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The Story of Spread of Islam

The Muslims' zeal to defend their faith, right or wrong, is understandable. Let me give a brief historical perspective of the spread of Islam, which will help your esteemed readers to understand the great major world religion better.

In the course of their first wave of conquest, the Arab Muslims swept through conquered Persia to the fertile Indus River Valley. They occupied Sindh in AD 711 and founded the first Indian Islamic state there. Lahore (then in India) was conquered by the Muslims in 1031 and became the ruling seat of the Turkish Ghassanid dynasty in 1099. The Ghurid dynasty, which replaced it, brought the Islamic conquests to northern India and to the mouth of the Ganges River (now Bangladesh) before it began to disintegrate in 1206. The Turkish conquerors who followed them ruled from Delhi and built a Quranic school there with an extraordinary minaret.

Between Genghis Khan’s reign in central Asia (Peshawar in 1221) and Timur Lenk’s (Delhi in 1398) disastrous campaigns in the Middle East northern India was continuously ravaged by Persian, Afghani, Turkish and Ethiopian invaders. Finally, Babar, a descendant of the Timur Lenk, tried to establish his own kingdom in Kabul and Samarkand. After being repulsed repeatedly by the Uzbegs, he finally turned on Delhi and established his Islamic sultanate there in 1526. His son Akbar the Great ruled with tremendous authority over most of what is today Pakistan, India and Bangladesh from 1556 to 1605. His descendants ruled India with Islamic laws for a hundred years, acknowledging the spiritual leadership of the caliphs in Istanbul. The glorious Mogul empire reached its zenith under Auranzeb, 1658-1707, and extended far into southern India.

The British East India Company, which was founded in 1600, took advantage of the many wars of succession among the Moguls, Hindus, Persians and Afghanis. The British continued to gain influence and were able to establish protectorates all over India. After the British victory over the Moguls in the Battle of Plassey (1757) they were able to establish outright control of greater India.

Jamal al-Din al-Afghani (1839-1897) propagated Pan-Islam, a movement that called all Muslims in the world to unify under the Ottoman Caliphate, in order to break the colonial power over the different Islamic countries. He is considered to be the spiritual father of the Islamic Renaissance, which we experience today on all continents.

In 1913 Mohammad Ali Jinnah allied his Islamic movement in India with the Indian National Congress in order to overcome the British together with the Hindus. He cooperated closely with Gandhi, who succeeded in undermining British authority with is long fasts, marches and passive resistance from 1919 to 1923. But from 1940 onwards, Jinnah began to prepare for the establishment of an independent Islamic state which was to be called Pakistan, “the land of the pure’, and was to include the Punjab, Kashmir, the Indus Valley and even distant Bengal. Millions of Muslims fled in panic from India to Pakistan and Hindus, similarly, fled from Pakistan to India. Countless dead littered the roads during this mass flight. Finally, a fanatical Hindu killed Gandhi because he allowed the division of greater India into Hindu India and Muslim Pakistan.

India and Pakistan divided Kashmir between themselves for the first time in 1949. They fought the Kashmir War in 1965 and re-divided Kashmir for the second time. A guerilla war has been flaring up there periodically since 1991 to force its annexation to Islamic Pakistan. War between Pakistan and East Bengal broke out in 1970-71 because the Bengalis claimed that the Pakistanis neglected them. India supported East Bengal in order to break its threatening encirclement by Pakistan and thus Bangladesh became independent in 1971.

The British annexed the glorious 225-year-old Mogul empire as crown colony in 1757. But India could only obtain its independence after 190 years of colonial rule. In 1993 the Muslim population of Pakistan, India and Bangladesh reached 150 million each. Thus, the Mogul empire secured almost one third of the world’s Muslims (450 million) for Islam.

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OmarLutherKing's picture


Nayeem Islam's picture

Cannot understand what Omar is trying to get at. Has he seriously looked at the spread of Christianity in different parts of the world. Does he really want to say his adopted religion did not do any wrong in the world - just ask the victims of the pedophile priests all over the world. Omar, wake up - it is not too late - people who live in glass houses do not throw stones at others. Clean up your own house before looking at others. Is this what Christianity has thought you? - Definitely don't think so. I have read a lot about Christianity - I think you have picked up the wrong end, mate. May the Almighty give you some sense and real perspective in this world.

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