Published online by Cambridge University Press: 24 September 2009
The “foreignness” of Islam in India is a familiar theme in the rhetoric of contemporary-Hindu fundamentalism. The numerical majority of Hindus in India is taken to mean that the nation-state ought to be founded on ideals and institutions defined as authentically “Hindu”, that India is the land of the Hindus, and that it must be ruled only by them. This ideology evidently leaves little room for non-Hindus, but especially so for Muslims, who ruled large parts of the Indian subcontinent for several centuries and who still constitute a sizeable minority in India. It is argued, for instance, that as the ruling elite in India, Muslims not only exploited the Hindus, they never even thought of themselves as “really” Indian and should not consequently be considered as such. For all the centrality of the Muslim Other to constructions of Hindu fundamentalism, the appeal and success of the latter is predicated on the systematic exclusion, if not the expulsion, of Muslims from the Hindu nation-state.
1 According to the Census of 1981, Muslims comprise 11.4% of the population of India. For a brief discussion of the Muslims of India, especially in relation to the rise of Hindu nationalism, see Brass, Paul R., The Politics of India since Independence, 2nd edn. (Cambridge, 1994), pp. 228ff.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
2 On Hindu nationalism, see Gold, Daniel, “Organized Hinduisms: from Vedic truth to Hindu nation”, in Marty, Martin E. and Appleby, R. Scott, ed., Fundamentalisms Observed (Chicago, 1991), pp. 531–93;Google Scholar van der Veer, Peter, Religious Nationalism: Hindus and Muslims in India (Berkeley, 1994);Google Scholar Juergensmeyer, Mark, The New Cold War? Religious Nationalism Confronts the Secular State (Berkeley, 1993), pp. 81–90;Google Scholar Chatterjee, Partha, “History and the nationalization of Hinduism”, Social Research, LIX (1992), pp. 111–49.Google Scholar
3 Metcalf, Thomas R., Ideologies of the Raj (Cambridge, 1994), pp. 138–44;Google Scholar cf. Hasan, Mushirul, “The myth of unity: colonial and national narratives”, in Ludden, David, ed., Contesting the Nation: Religion, Community, and the Politics of Democracy in India (Philadelphia, 1996), pp. 185–208.Google Scholar
4 All dates are A.D., unless indicated otherwise.
5 Allāh, Shāh Wali, al-Maqāla al-wadiyya f'l-nasiha wa'l-wasīyya (Delhi, A.H. 1267).Google Scholar Cited in Bausani, A., “Note su Shah Waliullāh di Delhi (1703–1762)”, Annali dell'istituto Universitario Orientale di Napoli, new ser. X (1961), p. 99;Google Scholar translation as in Lewis, Bernard, The Shaping of the Modem Middle East (New York, 1994), p. 102.Google Scholar
6 Pearson, M. N., Pilgrimage to Mecca: The Indian Experience, 1500–1800 (Princeton, 1996).Google Scholar
7 Cf. Powell, Avril, Muslims and Missionaries in Pre-Mutiny India (London, 1993), pp. 275, 292.Google Scholar On some of the Indian ‘ulama’ who settled in the Hijāz in the 19th century, see ‘ibn Fakhr al-Dīn al-Ḥasani, Abd al-Ḥayy, Nuzhat al-khawātir wa bahjat al-masāmi‘wa’l-nawāẓDir, VIII vols. (Haydarabad, 1947–1970), VII, pp. 2, 9, 286–7, 296–7, 415, 449;Google Scholar ibid., VIII, 70–2, 145–7.
8 Minault, Gail, The Khilafat Movement: Religious Symbolism and Political Mobilization in India (New York, 1982).Google Scholar
10 In 1994, the Nadwat al-‘Ulamāa’ had 2443 students in its Dār al-‘Ulūm, in addition to another 2025 students studying in schools affiliated to the Nadwa. See Muslim India (New Delhi), no. 137 (04, 1994), 223. All graduates of the Dar al-‘UlŪm carry the nisba “Nadwī”. In this study, however, this nisba (when not accompanied by a scholar's fall name) refers exclusively to Sayyid Abu'l-Ḥasan ’Alī Nadwī.Google Scholar
11 The principal source on Nadwī's life and career is his autobiography, Kārwān-i Zindagī (hereafter Kārwān), 5 vols. (Lucknow and Karachi, 1938–94; my edition of vols, iߝiii is published by the Majlis-i Nashriyyāt-i Islām, Karachi, and of vols, iv-v by the Maktaba-yi Islām, Lucknow). This autobiography has also been published in Arabic under the tide Fī masīrat al-ḥayāt (Damascus and Jidda, 1987-).
12 On the culture of the ashrāf in India, see Lelyveld, David, Aligarh's First Generation (Princeton, 1978), pp. 35–101;Google Scholar Metcalf, Barbara D., Islamic Revival in British India: Deoband, 1860–1900 (Princeton, 1982), pp. 238–60.CrossRefGoogle Scholar Also see Nadwī, , Kārwān, i, pp. 15–106 and passim, but especially p. 155 for Nadwī's emphatic equation between the culture of the ashrāf and the preservation of Islamic learning in India.Google Scholar
13 On the Nadwat al-‘Ulamā’, see Ta'rīkh-i Nadwat al-‘UlamS’, 2 vols.: vol. i by Jalis Nadwī, MuHammad Isḥāq, vol. ii by Khan, Shams Tabriz (Lucknow, 1983–4Google Scholar [hereafter Ta'rīkh-i Nadwa)]. This work, the “official” history of the Nadwa, contains extensive extracts from the proceedings of the Nadwat al-‘Ulamā”s annual meetings and much other primary source-material which is difficult of access. Also see Nadwī, Sayyid Sulayman, Ḥayāt-i Shihlī (Azamgarh, n.d.), pp. 298–319, 386–400, 386–400, 412–505, 636–67,Google Scholar and passim: al-Ḥasanī, Sayyid Muḥammad, Sīrat-i Mawlāna Sayyid Muḥammad ‘Alī Mongīrī, bānī-yi Nadwat al-‘Ulamā’ (Lucknow, 1964 [hereafter Sirat]);Google Scholar Nadwī, Kārwān, passim. The aforementioned accounts are all by scholars educated and associated with the Nadwa. For more critical treatments of the Nadwa and its place in the intellectual history of modern Muslim India, see Ahmad, Aziz, Islamic Modernism in India and Pakistan, 1857–1964 (London, 1967), pp. 109–13;Google Scholar Ikrām, S. M., Yādgār-i Shiblā (Lahore, 1971), pp. 282–313, 346–75;Google Scholar Metcalf, B., Islamic Revival, pp. 335–47;Google Scholar Malik, Jamal, “The making of a council: the Nadwat al-‘Ulamā’”, Zeitschrift der deutschen morgenlandischen Gesellschaft, CXLIV (1994), pp. 60–90.Google Scholar
14 On the movement of the Sayyid Aḥmad, often designated in the scholarly literature as the “Mujāhidīn Movement”, see Mihr, Ghulām Rasūl, Sarguzasht-i mujāhidīn (Lahore, 1965);Google Scholar ‘Alī Nadwī, Abu'l-Ḥasan, Sīrat-i Sayyid Ahmad Shahtd (Lucknow, 1977 [first published in 1938]);Google Scholar Ahmad, Aziz, Studies in Islamic Culture in the Indian Environment (London, 1965), pp. 209–17;Google Scholar Nizami, Farhan A., “Madrasahs, Scholars and Saints: Muslim Response to the British Presence in Delhi and the Upper Doab 1803–1857”, unpublished Ph.D. diss., University of Oxford, 1983,Google Scholar ch. 6. On British perceptions of Islamic militancy, see Metcalf, T., Ideologies of the Raj, pp. 138–48.Google Scholar
15 See Kāarwān, i, pp. 58.Google Scholar On Lucknow, see Sharar, Abdul Haleem, Lucknow: The Last Phase of Oriental Culture, tr. Harcourt, E. S. and Hussain, F. (London, 1975);Google Scholar Robinson, Francis, Separatism among Indian Muslims: The Politics of the United Provinces' Muslims, 1860–1923 (Cambridge, 1974);Google Scholar Cole, J. R. I., Roots of North Indian Shi‘ism in Iran and Iraq: Religion and State in Awadh, 1722–1839 (Berkeley, 1988);Google Scholar Freitag, Sandria B., Collective Action and Community: Public Arenas and the Emergence of Communalism in North India (Berkeley, 1989), pp. 249–79.Google Scholar
16 Nadwī, , Sīrat-i Sayyid Aḥmad Shahīd. Incidentally, Sayyid Abu'1-A‘lā Mawdūdī (1903–1979),Google Scholar the founder of the Jamā‘at-i Islāmī (established: 1941) is said to have been influenced in his revivalist thought by his reading of this work. See Nasr, S. V. R., The Vanguard of the Islamic Revolution: The Jama‘at-i Islami of Pakistan (Berkeley, 1994), p. 22. Nadwī was briefly a member of the Jamã‘at in the initial phase of the party’s existence.Google Scholar
17 Nadwī, received some early education in Persian, but his brother soon had that discontinued, “for he knew that the days of Persian were over in India, and those of Arabic were going to come soon”. Kārwān, i, pp. 87–8.Google Scholar Already in 1837, the British had replaced Persian with English as the language of administration in India.
19 These are some of the terms Nadwā commonly uses for what has been rendered here as “Muslim identity”. See for example, ibid., v, pp. 167, 176, 178 etc.
20 Ibid., v, p. 186; more generally, ibid., v, pp. I75ff., on “the course of action for the Indian Muslims in the present circumstances”. The “present circumstances” refer here especially to the aftermath of the destruction of the Baburi Masjid in Ayodhya, a major symbol of Muslim identity in north India. For Nadwī's account of the Hindu agitation on the Baburi Masjid, see Kārwān, iv and v, passim. On the controversy over the Baburi Mosque and its eventual destruction in 1994, see van der Veer, Religious Nationalism.
21 Cf. Ta’rāfeh-i Nadwa, i, pp. 140ff. for the Nadwa's aspirations, as visualized by one of its founders.Google Scholar
27 Leitner, G. W., History of Indigenous Education in the Panjab since Annexation and in 1882 (Delhi, 1971; first published in 1883), pp. vi, vii.Google Scholar (Leitner was the first principal of the Lahore Government College [established in 1864] and the founder of the Anjuman-i Punjab.) That Arabic was regarded as the language of the Muslim religious elite, not just of the madrasa, is suggested by the fact that Leitner founded a weekly “Arabic journal for the Maulvis” just as he did one in Sanskrit “for the Pandits”. Ibid., i, p. vii.
28 Education Commission, Report by the Punjab Provincial Committee (Calcutta, 1884), p. 4.Google Scholar
29 Das, S. K., Sahibs and Munshis: An Account of the College of Fort William (Calcutta, 1978), pp. 37–40.Google Scholar
30 Metcalf, B., Islamic Revival, pp. 198–234.Google Scholar On the cultural importance of Persian in India before its eclipse in the nineteenth century, see Robinson, Francis, “Perso-Islamic culture in India from the seventeenth to the early twentieth century”, in Canfield, Robert L., ed., Turko-Persia in Historial Perspective (Cambridge, 1991), pp. 104–31.Google Scholar
37 In 1932, an Arabic periodical, al-Ḍia' (1932–42), began to be published from the Nadwa (Kārwān, i, p. 137Google Scholar). Many journals from the Middle East were received at the Nadwa in exchange for al-Ḍia', which was the only Arabic journal in India at that time (ibid., i, p. 148); also, books published in the Middle East were frequently sent to this journal for review, which provided Nadwī, a regular contributor, with considerable further exposure to intellectual trends in the Arab world. Two Arabic journals later succeeded al-Ḍiā' at the Nadwa: al-Ba‘th al-Islāmī (published since 1955) and al-Rā'id (published since 1959). See Ta'rīkh-i Nadwa, ii, pp. 424–6.Google Scholar
38 Kārwān, i, pp. 126–7.Google Scholar In the 1930s, Nadwī's Lucknow was the scene of much political and religious activity. This included activities sponsored by the Indian National Congress, the All-Indian Muslim League, the Muslim Parliamentary Board, and considerable sectarian (Shi‘ī-Sunnī) agitation. Nadwī notes that he kept aloof from all of these—even from the Sunnī movement to counter the influence and activities of the Shī‘ī majority of Lucknow. The only activity he took some part in at this time was, significantly, one which sought to create public awareness about the Palestine issue (ibid., i, p. 227).
39 Cf. Viswanathan, Gauri, Masks of Conquest: Literary Study and British Rule in India (New York, 1989), pp. 160–1.Google Scholar
40 Nadwī, , Kārwān, i, p. 149;Google Scholar on Arslān, see Cleveland, William, Islam against the West: Shakib Arslan and the Campaign for Islamic Nationalism (London, 1985).Google Scholar The Hādir al-‘ālam al-Islāmī, which Nadwī mentions as having read at this time, is in fact Arslān's commentary on the Arabic translation (by ‘Ajjamacr;j Nuwayhid) of Lothrop Stoddard's The New World of Islam (New York, 1922).Google Scholar As Cleveland, remarks, the “commentaries are lengthier than the translation, and the work became Arslan's own.” Cleveland, Islam against the West, p. 208.Google Scholar On Arslān's journalistic career, which, together with his books, made him “arguably the most widely read Arab writer of the interwar period”, see ibid., passim; the quotation is from p. xxi.
45 This Arabic primer was in use in Islamic schools throughout Indonesia too in the first half of the twentieth century (and perhaps subsequently as well): see Bowen, John R., Muslim through Discourse: Religion and Ritual in Gayo Society (Princeton, 1993), p. 64 n. 28.Google Scholar
48 Abu'l-Ḥasan, al-Nadwīmacr;, ‘Alī al-Ḥasani, Mukhtārāt min adab al-‘Arab, 2nd edn. (Beirut, 1965).Google Scholar Also see Kārwān, i, p. 210, and generally pp. 205ff. There is an interesting juxtaposition of Ḥanbalīs—Ibn al-jawzī, Ibn Taymiyya, and Ibn Qayyim al-Jawzīyya—who are often thought to have been critical of sufi practices, and of sufis.Google Scholar
49 Viswanathan, Masks of Conquest.
50 Nadwī's Mukhtārāt failed to penetrate the traditional madrasas of the Indian subcontinent, where Arabic literature has continued to be taught through certain medieval classics of long established literary authority. But this anthology did enter the curricula of Arabic studies in Indian as well as certain Arab universities, which means that its self-consciously Islamic contents could, in certain institutions of Western education, conceivably exercise an influence which is not dissimilar to that of the English classics in Indian schools. Cf. Kārwān, i, pp. 212–13, 218–19.Google Scholar
51 For the proceedings of this conference, see al-Adab al-Islāmī-fikratuhu wa manāhijuhu (Lucknow, 1981).Google Scholar
53 For his appeal to Arab states personified, see his lectures entitled, for example, “Listen, O Egypt!”, “Listen, O Syria!”, “Listen, O Flower of the Desert [Kuwait]”. These lectures, and others addressing the Arabs, delivered between 1950 and 1962, are collected in ‘Alī Nadwī, Abu'l-Hasan, al-‘Arab wa’l-Islām (Beirut, n.d.).Google Scholar
54 ‘Alī, Abu'l-Hasan Nadwī, Mādhā khasira'l-‘ālam bi’l-inhitāt al-muslimīn.Google Scholar The book had been reprinted about fifteen times by 1982, besides being translated into Urdu, English, Persian, and Turkish. The English translation (by Kidwai, M. A.) is entided Islam and the West. All subsequent references are to the revised and enlarged Urdu translation, Insāriī dunyā par Musalmānon key ‘urīj wa zawāl ka athar 5th edn. (Lucknow, 1966).Google Scholar For the publication history of this work, see Kārwān, i, pp. 256–70, esp. p. 265n.Google Scholar For a critical review of this book, see von Grunebaum, G. E., “Fall and rise of Islam: a self-view”, in id., Modem Islam: The Search for Cultural Identity (New York, 1964), pp. 244–57.Google Scholar
56 This dichotomy also recalls numerous complaints by officials and missionaries in nineteenth and early twentieth century British India that the British policy of pursuing and enforcing religious neutrality fostered the impression of British godlessness, and “the prevalent assumption in India that the West is material and the East spiritual.” See, for instance, Mayhew, Arthur, The Education of India (London, 1926), p. 48;Google Scholar also see ibid., pp. 49, 211. Mayhew had served as the Director of Public Instruction in the Central Provinces of British India.
58 lnsāriī dunyā, pp. 163ff. and passim.
62 Sivan credits Mawdūdī with developing the theory of a “modern Jāhiliyya”, and Nadwī with introducing it into the Arab world (Radical Islam, 22–3). The theory has had many formulations, some with explicit revolutionary implications—as in the writings of the Egyptian revivalist Sayyid Qub (1906–66). Ibid., pp. 21ff. Nadwī met Qub when he visited Egypt after the publication of Mādhā khasira'l-‘ālam, and Qub wrote the foreword to the second edition of this book. Qub's foreword has remained part of all subsequent editions of this work. Despite the contribution of both Mawdūdī and Nadwī to the notion of a “modern Jāhiliyya”, however, it is noteworthy that (unlike Qub) neither advocated any politically subversive form of opposition to the state. For Mawdūdī's position in this regard, cf. Nasr, S. V. R., Mawdudi and the Making of Islamic Revivalism (New York, 1996), p. 75.Google Scholar
65 By the same token, Nadwī also speaks on a “new Ridda”, or apostasy, a term used in Islamic historiography to denote Arab tribal movements which threw off allegiance to the Islamic state of Medina, and even to Islam itself, in the wake of the Prophet Muhammad's death. On the “new Ridda” cf. Nadwi, , Kārwān, i, 452–3.Google Scholar
67 On the Rābiţat al-‘Ālam al-Islāmī, see Schulze, Reinhard, Islamischer lntemationalismus im 20. Jahrhundert: Untersuchungen zur Geschichte der islamischen Weltliga (Leiden, 1990).Google Scholar
68 For an early instance of Saudī financial assistance for the Nadwa, see Ta'rīkh-i Nadwa, ii, p. 438.Google Scholar The Saudi government seems, moreover, to have subsidized or bought large quantities of Nadwī's publications. For instance, of a print run of 100,000 copies of the 1982 edition of his Mādhā khasira'l-‘ālam, published from Kuwait, the Saudi Ministry of Education immediately bought 80,000 copies! See Nadwī, , Kārwān, i, p. 265.Google Scholar
72 ‘Alī Nadwī, Sayyid Abu'l-Ḥasan, al-Islām wa'l-mustashriqūn (Lucknow, n.d. [ca. 1983]), pp. 33–5.Google Scholar
75 See Encyclopedia of Islam, 2nd edition, s.v. “Sayyid Sulaymān Nadwī”.
76 ‘al-Ḥayy al-Ḥasani, Abd, al-Thaqāfa al-Islāmiyyafi'l-Hind, 2nd edn. (Damascus, 1983).Google Scholar
77 See note 7, above.
78 On medieval biographical dictionaries, see Gibb, H. A. R., “Islamic Biographical Literature”, in Lewis, B. and Holt, P. M. eds., Historians of the Middle East (London, 1962), pp. 54–8;Google Scholar Young, M. J. L., “Arabic Biographical Writing”, in Young, M. J. L. et al. , eds., Cambridge History of Arabic Literature: Religion, Learning and Science in the ‘Abbāsid period (Cambridge, 1990), pp. 168–87;Google Scholar Khalidi, Tarif, Arabic Historical Thought in the Classical Period (Cambridge, 1994), pp. 204–10.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
79 Cf. Nadwī's remarks on the importance of the Arabic language to Muslim India in his al-‘Arab wa’l-lslām, pp. 68–70.
80 One of the best known works on this subject is Nadwī, Sayyid Sulaymān, ‘Arab wa Hind key ta‘alluqāt [The Relations between Arabia and India] (A'zamgarh, 1979). This book comprises lectures first given at the Indian Academy of Allahabad in 1929.Google Scholar
81 The image of one's goods or merchandise being returned, together with what it was meant to buy, is Qur'ānic: see Qur'ān, XII65; and cf. Nadwī, , Kārwān, i, pp. 326, 369.Google Scholar
88 ‘Alī Nadwī, Abu'l-Ḥasan, Muslims in India, tr. from the Urdu by Kidwai, M. A. (Lucknow, n.d. ).Google Scholar Note, however, that a substantial part of this book originated as talks in Arabic on All India Radio in 1951. The original audience therefore was the Arab Middle East, though the book under discussion here is primarily intended, Nadwī says, for non-Muslim audiences in India. See ibid., pp. 4–5. Also id., The Musalman, tr. from the Urdu by Ahmad, M. (Lucknow, 1972). The term “musulmān” is the standard rendition of the Arabic “Muslim” in Urdu.Google Scholar
92 Cf. Nadwī, , The Musulman, p. 6: “…Islam is a universal religion rooted in the Qur'ān and the Sunnah, and, therefore, there is hardly any difference in the basic tenets and religious observances of the Muslims of other countries. Indian Muslims have, on the other hand, adopted numerous customs and usages of the land which have been pointed out where necessary in order to identify their indigenous origin”.Google Scholar
93 Cf. ‘Alī Nadwī, Sayyid Abu'l-Ḥasan, Reconstruction of Indian Society: What Muslims Can Do (Lucknow, 1972).Google Scholar
97 On the range of approaches to questions of Muslim communal identity and the role of Muslims in India, see Troll, Christian W., “Sharing Islamically in the pluralistic nation-state of India: the views of some contemporary Indian Muslim leaders and thinkers”, in Haddad, Yvonne Y. and Haddad, Wadi Z., Christian-Muslim Encounters (Gainesville, 1995), pp. 245–62; also cf. Hasan, “The myth of unity”.Google Scholar
98 On the importance of Central Asian and Iranian cultural traditions for Muslim India, cf. Robinson, “Perso-Islamic culture in India”.
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