Islam in India

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The Jama Masjid in Delhi is the largest mosque in India.

The Islam in India is after Hinduism is the second largest faith. Of the 1.2 billion people in India , 79.8% are Hindus and 14.2% Muslim . After Indonesia and Pakistan , India is the country with the third largest Islamic community . The Mughal Empire was a Muslim state that existed on the Indian subcontinent from 1526 to 1858.

Since its inception in India, Islam has made numerous contributions to the culture and social and political life of India. At the same time, in the course of history there have been repeated conflicts between Muslims and Hindus, which were also the main reason why the British colonial area British India in 1947 was divided into the predominantly Muslim states of Pakistan and later Bangladesh on the one hand and the republic India, with a predominantly Hindu population, was divided. The religious contrast between India and Pakistan is a major factor in the tense relations between the two states, but even within India there are repeated violent conflicts between people of both faiths.

First contacts

In the wake of Muslim conquests and the victory of the Arabs over the Persian Empire of the Sassanids led Al Muhallab ibn Abi Suffrah of the Umayyad Caliphate in 664, already 32 years after Muhammad's death, the first foray to Multan , at that time known as the "City of Gold". The Umayyad armies reached the Indus in 712 . The last advance of the Umayyads under Muhammad ibn al-Qasim ended with his defeat in the Battle of Rajasthan in 738 AD. The conversion to Islam in the principalities of the interior was initially due to accession. 

During the campaigns of conquest, trade contacts developed between Arabs and Indians, with the port cities of the Indian west coast in particular serving for mutual exchange. In Kerala , the first Hindus converted to the Islamic faith. The first mosque was built in Kasaragod as early as 642 . Conditions on the upper Indus were less peaceful, where the Muslim rulers in Persia repeatedly came into conflict with the rulers of Sindh without initially achieving territorial gains.

Of special importance was the after in today's Afghanistan town of Ghazni named Turkic dynasty of the Ghaznavids . It was founded in 977 and under Mahmud von Ghazni (998-1030) attacked the Indus valley in a total of 17 campaigns, with the invaders' cavalry often being superior to the Indian foot army with its elephants. The Ghaznavids managed to establish themselves in the Punjab . At the same time, a first cultural bloom took place at the court of the Ghaznavids; so there worked the poet Firdausi and the mathematician Al Biruni . In addition to the armed conflicts, a cultural exchange can already be observed here. After the conquest of the north-western parts of India, the Hindus living there were declared wards. 

The attacks by the Ghaznavids initially represented a marginal phenomenon from an Indian perspective. Only towards the end of the 12th century was there a comprehensive attempt at conquest. In 1186 the Ghurids overthrew the Ghaznavids and shortly afterwards, in 1192, Muhammad von Ghur was able to establish a confederation of Indian Rajputs under the leadership of the Prince of Delhi , Prithviraj III. Defeat Chauhan at the Battle of Taraori . Muhammad then moved into Delhi. After being assassinated in 1206, his general and governor Qutb-ud-Din Aibak was able to assert the Indian conquests; from Aibak's rule, the Sultanate of Delhi emerged a little later .

Sultanate of Delhi

Map of the Sultanate of Delhi

By around 1230, the Muslim sultanate had gained control of the area north of the Narmada , while independent Hindu princes were able to hold on to the south of the subcontinent - a dichotomy that would remain characteristic of the subsequent period. The sultans promoted the spread of Islam and established a strict system of rule, the distinguishing feature of which was the granting of large areas to deserving followers as fiefs ( jagir ). In this way, a certain amount of control over the greats of the empire was guaranteed. The Arab-Indian merchants lived in relative prosperity and the Arab world profited from the expansion of trade with India; The Indian farmers and artisans, on the other hand, lived largely in poverty, as under Sultan Ala ud-Din Khalji, for example, they had to pay half of their income as taxes. For religious reasons, many traditional Hindu monasteries and temples were destroyed and scriptures destroyed. In addition, the Jizya , the "infidel tax", was imposed on the Hindus, which fueled hatred of the conquerors. Since Hindu empires continued to offer resistance in the south, Sultan Muhammad bin Tughluq , who had ruled since 1325, set about subjugating the remaining Hindu empires. In fact, within a few years he succeeded in conquering the entire subcontinent, but a short time later it became clear that this victory had strained the resources of the Sultanate too much. In Bengal a separate sultanate was established in 1338, and another in 1347, the Bahmani Sultanate in today's Maharashtra . Above all, however , a powerful opponent emerged in the Hindu empire of Vijayanagar ("City of Victory"), which is still regarded by Hindus as a symbol of the will to resist the Muslims. Sultan Firuz III. , Ruler since 1351, meanwhile tried to halt the decline of Islamic power in India through reforms; he built Firozabad in the Deccan as the new capital, promoted the economy and withdrew some particularly anti-Hindu measures taken by his predecessors. Nevertheless, he could only delay the fall of the sultanate, not stop it. In 1398 the Mongol ruler Timur Lenk invaded the sultanate, which the Hindus of India used to proclaim independent states in Gujarat , Malwa and Jaunpur , so that the sultans of Delhi ruled little more than the city of Delhi itself in the first decades of the 15th century. A fundamental renewal of Muslim rule only followed through renewed intervention from outside: In 1526 Babur , a great-grandson of Timur, pushed forward from his residence in Kabul to India and defeated the Sultan of Delhi, Ibrahim Lodi , using artillery in the First battle at Panipat . With this, Babur founded the Mughal Empire , which was to last until British rule.

Mughal Empire

The tomb mosque
Taj Mahal in Agra, built by the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan

The beginnings of the Mughal Empire

After taking Delhi in 1526, Barbur gradually conquered northwest India. His successors built the Mughal Empire through further conquests. The borders of the Mughal Empire included a maximum of parts of Pakistan and Afghanistan, Bangladesh and, apart from a small part in the south, all of India. Babur's successor Humayun (r. 1530–1556) initially had to fight with fierce resistance from the Hindus. During his reign, his vassal, the Afghan Sher Khan , tried again to renew the Sultanate of Delhi and temporarily expelled Humayun from India. Sher Khan's dynasty is known as the Sur dynasty (1538–1555). In 1555, however, Humayun recaptured his empire.

The rule of Humayun's son Akbar I (Jalal ud-din Muhammad Akbar Padshah-i Ghazi) (r. 1556-1605) is considered a high point of the Mughal Empire . Akbar defeated the Hindus in the Second Battle of Panipat in 1556 . He is known and famous for his tolerant religious policy and his administrative reforms, which led to peace, prosperity and an upswing of the cities in large parts of northern India. The Mughal Empire succeeded in establishing a more stable rule than that of the Sultanate of Delhi, since the government was now more political than religious. In 1564 the special taxes for Hindus were lifted, Hindus were allowed to join the civil service (the first minister of the Malwa region at the beginning of the 16th century was a Hindu), and marriages between Hindu princesses and Muslim officials increased. In 1583, Akbar issued an edict proclaiming religious tolerance in an increasingly religiously diversified society. However, this period did not go without any conflicts between Hindus and Muslims either, which was not least due to the fact that in the south, as in the times of the Delhi Sultanate, there were still independent Hindu states with which the Mughal Empire regularly waged war. Already under Akbar there was a massacre of Rajputs near Chittorgarh in 1568 . Akbar's rule was based on the principle of tolerance; the din-i ilahi goes back to him. Akbar was followed by his son Jahangir (r. 1605–1627), who was born to a Rajput princess; he continued his father's policy of tolerance, but had a bad reputation among Muslims and Hindus alike because of his addiction to alcohol and opium. At the same time, the Persian influence increased at the Mughal court, which contributed to the flourishing of the arts and sciences. With the construction of the Taj Mahal , a tomb for his favorite wife Mumtaz Mahal completed in 1648, Jahangir's successor Shah Jahan (r. 1628–1657 / 9) finally brought about the pinnacle of Islamic architecture in India . Under the influence of Orthodox Muslim clergy, Shah Jahan initially cracked down on Hindus and Christians, but subsequently focused more on his luxurious lifestyle. His army made progress by conquering several Hindu states in central India. The last great ruler of the Mughal empire is Aurangzeb (ruled 1659–1707), who increasingly, but more or less successfully, turned to the Deccan Plateau . After Aurangzeb's death in 1707, a number of rather insignificant rulers followed, who replaced each other in quick succession, while the Indian princes gained power and the colonial powers - initially France , since 1763 Great Britain - used the contradictions among the native powers to gain their own influence to expand. Although Shah Alam II (reigned 1759–1806), an Islamic ruler, ruled Delhi for a little longer, the Mughal empire had long since been only a shadow of itself and powerless against the attacks of the Afghans, who succeeded in 1788, To pillage Delhi and blind the Mughal. The Mughal Emperor was finally deposed by the British in 1858 after the uprising of 1857 ( Sepoy uprising ).

Islam in the Mughal Empire

Islam was not a majority religion in the Mughal era. In addition to Muslims, Hindus, Jews, Christians, Zoroastrians and followers of numerous syncretistic currents lived in the Mughal Empire. New sects were formed within Hinduism, which also included syncretistic Muslim-Hindu beliefs. In northern India, as early as the 15th century , Ramananda propagated the bhakti movement, which was also open to Muslims and which primarily aimed at criticizing traditional Hindu temple practices in favor of the believer's more direct turn to God. Ramananda's pupil Kabir then combined Islamic monotheism with the doctrine of karma around 1500 . In principle, the development of various Islamic currents can also be observed.

The Sufi orders in particular contributed to the spread of Islam.


The Sufism (Arabic. Tasauwuf ) called mystical currents in Islam, which found their expansions in India. The first Sufis reached the north-west of India in the 11th century. In the following years different currents developed; when Babur came to India all kinds of mystical paths blossomed. One of the oldest Sufi orders in India is the Chishtiyya order, which came to India at the beginning of the 13th century through Chwaja Mu'in ad-Din Chishti (approx. 1142–1236) and Qutb ad-Din Bachtiyar Kaki († 1235) . The Chishtiyya emphasized community as a path to spiritual progress and lived together in poverty in monastery-like communities. They were ascetics, often ran soup kitchens and did pastoral work. They also cultivated music and poetry. It was their spiritual music that helped spread the teachings of Sufism. Later the order tried to integrate Hindu elements into Islam on the basis of ontological monism. With Barbur, Naqshbandis came to India more and more, as his family had long and strong ties to this order. The Naqshbandis became more important during the Mughal period. In some Sufi orders the teaching of Ibn ¡Arab∆ was received strongly, which contributed to its integrative role.


Ibn Arabi's theosophy († 1240) had also spread to India during Babur's time. Ibn ¡Arab∆ taught the “unity of all being”. This “ unity of all being ” arises from the Platonic philosophy, which thinks the creation of the world in emanations, gradations of divine being. The divine “one”, of which nothing can be known without differentiating itself into stages of being, grants everything that is a share in its being. This idea is strongly reminiscent of Hegel's later philosophy, in that spirit and being are ultimately related to one another and do not represent separate entities. Ibn Arabi's monism makes it possible, with the idea of ​​the unity of all being, to give the believer an orientation in relation to dealing with other religions or Hinduism, which aims at understanding.

This theosophy was particularly well received in poetry. Overall, ontological monism was very well received in the Mughal Empire. In it, the boundaries between the religions could be softened, which was essential for the survival of the Muslim minority. It is controversial how much Sufism and Hinduism influenced each other on the literary and philosophical level and on the level of popular piety.

Rational Islam

Islamic theological educational institutions (madrasa) had already been founded in the Sultanate of Delhi. They were subsidized by the state and were mainly used to train administrative officials. The curriculum was shaped by religious topics. This strongly theologically oriented curriculum was only modified by Akbar, who also integrated new subjects such as astronomy, mathematics, (Aristotelian influenced) philosophy, logic, history and geometry. From then on, the sciences were strongly philosophical-rational. This development resulted from a strong Persian influence. Even Arabic was no longer the only legitimate language in religious studies; next to it came the Persian. These rational sciences also granted the Mughal empire inner stability, as they enabled the various cults to be integrated: This made it possible for Muslims and Hindus to train together. However, these reforms only affected some of the Islamic universities; most retained their Islamic orientation.

The twelve schia

The first Shiite groups came to northern India with the Mongols in the 13th century from what is now Iran and Iraq. Shiite groups and scholars from Persia had existed in southern India since the mid-15th century. The Twelve Shia, the largest group within Shia, began to play a more prominent role in India after Shah Ismail the Safavid made Shia the state religion in Persia in 1501. Since Sufism was banned in Persia, but Shia and Sufism are often closely linked, many Shiite scholars came to India from Persia. Numerous Shiite scholars taught rational sciences in Islamic theological schools, which made the Shia gain influence in Indian Islam. Not only scholars but also Persian poets and artists who came to India played a role in the spread of Shiite ideas in the Mughal empire, as did the political contact between the Mughal emperors and the Shiite rulers in Persia. For example, Jahangir's wife, Nur Jahan, was a Persian who had a strong influence at court and supported Shiite tendencies. Nevertheless, the official commitment to Shia was only allowed for a short time under Akbar; otherwise the Schia was formally forbidden in the Mughal Empire. Tensions between Sunnis and Shiites existed early on in southern India. These gradually expanded to include the entire Mughal Empire at the end of the 17th century. In these tensions, members of the Sunni and ever-growing Shiite nobility faced each other, which was reinforced by ethnic differences and severely weakened the Mughal empire internally.

Inner Islamic groups

In addition to the main currents within Indian Islam just listed, there were numerous intra-Islamic groups that differed greatly from one another. So there was the eschatological movement of the Mahdawiyya. They followed Sayyid Muhammad Kazimi († 1505), who declared himself a Mahdi in 1494. Although he was sharply attacked and driven out by the Orthodox theologians, he won many followers. This succeeded because he and his successors, the “Mahdawis”, led an exemplary life that was entirely based on Sharia law. They lived in poverty, cared for the poor and emphasized meditative remembrance of God, but they were not Sufis. The persecution of the Mahdawis has been documented since the 16th century; It reached its peak under the Sur dynasty and was later continued in individual regions. Splinter groups survived to this day. The Raushaniyya movement is named after Bayezid Ansari, the Pir-i Raushan ("Shining Master") († 1575). The movement originated in the border area with Afghanistan, which was the most vulnerable area of ​​the early Mughal Empire. Bayezid Ansari's teaching was very similar to Sufism; Characteristic was the meditative remembrance of God and the care for the poor. But the movement was also politically militant and strongly nationalistic. Akbar sent his best general, Raja Man Singh, to northwest India to crush the Raushaniyya, but it was not until 1600 before the Mughals finally conquered the area. The Raushaniyya political movement was ultimately exterminated. Another inner-Islamic group were the Nuqtawis, who traced back to Mahmud Pkakhwani († 1428). He believed himself to be the promised Mahdi, partially rejected Islamic rituals and forms of belief, such as the presentation of the Last Judgment, and proclaimed continued prophethood. He taught that man originated from a point (nuqta) earth. The earth would have developed in constant fading and fading over millennia. Thus all earthly beings would be of the same origin. Overall, they seem to have incorporated elements of Sufism, Shia, and philosophy. In 1576 the leading Nuqtawi of his day, Sharif-i Amuli, came to Akbar's court. Akbar was evidently impressed by him and Jahangir counted him among his loyal followers. But in the following time the influence of the Nuqtawis seemed to wane.

The strengthening of the law school Islam

In contrast to the crossing of religious boundaries between Hindus and Muslims, especially at the Mughal Court, the influence of legal Islam grew at the beginning of the 17th century. a. through the Naqshbandis, who were in contact with Muslims from Central Asia. The Muslim-Hindu antagonism intensified under Aurangzeb , who overthrew his father Shah Jahan in 1657 and, as a devout Muslim, pursued a policy of intolerance. In 1679 he reintroduced the Hindu tax, in addition he had Hindu temples destroyed, pilgrimage festivals prohibited and the Sharia declared the basis of law. In his almost 50-year rule, the Mughal created numerous enemies, including the Sikhs in the Punjab, the Rajputs (after the deposition of the Hindu vassal of Jaipur) and the Marathas united in the south under Shivaji . This partial Islamization policy was also politically motivated. However, these efforts remained episodic and were not politically enforced even by Aurangzeb.

British rule

Muslim Quarter in Delhi; Portrait from around 1852

In the meantime, the British were systematically expanding their rule, starting from their bases in Bengal, Madras and Bombay, with the help of locals on an economic and political level; At the end of the 18th century, the East India Company in particular gained political power through its trading power based on its links to scholarship, taxation, trade and politics. A number of agreements, such as the Permanent Settlement Acts in 1793, placed financial and cultural restrictions on the Muslim population. At the beginning of the 19th century, after the dissolution of the old territorial empires, the East India Company established its own state. In 1803 they conquered Delhi (the Mughal Empire formally existed until the Sepoy uprising ) and with the victory over the Marathas in 1818 they were the undisputed rulers of the subcontinent. They introduced western culture and technology, improved the infrastructure and abolished the harsh punishments and practices common up until then, such as those practiced by both Muslims and Hindus (staking, mutilation, widow burning). Slavery, from which the British themselves had initially profited, also fell victim to the enlightenment spirit of the time. At the same time there was a devaluation of Islamic educational institutions, such as the Madrasen, which was reinforced by the Macauley Edict, the introduction of English instead of Persian as the official language, in 1837. The strengthening of Urdu then made it clear that the supremacy of the Muslim population over the Hindu population that prevailed during the Mughal period was lost. Any political resistance to British occupation was banned. The Sepoy uprising of 1857/58 was bloodily suppressed, and the victims included Muslims and Hindus alike. All kinds of social groups took part in the uprising, and on the Islamic side they were supported by leading Islamic theologians. The uprising marked a change in the existing colonial system as the East India Company was replaced by the British Crown. The acceptance of the title “Empress of India” by the British Queen Victoria in 1877 marked the first culmination of this policy. The increased influence of the British, which was also accompanied by a systemic Brahmanization and preference of the Hindu population, led to new self-assertions and identity positions among Muslims. The Islamic reform movements of the 19th century emerged. These include the Deoband School , founded in 1867, the Ahl-i Hadith movement from 1964, and the Barelwis . What they have in common is that they wanted to change Islam from within. The Aligarh movement, on the other hand, had a greater desire to incorporate Islamic tradition into the colonial system.

The contribution of the Muslims to the liberation movement of India

British rule created, on the one hand, a mass of peasants impoverished by the consequent policy of exploitation (the local textile production was ruined by the colonial economy), but at the same time an educated middle class emerged who got to know Western ideas at the schools established by the British and for their own purposes sought to make usable. In 1885, Muslim and Hindu Indians jointly founded the Indian National Congress (INC), which was committed to the independence of India. Since the INC soon Hindus clearly dominated, founded Muslim opponents of British rule in 1906 in the Bengali Dhaka , the Muslim League , which since 1916 under the leadership of Ali Jinnah stood. In the same year, both the INC and the Muslim League in the Lucknow Pact unequivocally demanded autonomy for India from the British, especially since Indian troops made a not insignificant contribution to the victory of the Allies in the First World War .

However, the leadership of the crown colony, which had resided in the old Mughal city of Delhi since 1911, reacted to these developments with severity. In 1919 British soldiers carried out a massacre in Amritsar , which killed well over 300 Sikhs, Muslims and Hindus. As a result, the actions of Mahatma Gandhi were in the center of attention, but Muslim politicians also contributed their part to the independence movement; to name are mainly Abul Kalam Azad , who later became the first Minister of Education of the Republic of India, Hakim Ajmal Khan , founder of the Jamia Millia Islamia , the first Islamic University of India, Rafi Ahmed Kidwai , the socialist ideas propagated, Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan , the how Gandhi committed to nonviolent struggle and also spent long years in prison, Maulavi Barkatullah , who was Prime Minister of an Indian government-in-exile in Afghanistan during the First World War and founder of the Ghadar party, Syed Rahmat Shah , also an activist of the Ghadar party, who in 1915 was responsible for hanged by the British in an attempted coup, Ali Ahmad Siddiqui , who shared Syed Rahmat Shah's fate in 1917; Vakkom Abdul Khadar , the wealthy businessman Umar Subhani from Bombay; Muslim women were also significantly involved in the struggle for independence, after Hazrat Mahal had already played an important role in the Sepoy uprising.

The old Hindu-Muslim antagonisms also made themselves felt early on within the independence movement, for example during the Moplah uprising of 1921, in which several thousand Muslims and Hindus were killed in Kerala . This was the first harbinger of the conflict that would break out with full force in 1947. While the British leadership was increasingly on the defensive on the Indian question due to Gandhi's popularity, the Indian Muslims were faced with the prospect of falling into a minority position in an independent India. They are therefore increasingly relying on their own Muslim state, which was to be established in the regions of India in which they formed the majority. In view of the complex historical development, a corresponding line could not be clearly drawn and the plans also met with resistance from the Hindus, so that Ali Jinnah and his Muslim League decided in 1936 to terminate all cooperation with the INC. The dominance of the INC was particularly evident in 1937, when it emerged victorious in regional elections in 6 out of 11 provinces. In 1940 Ali Jinnah then presented a Pakistan resolution in which he demanded the colonial government's independence of a Muslim state in India alongside a Hindu one. He founded the two-nation theory with the different ways of life of the two religious communities:

“Hindu and Muslim have different religious backgrounds, different everyday lives and different literature. They do not marry or eat together because they belong to two different cultures based on contradicting ideas and concepts. [...] The forcing together of such peoples in a single state - some as a numerical minority, others as a majority - must lead to growing dissatisfaction and the ultimate destruction of the government structures of such a state. "

The threat posed by Japan , which occupied Burma in World War II , gave the British a certain amount of support, but with the end of the war the demand for decolonization only became louder. The British saw themselves forced to give their Indian colonial possessions to independence on August 15, 1947, whereby, according to Jinnah's ideas, they agreed to a division into the states of India and Pakistan ( Mountbatten Plan ).

Muslims in independent India

The execution of these resolutions led directly to the escalation of the already strained Muslim-Hindu relations. There were massacres and several million Hindus and Muslims were expelled (by 1963 a total of around 7.5 million Muslims from India fled to West Pakistan and 5.5 million Hindus from there to India; for East Pakistan, 1.0 million were Muslims and 3.3 million Hindu refugees). Up to 750,000 people are believed to have died. Kashmir , where a referendum failed, and pro-Pakistani militias rose against the pro-Indian Maharajah Kashmir, which then led to the outbreak of the First Indo-Pakistani War , which in 1948 was mediated by the UN with the establishment of a ceasefire line , became Kashmir , a controversial bone of contention to this day ended. At the same time, the Indian government went up arms against the so far by a Muslim rulers led princely state of Hyderabad before that, just as the small princely state of Junagadh on the peninsula Gujarat was the Indian state incorporated.

Spread of Islam in India according to the 2001 census

In Pakistan, Ali Jinnah was promoted to state president, while in India Jawaharlal Nehru was prime minister until 1964. As the leader of the more secular INC, he was keen to calm the religious conflicts. The constitution, passed in 1950, provided for appropriate religious tolerance and equality regardless of belief. Yet the situation of Muslims in India often remained critical. Among the Muslims who fled to neighboring Pakistan (the so-called muhajirs ) were above all wealthier people, so that less well-to-do Muslims remained in India, who were repeatedly exposed to suspicion and assault in a predominantly Hindu environment. If Muslim entrepreneurs managed to run their own industrial companies, such as B. Wipro Technologies , Wockhardt , Himalaya Health Care, Hamdard Laboratories, Mirza Tanners, u. a., so this was again a reason for distrust on the part of some Hindus. Meanwhile, the political leadership of India demonstrated its will for religious equality through appropriate political gestures. The office of President (though comparatively powerless in India) was in the hands of Muslims from 1967 to 1969 with Zakir Hussain , 1974 to 1977 with Fakhruddin Ali Ahmed and 2002 to 2007 with APJ Abdul Kalam . In other areas of Indian society, too, Muslims sometimes manage to make a successful career. Among others, the following became known: Mohammed Khan, Muzaffar Ali and Rafeeq Ellias in the advertising industry, MF Husain , SH Raza , Akbar Padamsee , Ghulam Mohammed Sheikh and Tyeb Mehta in the field of art, Irfan Habib, Mushirul Hasan, Shahid Amin and Zoya Hasan as eminent scholars, Habib Tanvir , Ebrahim Alkazi , Jabbar Patel and Zohra Segal in the theater industry, Rahi Masoom Reza , Ali Sardar Jafri , Kamala Suraiya and Kaifi Azmi as writers, the journalists MJ Akbar and Zahid Ali Khan, in the sport Mohammad Azharuddin , Sayyed Kirmani and Mushtaq Ali, but also in the Hindi film industry " Bollywood " there are some well-known Muslims, for example the actors Aamir Khan , Shah Rukh Khan , Salman Khan , Zayed Khan , Saif Ali Khan , Fardeen Khan , Naseeruddin Shah and the actresses Tabu , Shabana Azmi , Zeenat Aman , Waheeda Rehman and Meena Kumari or the directors Farhan Akhtar , Karimuddin Asif , Akbar Khan .

This integration achievement contrasts with the ongoing and often bloody conflicts. The Kashmir issue and an unclear border line in the Rann von Kachchh area gave rise to the Second Indo-Pakistani War in 1965 . Nehru's daughter , Indira Gandhi , who has ruled since 1966 , intervened in the clashes between the Pakistani government and East Pakistan, which was striving for independence, in 1971, leading to another war between Pakistan and India , which ended with East Pakistan as Bangladesh with Indian help gained independence. While the Muslim-Hindu antagonism was subsequently kept largely peaceful, there were increasing conflicts between Sikhs and Hindus, culminating in the storming of the Golden Temple of Amritsar and the assassination of Indira Gandhi in 1984.

Only in the 1990s did the conflicts between Muslims and Hindus escalate again. The occasion was the dispute over the mosque of Ayodhya , a city on the Ganges, which the Hindus consider holy. The Hindu leader Lal Krishna Advani , one of the leading figures in the BJP , who advocates turning to old Hindu traditions, called for the Babri Mosque , built by Babur to be demolished in the early 1990s , as it was on the remains of one old Hindu temple. Therefore, a new Hindu temple, the Ram Janmabhumi Temple, was to be built in place of the mosque . On December 6, 1992, a fanatical crowd stormed the mosque and destroyed it, but the central government forbade the construction of a Hindu temple on the site. Unrest broke out again in 2002 when terrorists attacked a train carrying Hindu pilgrims, and Hindu fanatics in Gujarat responded with massacres of Muslims. The contrast between Muslims and Hindus remains just as virulent today within Indian society as the contrast between India and Pakistan, both of which have now risen to become nuclear powers.

As a concession to the large proportion of Muslims in India, they have their own family law regulations on Islamic marriage .

Political Orientation of Muslims in India

Politically, there has not been a single, nationwide Muslim party in India since independence. The old Muslim League was permanently discredited by its support for Pakistan. Indian majority voting also makes it more difficult for specifically Muslim parties to emerge, since Muslims do not form a majority in any state except Jammu and Kashmir (and Lakshadweep). The Indian Union Muslim League (IUML) in Kerala and the All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslims in the area around the city of Hyderabad in what is now Telangana have existed since the 1950s . Traditionally, Muslims chose the Congress Party , which, as a religion-neutral party, was a reservoir for all possible minorities in the country. From the 1990s onwards, this situation gradually changed with the emergence of parties that specifically appealed to the lower castes and the underprivileged, many of which included Muslims. In Uttar Pradesh, Muslims often vote for the Samajwadi Party (SP) or the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) and in Bihar the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD). In the predominantly Muslim Jammu and Kashmir, the Jammu & Kashmir National Conference (JKNC) and the Jammu and Kashmir People's Democratic Party (JKPDP) compete for the favor of the Muslim voters. In Assam, where the Muslim population has risen sharply in recent decades due to immigration, the All India United Democratic Front (AIUDF) , which was founded in 2005, has developed into an important political force.

Demographic statistics

According to the 2011 census, Muslims have, on average, the lowest level of education of any major religious community

According to the 2011 census, there are 172 million Muslims in India, which is 14.2% of the total population. The largest number of Indian Muslims live in the states of Uttar Pradesh (38.4 million), West Bengal (24.6 million) and Bihar (17.6 million). The majority of the population are Muslims in Jammu and Kashmir (68%) and Lakshadweep (97%); There are also high Muslim populations in Assam (34%), West Bengal (27%) and Kerala (27%).

See also


  • Heike Franke: Akbar and Gahangir. Studies on political and religious legitimation in text and images. Bonn Islam Studies , Volume 12. Schnenefeld 2005.
  • Paul Gäbler : Islam in India as a contemporary mission problem. In: Lutherisches Missionsjahrbuch for 1930. HG Wallmann Verlag, Leipzig 1930. Pages 43–57.
  • Hermann Kulke , Dietmar Rothermund : History of India. From the Indus culture to today. Special paperback edition from Verlag CH Beck oHG, Munich 2006, ISBN 978-3-406-54997-7 . (Standard work on the history of India)
  • Jamal Malik: Islam in South Asia. A short history. Themes in Islamic Studies, Volume 4. Leiden / Boston 2008
  • Saiyid Athar Abbas Rizvi: Religious and Intellectual History of the Muslims in Akbar's Reign. With special reference to Abu'l Fazl (1556-1605). New Delhi 1975
  • Annemarie Schimmel: In the realm of the Mughals. History, art, culture. Munich 2000

Web links

Individual evidence

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