History of Advent of Islam in the Sub-Continent

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The Indian subcontinent (India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh) is now home to more than 500 million Muslims, making it one of the largest Muslim populations in the world.

Since the introduction of Islam to India, the region and its inhabitants have benefited enormously from it. There are many views out there now regarding how India ended up being such a large Muslim-dwelling country.

Politically, some (such as the Hindutva movement in India) attempt to portray Islam as alien to India by claiming that it only exists as a result of Muslim conquests from the Arab and Persian worlds. The reality, however, is far different.

The earliest Indian Muslims

Arab traders had contact with India even before the time of the Prophet Muhammad (Peace Be upon Him) in the 600s. To trade things like African goods, gold, and spices, traders would frequently sail to India’s west coast. Naturally, when Arabs started converting to Islam, they brought their new religion to India’s coastline. The first Muslim from India, CheramanPerumalBhaskara Ravi Varma, constructed Kerala’s CheramanJuma Masjid in 629, during the lifetime of the Prophet Muhammad.

Islam continued to grow in coastal Indian cities and villages through trade between Indians and Arab Muslims, both through immigration and conversion.

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The arrival of Muhammad Bin Qasim

Advent of Islam
Muhammad bin e Qasim

The Umayyad Dynasty of caliphs, located in Damascus, saw the first significant spread of Islam into India. Muhammad bin Qasim, a 17-year-old Ta’if native, was chosen by the Umayyads in 711 to expand their rule into Sindh. In the northwest of the subcontinent, in what is now Pakistan, Sindh is the area surrounding the Indus River. A force comprised of 6000 warriors led by Muhammad bin Qasim, arrived in Sindh via Makkran.

As he entered India, he met with little opposition. The Buddhist monks who were in charge of Nerun, a city on the banks of the Indus River, greeted him when he arrived. Thus, without any bloodshed, the majority of the cities along the Indus came under Muslim authority.

Advent of Islam

Buddhist minorities who were being persecuted occasionally turned to the Muslim armies for defense against Hindu authorities. The Raja of Sindh, Dahir, opposed the Muslim expansion and organized his army against Muhammad bin Qasim despite the backing and acceptance of the majority of the populace. When the two armies clashed in 712, the Muslims emerged victorious. After the triumph, Muslims gained authority over all of Sindh.

But it’s vital to remember that the people of Sindh were in no way coerced into becoming Muslims. In reality, daily living remained mostly unchanged for practically everyone.

All Hindus and Buddhists living under Muhammad bin Qasim’s rule received assurances of safety and religious liberty. For instance, Buddhist monks kept up their monasteries while members of the Brahman caste kept working as tax collectors. Many communities routinely welcomed him and his soldiers with people dancing and playing music because of his religious tolerance and justice.

Conversion Trends

The trend of Muslim troops invading India in waves was largely consistent. Muslim political spheres were expanded by leaders like Mahmud of Ghazni and Muhammad Tughluq without affecting the social or religious fabric of Indian civilization.

Conversion to Islam took place gradually since pre-Islamic India was entirely built on a caste system that divided society into several segments. Frequently, entire castes would embrace Islam all at once. There are a variety of reasons why this might occur. However, the equality that Islam offered was frequently more alluring than the institutionalized racism of the caste system. In the caste system, your social standing is based on your birth family. There was no chance for social advancement or to surpass your parents’ accomplishments. People had the chance to advance in society and lose their dependence on the Brahman caste by switching to Islam.

Under Muslim domination, Buddhism, which was previously highly common throughout the subcontinent, progressively perished. People have historically relocated to the major population centers and become Buddhists in order to escape the caste system. However, as Islam was available, individuals started switching from Buddhism to Islam while still abandoning the caste system. The tales of Islam ruthlessly eradicating Buddhism in India are untrue. Under the Muslim administration, Buddhists were tolerated, and there is no proof of forced conversions or violence directed at them.

Another important factor in the spread of Islam was the work of itinerant teachers. In their travels across India, Muslim academics sought to spread knowledge of Islam. Many of them advocated Sufi concepts, a more mystic interpretation of Islam that was popular with the populace. Not just the aristocratic classes near the Muslim rulers, but also the peasants in the countryside, these teachers played a significant part in spreading Islam.

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Did Power Help Islam Stretched?

The evidence does not support the assertion that India’s large Muslim population is the result of coercion and violence. Hindu princes were mostly supplanted by Muslim rulers, although society remained largely unaltered.

Advent of Islam
Population of Muslims

Forced conversion cases are extremely rare and frequently not believable enough to merit scholarly study.

The Muslim population in India today would only exist in the regions that are closest to the rest of the Muslim world if Islam spread through violence and war.

Thus, the only region of the subcontinent with a Muslim population would be the western section. Instead, we observe isolated enclaves of Islam spread over the subcontinent. For instance, Bangladesh, which has 150 million Muslims, is located in the Far East and is divided from other regions with a majority of Muslims by Hindu regions in India.

 Muslims also live in small communities in western Myanmar, central India, and eastern Sri Lanka. These Muslim communities serve as evidence that Islam spread peacefully throughout India, whether or not a Muslim government was in place. If Islam was forced to spread as some allege, these groups of Muslims would not exist.


India’s history and culture are deeply influenced by Islam. It is crucial to comprehend Islam’s status in the Indian subcontinent given that it is still home to many different ethnic groups and religions today. It is important to refute political assertions that Islam is an alien and invasive religion among Indians by pointing out that Islam has peacefully spread across the country.

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