Chapter 4 – Summary of Medieval India: Rise of Islam and Sufism

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The Muslims first came to India in the eight century AD mainly as traders. They were fascinated by the socio-cultural scenario in this country and decided to make India their home.

Rise of Islam and Sufism

  • The traders who came to India from central and west Asia carried back with them traces of Indian science and culture.

  • As a result they became cultural ambassadors of India by disseminating this knowledge to the Islamic world and from there to Europe.

  • The immigrant Muslims also entered into matrimonial alliances with the local people and learned to live together in harmony.

  • There was mutual exchange of ideas and customs. The Hindus and Muslims influenced each other equally in dress, speech, manners, customs and intellectual pursuits.

  • According to the Muslim belief, Quran is the message of Allah revealed to Mohammad through his archangel Gabriel.

  • It has been translated into several languages. There are five fundamental principles of Islam.

Image of five fundamental principles of Islam

Image of Five Fundamental Principles of Islam

Rise of Sufism

  • Sufism is a common term used for Islamic mysticism. The Sufis were very liberal in their religious outlook.

  • They believed in the essential unity of all religions. They preached spirituality through music and doctrines hat professed union with God.

  • Sufism originated in Iran and found a congenial atmosphere in India under the Turkish rule.

  • The Sufis were organised into religious orders or silsilahs. These silsilahs were named after their founders such as Chishti, Suhrawardi, Qadi and Naqshbandis.

  • Ajmer, Nagaur and Ajodhan or pal Pattan developed as important centres of Sufism.

  • The Hindu impact on Sufism also became visible in the form of siddhas and yogic postures.

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