Islam in Indian Civilizations
The aspect of religion is the most important factor that is significant to Indian civilization. Religion has defined pastimes and practices carried out in the Indian society for many generations. Islam has been one of the chief religions practiced by Indians at the respective era. This is attributed to important historical events that influenced conversion. One of the events is attributed to the Muslim caste system in the country, which provided basic rule of judgment that seemed fair to Indians. The Hindu caste system, on the other hand, seemed to be biased to the lower caste. Additionally, the Islam religion, through the Sharia Law, provided equal status to Indians based on conversion to Islam. At this point, the Muslims considered the Ashrafs, representatives from Arab ancestry, to be superior in the caste system. Equally, Indians who had converted to Islam (Ajlafs) were considered to be lower in the status regardless of their wealth or status in the Indian society. Consequently, DeBary (364) adds that the opportunity to worship Allah as one God, and, therefore, make Islam a part of the Indian civilization.
Another factor that is significant to the Indian civilization apart from religion is society. The Indian society played a major part in facilitating Islam in India, these are basic teachings of the Quran that stresses the importance of obeying Allah. The Quran did not recognize the Caliph as possessor of spiritual powers. Rather, the teachings equaled the rights of Indian Muslims in studying the manner in which Allah must be revered (DeBary, 367). Additionally, the conflict in the society between the Muslims in India further facilitated Islam in the country. The conflict was based on the different Shia and the Sunni practices respective for the Islam religion (Nigosian, 40). However, one of the main aspects that influenced Islam in India in terms of social relationships was the introduction of the Sharia. In this era, the society was deemed as a circumstance which individuals were coerced to accept rather than a bond that could be transformed into an agreeable partnership of shared camaraderie and welfare. Thus, the Sharia set the ideals for a standard society based on practicing good and shunning evil regardless of its contiguity (DeBary, 395-396; Nigosian, 72).
The aspects of society and religion influenced Indians considerably. In terms of religion, Islamic practices facilitated the relationship between Indians of different castes. In addition, the Islam religion was responsible for eliminating the caste system among Muslim converts implemented by the religion of Hinduism and Buddhism. Consequently, the Islam religion allowed Indians to experience communication with God on another level never provided by Hinduism and Buddhism. This is because the Quran did not recognize the Caliph, who was also known as the chief of the Islam community and holder of spiritual powers. Hence, Islam provided every Indian with an opportunity to communicate with God without the allusion of a spiritual intercessor that was biasly based on the caste system. The society, on the other hand, provided Indians with more knowledge on the Islam religion as well as its positive aspects. Through the Sharia, practices of the Sunna and the doctrines or surahs in the Quran, the Indians were able to unite under the common objective of obeying and worshipping Allah.
The type of character that could exceptionally represent this era in Indian history is a young man who has been subjected to the status prejudice prescribed by the oriental religions. The character would be put in a situation that depicts his confusion or dilemma. In this situation the character must select between following the Hindu, doctrines adhered to by his parents, regardless of the financial predicaments they face due to the restrictive notion of the caste system, or the Islam, religion which offered new insight on spirituality and morality and the elimination of status in obeying God. The foundation for such a character is based on the prejudice and religious bigotry associated with the oriental religions as well as the effects of the system on the financial capabilities of those within the lower caste.
DeBary, Theodore W. Sources of Indian Civilization Volume 1. Introduction to Oriental Studies. New York: Columbia University Press, 1964. 364-415. Print.
Nigosian, S A. Islam: Its History, Teaching, and Practices. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2004. Print.