The doctrine of jihAd, which is the whole of the Quran, deals primarily with the performance of the militarized Muslim Ummah till the time an “infidel land” is conquered and Muslim hold is consolidated over it by terrorising its people through slaughter and pillage.  The operations of the same military machine after the conquest are dealt with by another department of Islamic theology - doctrine of the Islamic state.  A very clear exposition of this doctrine is provided by Professor Jadunath Sarkar who had spent a life-time in studying the theology and history of Islam.  We reproduce below what he stated in 1928.  Once again we have replaced the word “God” by the word “Allah”.

Islamic State is an Agency for Spreading the Faith

“By the theory of its origin the Muslim State is a theocracy.  Its true king is Allah, and earthly rulers are merely His agents, bound to enforce His law on all.  Civil Law is completely subordinated to Religious Law and, indeed, merges its existence in the latter.  The civil authorities exist solely to spread and enforce the true faith.  In such a State, infidelity is logically equivalent to treason, because the infidel repudiates the authority of the true king and pays homage to His rivals, the false gods and goddesses.  All the resources of the State, all the forces under the political authorities, are in strict legality at the disposal of the missionary propaganda of the true faith.

Tolerance towards Infidels is Tantamount to Sin

“Therefore, the toleration of any sect outside the fold of orthodox Islam is no better than compounding with sin.  And the worst form of sin is polytheism, the belief that the one true Allah has partners in the form of other deities.  Such a belief is the rankest ingratitude (kufr) to him who gives us our life and daily bread…

“The conversion of the entire population to Islam and the extinction of every form of dissent, is the ideal of the Muslim State.  If any infidel is suffered to exist in the community, it is as a necessary evil, and for a transitional period only.  Political and social disabilities must be imposed on him, bribes offered to him from the public funds to hasten the day of his spiritual enlightenment and the addition of his name to the roll of true believers.  The growth of the infidel population in number or wealth would, therefore, defeat the very end of the State…

Status of Non-Muslims in an Islamic State

“A non-Muslim, therefore, cannot be a citizen of the State; he is a member of a depressed class; his status is a modified form of slavery.  He lives under a contract (zimma) with the State: for the life and property that are grudgingly spared to him by the Commander of the Faithful.  He must undergo political and social disabilities, and pay commutation-money (jaziya).  In short, his continued existence in the State after the conquest of his country by the Muslims is conditional upon his person and property being made subservient to the cause of Islam.

“He must pay a tax for his land (kharaj), from which the early Muslims were exempt; he must pay other exactions for the maintenance of the army, in which he cannot enlist even if he offers to render personal service instead of paying the poll-tax; and he must show by humility of dress and behaviour that he belongs to a subject class.  No non-Muslim (zimmi) can wear fine dresses, ride on horseback or carry arms; he must behave respectfully and submissively to every member of the dominant sect…

“In addition to the poll-tax and public degradation in dress and demeanour imposed on them, the non-Muslims were subjected to various hopes and fears.  Rewards in the form of money and public employment were offered to apostates from Hinduism.  The leaders of Hindu religion and society were systematically repressed, to deprive the sect of spiritual instruction, and their religious gatherings and processions were forbidden in order to prevent the growth of solidity and a sense of communal strength among them.  No new temple was allowed to be built nor any old one to be repaired, so that the total disappearance of all places of Hindu worship was to be merely a question of time.  But even this delay, this slow operation of Time, was intolerable to many of the more fiery spirits of Islam, who tried to hasten the abolition of ‘infidelity’ by anticipating the destructive hand of Time and forcibly pulling down temples.”1

Earlier Conclusions Confirmed

Professor Jadunath Sarkar confirmed his earlier conclusions after a further and deeper study of Islam.  In an article published in the 1950 Pooja Number of the Hindustan Standard, Calcutta, he observed:

The poison lay in the very core of Islamic theocracy.  Under it there can be only one faith, one people and one all overriding authority.  The State is a religious trust administered solely by His people (the faithful) acting in obedience to the Commander of the Faithful, who was in theory, and very often in practice too, the supreme General of the Army of militant Islam (Janud).  There could be no place for non-believers.  Even Jews and Christians could not be full citizens of it, though they somewhat approached the Muslims by reason of their being ‘People of the Book’ or believers in the Bible, which the Prophet of Islam accepted as revealed.

“As for the Hindus and Zoroastrians, they had no place in such a political system.  If their existence was tolerated, it was only to use them as hewers of wood and drawers of water, as tax-payers, ‘Khiraj-guzar’, for the benefit of the dominant sect of the Faithful.  They were called Zimmis or people under a contract of protection by the Muslim State on condition of certain services to be rendered by them and certain political and civil disabilities to be borne by them to prevent them from growing strong.  The very term Zimmi is an insulting title.  It connotes political inferiority and helplessness like the status of a minor proprietor perpetually under a guardian; such protected people could not claim equality with the citizens of the Muslim theocracy.

“The Zimmi is under certain legal disabilities with regard to testimony in law courts, protection under criminal law, and marriage.  The State, as the other party in the contract (zimma), guarantees to him security of life and property and a modified protection in the exercise of his religion: he cannot erect new temples, and has to avoid any offensive publicity in the exercise of his faith.  But everything short of open physical persecution, - everything that would not be a flagrant breach of the contract of protection, can be legitimately practised by the Muslim ruler to reduce the number of the undesirable alien sect…

Thus by the basic conception of the Muslim State all non-Muslims are its enemies, and it is in the interest of the State to curb their growth in number and power. The ideal aim was to exterminate them totally, as Hindus, Zoroastrians and Christian nationals have been liquidated (sometimes totally, sometimes leaving a negligible remnant behind) in Afghanistan, Persia and the Near East.”2

Hindus should he grateful to Imam Hanifa

Hindus should be grateful to Imam Hanifa for some mercy shown to them.  He had recommended that Hindus, though idolaters, could be accepted as a “People of the Book” like the Jews, the Christians and the Zoroastrians, and granted the status of zimmisThe Muslim swordsmen and theologians in India happened to follow his school of Islamic law.  That enabled them to “upgrade” the “crow-faced infidels”3 of this country to the status of zimmis.  Hindus could save their lives and some of their properties, though not their honour and places of worship and pilgrimage, by paying jizyah and agreeing to live under highly discriminative disabilities.  The only choice which the other great Imams of Islam - MAlik, ShAfii and Hanbal - gave to the Hindus was between Islam and death.

Alauddin Khilji had consulted the most learned Maulana of his realm - Qazi Mughis-ud-din of Bayana - on this point.  The Qazi pronounced the correct position as follows: “The Hindus are designated in the law as ‘payers of tribute’ (kharaj-guzar); and when the revenue officer demands silver from them, they should, without question and with all humility and respect, tender gold.  If the officer throws dirt into their mouths, they must without reluctance open their mouths wide to receive it.  By these acts of degradation are shown the extreme obedience of the zimmi, the glorification of the true faith of Islam, and the abasement of false faiths.  Allah himself orders them to be humiliated, as He says, ‘till they pay (jaziya) with the hand and are humbled.’…  The Prophet has commanded us to slay them, plunder them and make them captive.  No other religious authority except the great Imam (Hanifa) whose faith we follow, has sanctioned the imposition of the jaziya on Hindus. According to all other theologians, the rule for Hindus is ‘Either death or Islam’.”4

Imam Hanifa criticized by Amir Khusru

Amir Khusru was a contemporary of Qazi Mughis-ud-din.  He is presented by the “modem” Muslims and lionised by the “educated” Hindus as the “pioneer of secularism in India”.  He had, however, something very specific to say on the status of Hindus vis-à-vis the Islamic state.  “Happy HindUstAn”, he wrote, “the splendour of Religion. where the Law finds perfect honour and security.  In learning Dehli can now compete with BokhAra, for IslAm has been made manifest by its kings.  The whole country, by means of the sword of our holy warriors, has become like a forest denuded of its thorns by fire.  The land has been saturated with the water of the sword, and the vapours of infidelity have been dispersed.  The strong men of Hind have been trodden under foot, and all are ready to pay tribute.  IslAm is triumphant, idolatry is subdued.  Had not the law [of Imam Hanifa] granted exemption from death by the payment of poll-tax, the very name of hind, root and branch, would have been extinguishedFrom GhaznI to the shore of the ocean you see all under the domination of IslAm.  Cawing crows5 see no arrows pointed at them; nor is the TarsA (Christian) there, who does not fear (taras) to render the servant equal with Allah; nor the Jew who dares to exalt the Pentateuch to a level with the KurAn; nor the Magh who is delighted with the worship of fire, but of whom the fire complains with its hundred tongues.  The four sects of MusulmAns are at amity and the very fish are SunnIs.”6

It has to be remembered that Amir Khusru was one of the foremost disciples of Nizam-ud-din Awliya of Delhi who is counted among the five great sufis of the Chishtiyya school.  He is himself regarded as an outstanding sufi on whose mazAr in Delhi urs is held every year.  His Hindi verses are cited as a proof positive of his love for the land of his birth.  But what the Amir says about Hindustan and Hindus speaks volumes about sufis and Sufism.  The few “educated” Hindus who admit that Prophetic Islam is “somewhat fanatic”, believe that Sufistic Islam is “large-hearted and liberal”.  The Chishtiyya school of Sufism in particular is supposed to have “built bridges between the two communities”.

True Face of Sufism

But the evidence that is available points towards a contrary conclusion.  The Chishtiyya school was foisted on India by Muin-ud-din who had settled down in Ajmer before the Second Battle of Tarain.  According to the sufi lore, he had made a few converts from among the local Hindus and started issuing orders to Prithivi Raj Chauhan, the Hindu king, for the benefit of these converts.  When the king ignored him, he invited Muhammad Ghuri to invade the Chauhan Kingdom.  Sir-ul-Awliya, the most famous history of the Chishtiyya school written by Khwaja Amir Khurd, another disciple of Nizam-ud-din Awliya, tells the following story: “His [Muin-ud-din’s] blessed tongue uttered spontaneously, ‘We have handed over Pithora alive to the army of Islam.’ In those very days, Sultan Muiz-ud-din Sam arrived in Ajmer from Ghazni.  Pithora had to face the army of Islam.  He was captured alive by Sultan Muiz-ud-din…  The Khwaja [Muinud-din] was a worker of great wonders.  Before he reached Hindustan, all its cities right upto the point of sunrise were sunk in tumult and infidelity and were involved with idols and idolatry.  Everyone among the rabble [Gods] of Hindustan claimed to be the great God and a co-sharer in the divinity of Allah.  The people paid homage to stones, sods of clay, trees, quadrupeds, cows and bulls and their dung.  The darkness of infidelism had made still more firm the seals on their hearts…  Muin-ud-din was indeed the very sun of the true faith.  As a result of his arrival, the darkness that had spread over this country was dispelled.  It became bright and glowed in the light of Islam... Anyone who has become a Musalman in this country will stay a Musalman till the Day of Dissolution.  His progeny will also remain Musalman… The people [of Hindustan] will be brought out of dAr-ul-harb into dAr-ul-IslAm by means of many wars."7

There is plenty of primary literature available in Arabic and Persian regarding the rise, development, and doings of numerous sufi silsilas in India.  Some of this literature has been translated into Urdu and English as well.  A study of this literature leaves little doubt that sufis were the most fanatic and fundamentalist elements in the Islamic establishment in medieval times.  Hindus should go to this literature rather than fall for latter-day Islamic propaganda.  The ruin of Hindus and Hinduism in Kashmir in particular, can be safely credited to sufis who functioned there from the early thirteenth century onwards.


    1Jadunath Sarkar, History of Aurangzib, Volume III, Calcutta, 1928, pp. 164-67.

    2Cited in R.C. Majumdar (ed.), The History of the Indian People and Culture, Volume VI, The Delhi Sultanate, Bombay, 1960, pp. 617-18.  Emphasis added.

    3A term which Amir Khusru frequently used for Hindus.

    4Cited in Jadunath Sarkar, History of Aurangzib, Volume III, Calcutta, 1928, p. 166.  Emphasis addded.

    5Another term of contempt used by Amir Khusru for Hindus.

    6AshiqA of Amir Khusru, translated in Elliot and Dowson, Volume III, pp. 545-46.  Emphasis added.

    7Amir Khurd, Siyar-ul-Awliya, New Delhi, 1985, pp. 111-12.  The passage cited has been translated from the Urdu version.  Saiyid Athar Abbas Rizvi has presented a lot of primary material on Sufism in his A History of Sufism in India.  New Delhi, Volume I, 1978 and Volume II, 1983.

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