Historically, Islam in India has been very different from that Arabic world. The majority of Muslims in the country have Hindu ancestors, and they follow Hindu customs. Many communities among Muslims are known by their caste affiliation like Khoja Muslim, Memon Muslim and others. The number of Muslims whose ancestors were from foreign land does not constitute even double digit percentage population of the community.
The Muslim community of the country practice caste system and even untouchability, which is traditionally seen as a trait related to Hinduism. A research on untouchability among Muslims in the state of UP, published in Economic and Political Weekly, concluded, “The precarious condition of Dalit Muslims due to the actions of the state is further complicated by the position taken by the conservative elite of their own community. Every attempt of this marginalised group for recognition is countered by conservative Muslims citing certain Quranic verses.”
The Indian Muslims prefer to say ‘Khuda Hafiz’ instead of ‘Allah Hafiz’, which is standard practice of greeting in Arab countries. The Arab world wishes ‘Ramadan Mubarak’ while Indian people prefer ‘Ramzan Mubarak’. In Persian and Urdu, the “z” replaces the “d” and therefore Indian people call it Ramzan instead of Ramadan. Same goes with preference of word Khuda, which is used to Sufis instead of using Allah.
Therefore, Islam in India is ‘Indianized’. Historically, the practitioners of Islam in followed naming and dressing practices similar to followers of Dharmic religions. But, over the last few decades, Indian Muslims are moving towards Saudi/Wahhabi/Deobandi/Salafi version of Islam from Sufi/Barelvi/Indian version.
The increasingly Arbanized names, the practice of burqa, the backlash from the clerics on celebration of Muhammad’s birthday indicate towards growing popularity of Wahhabi Islam in India.
Billions of dollars pouring from Indian workers in Arab world, who had first-hand experience of Wahhabi Islam has led to radicalization in their families. These migrant workers, often sole breadwinner of family, force their families to follow Sharia.
Secret Superstar, a movie produced by Aamir Khan depicts this trend. Father of Insia Malik, who works in Saudi Arabia, beats does not approve of her daughter practicing Music, as it is against Islam.
The Islamic hardliners does not approve of Musical procession and this has led to conflict between both communities. “What is the purpose of a Muslim’s life? Is it . . . to sing and dance like the Mushriks? No, my dear brothers this is not what we have been created for. Our duty is to guide people towards the ‘Siratal Mustakeem’ (straight path). Muslims are in a sad state of affairs because we are following the devil; just as these Mushriks- Hindus- take out processions with songs and high-pitched musical bands, we are also doing the same thing in Muharram and on our Prophet’s birthday,” said an Imam belonging to Ahle-Hadith sect.
As per an article by Maj Gen Asif Karim, “they (Muslim clerics) are pressurising Muslims to use “Allah,” as opposed to the traditional “Khuda,” used by Indian Muslims in common parlance, since “Allah” is an Arabic word while “Khuda” is a Persian word for God.”
The money from Gulf countries is gradually changing the face of Islam in India. The full face veil was very uncommon in India. But it is now part of daily life in many families whose members have lived or living in Gulf countries. The trend is not limited to North India, states with liberal social values such as Kerala and Tamil Nadu are also witnessing this trend.
Like the NRIs coming from Western world see India as conservative country and want the society to be more open to ‘liberal values’, some Muslims coming from Gulf countries feel that Indian society is too open to ‘Western values’, gives unnecessary freedom to females and is diverging from the ‘path shown by Allah’.
The Muslims, who earn money from Gulf countries and have disposable income, are donating money to Madrasas, which teach conservative Islamic values to children.
People like Zakir Naik, who preach Islamic supremacy in accented English, are ideal of the Muslims coming from Gulf. Huge popularity of Zakir Naik among highly educated Muslims shows that they are not getting ‘liberal’ education in Madrasas.
The Muslims Terrorist organizations like SIMI and Indian Mujahideen are merely two examples of how misguided are modern Muslim youth. These organizations aim for ‘Ghazwa-e-Hind’- an Islamic state in India.
“Ya Ilahi, bhej de Mahmood koi (Oh Allah, send us a Mahmud),” these were the words written on a poster written by SIMI. The organization wants another Mahmud of Ghazni, the person who invaded India.
In Kashmir, Islamic fundamentalism is bigger problem than separatism, and even left-liberal historians like Ramchandra Guha accept this. “By the mid-1990s the Hizb-ul had been joined by many hundreds of mehmani mujahideen (guest freedom-fighters). These owed allegiance to different groups, all of which were headquartered in Pakistan, and all of which practised the austere, fundamentalist version of Islam taught in that country’s many religious schools,” wrote Guha.
The Islamization of Muslims in India, Pakistan and Bangladesh isn’t complete. There are no moral Islamic police here, imposing dressing norms, whipping unchaperoned women, segregating both genders, carrying out beheadings or amputations of criminals and stoning of adulterers. Petro-dollars from Gulf wants to change all that, it wants to make the likes of Osama bin Laden as the role model of Indian Muslim youth and want them all to be cannon fodder for the likes of ISIS. No Saudi is getting killed in this global jihad. It’s the Pakistanis, Afghans, Iraqis, Indians, Syrians and others that are dying.