Islam in South Asia

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Islam in South Asia has existed since the beginning of Islamic history. There are at least 507 million South Asian Muslims or 31.4 percent of South Asia population which are mostly known as Desi Muslims.[1][2] About 30.6 percent of Muslims live in South Asia[3][4] which is the largest regional population of Muslims in the world.[5]

Islam first came to the western coast of India when Arab traders as early as the 7th century AD came to coastal Malabar[6] and Konkan-Gujarat.[7] Cheraman Juma Masjid in Kerala is thought to be the first mosque in India, built in 629 AD by Malik ibn Dinar.[8][9][10][11][12][13] Following an expedition by the governor of Bahrain to Bharuch in the 7th century AD, immigrant Arab and Persian trading communities from South Arabia and the Persian Gulf began settling in coastal Gujarat.[14] After the Islamic conquest of Persia was completed, the Muslim Arabs then began to move towards the lands east of Persia and in 652 captured the city, Herat.[15]

In 712 CE, a young Arab general Muhammad bin Qasim conquered most of the Indus region for the Umayyad empire, to be made the "As-Sindh" province with its capital at Al-Mansurah, 72 km (45 mi) north of modern Hyderabad in Sindh. Sindh became the easternmost province of the Umayyad Caliphate. But the instability of the empire and the defeat in various wars with north Indian and south Indian rulers including the Caliphate campaigns in India, where the Hindu rulers like the south Indian Emperor Vikramaditya II of the Chalukya dynasty and Nagabhata of the Pratihara Dynasty defeated the Umayyad Arabs, they were contained till only Sindh and southern Punjab. There was gradual conversion to Islam in the south, especially amongst the native Hindu and Buddhist majority, but in areas north of Multan, Hindus and Buddhists remained numerous.[16] By the end of the 10th century CE, the region was ruled by several Hindu Shahi kings who would be subdued by the Ghaznavids.

Dawoodi Bohra Ismailli Shia was established in Gujarat in the second half of the 11th century, when Fatimid Imam Mustansir sent missionaries to Gujarat in 467 AH/1073 AD.[17][18] Islam arrived in North India in the 12th century via the Turkic invasions and has since become a part of India's religious and cultural heritage.[19] Muslims have played a prominent role in India's economic rise and cultural influence.[20]

History[edit]

Early Muslim traders[edit]

Main article: Islam in India
Cheraman Perumal Juma Masjid on the Malabar Coast, probably the first Mosque in India

Trade relations have existed between Arabia and the Indian subcontinent since ancient times. Even in the pre-Islamic era, Arab traders used to visit the Konkan-Gujarat coast and Malabar region, which linked them with the ports of South East Asia. Newly Islamised Arabs were Islam's first contact with India. Historians Elliot and Dowson say in their book, The History of India as told by its own Historians, that the first ship bearing Muslim travellers was seen on the Indian coast as early as 630 AD. H.G. Rawlinson in his book Ancient and Medieval History of India[21] claims that the first Arab Muslims settled on the Indian coast in the last part of the 7th century AD. (Shaykh Zainuddin Makhdum's "Tuhfat al-Mujahidin" is also a reliable work.)[22] This fact is corroborated by J. Sturrock in his South Kanara and Madras Districts Manuals[23] and by Haridas Bhattacharya in Cultural Heritage of India Vol. IV.[24] It was with the advent of Islam that the Arabs became a prominent cultural force in the world. Arab merchants and traders became the carriers of the new religion and they propagated it wherever they went.[25]

The first Indian mosque, Cheraman Juma Masjid, is thought to have been built in 629 AD by Malik Bin Deenar.[26][27][28][29]

In Malabar, the Mappilas may have been the first community to convert to Islam.[citation needed] Intensive missionary activities were carried out along the coast and many other natives embraced Islam. These new converts were now added to the Mappila community. Thus, among the Mappilas we find both the descendants of the Arabs through local women and converts from among the local people.[citation needed]

Caliphate[edit]

During the 7th century, the Rashidun Caliphate Arabs entered modern-day Afghanistan after decisively defeating the Sassanian Persians in Nihawand. Following this colossal defeat, the last Sassanid Emperor, Yazdegerd III, who became a hunted fugitive, fled eastward deep into Central Asia. In pursuing Yazdegerd, the route the Arabs selected to enter the area was from north-eastern Iran[30] and thereafter into Herat, where they stationed a large portion of their army before advancing toward northern Afghanistan.

A large number of the inhabitants of northern Afghanistan accepted Islam through Umayyad missionary efforts, particularly under the reign of Hisham ibn Abd al-Malik and Umar ibn AbdulAziz.[31] In south, Abdur Rahman bin Samara introduced Islam to the natives of Zabulistan which was ruled by the Zunbils.[32]

During the reign of Al-Mu'tasim Islam was generally practiced amongst most inhabitants of the region and finally under Ya'qub-i Laith Saffari, Islam was by far, the predominant religion of Kabul along with other major cities of Afghanistan. The father of Abu Hanifa, Thabit bin Zuta, was a native from modern-day Afghanistan. He immigrated to Kufa (in Iraq), where Hanifa was born. Later, the Samanids propagated Sunni Islam deep into the heart of Central Asia, as the first complete translation of the Qur'an into Persian occurred in the 9th century. Since then, Islam has dominated the country's religious landscape. Islamic leaders have entered the political sphere at various times of crisis, but rarely exercised secular authority for long.

Although soon after conquering the Middle East from the Byzantine empire and the Sassanid Empire, Arab forces had reached the present western regions of Pakistan, during the period of Rashidun caliphacy, it was in 712 CE that a young Arab general called Muhammad bin Qasim conquered most of the Indus region for the Umayyad empire, to be made the "As-Sindh" province with its capital at Al-Mansurah, 72 km (45 mi) north of modern Hyderabad in Sindh. Sindh became the easternmost province of the Umayyad Caliphate. But the instability of the empire and the defeat in various wars with north Indian and south Indian rulers including the Caliphate campaigns in India, where the Hindu rulers like the south Indian Emperor Vikramaditya II of the Chalukya dynasty and Nagabhata of the Pratihara Dynasty defeated the Umayyad Arabs, they were contained till only Sindh and southern Punjab. There was gradual conversion to Islam in the south, especially amongst the native Hindu and Buddhist majority, but in areas north of Multan, Hindus and Buddhists remained numerous.[16] By the end of the 10th century CE, the region was ruled by several Hindu Shahi kings who would be subdued by the Ghaznavids.

Later Muslim invasions and rule[edit]

Muslim incursions resumed under later Turkic and Central Asian Mongol dynasties with more local capitals, who supplanted the Caliphate and expanded their domains both northwards and eastwards and led to the establishment of the Delhi Sultanate.[citation needed] Under Sabuktigin, Ghazni found itself in conflict with the Shahi Raja Jayapala. When Sabuktigin died and his son Mahmud ascended the throne in 998, Ghazni was engaged in the North with the Qarakhanids when the Shahi Raja renewed hostilities. In the first half of the 10th century, Mahmud of Ghazni added the Punjab to the Ghaznavid Empire and conducted 17 raids on modern-day India. In the 11th century, Ghazi Saiyyad Salar Masud played a significant role in the conversion of locals (Hindus) to Islam. Tughril was the grandson of Seljuq and brother of Chaghri, under whom the Seljuks wrested an empire from the Ghaznavids. Initially the Seljuqs were repulsed by Mahmud and retired to Khwarezm, but Tughril and Chaghri led them to capture Merv and Nishapur (1037).[33] Later they repeatedly raided and traded territory with his successors across Khorasan and Balkh and even sacked Ghazni in 1037.[34] In 1040 at the Battle of Dandanaqan, they decisively defeated Mas'ud I of the Ghaznavids, forcing him to abandon most of his western territories to the Seljuqs. A more successful invasion came at the end of the 12th century from Muhammad of Ghor. This eventually led to the formation of the Delhi Sultanate. Tīmūr bin Taraghay Barlas, known in the West as Tamerlane or "Timur the lame", was a 14th-century warlord of Turco-Mongol descent,[35][36][37][38] conqueror of much of western and central Asia, and founder of the Timurid Empire (1370–1507) in Central Asia; the Timurid dynasty survived until 1857 as the Mughal dynasty of India. By 1511, the Uzbeks in the north-east, led by their Khan Muhammad Shaybāni, were driven far to the north, across the Oxus River, where they continued to attack the Safavids. Ismail's decisive victory over the Uzbeks, who had occupied most of Khorasan, ensured Iran's eastern borders, and the Uzbeks never since expanded beyond the Hindukush. Although the Uzbeks continued to make occasional raids to Khorasan, the Safavid empire was able to keep them at bay throughout its reign.

Late Muslim conquest[edit]

Main article: Durrani Empire
Ahmad Shah Durrani and his coalition decisively defeat the Maratha Confederacy, during the Third Battle of Panipat and restored the Mughal Empire to Shah Alam II.[39]

Ahmed Shah Abdali – a Pashtun – embarked on a conquest in South Asia starting in 1747.[40] In the short space of just over a quarter of a century, he forged one of the largest Muslim empires of the 18th century. The high point of his conquests was his victory over the powerful Marathas in the third Battle of Panipat 1761. In South Asia his empire stretched from the Indus at Attock all the way to the outskirts of Delhi. Uninterested in long term of conquest or in replacing the Mughal Empire, he became increasingly pre occupied with revolts by the Sikhs.[41] His empire started to unravel not long after his death.

Current status[edit]

South Asian Muslims are concentrated in Afghanistan (99%), Bangladesh (90%), Pakistan (96%) and Maldives (100%).[42] Early Islam was introduced into coastal regions of South Asia by merchants who settled among the local populations. Later Sindh, Balochistan, and parts of the Punjab region saw conquest by the Arab caliphates along with an influx of Muslims from Persia and Central Asia, which resulted in spread of both Shia and Sunni Islam in parts of northwestern region of South Asia. Subsequently, under the influence of Muslim rulers of the Islamic sultanates and the Mughal Empire, Islam spread in South Asia.[43][44]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ ""Region: South Asia"". Retrieved 1 January 2017. 
  2. ^ Editor, Daniel Burke, CNN Religion. "The moment American Muslims were waiting for". Retrieved 1 January 2017. 
  3. ^ Pechilis, Karen; Raj, Selva J. (2013-01-01). South Asian Religions: Tradition and Today. Routledge. ISBN 9780415448512. 
  4. ^ Street, 1615 L.; NW; Washington, Suite 800; Inquiries, DC 20036 202 419 4300 | Main 202 419 4349 | Fax 202 419 4372 | Media (2015-04-02). "10 Countries With the Largest Muslim Populations, 2010 and 2050". Pew Research Center's Religion & Public Life Project. Retrieved 2017-02-07. 
  5. ^ Diplomat, Akhilesh Pillalamarri, The. "How South Asia Will Save Global Islam". The Diplomat. Retrieved 2017-02-07. 
  6. ^ "Trade, not invasion brought Islam to India". The Times of India. 24 June 2007. 
  7. ^ Wink, André (1990). Al-Hind, the making of the Indo-Islamic world (2. ed., amended. ed.). Leiden: E.J. Brill. p. 68. ISBN 9004092498. Retrieved 29 January 2014. Up to about the tenth century the largest settlement of Arabs and Persian Muslim traders are not found in Malabar however but rather more to the north in coastal towns of the Konkan and Gujarat, where in pre-Islamic times the Persians dominated the trade with the west. Here the main impetus to Muslim settlement came from the merchants of the Persian Gulf and Oman, with a minority from Hadramaut. 
  8. ^ "Cheraman Juma Masjid: A 1,000-year-old lamp burns in this mosque". 
  9. ^ "PM Narendra Modi likely to visit India's oldest mosque during Kerala trip". 
  10. ^ "Solomon To Cheraman". 
  11. ^ "PM Modi gifts gold-plated replica of ancient Kerala mosque to Saudi King". 
  12. ^ "Oldest Indian mosque sets new precedent". 
  13. ^ "1400-year-old mosque to be restored to its original form". 
  14. ^ Gokhale. Surat In The Seventeenth Century. Popular Prakashan. p. 28. Retrieved 23 February 2015. Islam was introduced into Gujarat in the 7th century A.D. The first Arab raid came in 635 when the Governor of Bahrain sent an expedition against Broach. Then through the centuries colonies of Arab and Persian merchants began sprouting in the port cities of Gujarat, such as Cambay, Broach and Surat. 
  15. ^ Afghanistan, The 7th-18th centuries, Encyclopædia Britannica
  16. ^ a b Sindh. (2007). In Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved 2007-03-15, from: Encyclopædia Britannica Online
  17. ^ [1]; p.33; ‘act of al Mustansir was sending missionaries to Gujarat’
  18. ^ Survival Amidst Fatimid Collapse; The Ismaili da'wa Outside the Fatimid dawla, by Daftary, F. "The Ismaili da'wa Outside the Fatimid dawla," in L'Egypte Fatimide: Son Art et Son Histoire, Marianne Barrucand (ed.) pp. 29 - 43. Paris: Presses de l'Universite de Paris-Sorbonne; ‘around 460AH/1067AD, Yamani da`is were dispatched to Gujarat under the close supervision of the Sulayhids’
  19. ^ Sharma, Usha. Cultural and Religious Heritage of India: Islam. Mittal Publications, 2004. ISBN 978-81-7099-960-7. ISBN 81-7099-960-X. 
  20. ^ Madani, Mohsen (1993). Impact of Hindu Culture on Muslims. MDPPL. p. 1. 
  21. ^ ISBN 81-86050-79-5 Ancient and Medieval History of India
  22. ^ ISBN 983-9154-80-X
  23. ^ Sturrock, J.,South Canara and Madras District Manual (2 vols., Madras, 1894–1895)
  24. ^ ISBN 81-85843-05-8 Cultural Heritage of India Vol. IV
  25. ^ -Genesis and Growth of the Mappila Community Archived 2006-06-22 at the Wayback Machine.
  26. ^ William Logan, Malabar Manual, Asian Educational Services, 1996 ISBN 81-206-0446-6, ISBN 978-81-206-0446-9
  27. ^ "Islamic Voice - DHU'L QADAH / DHU'L HAJJ". Retrieved 6 May 2015. 
  28. ^ Bahrain tribune World’s second oldest mosque is in India Archived 2006-07-06 at the Wayback Machine.
  29. ^ "A mosque from a Hindu king; Travelogue; News from India, News for Tourists and Travellers, India Travel Times, India News, India News Times, Indian News, Travel News, Travel, Tourism,". Retrieved 6 May 2015. 
  30. ^ Arabic As a Minority Language By Jonathan Owens, pg. 181
  31. ^ The preaching of Islam: a history of the propagation of the Muslim faith, By Thomas Walker Arnold, pg. 183
  32. ^ André Wink, "Al-Hind: The Making of the Indo-Islamic World", Brill 1990. p 120
  33. ^ Andre Wink, Al-Hind: The Making of the Indo-Islamic World, Vol.2, (Brill, 2002), 9.  – via Questia (subscription required)
  34. ^ Iran, The Columbia World Dictionary of Islamism, ed. Antoine Sfeir and John King, transl. John King, (Columbia University Press, 2007), 141.
  35. ^ B.F. Manz, "Tīmūr Lang", in Encyclopaedia of Islam, Online Edition, 2006
  36. ^ The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, "Timur", 6th ed., Columbia University Press: "... Timur (timoor') or Tamerlane (tăm'urlān), c.1336–1405, Mongol conqueror, b. Kesh, near Samarkand. ...", (LINK)
  37. ^ "Timur", in Encyclopædia Britannica: "... [Timur] was a member of the Turkic Barlas clan of Mongols..."
  38. ^ "Baber", in Encyclopædia Britannica: "... Baber first tried to recover Samarkand, the former capital of the empire founded by his Mongol ancestor Timur Lenk ..."
  39. ^ S. M. Ikram (1964). "XIX. A Century of Political Decline: 1707–1803". In Ainslie T. Embree. Muslim Civilization in India. New York: Columbia University Press. Retrieved 5 November 2011.
  40. ^ Asger Christensen. "Aiding Afghanistan: The Background and Prospects for Reconstruction in a Fragmented Society" pp 12. NIAS Press, 1995. ISBN 8787062445
  41. ^ Hamid Wahed Alikuzai. "A Concise History of Afghanistan in 25 Volumes, volume 14." pp. 202. Trafford Publishing, 2013. ISBN 1490714413
  42. ^ pewforum.org
  43. ^ Alberts, Irving, T., . D. R. M. (2013). Intercultural Exchange in Southeast Asia: History and Society in the Early Modern World (International Library of Historical Studies). I.B. Tauris.
  44. ^ Lisa Balabanlilar (2012). Imperial Identity in Mughal Empire: Memory and Dynastic Politics in Early Modern Central Asia. I.B.Tauris. pp. 1–2, 7–10. ISBN 978-1-84885-726-1. 

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