Across the world, the Islamic religion is the second largest after Christianity. In India, the religion has a high number of followers after Buddhism. According to the 2011 census in India, 14.2% of Indians are Muslims (Auer, 2014). Islam ruled India from as early as the 7th century. The trade interaction within the Arabian Peninsula and the Delhi Sultanate’s existence led to India’s Islamic dominion. However, the British colonialists’ arrival in India put an end to Islamic rule and influenced the Indian culture.
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Central Asia and India had an existing relationship of socio-economic and political ties. The Kushan Empire and the Mughal conquest, as well as political alignment within Central Asia, contributed significantly to the spread of Islamic beliefs and rule in India. However, historians perceived trade as the most significant force behind the evolution of the Islamic religion in India. Notably, in the Pre-Islamic period, the Arabians from the Arabian Peninsula visited the Malabar region and Konkan-Gujarat coastal stretch. Moreover, other Arabs traveled to the Indian coast, and during the period between 610CE and 623CE, a mosque was built in Gujarat (Auer, 2014). The Indians around the Malabar region were the first Islamic converts. Consequent intensive missionary actions were witnessed on the Indian coast leading to the new religion’s embracement.
First, Central Asia contributed to the Islamic rule in India through mainly social and economic aspects. The trade interaction within the region led to cultural and religious values in central Asia and the Indian Subcontinent. During the period between the 610CE and the 623CE, merchants were the wealthiest and most influential members of society. The trade activities led to the construction of infrastructures such as the Silk Road in the 16th century. The Silk Road linked Asia, India, and Europe ensuring that merchants traveled between Central Asia and India. Therefore, the merchants who were the pivotal elements of the three regions’ economies facilitated social integration and created India’s Islamic values. Social elements were transmitted through intermarriages, trade, and cultural exchanges. The cities such as Samarkand, Ferghana, and Bukhara were central to the trade activities and consequent development of the Islamic religion and rule in India.
Second, the trade activities and the intermarriages between India and Central Asia led to accepting the Islamic values and Sheria laws which established the Islamic rule’s foundation in India. Effective establishment of governance relies on the acceptance of the governing principles in the locus of influence. Thus, the trade and the intermarriages formed a base for accepting the Islamic faith, which became the law during India’s Islamic rule.
Third, Iran was one of the influential regions in understanding the growth of Islam rule in India. The interaction between India and Iran began during the Indo-Aryan Civilization. It is believed that both Iranians and Indians coexisted together in the Central Asia pasture land to foster ties. The two communities are believed to have lived together in the Oxus Valley, sharing a common language (Jorfi, 1994). Coupled with the 7th-century trade within the region, common language elements originating from the Oxus Valley facilitated the trade and cultural exchange leading to the Islamic introduction in India.
Additionally, the peaceful interaction between Central Asia and India picked a forceful political interaction after the acceptance of Islamic principles in the region. Muslim Generals such as Muhammad bin Qasim invaded the Indian Subcontinent. Muhammad bin Qasim was 17 years old when he led an attack that stretched to Sindh. The Umayyad Caliphate battle ensured that Sindh was securely under Islamic rule. In the 10th century, the Ghaznavids, a nomadic empire within Central Asia under Muslims, invaded India under Mahmud (Auer, 2014). The invasion used horses, chariots, and a ferrous army with the attackers united by religion and ethnicity. The army conquered the Northern plans and established the Delhi Sultanate.
The Delhi Sultanate contributed to the rise of Islamic rule in India. The Sultanate controlled Northern India and invaded South India to exert Islamic authority. The Delhi Sultanate gave the Muslim rulers a political base in India through which they exercised their power and organized their operations. Moreover, the Delhi Sultanate synthesized the Islamic civilization into the Indian civilization. During this period, the latter had medicine, architectural designs, and cultural philosophies as critical elements. The Delhi Sultanate ensured that Islamic beliefs were incorporated into the Indian Civilization. Notably, the Delhi Sultanate’s interference in Indian affairs gave rise to the Hindustani language. The Delhi Sultanate was the innovation hub for the Islamic civilization in India. Some of the mechanical innovations made in the Delhi Sultanate included spinning wheels, cranks, gears, wheels, pulleys, and paper machines. The innovations cemented Islamic rule through the construction of chariots and other drawn carts.
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Consequently, the Mughal Empire contributed to the establishment of Muslim rule in India. Unlike the Delhi Sultanate, the Mughal Empire established a class of elites called Mughals who assisted in the region’s administration. The Empire balanced the Indian cultures and the Islamic principles leading to a uniform society. The Mughals advised the people on the best societal regulations based on the Islamic teachings and reported back the plights of the locals. The resulting Empire was centralized and had a systematic leadership. Furthermore, the Mughals enacted economic policies that revolved around trade, agriculture, and revenue collection. In the 17th century, the Mughal Empire was one of the leading industrial producers in the World (Auer, 2014). The Muslim interaction and the Indian Culture gave rise to Din-e-Ilahi and Sikhism. The two religions are perceived to be a fusion of both Islamic religion and Hinduism.
However, the oppressive nature of the leaders’ Islamic laws and brutality led to the locals’ unpopularity. The Islamic laws were perceived to be gender insensitive. The rules gave the male power within the society over the women, which led to gender oppression. Several communities opposed the Islamic authority on them. New languages such as Deccani and Urdu jeopardized the unity of the already divided rule. However, India’s actual end of Islamic law in India was marked by British Colonial activities. The British used a religious approach through which all religions of the locals were barbaric and satanic. The locals were to be converted to Christianity to be accepted within the British governance perception. The British laws were founded on the Bible, which opposed Islamic laws (Auer, 2014). Moreover, the British government took political and economic control of India. The Mughals lost their position in the Indian community, and the British established their governing structure. The British began collecting taxes and controlling economic activities such as agriculture in their favor. When India attained its independence from the British, the Islamic Rule had reduced significantly.
Conclusively, the Islamic Rule in India was established in the 7th century. The establishment of the rule was facilitated through the historic relationship between Central Asia and India. Merchants from Central Asia visited the Indian coast in 623CE. Notably, such traders help pass the Islamic principles in India. Besides, countries such as Iran had relationships with India which began during the Indo-Aryan Civilization. The Iranians shared language elements that promoted the spread of Islamic beliefs. The founding of the Mughal Empire and Delhi Sultanate contributed to the rise of Islamic rule in India; however, the British invasion of India put an end to the Islamic Rule.
Auer, B. (2014). Early modern Persian, Urdu, and English historiography and the imagination of Islamic India under British rule. Études De Lettres, (2-3), 199-226. Web.
Jorfi, A. (1994). Iran and India: Age-old friendship. India Quarterly, 50(4), 65-92. Web.