Islam in India

In 1999 Sri Ashok Joshi had written and printed a draft titled as ‘Islam in India’ for private circulation. One of the chapters in it dealt with some of the salient aspects of the Indian Muslim society. It is reproduced below with his permission. This chapter is basically an executive summary of some important books available to him at that time. Their list is given at the end of the chapter. It is possible that far more information is now available on these topics and the reader is welcome to send it to the editor after giving proper references so that we can update the contents.

Four salient aspects of the Muslim society are covered here:
• Sufis
• Fatwas
• Position of women
• Sects and Castes

The treatment of these subjects is introductory and some readers may find it inadequate. But it will serve as a useful primer for those who want to know something about the Indian Muslim society as well as for those who want to delve deeper in these topics.

It should also be remembered that since this booklet was originally written as a chapter of a book some references to other chapters have been occasionally made and they should be glossed over. Please find chapter below.

Society and Culture

Having studied the history of Islam in India, we shall now see how this religion has operated in this country, a country where Hindus today constitute around 80% of the people. Islam in India is better understood when studied with reference to the global Islamic context wherever necessary. This chapter therefore is rooted in and elaborates upon ‘The Religion of Islam’.

This chapter covers the following aspects of Islamic society in our country:
• Sufis
•Position of women
•Sects and Castes

The treatment of these subjects is introductory and readers may also find the delineation inadequate. But it is hoped that more and more nationalist scholars like Shri Arun Shourie, Shri Sitaram Goel and the late Shri Ram Swaroop will take up the task that they have all undertaken and fulfilled so courageously – to study and analyse the theology of Islam and Christianity and how they operate, in countries where they constitute the majority and in countries where they constitute a numerical minority. More scholars should study the world-view of these two religions – not only how they operate within themselves but also about what happens when they intersect with deeply differing world-views, cultures and religions.

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