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Muslim Expansion. Trade, Military And The Quest For Political Authority In South Asia (Approx. 700–1300)

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Chapter Summary

South Asia, made up of present day India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka was at one time a separate continent. The political situation in the South was somewhat different as the North was much easier to integrate in ancient times, because of its relatively homogeneous riverine environment. In negotiating Muslim expansion one usually is confronted with powerful perceptions that Islam expanded by force and coercion alone Arab expansion made use of existing local cultural and social structures as a base and as bridgeheads. Taking into account that the Muslim expansion into South Asia was primarily governed by economic rather than religious concerns it is understandable that Muslim Arabs did not fight in the name of Islam in the first place. Movements such as those of the Sufis were looking for alternative worldviews to integrate the Islamic cosmos with that of the local environment, e.g. Hindu customs and systems.

Keywords: Hindu; India; Islam; Muslim Arabs; Muslim expansion; South Asia; Sufis



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