When two Religious Traditions interact

A Case Study of Islam in South Asia

During these eleven centuries, Muslim theology, philosophy, mysticism, and jurisprudence had undergone enormous changes. Many schools and sects had emerged with the result that Islamic interaction with the indigenous religious traditions demonstrated all those diversities that had emanated from different centers of the Muslim world. For example, parts of India remained under the Isma ™ili suzerainty, whereas in the north, Hanafi school of Sunni Islam remained predominant and the south had many small Shi ™a kingdoms. The followers of each tradition adopted different patterns of religious and social interaction with the local religious traditions. Furthermore, because of a relatively more peaceful and stable political situation in India compared to the Middle East, many scholars, mendicants, missionaries, merchants, poets, theologians, and mystics migrated to India. Their interaction with the local religious traditions resulted in a host of new movements and religions. The Bhakti movement, and the rise of Sikh religion were some of the important and enduring religious traditions. In addition to these, they ™re many rituals, ideas, manners and customs that these two religious traditions borrowed from each other.


In view of the above, a study is proposed that would look into these aspects of Islam and Hinduism. The first part will deal with the diversities in both these religions. It needs to be pointed out that the term Hinduism is not indigenous but was coined in 1830 by the British as an appellation for all religious traditions that existed in India except Islam and Christianity. The sacred texts of India simply refer to it as an ethical and pure system. The second part will trace this interaction in the light of the changes that each ruling dynasty brought. The third part will concentrate on interaction between non-political actors focusing mostly on people to people context. The last part will study the impact of the British rule on this pattern. The study aims at developing a robust and reflective approach dwelling on historical accounts, travelogues, literature, and sociological and anthropological studies.

Affiliated Persons


Prof. em. Dr. Aslam Syed

Individual Researcher