spread of islam into south and southeast asia n.
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Spread of Islam into South and Southeast Asia

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  1. Spread of Islam into South and Southeast Asia 600-1450 CE

  2. South Asia • India had always been subject to waves of invasions • Nomadic peoples • Displaced peoples

  3. South Asia • Most became assimilated • Became Hindu or Buddhist • Became part of the caste hierarchy • Adopted the dress, food, and culture of those already there

  4. South Asia • As a result, the arrival of new peoples did not significantly challenge the existing order • This will all change with the arrival of Islam in the early years of the 8th century

  5. South Asia • After the collapse of the Gupta Empire (end of the 5th century), India had collapsed again into its regional divisions • This will leave the area open to conquest by the Muslims

  6. South Asia • Beginning in the early 8th century, waves of Muslim groups begin entering India and establishing a foothold (in the area of the Sind) • At first, this caused little change – the conquerors promised lower taxes and greater religious tolerance • Hindus and Buddhists became dhimmis • They also allowed local elites and rulers to stay in power

  7. South Asia • Exchange • Indian learning was transmitted through Muslim merchants to the west • Of particular importance was Indian advances in algebra and geometry, which rivaled those of Greece • Arabs also began using Indian numerals (which we now call Arabic numerals, but they started in India)

  8. South Asia • In the 10th and 11th centuries, a new wave of Muslim invasions began • More violent, more vicious, and much more interested in territorial conquest • This wave conquered much of northern India, and established a capital at Delhi

  9. South Asia • Since the ruler of this new empire called himself the sultan, this period in Indian history is known as the Delhi Sultanate

  10. South Asia • However, most of this period is characterized by accommodation and peaceful exchanges – since the Muslims needed Hindu elites and rulers to help them • There were many conversions to Islam, but, again, few were forcible

  11. South Asia • In spite of the number of conquests, the Delhi Sultanate made little impression on the Hindu community as a whole • They took positions as administrators and soldiers in the empire, but stayed socially aloof from their conquerors

  12. South Asia • Hindus probably expected that the Muslim invaders would soon become assimilated into their culture and religion, as so many had before • But the Muslims held to their own beliefs and rituals – and there are probably no two more opposing religions than Hinduism and Islam

  13. South Asia • Hindus eventually realized that they were faced with an actively evangelical religion, with so many significant differences and beliefs, there was bound to be conflict between the two

  14. South Asia • Over the centuries, it became obvious that, in spite of many people’s attempts, the two religions were not compatible, and could not be fused into one belief system

  15. South Asia • The Muslim community continued to grow, and while Hinduism remained the majority religion (by far), the ruling elite was primarily Muslim • Unlike other areas conquered by the Muslims, the Hindus showed little interest in conversion

  16. Southeast Asia • Always significant as a trading area, the islands of Southeast Asia are a meeting point – a place where merchants and traders from East Asia, India, Africa, and the Middle East all converge

  17. Southeast Asia • By the 7th and 8th centuries, Muslim merchants were making their way from India into Southeast Asia • By this point, Muslims controlled most of the trade coming into and out of India

  18. Southeast Asia • Conversion in this area was easier than in India, because, while there were many faiths there, no one religious system dominated the islands • Merchants introduced locals to the ideas and rituals of Islam and also brought Sufis to the area

  19. Southeast Asia • Malacca – the most important port in Southeast Asia • Once the Muslim religion had “conquered” this city, it spread far and wide among the islands, ports, and trading villages of Southeast Asia

  20. Southeast Asia • However, there were areas with strong Hindu and/or Buddhist traditions, and many of these were resistant to Muslim incursion

  21. Southeast Asia • As Islam spread into this area, it underwent some significant changes, incorporating some of the local beliefs and rituals • This will cause problems later, because orthodox Muslims will not accept it as true Islam

  22. Accommodation • Now is a good time to bring up the reality that this fact is true of all major religions • As religions spread, they are forced to accommodate themselves somewhat to local traditions and beliefs in order to gain converts

  23. Accommodation • For example, Christianity incorporated some major Celtic traditions and beliefs into its religion to gain converts in northern and western Europe • Many Christmas traditions evolved from this exchange of ideas