A Journey to India; Contemplations & Reflections

A Journey to India; Contemplations & Reflections

In Feb. 2016, I and one of the respectable colleagues left Iran to India to take part in the 25th annual seminar of “Islamic Fiqh Academy of India”. The seminar was held in a mountainous and green area, near the city of Badarpur of Kareemganj district in the state of Assam.

Travelling to India, like travelling to other historical territories with long culture and civilization, carries particular contemplations and reflections. Although, I had travelled to India three times before it, but the recent journey was different from the previous ones.
In this journey, my mind went to roam in the past of India and travelled in this ancient region. In the light of historical events, first of all I remembered the history of entering Islam in the sub-continent of India. In the early ages of Islam, many of Indians embraced Islam after the spread of Islamic Da’wah, and then Muslims ruled on the most parts of the sub-continent for some centuries.
The Indian sub-continent had, and still has, a particular position in Islamic history. It has been the origin of outstanding and influential movements and personalities. In the cultural, contemplative and scientific fields, India has brought up many luminaries and genius men.
Iran – India ties have a long and widespread history. Knowledge and the religion reached to India via Iran and Central Asia. It was a suitable place for dehiscence and development of knowledge; in the next times, India itself became the origin and inspiration for Islamic and scientific movements and activities in the Muslim world.
By the extension of the British colonial rule in India, after many centuries of sovereignty and rule, Muslims lost their superior position in this land.
The biggest revolt against the British colonial rule was emerged in 1857 that is famous by the title of the “Indian Rebellion of 1857” and also called “India’s First War of Independence”. It was one of the most effective revolutions of the 19th century. The British rulers called that public revolution “treachery and betrayal”. Then they showed a ruthless and violent reaction; as its examples rarely can be found in the history of crimes.
In that suppression, many of the revolutionary leaders were martyred. Many others were arrested and sent to exile to the remote islands. Some others disguised themselves living a hidden life. Scientific and religious objects of Muslims were targeted; many of their endowments were confiscated. The educational system was totally changed. The official language, Persian, was replaced by English. By revival of local languages, Urdu was weakened that was the language of many common people. The way for the Christian missionaries was paved and missioners widely spread in educational institutes.
Despite all of those tiresome and inimical actions, Muslims were not disappointed. In an ingenious and inventive step, Ulama and religious leaders established independent Islamic schools and seminaries. They revived and protected Islamic culture and spread Islamic knowledge with very low salaries and facilities. The process of making people purified was continued, too. On the other hand, Muslims kept struggling against the colonial rule and finally they got independence from the British rule. It was the plan of the British colonial rulers to divide the Indian sub-continent for curbing the way of a sovereign Muslim superpower in the East. As a result, first Pakistan and then Bangladesh were emerged in the global map and Muslims in India became a minority community. The population of Muslims in India is about 200 million and according to some unofficial census, they are more than this number.
The important and considerable point is that, despite being in minority, how Muslims could protect their identity in the past 70 years? Not only they succeeded to maintain their dignity, but they have also been growing in honor and making India more powerful.
In this regard some points can be mentioned:
1. Inspiring by the religion of Islam and the long glorious history of Muslims in India, they considered themselves dutiful citizens about the people of India, the Muslim world and others in the globe;
2. The existence of Islamic seminaries, educational and scientific centers, and reformist and intellectual movements which have been carrying out their activities with the wealth of sincerity, piety, continence and struggle. They are not affiliated with any governmental department inside or outside of their country; they just maintain their activities by relaying on the Almighty and trusting on common people;
3. The existence of pious intellectuals and righteous scholars who not only focused on the Muslim nation, but also they have been struggling for non-Muslims with piety and mercy. They have proved by their works that they are useful for the whole nation and they are the heirs of the prophet of mercy who was propitious for mankind;
4. The Indian Muslims actively, effectively and seriously take part in the social and political platforms of their country. They direct and lead capable parties and organizations; they participate in elections widely, send representatives to the parliament and interfere in the destiny of their country;
5. Another important point is that, the Indian constitution somewhat has ensured the rights of minorities, including Muslims. In the secular constitution of India, freedom of speech and religious liberties are the indisputable rights of people. It can be observed in acts, too. The people of India proudly talk about it as their country has been titled the biggest democracy in the world.
It is prospected from the Muslims of the other countries to not be heedless about the circumstances of the Indian Muslims and their efforts and steps. They should support them by making relations and providing generosity. In difficult times, the Indian Muslims must not be forgotten; supporting the religious impartiality of the Indian political system, the Indian statesmen should be asked to show more tolerance for the rights of Muslims and resolve their problems.
The Indian statesmen should know the struggles and sacrifices of Muslims in the movement of independence, and their honorable past cannot be ignored. Muslims are not any threat for India; rather they are the best opportunities for their country. Undoubtedly, this can boost the stability, development and fame of Indian governments. There is no any doubt that the Indian Muslims are the best sources for the relation of the Indian nation with the Muslim world to introduce the Indian culture and positive points to the people of the world.

By Mufti Mohammad Qasemi Qasemi (Editor of Neday Islam magazine published by Darululoom Zahedan)
The editorial note of Neday-e-Islam magazine, No. 63-64


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