NOTHING is so fascinating as the study of a people. The Muslims of India are particularly interesting, but, strange to say, little has ever been written about them. True, political histories deal with their conquests and political life, but the people themselves and their religion have had scant attention.
The first attempt to write of the Muslims of India was made in 1832, when G. A. Herklots, M.D., surgeon in the Madras Establishment, induced a Deccani Muslim, Ja'far Sharif, to write an account of ' The Customs of the Musalmans of India', under the title Qanun-i-Islam, which he translated from the Deccani Urdu into English, adding some comments of his own. In the same year there appeared Observations on the Mussulmauns of India, which were the ' home letters ' of an English woman, Mrs. Mir Hasan 'Ali. As the wife of a Shi'ah Muslim of good family, she had long lived in Lucknow, and she intimately describes the life of the high class Muslims of that city. A few years ago both these books were revised and republished by the Oxford University Press.
W. W. Hunter in 1871 published The Indian Musulmans, but this deals mostly with the political aspects of the Wahhabi activities. In 1896 Sir T. W. Arnold published The Preaching of Islam, in which he devoted a: chapter to the peaceful spread of Islam in India. Many scattered articles, too, have appeared from time to time, dealing with various aspects of Islam in India, but nowhere is there to be found any comprehensive treatment of Indian Islam from the standpoint of religious history.
It is with the greatest diffidence, therefore, that this book has been attempted. The ground is so unbroken, the field is so vast, the resources, though often hidden, are so varied and extensive, and one's lack of knowledge in such an enormous field is such a handicap, that it has been difficult to make progress. The manners and customs, as well as the main theological outlines of Islam, have been excluded.
The former have been omitted because they may be found in great detail in the revised edition of Herklots' Islam in India, so ably prepared by W. Crooke; the latter because there was no need to repeat what had been done before, and so well, by Margoliouth, Sell, and many others. I have, therefore, confined myself to a discussion of the religious history of Islam in India: how it came, how it spread, how it divided and subdivided, how it has been affected by its environment, and how it has reacted to modern conditions.
While it has been my constant aim to treat this subject without bias and prejudice, and I hope not without some measure of success, yet it has been difficult at times to know just what testimony was the most reliable, and what conclu- sions would be the most just and fair. In all cases the attempt has been made to seek out the facts from purely Islamic sources, or from actual personal experience. If there has been failure to do justice to Indian Islam it has not been because of lack of desire.
Conscious as I am of the inadequate treatment that has been given to many subjects, I earnestly solicit the criticism of readers who are in a better position to correct the deficiencies, which only patient and scholarly investigation can remove.
In the main, the system adopted for the transliteration of Arabic and Persian words is that of the Transliteration Com- mittee of the Tenth International Congress of Orientalists (Geneva, 1894). The chief exception is in the case of the assimilation of the article to the solar letters. This was done to guide those who are not familiar with the pronunciation of Arabic; and, as for those who do know, it will be no hindrance to their perceiving what the original was. Some few words, such as current proper names, are spelled according to usage. Usage, likewise, has governed the spelling of others, as maulvi rather than mawlawi, which would hardly be recognized.
A word of explanation is needed regarding the Appendix. An attempt has been made to make it, in a sense, the focus of the book. I would scarcely have thought of preparing it in its present form but for the fact that the idea occurred to me after seeing the 1925 Annuaire of the Revue du Monde Musulman, which contains such excellently arranged reference material. Accordingly, I am ,greatly indebted to M. Louis Massignon, editor of the Revue, who has graciously given me permission to translate, use and adapt this material for the Appendix. The statistical tables have been compiled from the Census of India Report for 1921.
This book was written as a thesis for the Faculty of the Kennedy School of Missions, of the Hartford Seminary Foundation, Hartford, Conn., U.S.A., in partial fulfillment of the requirement for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy. It is the product of nineteen years' residence in India, but was started only ten years ago, at the request of the late Dr. J. N. Farquhar, without whose constant encouragement, as well as that of my valued friend and teacher, Dr. D. B. Macdonald, it would never have seen the light of day. I am deeply indebted for helpful suggestions to Dr. S. M. Zwemer, Dr. W. G. Shellabear, Sir Thos. W. Arnold, Mr. J. A Subhan, Miss Marjorie Dimmitt and Mr. Z.A. Hashmie, Deputy Collector. My thanks are due, also, to many others; who have kindly assisted me with their information and criticisms. Last of all thanks are due to my wife, for her tireless patience and labour in assisting in the revision of the manuscript for the press, as well as for her inspiring confi- dence, which has kept me at the task.
More than a quarter-of-a-century has elapsed since the publication of Indian Islam by the Oxford University Press, under the auspices of the Literature Department of the National Council of the Young Men's Christian Associa- tions of India, Burma and Ceylon. With the partition of India and the birth of Pakistan in August, 1947 a wholly new situation, with reference to the Muslims of the Indian peninsula was created. This vivisection of India, and the creation of a new nation, Pakistan, which is the largest Muslim nation in the world, has made necessary the revision of Indian Islam under a new title: Islam in India and Pakistan.
This revision is being undertaken at the request and under the auspices of the Department of Literature of the Council of the Y.M.C.As. of India and Ceylon. In this connection I would especially mention Dr. P. D. Devanandan, Ph:D and Sri S. P. Appasamy, M.A. of this Department of Literature for their encouragement and assistance. I am also grateful to Dr. Wilfred Cantwell Smith, the founder and Principal of the Institute of Islamic Studies, McGill University, Montreal, Canada for his helpful encouragement.
I am also greatly indebted to the London Offices of the High Commissioners for India and Pakistan respectively, for kindly supplying me with copies of the Constitutions of their respective countries, as well as other very useful infor- mation. I am also grateful to old friends and fellow-workers of former days in India: Dr. J. W. Sweetman, Dr. E. C. Dewick, Dr. J. N. Hollister and the Rev. L. Bevan Jones for their encouragement and help.
I must also express appreciation to those who have helped in the solution of various special problems:
Maulana Sayyid Husain Ahmad Madini, Principal, Dar-ul-'Ulum, Deoband, U.P.;
The Rev. Harold Spencer, Principal, Henry Martyn School of Islamic Studies, Aligarh;
The Rt. Rev. G. Sundaram, Bishop of Lucknow Area, The Methodist Church;
Dr. M. Majeeb, Shekih-ul-Jamia Millia Islamia, Jamia Nagar, New Delhi.
Prof. Kingsley Davis, Ph. D., University of California. Also, I am indebted to my son-in-law, the Rev. D. P. Hardy, M.A. (I.C.S. retired) for making valuable criticisms and suggestions for the chapter on the making of Pakistan (The Parting of the Ways).
And finally I wish to express my thanks to the various publishers who have granted me permission to quote from their books.
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