar Shena Jarral) the late Raja of Rajauri, in Kashmir. Emperor Jahangir's mother was a Kachhwaha Rajput princess, the daughter of Raja Bharmal and the aunt of Raja Man Singh.
Conversion to Islam
Many Rajput clans were converted to Islam during the early 12th century and were given the title of Shaikh (elder of the tribe) by the Arab or Mirza by the Mughal rulers. Rajputs converted to Islam due to many reasons including physical or economic duress,[full citation needed] pragmatism and patronage such as social mobility among the Muslim ruling elite or for relief from Jazia taxes for being a non-Muslim ( Dhimmi ),[full citation needed] as a socio-cultural process of diffusion and integration over an extended period of time into the sphere of the dominant Muslim civilization and global polity at large. whereas some conversions also took place for political reasons. The Delhi Sultanate and later Mughal dynasty encouraged the martial Malik Rajput clans to convert to Islam. Conversions to Islam continued into the 19th century period of the British Raj.
The fact of subsequent conversion to other faiths, did not deprive them of this heritage; just as the Greeks, after their conversion to Christianity, did not lose pride in the mighty achievements of their ancestors, of the Italians in the great days of the Roman Republic and early empire... Christians, Jews, Parsees, Moslems. Indian converts to these religions never ceased to be Indian on account of a change of their faith ...
Recent conversions and ethos
The Rajput conversions attracted criticism from their Hindu counterparts. In fact a testimony of the steadfast practice of Islam by the Muslim Rajputs;
By and large, the only converts who keep the prescriptions of the (Islamic) Faith intact are the Muslim Rajputs
There is a case of this happening up until the recent British Raj era of India's history which established a precedent in their government. In the state of Rajgarh, the ruling Rajput chief began to show a tendency towards Islam and got into difficulties with his Hindu caste peers over this. This occurred during the period of Sir John Lawrence's |Viceroy|Viceroyalty. His open following of Islamic traditions had infuriated his peers and feelings were so strong against him that he chose to abdicate the royal throne and retire to his new-found faith. The subsequent inquiry against him however showed that he was a good ruler and no misgovernment was charged against him and his subjects were satisfied with his rule. A year later this Rajput chief openly declared the Kalima (Muslim affirmation of embracing Islam) and renounced the Hindu faith. This case established for the British Raj the precedent that no leader or ruler can be replaced simply because of his change of creed. Regardless of the feelings of his peers, it was the quality of his rule that mattered.
There is also recorded instances of recent conversions of Rajputs to Islam in Western Uttar Pradesh, Khurja tahsil of Bulanshahr.
But despite the difference in faith, where the question has arisen of common Rajput honour, there have been instances where both Muslim and Hindu Rajputs have united together against threats from external ethnic groups.
Beliefs and customs
Hindu Rajput code dictates that Rajputs can only marry amongst other Rajputs. However, tradition of marriages into only one group or clan because of caste reasons is not permitted in Islam. This led to a great change in the traditional Rajput marital policy. Muslim Rajputs therefore started to marry from other dominant aristocratic Muslim clans. This was to continue the tradition of royal or strategic marriages without prejudice to Rajput affiliation. This was further realized when some major Rajput clans of Punjab intermarried into other clans of foreign descent. However, Mostly Muslim Rajputs still follow the custom of marrying only into other Muslim Rajput clans.
Being recent converts to Islam from a culturally Rajput background, there was very little difference between Rajasthani and Uttar Pradeshi Hindu and Muslim Rajputs (outside of religious practices). Hence up until recently, marriages between Muslim and Hindu Rajputs also took place.
- Rajasthani people
- List of Muslim Rajputs
- Rana (title)
- Muslim Rajput clans by location
- Jat Muslims
- Ahir clans
- Yadav Rajputs
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