How Islam Came & Spread In India? Not By Sword!

Nowadays, when identity of Muslims and Islam in India are being questioned and are demonised for their presence through amalgamation of fabricated myths & hijacked opinion, it is important to bring the facts out from the history about how Muslims came & spread in India? Was it by any invasions or sword?
  • The first mosque in India was built by the successor of Cheraman Perumal (the regional king who converted to Islam) & Malik bin Dinar.
  • Oppressed Hindus & Buddhist minorities reached out to the Muslim armies for protection against Hindu governors.
  • The concept of equality in Islam and Muslim traditions reached the zenith point in the history of South Asia when slaves were raised to the status of rulers (Slave dynasty).
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The Indian subcontinent is one of the largest population centres of Muslims in the world comprising over 500 million Muslims throughout. 
India alone with about 200 million adherents of Islam is the third-largest Muslim populated country only after Pakistan & Indonesia, later being the largest.

Many attributes this fact to a notion claming "Islam spread by sword" that is a systematic forced conversion after Muslim invaded India whereas some biasedly goes on to the extent of refering a conocted series of something like "Islamic conquest of India bloodiest in the history of world" to demonize Muslims and Islam in India for championing their cause in the way of Islamophobia. 

The beauties of core values in Islam, its emphasis on the pursuit of justice and the legal and administrative system brought in by Muslims outweighed the existing system of social conduct, culture, religious practices, life styles and ethics that led Hindus and adherents of other religions in India to switch to Islam shedding of their earlier beliefs. In particular, the very epicentre of their decission to choose Islam over other existing religions was the concept of equality before God that centered the Islam's timeless message which was infact contradicting the evil practices dominated at that time (say caste system).

Truly speaking, few exceptions of forced conversion might had happened which was a blatant violation of clear Quranic commands - 

  • Let there be no compulsion in religion: Truth stands out clear from Error. (Quran-2:256)

In this context, a historian Richard Eaton, worths to be mentioned who has rightly described Islam as the “religion of social liberation". 

How Islam Came To Indian Subcontinent?

In the 600s, the west coast of India would regularly attract Merchants for trading goods like spices, gold & African goods.

In 610, the first revealation came to Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) in the cave of Hira after which witnessed the acceptance of Islam by Arabs. Naturally, when the Arabs began to convert to Islam, they carried their belief to shores of India.

This established the facts that trade contributed to the spread of Islam apart from daʿwah, trade, intermarriage, migration, and influencers. 

The First Mosque Of India:

Cheraman Juma Masjid in Thrissur District of Kerala is the first mosque in India (infact the oldest in the Indian Subcontinent) was built in 629 that is during the life of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH).
The Cheraman Juma Masjid was built by the successors of a Chera king, Cheraman Perumal and Malik bin Dinar. Malik bin Dinar, a companion of Prophet Muhammad ﷺ accompanied the Cheraman Perumal on his return to India from Mecca. The Chera King had converted to Islam after he was said to have witnessed the miracle of Prophet Muhammad ﷺ; Splitting of the moon (Shaqq Al Qamar).

How Islam Spread In India?

We have discussed about how Islam got introduced in the Indian Subcontinent but the other aspect of this story on how Islam quickly spread in India that Muslim has become a major portion of the region, is to be highlighted below.

It is during the Damascus based Ummayad Khilafah (preceded by Caliphate Rashidun) that the great expansion of Islam occurred in India. In 711, the Ummayads appointed 17 year old young man named Muhammad bin Qasim from Ta'if to liberate Sindh. With 6000 soldiers, Muhammad bin Qasim led his army to the far eastern reaches of Persia, Makran. 
He faced little or no resistance as he made his way into India and with no fighting, most cities along the Indus came under Muslims' control. In some cases, oppressed Hindus and Buddhist minorities reached out to the Muslim armies for protection against Hindu governors.

Despite the support and approval of much of the population, the Raja of Sindh, Dahir, opposed the expansion of Muslims and mobilised his army against Muhammad bin Qasim. In 712, the two armies clashed, with Muslims decisively emerged victorious. With victory, Sindh came under Islamic rule. 

The population of Sindh was not forced to convert to Islam at all even after landmark victory for Muslim armies. Muhammad bin Qasim promised security and protection to all Hindus and Buddhist in India under his control.

The successive episodes of Muslim rulers along with their armies penetrating into India encountered little resistance and followed much the same discipline. Leaders such as Mahmood of Ghazni and Muhammad Tugluq expanded Muslim political domains.

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