By Ghulam Ghaus Siddiqi, New Age Islam
21 May 2022
Indian Islam Model “Can Serve As A Good Example for Many Muslim Communities around the World” To Promote Peaceful Coexistence and Patience
1. The Abu Dhabi-based Muslim Council has published a book on Indian Islam, encouraging peaceful coexistence between Muslims and non-Muslims.
2. Why Indian Muslims are a good example for other Muslims and why they are safer from "jihadist" recruitment than other Muslims throughout the world.
3. Indian Muslims still need to improve in religious thinking, human ethos and religious-spiritual growth, and patience and endurance in the face of a hostile political environment.
4. They must keep using the tools of social love, friendship, and morality to combat the evils of hatred, animosity, and immorality.
The World Muslim Communities Council (TWMCC) of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) believes that the Indian Islam model “can serve as a good example for many Muslim communities around the world” and that ‘the world must learn from India’. The World Muslim Council stated it correctly. Since Islamists and Jihadists have cruelly massacred thousands of Muslims around the world, notably since the 9/11 attacks, on the basis of radical narratives, it is vital to analyse Indian Muslims, who have mostly eschewed extremism, violence, and Jihadism. As a result, The Abu Dhabi-based Council, which promotes Muslim integration with non-Muslim majority countries, has published "Theology, Jurisprudence, and Syncretic Traditions: Indianisation of Islam" a book on Indian Islam, encouraging peaceful coexistence between Muslims and non-Muslims.
The "jihadist sect" has been the most prominent group assaulting the spirituality of Islam for the past decade. Jihadists not only rebelled against Islam but also shattered the peace and stability of their own countries. As a result, they are valued neither as obedient 'Muslims' nor as good citizens of their country. This situation stems mostly from a lack of sufficient knowledge of the Quran and Sunnah. The only way to heal them is to reform them with the knowledge of the Quran and Sunnah that is relevant to present needs. For this reason, the book published by the World Muslim Council offers a practical example of Indian Muslims for the rest of the Muslims around the world.
Tavleen Singh, a leading Columnist associated with The Indian Express, also wrote about eight months ago in one of her columns, “It is very worth preserving because Indian Muslims have dealt with the modern world better, and with living among people of other faiths better than Muslims anywhere else in the world”. Indian Islam is special.
Now if we try to understand why Indian Muslims are a good example for other Muslims and why they are safer from "jihadist" recruitment than other Muslims throughout the world, we would find that the underlying cause is the Indian Constitution. It is the Indian Constitution that provides Muslims with greater liberties than any other secular country in the world. It is the Indian beauty that keeps people safe from the grasp of “Jihadism.” The beauty of India is that it protects Muslims, their faith, their lives, their property, their dignity, and their religious identities. Furthermore, in the current unfavourable political environment, Indian Muslims have set a shining example of patience and resilience. Their patience has largely thwarted the recent Islamophobic agenda in India.
In his article titled ‘Will al-Qaida in the Indian Subcontinent Find Support in India?’, Mr. Shafi Md Mostofa enumerated some reasons for the failure of Jihadists and al-Qaeda to draw Indian Muslims. The following are some of the reasons highlighted in his article:
Despite the fact that Muslims are a minority in India, they are well integrated into society because they have lived there for over a thousand years. They are not as isolated as they are in European countries.
Even though the emergence of Hindu nationalism has put immense pressure on India's democratic, socio-cultural, and political fabric, India has been a beacon of light for the South Asian area. Muslims have legal ways to express their problems and have them handled through democratic processes and institutions.
In modifying Muslim ideas, the Indian Muslim community and the country's Islamic intellectuals played a major role. Muslims in India, including Barelvis, Deobandis, and Salafis, as well as Muslim party leaders, have all condemned violent extremism and spoken out against terrorism going on in the name of Islam.
Indian civilization is still a collectivist society, with many family members living side by side. This family arrangement acts as a watchdog to keep the family's younger members from becoming radicalised. Another cultural factor that has aided in the moderation of Indian Muslims is that India has a strong tradition of syncretistic ideologies and pluralism and inclusivism, rather than exclusivism. This has had a significant impact on Muslims.
Global geopolitics also had a part. Although the Afghan war of1980s aided the rise of Islamic radicalism in South Asia, India was not as affected as other nations in the region because it was then linked with the Soviet Union. It didn't have to deal with the influx of returning Mujahideen. This inhibited future extremism in the country. Furthermore, because of India's strategic ties with Middle Eastern countries, Muslim youngsters found it difficult to travel to these countries for training and networking. The jihadist network was unable to establish a foothold in India as a result of this.
India too took a strong stance against jihadists. Effective monitoring of suspected extremists was made possible by intelligence sharing and coordinated action among multiple central, state, and foreign security agencies. Through the Chakravyuh cyber operation, India was able to prevent several terrorists from joining the Islamic State. India has been able to limit terrorist activity in the country thanks to proactive cyber surveillance and intelligence sharing.
Most crucially, India does not provide any strategic advantages to Muslim youths who join jihadist groups. In India, Muslims are neither a majority, as they are in Bangladesh and Pakistan, nor a small minority, as they are in Europe. On the one hand, extremist beliefs are not welcome in Indian Muslim society since Muslims in India are unable to construct an Islamic state or attract a big segment of the population through violence. As a result, using violence strategically does not make sense in India. On the other hand, it makes little sense for Muslim youth to travel abroad to fight and die when they have the opportunity to raise their voices within the Indian democratic system. Because of this strategic rationale, Jihadism has become a costly alternative for Indian Muslims. [The Diplomat Website]
According to a report in The New Indian Express, the book "Theology, Jurisprudence, and Syncretic Traditions: Indianisation of Islam" includes writings by Dr. Sebastian R Prange of the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Dr. Moin Ahmad Nizami of Oxford University, and Dr. Faizan Mustafa of NALSAR University of Law in Hyderabad.
Prange coined the term "Monsoon Islam" to characterise the form of Islam spread over South Asia by Arab traders following the monsoon winds. He invented this term to express the diversity of Islam and religion. The ordinary traders who promoted Islam in India were neither state officials nor recognised religious leaders. Outside of the Muslim heartlands, Islam developed with the core of the faith intact while integrating the local culture. The mosques along the Malabar Coast, according to Prange, are living instances of the integration of Hindu and Muslim architecture.
In his article published in the book, Dr Mustafa describes how Muslim rulers encouraged cultural synthesis by granting grants to temples, prohibiting cow slaughter, and placing Hindus in key positions. According to Chach Nama, the historical record, Muslims treated Hindus, Christians, and Jews as "People of the Book." [Indigenise Islam to check Arabisation: Muslim Council]
It seems quite wonderful to read that the Indian Islam model "can serve as a good example for many Muslim communities around the world." However, we should not become too enamoured with the accolades to lose sight of the fact that we still need to improve in our religious thinking, human ethos and religious-spiritual growth, and patience and endurance in the face of a hostile political environment. Above all, we Indian Muslims must continue to use the tools of social love, friendship, and morality to combat the evils of hatred, animosity, and immorality.
A regular Columnist with NewAgeIslam.com, Ghulam Ghaus Siddiqi Dehlvi is an Alim and Fazil (Classical Islamic scholar) with a Sufi background and English-Arabic-Urdu Translator.
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