The civilizational role of Islam in the Indian subcontinent: The Delhi sultanate

  • Arshad Islam


Muslim presence was manifest in the coastal regions of SouthernIndia from the earliest days of Islam, as evidenced by the establishment ofArab trading settlements, with minor political impact prior to the conquestsin Northern India from the beginning of the 8th century, which solidified theinfluence of Islam leading to tangible political and socio-cultural impacts in theregion. The history of India furnishes an amazing picture of the syntheses ofmany divergent cultural trends which were gradually transformed by a processof mutual adjustment and assimilation. Islam played a significant role in thisby contributing to India’s multi-cultural and multi-religious ethos, embeddingthe subcontinent in the Arab-Islamic maritime civilization, stretching fromsouthern Africa to China, particularly in connecting Africa as well as the greatTurkic empires of Central Asia. It offers a pertinent example of the interactionof human minds and the effects of cultural and civilizational contacts onindigenous customs, religion, literature and arts. This paper examines theimpact of Islam in the Indian Peninsula from three different angles: its politicalpredominance, its intellectual and cultural impact, and finally, its influence onart and architecture. Based mainly on Arabic and Persian sources, the articlefocuses on the intellectual legacy, achievements and the role that the IndianMuslims played in the Indian subcontinent during the Delhi Sultanate, the firstmajor Islamic political authority to govern large parts of South Asia.
How to Cite
ISLAM, Arshad. The civilizational role of Islam in the Indian subcontinent: The Delhi sultanate. Intellectual Discourse, [S.l.], v. 25, n. 1, june 2017. ISSN 2289-5639. Available at: <>. Date accessed: 19 feb. 2018.