THE SPREAD OF ISLAM Among the People of INDIA
INDIA Part Two
A History of the Propagation of the Muslim Faith
T.W. Arnold Ma. C.I.F
Professor Of Arabic, University Of London, University College. Written in 1896, revised in 1913
Rearranged by Dr. A.S. Hashim
Missionaries in Bengal:
It is in Bengal, however, that the Muslim missionaries in India have achieved their greatest success, as far as numbers are concerned. A Muslim kingdom was first founded here at the end of the twelfth century by Muhammad Bakhtiyar Khilji, who conquered Bihar and Bengal and made Gaur the capital of the latter province. The long continuance of the Muslim rule would naturally assist the spread of Islam, and though the Hindu rule was restored for ten years under the tolerant Raja Kans, whose rule is said to have been popular with his Muslim subjects, his son, Jatmall, renounced the Hindu religion and became a Muslim .
After his fathers death in 1414 he called together all the officers of the state and announced his intention of embracing Islam, and proclaimed that if the chiefs would not permit him to ascend the throne, he was ready to give it up to his brother; whereupon they declared that they would accept him as their king, whatever religion he might adopt.
Accordingly, several learned men of the Muslim faith were summoned to witness the Raja renounce the Hindu religion and publicly profess his acceptance of Islam: he took the name of Jalal al-Din Muhammad Shah, and according to tradition numerous conversions were made during his reign.
Conversions, however, often took place at other times under pressure from the Muslim government. The Rajas of Kharagpur were originally Hindus, and became Muslims because, having been defeated by one of Akbars generals, they were only allowed to retain the family estates on the condition that they embraced Islam.
The Hindu ancestor of the family of Asad Ali Khan, in Chittagong, was deprived of his caste by being forced to smell beef and had perforce to become a Muslim, and several other instances of the same kind might be quoted.
Murshid Quli Khan (son of a converted Brahman), who was made governor of Bengal by the Emperor Aurangzeb at the beginning of the eighteenth century, enforced a law that any official or landlord, who failed to pay the revenue, that was due or was unable to make good the loss, should with his wife and children be compelled to become Muslims.
Further, it was the common law that any Hindu who forfeited his caste by a breach of regulations could only be reinstated by the Muslim government; if the government refused to interfere, the outcast had no means of regaining his position in the social system of the Hindus, and would probably find no resource but to become a Muslim .
The Afghan adventurers who settled in this province also appear to have been active in the work of proselytizing, for besides the children that they had by Hindu women, they used to purchase a number of boys in times of scarcity, and educate them in the tenets of Islam. But it is not in the ancient centers of the Muslim government that the Muslims of Bengal are found in large numbers, but in the country districts, in districts where there are no traces of settlers from the West, and in places where low-caste Hindus and outcasts most abound.
But in Bengal the Muslim missionaries were welcomed with open arms by the original people and the low castes on the very outskirts of Hinduism, despised and condemned by their proud Aryan rulers.
The existence in Bengal of definite missionary efforts is said to be attested by certain legends of the zeal of private individuals on behalf of their religion, and the graves of some of these missionaries are still honored, and are annually visited by hundreds of pilgrims. One of the earliest of these was Sheikh Jalal al-Din Tabrizi, who died in a.d. 1244. He was a pupil of the great saint, Shihab al-Din Suhrawardi. In the course of his missionary journeys he visited Bengal, where a shrine to which is attached a rich endowment was erected in his honor, the real site of his tomb being unknown. 
In the nineteenth century there was a remarkable revival of the Muslim religion in Bengal, and several sects that owe their origin to the influence of the Wahhabi reformation, have sent their missionaries through the province purging out the remnants of Hindu superstitions, awakening religious zeal and spreading the faith among unbelievers.
Some account still remains to be given of Muslim missionaries who have labored in parts of India other than those mentioned above. One of the earliest of these is Sheikh Ismail, one of the most famous of the Sayyids of Bukhari, distinguished alike for his secular and religious learning; he is said to have been the first Muslim missionary who preached the faith of Islam in the city of Lahore, whither he came in the year a.d. 1005. Crowds flocked to listen to his sermons, and the number of his converts swelled rapidly day by day, and it is said that no unbeliever ever came into personal contact with him without being converted to the faith of Islam.
The conversion of the inhabitants of the western plains of the Panjab is said to have been effected through the preaching of Baha al-Ḥaqq of Multan and Baba Farid al-Din of Pakpattan, who flourished about the end of the thirteenth and beginning of the fourteenth centuries. A biographer of the latter saint gives a list of sixteen tribes who were won over to Islam through his preaching, but unfortunately provides us with no details of this work of conversion.
In Bangalore this practice is very general, and one of these preachers, who was the imam of the mosque about the year 1890, was so popular that he was even sometimes invited to preach by Hindus: he preached in the market-place, and in the course of seven or eight years gained forty-two converts.
In Bombay a Muslim missionary preaches almost daily near the chief market of the city, and in Calcutta there are several preaching-stations that are kept constantly supplied. Among the converts are occasionally to be found some Europeans, mostly persons in indigent circumstances; the mass, however, are Hindus.
Some of the numerous Anjumans that have of recent years sprung up in the chief centers of Muslim life in India, include among their objects the sending of missionaries to preach in the bazaars; such are the Anjuman Ḥimayat-i-Islam of Lahore, and the Anjuman Ḥami Islam of Ajmir. These particular Anjumans appoint paid agents, but much of the work of preaching in the bazaars is performed by persons who are engaged in some trade or business during the working hours of the day and devote their leisure time in the evenings to this pious work.
Some preachers too turn their attention rather to the strengthening of the foundation already laid, and Endeavour to rid their ignorant co-religionists of their Hindu superstitions, and instill in them a purer form of faith, such efforts being in many cases the continuation of earlier missionary activity.
In recent years, however, there has been, speaking generally, a movement noticeable among the Indian Muslims towards a religious life more strictly in accordance with the laws of Islam. The influence of the Christian mission schools has also been very great in stimulating among some Muslims of the younger generation a study of their own religion and in bringing about a consequent awakening of religious zeal. Indeed, the spread of education generally, has led to a more intelligent grasp of religious principles and to an increase of religious teachers in outlying and hitherto neglected districts.
This missionary movement of reform (from whatever cause it may originate), may be observed in very different parts of India. In the eastern districts of the Panjab, for example, after the Mutiny, a great religious revival took place. Preachers traveled far and wide through the country, calling upon believers to abandon their idolatrous practices and expounding the true tenets of the faith. Now, in consequence, most villages, in which Muslims own any considerable portion, have a mosque, while the grosser and more open idolatries are being discontinued.
In Rajputana also, the Hindu tribes who have been from time to time converted to Islam in the rural districts, are now becoming more orthodox and regular in their religious observances, and are abandoning the ancient customs which hitherto they had observed in common with their idolatrous neighbors. The Merats, for example, now follow the orthodox Muslim form of marriage instead of the Hindu ritual they formerly observed, and have abjured the flesh of the wild boar.
A similar revival in Bengal has already been spoken of above.
Such movements and the efforts of individual missionaries are, however, quite inadequate to explain the rapid increase of the Muslims of India, and one is naturally led to inquire what are the causes other than the normal increase of population, which add so enormously to their numbers. The answer is to be found in the social conditions of life among Hindus.
In Bengal, for example, the weavers of cotton piece-goods, who are looked upon as vile by their Hindu co-religionists, embrace Islam in large numbers to escape from the low position to which they are otherwise degraded. A very remarkable instance of a similar kind occurs in the history of the north-eastern part of the same province. Here in the year 1550 the original tribe of the Kocch established a dynasty under their great leader, Haju; in the reign of his grandson, when the higher classes in the state were received into the pale of Hinduism, the mass of the people finding themselves despised as outcasts, became Muslims.
The escape that Islam offers to Hindus from the oppression of the higher castes was strikingly illustrated in Tinnevelli at the close of the nineteenth century:
Similar instances might be given from other parts of India:
It is this absence of class prejudices which constitutes the real strength of Islam in India, and enables it to win so many converts from Hinduism.
Kashmir, Tibet and Islam
Some account remains to be given of the spread of Islam in Kashmir and thence beyond the borders of India into Tibet. Of all the provinces and states of India (with the exception of Sind) Kashmir contains the largest number of Muslims (namely 70 per cent.) in proportion to the whole population; but unfortunately historical facts that should explain the existence in this state of so many Muslims, almost entirely of Hindu or Tibetan origin, are very scanty. But all the evidence leads us to attribute it on the whole to a long-continued missionary movement inaugurated and carried out mainly by faqirs and dervishes, among whom were Ismailian preachers sent from Alamut.
It is difficult to say when this Islamising influence first made itself felt in the country. The first Muslim king of Kashmir, Ṣadr al-Din, is said to have owed his conversion to a certain Darwesh Bulbul Shah in the early part of the fourteenth century. This saint was the only religious teacher who could satisfy his craving for religious truth when, dissatisfied with his own Hindu faith, he looked for a more acceptable form of doctrine.
Towards the end of the same century (in 1388) the progress of Islam was most materially furthered by the advent of Sayyid Ali Hamadani, a fugitive from his native city of Hamadan in Persia, where he had incurred the wrath of Timur. He was accompanied by 700 Sayyids, who established hermitages all over the country and by their influence appear to have assured the acceptance of the new religion.
Towards the close of the fifteenth century, a missionary, by name Mir Shams al-Din, belonging to a Shi'a sect, came from Iraq, and, with the aid of his disciples, won over a large number of converts in Kashmir.
When under Akbar, Kashmir became a province of the Mughal empire, the Muslim influence was naturally strengthened and many men of learning came into the country.
In the reign of Aurangzeb, the Rajput Raja of Kishtwar was converted by the miracles of a certain Sayyid Shah Farid al-Din and his conversion seems to have been followed by that of the majority of his subjects, and along the route which the Mughal emperors took on their progresses into Kashmir we still find Rajas who are the descendants of Muslimized Rajputs.
To the north and north-east of Kashmir, the provinces of Baltistan and Ladakh are inhabited by a mixed Tibetan race, among whom Islam has been firmly established for several centuries, but the date and manner of its introduction is unknown.
The Muslims of Baltistan tell of four brothers who came from Khurasan and brought about a revival of the faith, but appear to have no tradition regarding the earliest propagandists.
Up to the middle of the nineteenth century Islam appeared to be making progress, but this tendency was counteracted by the encouragement which Maharaja Ranbir Singh gave to the followers of the Buddhist faith. In Ladakh there are a number of half-castes, called Arghons, born of Tibetan mothers and Muslim fathers, traders who have come to Leh and persuaded the Tibetan women they marry to accept Islam.
These Arghons are all Muslims and, like their fathers, marry Tibetan wives; they are said to be increasing in numbers more rapidly than the pure Tibetan stock.
Islam has also been carried into Tibet Proper by Kashmiri merchants. Settlements of such merchants are to be found in all the chief cities of Tibet; they marry Tibetan wives, who often adopt the religion of their husbands; and there are now said to be as many as 2000 Muslim families in Lhasa. Islam has made its way into Tibet also from Yunnan, and at Su-ching, on the border of the Sze-chwan province and Tibet, converts are being won from among the Tibetan inhabitants. Muslim influences are also said to have come from Persia and from Turkestan.
 So Firishtah, but see H. Blochmann: Contributions to the Geography and History of Bengal. (J. A. S. B., vol. xlii. No. I, pp. 264-6. 1873.)
 J. H. Ravenshaw : Gaur : its ruins and inscriptions, p. 99. (London, 1878.) Firishtah, vol. iv. p. 337.
 Wise, p. 29.
 Census of India, 1901, vol. vi. part i. p. 170.
 Id. p. 30
 Charles Stewart : The History of Bengal, p. 176. (London, 1813.) H. Blochmann: Contributions to the Geography and History of Bengal. (J. A. S. B., vol. xlii. No. I, p. 220. 1873.)
 The Indian Evangelical Review, p. 278. (January 1883.)
 Sir W. W. Hunter: The Religions of India. (The Times, February 25, 1888.) See also Wise, p. 32.
 Wise, p. 37.
 Blochmann, op. cit. p. 260.
 Wise, pp. 48-55.
 Ghulām Sarwar : khazīnat al-Aṣfiyā, vol. ii. p. 230.
 Otherwise known as Shaykh Bahā al-Dīn Zakariyyā.
 Ibbetson, p. 163.
 Aṣghar 'Ali: Jawāhir-i-Farīdī (4,8. 1033), p. 395. (Lahore, 1884.)
 Elliot, vol. ii. p. 548.
 Punjab States Gazetteers, vol. xxxvi A. Bahawalpur State. (Lahore, 1908), p. 160 sqq. The names of some of the tribes who ascribe their conversion to Makhdūm-i-Jahāniyān are given on p. 162.
 Id. p. 171.
 Ibn Baṭūṭah, tome iv. p. 217. Yule, p. 515.
 The Indian Evangelical Review, vol. xvi, pp. 52-3. (Calcutta,1889-90.) The Contemporary Review, February 1889, p. 170. The Spectator, October 15, 1887, p. 1382.
 Garcia de Tassy : La Langue et la Litérature Hindoustanies de 1850 à 1869, p. 343. (Paris. 1874.)
 Mawlavi Hasan 'Alī furnished me with these figures some years before his death in 1896. In an obituary notice published in " The Moslem Chronicle " (April 4, 1896), the following quaint account is given of his life : "In private and school life, he was marked as a very intelligent lad and made considerable progress in his scholastic career within a short time. He passed Entrance at a very early age and received scholarship with which he went up to the First Art, but shortly after his innate anxiety to seek truth prompted him to go abroad the world, and abandoning his studies he mixed with persons of different persuasions, Fakirs, Pandits, and Christians, entered churches, and roamed over wilderness and forests and cities with nothing to help him on except his sincere hopes and absolute reliance on the mercy of the Great Lord; for one year he wandered in various regions of religion until in 1874 he accepted the post of a head master in a Patna school. . . . As he was born to become a missionary of the Moslem faith, he felt an imperceptible craving to quit his post, from which he used to get Rs. 100 per mensem. He tendered his resignation, much to the reluctance of his friends, and maintained himself for some time by publishing a monthly journal, ' Noorul Islam.' He gave several lectures on Islam at Patna, and then went to Calcutta, where he delivered his lecture in English, which produced such effect on the audience that several European clergymen vouchsafed the truth of Islam, and a notable gentleman, Babu Bepin Chandra Pal, was about to become Muslim . He was invited by the people at Dacca, where his preachings and lectures left his name imbedded in the hearts of the citizens. His various books and pamphlets and successive lectures in Urdu and in English in the different cities and towns in India gave him a historic name in the world. Some one hundred men become Muslim s on hearing his lectures and reading his books." His missionary zeal manifested itself up to the last hour of his life, when he was overheard to say, " Abjure your religion and become a Muslim ." On being questioned, he said he was talking to a Christian.
 Bombay Gazetteer, vol. xii. p. 126.
 Id. vol. xvi. p. 81.
 Tuḥfat al-Hind. p. 3. (Dehli, A.H. 1309.)
 The Indian Evangelical Review, 1884, p. 128. Garcin de Tassy: La Langue et la Littérature Hindoustanies de 1850 à 1869, p. 485. (Paris, 1874.) Garcin de Tassy : La Langue et la Littérature Hindoustanies en 1871, p. 12. (Paris, 1872.)
 Ibbetson, p. 184.
 The Rajputana Gazetteer, vol. I p. 90; vol. ii. p. 47. (Calcutta, 1879.)
 On these as they affect the Muhammadans, see the Census of India, 1901. Vol. vi p. 172.
 E. T. Dalton, p. 324.
 For an account of such Hinduising of the aboriginal tribes see Sir Alfred Lyall: Asiatic Studies, pp. 102-4.
 E. T. Dalton, p. 89.
 The Missionary Review of the World. N. S. vol. xiii, pp. 72-3. (New York, 1900.)
 Sir Alfred Lyall (Asiatic Studies, p. 29) speaks of the perceptible proclivity towards the faith of Islam occasionally exhibited by some of the Hindu chiefs.
 Gazetteer of the Province of Oudh, vol. i. p. xix.
 To give one instance only : in Ghātampur, id the district of Cawnpore, one branch of a large family is Muslim in obedience to the vow of their ancestor, Ghātam Deo Bais, who while praying for a son at the shrine of a Muhammadan saint, Madār Shāh, promised that if his prayer were granted, half his descendants should be brought up as Muslims. (Gazetteer of the N.W.P. vol. vi. pp. 64, 238.)
The worship of Muhammadan saints is so common among certain low-caste Hindus that in the Census of 1891, in the North-Western Provinces and Oudh alone, 2,333,643 Hindus (or 5.78 per cent. of the total Hindu population of these provinces) returned themselves as worshippers of Muhammadan saints. (Census of India, 1891, vol. xvi. part i. pp. 217,244). (Allahabad, 1894.)
 Instances of such causes of conversion are given in the Census of India, 1901. Vol. vi. Bengal, part, i. Appendix II.
 Report on the Census of the N.W.P. and Oudh, 1881, by Edward White, p. 62. (Allahabad, 1882.)
 Id. p. 63.
 Gazetteer of the Province of Oudh, vol. i. p. xix.
 Gazetteer of the Province of Oudh, vol. i.pp. xxiii-xxiv.
 Khojā Vṛttānt, p. 141.
 Or Shams al-Dīn, according to another account, see Muḥammad Haydar, p. 433 (n. 2).
 Firishtah, vol. iv. pp. 464. 469.
 F. Drew; The Jummoo and Kashmir Territories, pp. 58,155. (London,1875)
 Drew, op. cit. p. 359.
 On this word see Yule's Marco Polo, vol. i. p. 290.
 Aḥmad Shāh: Four years in Tibet, pp. 45, 74. (Benares,1906.)
 Broomhall, p. 206. Tu Wen-sin, the leader of the Panthay rebellion from 1856 to 1873, who for sixteen years was practically Sultan of half the province of Yunnan, issued a proclamation in Lhasa itself, at the outset of his revolt, in order to gain Muhammadan recruits. (Id. p. 132.)
 Mission d'Ollone, pp. 207, 226, 233.
 Broomhall, p. 206.
 A. Bastian : Die Geschichte der Indochinesen, p.159. (Leipzig, 1866)
 R. du M. M., tome i, p. 275. (1907)