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In countries in the Middle East, Indonesia and many North African countries, the onset of Islamic rulers spread Islam in a rapid manner, eventually wiping off the local religion. However in spite of widespread Muslim rule for several centuries, Islam seemed to have co-existed with Hinduism in India.

How was this possible? Was India lucky that it had tolerant rulers?

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India got lucky that they were able to keep their own religion going underground more likely, and were too large for a widespread campaign of murdering everyone who didn't become a muslim quickly enough to be feasible. – jwenting Apr 16 '13 at 6:09

3 Answers 3

I completely disagree with Lennart. Islam has traditionally been expansionist and were big on forced conversions. This is evident if you see the history of India starting with Timur. These forced conversions had been rampart in all of India including the South. An account by Ibn Battuta : South India and Her Muhammadan Invaders

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1. Note that Ibn Battutta condemns this behavior. 2. This is not a "forced conversion". 3. Your claim that Islam was big on forced conversion is contradicted by other sources, and not supported by the source you give. – Lennart Regebro Feb 24 '14 at 17:54
1. Ibn Battuta does condemn this behaviour, but he was just a spectator. Even though he was the brother in law of the aggressor, he does not oppose. Reference1 – user3813 Feb 24 '14 at 20:10
2. Devi Chand, the zamindar of Manoharpur, was dispossessed from his position and thrown into prison. Aurangzeb sent his Kotwal (executioner) instructing him that if Devi Chand becomes a Muslim, spare him; if he refused, kill him. Reference2 – user3813 Feb 24 '14 at 20:10
3. (Pir Ma’bari) came here and waged Jihad against the rajas and rebels (of Bijapur). And with his iron bar, he broke the heads and necks of many rajas and drove them to the dust of defeat. Many idolaters, who by the will of God had guidance and blessings, repented from their unbelief and error, and by the hands of (Pir Ma’bari) came to Islam Reference3 – user3813 Feb 24 '14 at 20:11
4. My object in the invasion of Hindustán is to lead an expedition against the infidels that, according to the law of Muhammad (upon whom and his family be the blessing and peace of God), we may con­vert to the true faith the people of that country, and purify the land itself from the filth of infidelity and polytheism; and that we may overthrow their temples and idols and become gházís and mujáhids before God. - Timur on the Invasion on India Reference – user3813 Feb 24 '14 at 20:24

Islam has traditionally not been big on forced conversion. Generally Muslim rulers have been OK with allowing other religions. Especially since non-Muslims often was made to pay extra taxes.

The claim that Islam spread rapidly everywhere else there was Islamic rulers is not a really correct statement from that point of view. It took many hundreds of years there as well. I can't find any support for the position that conversion somehow was slower in India than in most other Islamic empires.

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The first few Islamic rulers in India were more focused on land expansion than religious ideals. When the 3rd generation emperor,Akbar, arrived in power, he was famed for promoting religious peace and even creating his own religion, a mix between many different religions. He even married a Hindu princess. After that, most of the Islamic rule in India continued the ideals of their greatest emperor.

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