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Excursus Conversion And Mission

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Chapter Summary

The process of religious conversion attracts the attention and scholarship of psychologists, anthropologists, historians and theologians alike. Religious conversion is often experienced as a re-birth or awakening, leading to a sudden change in one's worldview, lifestyle and environment. There have been many theories on the main impulses triggering mass conversions to Islam in South Asia are characterised as: religion of the sword", religion of social liberation", Sufi missionary," political patronage" and ecological influences". The religion of social liberation" theory puts forward the argument that conversion to Islam was motivated by the offer of equality to casteweary Indians. The Sufi as missionary" theory suggests that Muslim mystics systematically brought Islam to Hindus through their preaching and by force of their character. Immigration theorists" believe that the majority of Indian Muslims are descendants of those which sailed across the Arabian Sea from the Iranian plateau.

Keywords: Islam; Muslims; political patronage; religious conversion; social liberation; South Asia; Sufi missionary



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