South Asia in Islamic Thought
Channel: Jonathan Brown
File Size: 71.17MB
So hello everyone Salaam Namaste.
And welcome to today's event with Professor Jonathan Brown of Georgetown University.
The topic of today.
Event is South Asian Islamic thought. And
I have invited a very senior
academic commission here in the community, Dr. Muslim Siddiqui, who is quite familiar with Professor Browns work, as well as the department's work at Georgetown. So he's going to give you a formal introduction of person Brown, and other thing. So, welcome, Dr. Muslim Siddiqui, sir. And please you struggle it gives me great pleasure to introduce Dr. Jonathan Brown, who's a professor at Prince AlWaleed bin Talal, Chair of Islamic civilization at the School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University. And he has been an
Georgetown has been his alma mater. And he was an undergraduate here in I think, 2000 to 2004. And since I am graduated 2000, right, my wife was 2003 or something, but I was thinking, Yeah, and so it so happens that I have lived in Washington since 1984. And I was at the University of California, Berkeley. And so even though my field is comparative linguistics and comparative literature, but I have also I'm in in the area, the same area as Dr. Brown. And that's why it gives me great pleasure. And I have heard a lot about him. And he's such a young and promising scholar already has produced so many books and written so many articles. And in order to be a student of civilization and
religion, you have to know several languages, so he knows Arabic, Persian, he has also been to India knows what to do. And I think you are a little bit already very, very small. But I think you also know a little bit of Turkish, I'm sure, yeah. And so, and he has written several books, but I'm going to mention only three here, canonization of Al Bukhari and Muslim the formation and function of the Sunni Hadees canon.
And number two, Hadees, Muhammad's legacy in the medieval and modern world. And number three, Muhammad, a very short introduction. And Professor Brown got his PhD from one of the premier institutions, not only in the United States, but throughout the world, the University of Chicago, and the Department of Islamic Studies and civilization, at the University of Chicago, has had many distinguished professors. And I can think of
Hodgson, who wrote a three volume book on the history, civilization, all aspects of Islam, in the context of world history. So he was, unfortunately not there when Professor Brown was attending University of Chicago. And also, I can think of
Professor Fazlur Rahman, who joined University of Chicago in the late 50s. Because he was in Pakistan during the regime of general au Han. And he was hounded out from Pakistan by the Orthodox balama of Pakistan. And he has written many books and one of his book, which is very famous is Islam. Very short book. And so also so many other distinguished scholars. And
very briefly speaking about
South Asia or I should say, the Indian subcontinent, and Islam. So I'll give you a very brief outlines very hallmarks
contact between India and the world of Islam, so I begin with a famous Hadith which is quoted by many scholars, Prophet Muhammad
reported to have said, I feel cool breeze from India
and then the contact with India, of the Islamic world, not only the army, not the Arab world, it predates the advent of Islam, the contract between the Gulf states and the Malabar coast. So, we have the first mosque that was built in India dates back to 626, sorry 726 And that mosque is still there and has been continuously used in Kerala. And then after that, let me take you to
the contact with the Umayyad caliphate, Mohammed bin Qasim, the young Gen conquered sin and moved on. And after that, the other high point is the contact with the medieval world great civilizations, Greek and then later on Alexandria, which was also Greek and Roman, and the ancient civilizations Iran and to run and Samaria and India. So, India is known for its science, mathematics. So the numbering system was taken from India,
by the Arabs, and at the Thirroul hikma, the House of Wisdom that was established by Harun Rashid. And that's where the numbers were used by the Arabs and developed the science of mathematics, algebra and other sciences and they call it in Arabic, Hindi song
which means they are acknowledging the origin of numbers to India, whereas, the Europeans who were
who received the numbering system from the Arabs, they call it the Arabic numerals after that, we have the contact between the two Iranians and Iranians the invasion of my mother was no and then the history is after my mother was no he is quite well known to you. And let me also mention a very famous name Ebola handled by Rooney who spent 13 years in India and studied Sanskrit for you know, a lot of fears. And he wrote an encyclopedic book on India is literally an encyclopedia called very long title, but in English, it is called the Book of India, in which she talks about history, anthropology, languages, philosophy, cultures, and all that. And after that, we have so many other
dynasties until we come to the mold dynasty. And since after that, you know, the history of Islam during the Mughal period and then the British come and after that, you know, so I think I have given you enough background, the contact between India and the Indian subcontinent and the Islamic world. So let's give it back to Professor Jonathan brown
saw like everybody, I'm really happy to be here. And
you know, I in my thanks for inviting me and for showing up. I think a lot of times if I could go back and kind of redo my career I would
I would focus on
you know, South Asian history. I'm gonna say Indian Today India, India, just because it's easier than saying South Asia and but of course, I mean, kind of the whole of the subcontinent. I'm not, you know, politically pushing for supportive India or the modern nation state of India or some other country. So, to make that clear,
yeah, I mean, it's just such an interesting
So the interesting part of Islamic history, I mean, I'm really interested in sort of India's Islamic history, I confess, I'm not super interested in pre Islamic India. I mean, it's not I'm not not interested in it, but I'm really interested in kind of South Asia as part of the Islamic world. And I think one of the reasons I'm really interested is because you have a situation in which Muslims are a minority, you know, at the most, if you take sort of South Asia as a whole kind of max out at about one quarter of the population, I think, and
you know, they have a lot of different relationships to the people around them to the, to the context, they're in they there there are traders, like on the the Malabar coast as
Fauci was saying, they're there, they're traders first, then they're
removed this, then their,
their their Raiders coming from the, from the north, from the northwest, under the, you know, well, first, they're kind of conquerors during the time of
Muhammad will cost them in sin, then they're kind of raiders under the positive edge to sort of set up camp in Afghanistan and later on in the Punjab.
And then they come and settle as, as rulers from an settlers in during the time of the Delhi Sultanate roughly from you know, around 1192 Onward, and then they they gradually basically blend in with the, the indigenous population and become, you know, fully part of, of Indian history, right. So this idea of Muslims as foreigners or as outsiders is, you know, it might
it might be true at the very beginning in the sense that they're merchants or that they're warriors or something, but they very quickly blend in and create a kind of
composite society and composite civilization. And and you can see this with the various states of you know, the successor states of the Delhi's alternate, and then you of course, see it most clearly with the multiples. And I really, if you're interested, I recommend reading Richard eton's relatively new book called India and the Persianate age, which is a fascinating, excellent review. From a great great scholar knows all the regional languages, they're important to know and who's just a terrific scholar in general, Richard eton's Indiana Persianate in the Persianate age, and what he shows is that is the kind of the, the idea of Persianate culture is a culture that is, is a
period in Indian history, that kind of between the dalai Saltanat and the kind of the 1830s and 1840s, when the British really started to enforce their authority, their cultural and colonial authority, it's a period in which Persian language Persian language, Persian literature, Persian sensibilities are become a medium for everybody in India to communicate and express themselves, whether they're Muslim, whether they're various types of Hindu, whether they're etc. So, anything you can imagine, you know, Zoroastrian. So, a person who becomes this kind of religiously neutral language of artists of art and communication and aesthetics and scholarship, that is a that
flourishes under this under this period of Muslim Muslim rule in history in India. And what he also shows and I mean, this is been shown Vadhu before but I think he does a great job of bringing this information together, is it no all of these Muslim states from the time of the Delhi call it Delhi cell to onward are there not? foreign states, right? They're, they're Muslim, they're they're Muslims, ruling in India as Indian rulers so the way they show themselves on coins, the way they legitimize themselves, the way they structure their states where they structure their alliances. They are, they're just, they're Indian rulers like Indian rulers were acting 1000 years before them.
And he shows that the Mughal Empire especially after the time of Akbar is really a in a lot of ways a Rajput Rajputs right the way they that the even the genetically I mean, by the time you get to like someone like Shah Jahan, or Orings avid these people are like half or two or three fourths Rajput, you know, I mean they're the language the language they speak at home when they're yelling at their kids itself is a dialect of essentially North Indian right.
So, and they create this this you know, composite artistic style composite, political style composite. Cool
word culture, everything literature. And that's that really fascinating because you have, how do you how do you live as Muslims,
as my as a minority, you know, first as a as kind of traders than as rulers, then as rulers who are at home, in that, land it with its language with its culture. And then of course, what really interests me is, then they they start to have to live as subjects of the British, you know, first, you know, maybe they're just accepting their protection or working with them, then they're, you know, maybe a little bit more dependent on them, then a little bit more dependent on them. And then finally, very clearly, the British are in charge, how do you make sense of that as a Muslim, then the kind of the British start to, to maybe be a little bit more forceful about things like,
missionary activity, about, you know, creating a kind of upper class and anglicized Anglophone upper class, how to muscle and make sense of that? How do we make sense of modernity? And a lot of ways, one of the reasons I really, really like, kind of Islam and South Asia as a subject is because these are the first people who are the first Muslims who come face to face with the challenge of modernity, you know, the challenge of modernity, that is for them, also the challenge of the West.
So I think that's, that's really, you know, in a lot of ways, Islamic thought, since 1800, is a repetition or rehashing the discussions that Indian Muslims are having from around 1800, right, so that they're the first people to have these discussions. And they're the, they kind of create the all Germans have this discussion. And then you could everybody else just sort of rehash, rehash it over and over again. And so that's why I really find it fascinating.
So, I'm also not, but this is not my expertise. So in some ways, even when I was invited to give this presentation, I tell you, I don't really know what to talk about. It's not my expertise, but I do my best to learn about it. And I take Indian Muslims scholarship very, very, very seriously. And that's not because I'm some kind of, you know, sensitive charitable person. It's because anybody who has dipped even a finger into Indian Islamic scholarship, immediately takes it very, very seriously because these people are not jokes, they are no joke whatsoever. And these, the
Just as a brief
statement, I mean, brief introduction, right? The, if you want to find the best writings on Hadith, Hadith commentary, Hanafi law,
some of the best writings on Islamic theology, from the 1800s until the 20th, through the 20 century, until today,
you're talking about Indian scholars, without just without a doubt, in terms of volume in terms of quality.
If you you know, I remember, I wrote this book on Islam and slavery and I,
I looked at all the different Hadith commentaries on the Hadith involved. And, you know, it's interesting and you see the same ideas coming up over and over again. And then I read, Mufti Taqi Usmani is Techmate, at that time with him on a Muslim, and he just took everything to the next level. I mean, you see this over and over again with Mufti Taqi Usmani with his writing is that he will always take the conversation to another level of quality and comprehensiveness. And so he's, you're talking about somebody who is
not just summarizing the golden ages of the past, you're talking about somebody who's participating in that tradition and moving it forward and building on it in a way that's completely organically a continuation of that of that the past. And that's someone who's alive today, right? So, you know, you can imagine the figures like you know, shamsudeen Vemma body Mohammed Jack Korea conduct Louie
Zafar Ahmed Osmani
along as a as a Muhammad Ashraf Ali tun V. Anwar Shah Kashmiri, right? I mean these figures are
immense scholars their incredible scholars incredible. So I this is a book I've been reading. I got this in, in the data to my audit fund with many in Hyderabad. I got with my one of my favorite intellectual pilgrimages was to go to actually the data to modify it with many how many Osmania University in Hyderabad and visit that place where so many great
Islamic texts were edited and
published for the first time and I bought a lot of books there of course and I got them member got them bound in the Chandy choke district in Delhi. They're very nice, a little Muslim bookbinder shop and I went and had meals with them and they're a wonderful family. And so this is, this is the nose knows how to co author of a bit high in Hasani and medulla. And it's, you know, early, mid 20th century Muslim scholar, who does a history of all the lemma and kind of leading figures political, literary, intellectual figures of, of Islam in South Asia and up till kind of, I think, the early 20th century and if so, if you if you look here, you can see Sorry for my horrible handwriting, but,
so, this is actually by Hijiri century.
And this is really interesting, because you can kind of see the volume of Muslim intellectual activity. So, okay, so volume seven at the top is essentially this is rough, but basically that 1800s To into the 1900s, of the of the Common Era. Right, so you can think of the time of scholars of shot shot that Aziza definitely died at 25 You can think of, you know, further la vema body sorry Hyderabadi and Shush, Shai smile Shaheed, and
the kind of founders of bail bond, and Frankie Mahal in the, in the top volume, then you go below that you're basically into the 1700s of the Common Era. So you you have Sorry, I'm holding this up as sort of unstable, but I'll do my best, the 1700s which is, you know, of course, sha Allah, Allah, Allah we, and the figures of revival and reform in India 1700s, you go down to volume five, which is roughly the 1600s you can think of figures like Abdel haka, Hallowee, who died, I think, in
1642, or 10 5200, around 1642, of the Common Era. And then below, that is the 1500s, volume four. And you can see it's these are
ominous, and then below that volume three is into the 1500s. And you can see there's a real kind of drop in volume. Oh, wait, so let me think here.
No, no, no. So okay, I'm sorry. So volume, four would be the 1500s. Volume five is the 1600s, while he was six is the 700, like eight is 800. Right? So volume four in the 1500s, you still you see, it's still pretty high volume, but then you get into volume three in the 1400s Common Era, then you start to see a, you know, we're going back in time, right. So things are kind of going getting smaller and smaller, kind of the beginning of the tree, as it starts to blossom, and then evolved before that, to be the 1300s. And before that into the 1200s. And before that it's kind of not really a thing, right? So but you see, it's really in the 1500s, that you have the explosion of
intellectual activity. And a lot of that is I think, because of the
the kind of blossoming of the mobile of the mobile state. But
I think this is really interesting, because you just see the sheer
volume of Muslim intellectual activity. Now, what's really interesting is, for me is and I say this in no way to detract from the sort of piety or sincerity or value of any of any part of the Muslim world. But and I also say this as a huge fan of kind of Islam in West Africa and Sub Saharan Africa. But if you look at kind of comparison, my scholarship in India and Islamic scholarship in Sub Saharan Africa, like let's say the kind of West African world, Timbuktu and Mali,
there in a lot of ways, their their histories are parallel in the sense that you get, you know, early trade contact.
You get to the beginning of conversion of some rulers and courts in Sub Saharan Africa in the early 10 Hundreds and you get kind of the rise of Muslims very wealthy with some states in the 1200 30 Hundreds for changes with the hundreds like the great big empires like Mali and and song guy and the you know, when it famous pilgrimage of King Mansa Musa from from Mali when he goes in the 1300s to do his hij. And
he, some Muslim scholar from the hijab actually goes back to Mali with him, and he's really stunned by the
Quality of Maliki jurists like he says, you know, the scholars here really know what they're doing. These aren't some, you know, these aren't kind of country bumpkins, who don't know anything. He's really impressed with the scholarship there. So
the kind of quality of Islamic scholarship in Sub Saharan Africa is very high from an early period
into terms of Maliki law, intern, and one thing they write a lot of is praise of the Prophet later. So I'm just endless volumes of praising the Prophet. It's incredible devotion. But what's really interesting is they don't I and I do not think there is a single commentary on Hadith written in Africa, in sort of West Africa, south of the Sahara. As far as I know. There's a song written in, like, Ethiopia, Somalia region. But that's, it's a very different like, you compare that to South Asia, where, I mean, you get to the point in the 700 1800s, where any scholar work is assault.
A commentary on Sahih Bukhari or Sikh Muslim just as they it's like, you know, you have to do it, it's like, you know, something you have to have on your resume.
So they're very that. And what's really interesting is,
there are a few books from by West African Muslim scholars that are used in the rest of the Muslim world, a very small number. If you look at the number of books that are that are considered authoritative references, by Indian scholars, they're used throughout the Muslim world. It's a large number, a large number, right. So I mean, first of all you I mean, I, again, I'm not I am not in any way, saying that sort of the Arab world is the standard by which things are measured. But I'm just talking about let's look at sort of the spread, you know, we'll look at the Arab world or the Ottoman world, there's just examples of things spreading to other places. If you go to a bookstore
in Cairo or an Istanbul, either this year or 100 years ago,
you'll find, you know, books like
Allama to Muhammad.
Ali mubarak for ease, or Mubarak poo is commentary on
the collection of Tirmidhi. You'll see Zachary I conduct Louie's commentary on the motto of Malik. You'll see
some of the earliest books printed and Islamic theology and a printing press are include Akima Seattle coup de, the famous 17th century Indian scholar Seattle cooties commentary on the al Qaeda Vanessa fee. Right? You'll see along with says Imam, you will see
the methodical Anwar of serrania Savani died and 12 of the two who one of the earliest Muslim scholars from India, who travels to Baghdad, and he does a very authoritative copy of Sahih Bukhari he writes his own Hadith collection called the historical Anwar which is very popular
throughout the Muslim world.
So, just trying to think of other examples on the season Muhammad.
Oh, of course, the fatawa India, right, the fatawa towel, alum beauty, it's commissioned by Emperor Aurangzeb in the 16, late 1600s. This book is I mean, it's called the fatawa India Indian federalism, and this is a book that is, you know, cited and by Hanafi scholars and the Ottoman world, you know, an incredible book to this day, an incredible resource of for understanding the, the Hanafi school of law. And I could go on and on, on and on with about works by written by Indian scholars that are really authoritative and widespread around the Islamic world. Okay.
So here's an interesting question. Why is this? A why is there such a kind of intense and voluminous production of Muslim scholarship in in South Asia, especially from essentially the 1400s Onward? And I would say that from my
my theory, I mean, probably other people have already talked about this, but I'm not a specialist was do my best, right? I think is there's a huge number of very powerful and wealthy Muslim states that emerge after the Delhi Sultanate. So the Delos alternate is very interesting, right. As I said, it kind of emerges around 1200 in Delhi. And by the time you get to, there's a series of different dynasties in the deadly assault, as you know, you can all go read about that if you don't already know about, but by the time it kind of starts to fall apart in the mid 1300s, late 1300s. And then of course, at
Hammer Lane comes in the later dendrites and sacks Deli. That's great traumatic event.
But really in a lot of ways, the the scene of its Muslim South Asia is already established. So the delis alternate expand significantly southward into the Deccan Plateau. So they it's not like the when you look at sort of the Mogul conquest of India does not go that much farther beyond what the Delhi Sultan Delhi's alternate had conquered. And when timberland comes in sacks,
Delhi, the successor states to the
to the Delhi Sultanate are really impressive states right you have the the
clip Shahi dynasty and Golkonda. Then Azzam Shah. He's, I think in in Hyderabad, you have the along with the Addleshaw. He's in Beija poor, you have the Ahmednagar you have the bat monies in Delta bod. And you have this rise of good Drat, especially in the in the 1400s. And what's interesting is the, although Tamar Lane comes in causing political chaos, and it's very traumatic in terms of the number of lives lost. The 1400s in India is actually a time of incredible cultural and intellectual efflorescence. So Tamra lanes legacy is, I mean, not that your history is made by people like Tamilian.
Alone, right, but if you think about the 1400s is sort of the aftermath of Tamerlane is a time of incredible productivity and growth. And and that's really interesting, right? So and then when the moguls come to power, a lot of their time through the 1600s is just spent conquering and defeating these other Muslim states to their South, as well as of course,
states like the Rajputs
so that's why I think when you you look at Islam in India in the 1400s Onward, you're looking at a number of really powerful rich committed Muslim states that are very interested in patronizing Muslim scholarship and you can see just that the the extent to which places like Tao Lata BOD under the bat monies or BJF or atman the gar or Golkonda or Golkonda based in the 1400s just I mean creating measure says every time a big scholar comes let's build this guy measures right
after the Tamar lanes invasion John poor becomes a really important center in what's now I think it would be Bihar if I'm not mistaken Right? Correct me if I'm wrong John poor becomes a major center isn't up oh Eastern up okay. Thanks. So all you know, a lot of scholars who pleads le on the when Tamar Lane evades go to John poor, where they are received under the Shaka dynasty supported given madrasahs are built to them built for them. I mean, I'll say this is not unique, is not unique in Islamic history by any stretch, but Muslim rulers in India really honored their Allah, they really honored them, and they patronize them and they supported them. And so you have immense and of
course, not just the amount of law and but of course, love Sufism. You know, they love Sufism, and you all know this, right? So, you know, the extent to which they honored and followed Sufi saints.
So you had, whereas in places like West Africa, you have, I think, a couple of centers that are very wealthy, like Timbuktu
in South Asia, you have, you know, half a dozen, maybe a dozen such places that are just poor. And this is an another thing, which you realize, is the extent to which South Asia was the land of it was, you know, how I say this, it was like,
the land of milk and honey or something, it was a land it was like Eldorado, you know, it was for Muslim scholars. And you see this in the 1400 and 1500s.
It was a place you would go and really make it big as a Muslim scholar. And what you start seeing, and especially in the 1400s, scholars from Baghdad, from Aleppo, from Cairo, from the hijas, from Yemen, moving to India,
to to places like good drag to places like delta to baht to places like John poor,
and becoming extremely wealthy and kind of secure, and this is where they go to, you know, get their tenure track job, you know. And so you can see in the kind of the streams of influence on Indian Islam, there is Yemen and the hijas to good drugs.
especially in the after the Safavids conquer Iran in after 1501 There's an exodus because it savage forcibly convert Iran to Shiism.
And so a lot of Sunni Allama flee taffet lands. Some of them go through Central Asia. Samarkand Bukhara? Right Harat into India. Some of them come to the Persian Gulf to good draft.
And there's a huge influx. So you have the the legacy of Mamluks scholarship
Mamluk era scholarship from Egypt and the hijas going to good drought. You have the Central Asian scholarship of
Sharifa. giorgianni Sadly did a test the Zanni and the late 1300s Coming their students are coming into India through Central Asia, right down to the south. And so you have kind of Hannah fism Hanafi school of law matcher Ed and Ashley School of Theology coming from the north, you have Shafi School of Law coming from the kind of Indian Ocean direction and finding homes and all these new Muslim states which is I think, and you can see like as you go through the as you read through the notes on the water, you see the name has changed of where scholars go where are the scholarly centers, you know, of course Delhi is important then John poor becomes really important.
In the fourth gender is double that to Bod and Mother Winder the bottom money's BJ poor admin, Dr. Goudreau, at a place called Sam ball, especially during the mobile period. The areas around Delhi become very important. I think it's called the doab. How do you say this in Urdu?
Yes, yes, though up dua. Yeah. So places like Milgram.
Some ball later,
was going up Western up. Yeah, exactly other than later Kandla
Dale bind, right. So these places become very important. As, as Delhi becomes the center of of power, right. Okay.
Now, I'll have a says one, all right.
Yeah, I think I covered this. Okay. And what's also very interesting is, you see,
from the 1400s Onward, a really extensive and strong connection of Indian or Lemma and the hijas. Of course, this is partially through doing the hij. Right. So they it's not like Indian, or am I the only Muslim in the world to do hydro? Of course, a lot of people do. But they seem to do it in a lot larger number. And I think it was, I think it was arguably easier to do. This is just my theory off top my head. Because you could you know, you basically go to good Drax, and then you get on a boat, and you go to Mecca. I mean, and that trade route, as was mentioned, you know, in the introduction, it's really from around the, you know, the, the time of Christ. I mean, you're talking about that
kind of a Hellenistic period, when Greek navigators figure out that they can just go straight, they don't want to go along the land, they can just go straight across from the Babylon manda they end up in India, and they can use the monsoon winds to do this. So this is our well, well traveled route. And what you see is that in a lot of ways, the hijas becomes, in some ways, a location of Indian Muslim scholarship. In the 1400s. You have figures like Mohammed Bin Bin Ahmed, another widely from I guess the place is not Hawala in Gujarat, does anyone know that place? No, no. Yeah.
He dies in about about 1600 of the common or maybe 1590 of the common of the Common Era. So he and his father both go to the hijas and they become such establishments. Guys that there's actually to this day one of the doors I think of the mosque in Mecca is actually called the Bab of na Hawala if I'm not mistaken, but I have to check that I need to check that but I made my day because it been Hydra hate to me who's a huge Shafi scholar originally from Egypt, he settles in Mecca, huge, influential Shafi scholar in Egypt. He dies in about 1567, the Common Era, he is he his job, his salary is paid in a madrasah that is founded and funded by Sultan Mahmud of Gujarat.
So you there's this symbiotic you know, relationship between the hijas and especially the good drought, but not just good drought right. Indian Indian scholars from throughout India will travel there
It's really interesting is from the 1400 1500s Onward, this constant pattern of Muslim of Indian scholars going and studying in the hijas. And what's interesting.
And I think this certainly explains their expertise in hadith is that they bring the intensive tradition of Hadith scholarship from the hijab to India, in the 1500s, but really, especially in the 1600s, with Abdullah haka de Holloway, and then in the 1700s, with Shah Wali, Allah and his tradition, right, this to India, of India becomes the place where Hadith are studied. In essence, after the 1700s. Because of this, it kind of inherits the this strong, maybe, I don't mean, no one really has ever explained how this happened. But somehow hijas in 1500s becomes this dynamic dynamic plays for the study of Hadith.
And by the way, what's really interesting, I think I talked about this already.
Yeah, sorry. I just want to make sure I'm not missing anything. Okay. So what's really interesting is
not just the way in which
India kind of is heir to this Hijazi study of Hadith, but also
has this element of revival and reform even from an early period. Now, in terms of is history of Islamic thought. People usually use the term revival and reform for the 1700s. So the movements like Shah wali Allah, in India, a tsunami in Yemen, Sokoto Caliphate in what's now northern Nigeria,
the Wahhabi movement and in Central Arabia. So these movements in the 1700s are talked about at a period of revival and reform in in Islamic thought in the Islamic world. But a lot of these trends are actually present in India, actually before even in the 1500s, even the 1500s, which is very interesting. And it clearly comes from the hijas, who clearly comes from the hijas. Just to give you an example.
And I think he he's also a great example, because you can kind of just like people talk about kind of like team or anxiety or team dosha. CO, like, which side are you on? You can see those two sort of teams back into the 1500s already.
Right sort of team.
Let's just sort of, let's call it maybe a more a creationist, or more
interested in affirming dialogue with Indian tradition, versus a more, let's say, like Orthodox,
stringent approach to Islamic law in practice. You can see this in the 1500s. One of my students is doing his paper on it, and I hope he publishes it. There's a figure called the Nebby Elgin go He who is essentially
a contemporary with Akbar, because he's Akbar's tutor, and then he he serves as the southerner like the main kind of Chateau Islam in the Mughal court for many years, until eventually he falls out of favor with Akbar and he is exiled. But what's very interesting about the Nebia Gan go he is he wrote a book called The Sunnah, sunnah Hooda FIM would retargeted Mustafa, the sun, the Sunnah of guidance in following the chosen one, the Prophet Muhammad.
And he wrote in Arabic, and I don't think it's been published. But there's a we found a manuscript of it. And it's a very interesting book, it's essentially a book of the thick of a badger of different worship, you know, fasting, praying, hugs, things like that. And that's done
with reference to Hadith. Now, that's not unusual. This is not he's not the first person to do this. But what's really interesting is the way that he talks about the hijas in his understanding of Islam, and repeatedly in the book, he criticizes various practices in India, that he sees as Bidda, as, you know, unacceptable heresy. And his reference for that is the practice of the hijas and the scholars of the hijas. So it's really interesting that he's, so one thing he talks about, he says that
for example, let's say that the fatigue leaning on a cane on a wooden cane is
it's so known how do we know this? This is the practice of the old amount of the domain of Mecca Medina.
He says the two dark eyes and you
You all can tell me if this is actually something that's done in India? I don't know. To Rock eyes prayed at night where you read it? Of course he is. Does anyone do this?
Then we never heard of this. Okay, maybe the Nebby got his way here. He says, This has no basis in any Hadith from the Prophet. And the Arabs don't do it. So I know this is I don't want anyone to get upset here. But he's saying he's saying basically the Arabs are the our, should be our reference point.
you Juma is fard. So Jim andesitic. And again, maybe someone can tell you about as you probably have looked this up before I talked to you but there's a debate about whether or not especially in the Hanafi school whether or not Joomla is really required
because the the it there's some debate about whether it can happen with a non
non unjust leader or a kind of a non non legitimate Muslim ruler.
He says Juma as far as requirement until the day of judgment, and doesn't matter if the ruler is just or not just and we know this the way we know this is the orlimar of the Haramain. They they do not pray, daughter on Friday, right, they pray Juma and that's it. They don't pray Juma and then pray to her in case the Juma wasn't valid.
And then this is really interesting. He says, any practice that's allowed to its mobile, it's allowed. But did you have the kind of ignorant people, they start to think that it's required or it's part of the Sunnah, it becomes prohibited.
And by the way, this this is a kind of foreshadowing the debate over the Molad. That kind of Dale Bundy versus Barelvi debate over the Molad word, the deobandis say,
there's nothing wrong with honoring the Prophet, of course, and his birthday. But if people start getting to the point where they think this is something you have to do this is part of Islamic practice, then you ban it, because you don't want people to get this is this sort of slippery slope into
altering what is actually required versus not required? Versus the Barelvi just say, Look, if there's nothing wrong with doing it, and if it's a good thing to do, then people should do it.
But you see here with Abdullah begun going in the 1500s. Already, this idea of we need to this thing is because the value will start thinking it's required or good or part of the zone and that is a reason to prohibit it.
And I could go into other examples, but I won't of figures in the 1500s and 1600s in India, who start to do things like one figure along with his mom, it is up to Suleiman D
in the 1600s, who would break with the main ruling of the Hanafi school if he felt that that ruling did not follow the Rasul of the Hanafi school. So this is interesting. He's getting to the point of being what's called the mage died in the madhhab. He doesn't go by what the kind of established rule the MetaBase if he feels like that rule is not true to the Met heads own principle.
Then, in the next century, the 1700s of course, you get figures like Chavo Lila de lui and others who are willing to even break with go outside the Hanafi madhhab break with every med had and consider themselves to be but which chat heads who can move between methods based on following IDs? Okay.
I don't know how much longer I'm supposed to talk for I forgot.
Well, you can continue for another 10 minutes. Okay.
Now, it's a it's interesting to compare that
sort of, we'll call it you know, more. It's not just Orthodox, right? It's, it's because it's, you know, being a
being a Hanafy someone like Abdullah taka Dettol away in the 1600s. He says very clearly, in some of his books, you know, you follow the method, you follow one of the format tabs, and that's what you do. You don't question that you don't
you know, this is how you how to be a rightly guided muscle, right.
There's nothing wrong with just being a regular Girl Fashion Hanafi, Matterley, Naqshbandi Sufi or something like that. That's perfectly fine. But someone that got the Navigon go he is even pushing further than that is saying that, you know, we need to always be examining our practice and comparing it to the Sunnah of the Prophet. For him. That's best
understood through the practice of the alumna of the of Mecca Medina.
Now, on the other hand, you have this more, I don't want to call it sink syncretic, right because I don't think that someone like Dr. Chabot or Chishti Sufi scholars in India, are somehow heretical. I don't think that they don't care about Islam or that they are interested in some kind of hybrid, you know, watered down version of Islam that's mixed with Hinduism, or that's, you know, I think that they're very committed Muslims, but they're there, they're really interested in they're willing to think about elements of the Indian religious traditions that are aiming at the same point or aiming at the same objective as the mystical traditions of Islam.
And this is why when people talk about, you know, adashiko, as you know, or as beers like, Mirza mas har, Gianna, junan, and people like that in Delhi, in the seven hundreds that there's somehow
you know, except Indian religion or accept Hinduism, I think that's inaccurate, they accept certain types of Hinduism, they accept certain strains within Hinduism.
They accept the monotheistic mystical stream that talks about, you know, seeking union with the divine and the one right that that they see that as the same conversation that Muslims that the Sufi tradition in Islam has, especially the kind of even Arabic tradition. But that doesn't mean that they that they are, that they think that it's
makes perfect sense to worship an idol or to have a temple that has statues of this out on the other. Right, so they, they're not, it's not about affirming Hinduism, as a family of religions. It's about them being interested in a specific strain within Hinduism, that kind of monotheistic element, non dualistic monotheism, so I think in detail the Vedanta I think is the term in Hindu tradition.
You see this with figures like Dasha Cole when he Commission's the the something called multicol. abhor the meeting of the seas, the consequence of the seas, where he looks at the kind of Hindu mystic tradition, monotheistic mystic tradition and the Islamic mystical tradition and shows comparison and similarities in their concepts and vocabulary. And then with his theatre, less raw secrets of secrets, which is a transit translation and commentary on
the punish shots, which is it's very interesting, one scholar, I recommend reading a book on this. It's called this the emperor who never was by Supriya Gandhi, it's a very good book i readable and informative, informative,
dark shadow, and she talks about it as in some ways this.
The pseudo suar is like a, it's like a commentary on the Qur'an, from the perspective of the apana shots or a commentary on the Upanishads through the Koran. So it's a really interesting text. But again, this is not the Upanishads are not
representative of the entirety of Indian religious tradition, right? It's very specific elements of it are very strict strain of it.
There's but what I found really interesting is the way that some Muslim scholars from this more comparative tradition,
try to reconcile the kind of Abrahamic, sacred history of Abrahamic understanding of history and creation with the Indic one. So one scholar of the Roman Chishti dies in 1638. He incorporates Indian sacred history into Islamic and Islamic sacred historical timeline. And what he does is do talking about sort of Indian sages and avatars are like prophets sent to the jinn. Right? So, India before was populated by humans populated by gin. And so we get a lot of the drama that takes place in kind of the Indian historical pre time is actually a drama, not with humans, but with the jinn and like sort of profit center gin, which is really interesting.
So that's, I think,
creative way for Muslim scholars to try and reconcile different timelines or cosmological timelines, which I think was it was important work to do.
Is awesome and let me see if there's anything I'm leaving out
No, I think that's it. Yeah, I guess that's, uh, I mean, there's so much more to talk about. But those were the points I had to discuss today. So I'm happy to I guess,
your comments. I don't know how many questions I'll be able to answer, but maybe I'd love to hear your opinions. Well, thank you very much. It was very informative, and very enlightening. Unfortunately, we don't have a big crowd. So I'm sure they're known to be much many questions, but fasten
bag will moderate the proposer is still here. I think he just left.
He told me so you just entertain the questions. I'm sure. I have.
I have a question. Yes. Go ahead. Actually, before that, I would like to mention just a few things. So Shipley no money, you know, the great scholar, and he has written so much on different aspects of Islamic thought. And also a very distinguished professor from a legal Muslim University, Professor Abdul Aziz money,
who was the father of my very dear friend,
Muhammad, Omar, my money.
Most of many of you are familiar with him. So I thought that I should mention these two names. And also there was during the British period,
some Muslim scholars have preferred not to live in India, so they migrated to
Makkah, especially. And a boon Kalam, Azad, his father was one of them. So that's why I will call her mother was born in Makkah, and hygiene that a lot of the the urban school. And so I think, very fascinating, extremely fascinating lecture and the, the breadth of his Professor
Jonathan browns, knowledge was amazing. And to know all these things, dates and all that, so I just wanted to commend him. And we have so many things in common. And we can maybe meet sometime, since I live in like, so. Thank you. Okay, thank you. For
those who want to ask questions, they can either put their name in the chat box or raise your digital hand. I see. Harris as me already has. Four. So Harris, go ahead, ask a question, please.
Well, thank you so much. It was very informative and very extensive coverage. And, you know, very, very enlightening. My question is very specific. And I just wanted to know,
what can you share about the Emperor orange Zaid? Because he is one of those characters that is very much vilified in the modern Indian history. And anything that you can share that throws light on his character personality would be greatly appreciated.
Thank you. Yeah, I mean, I recommend reading the, the relatively new book on him by Audrey Trish, her last name is kind of hard to spell. I think it's T R U. S. CHKEB. trick is called Aurangzeb. It's a very good book, it's relatively short and accessible.
It's, and I think that, you know,
the way in which South Asian history is, is politicized, has been politicized is it's very unfortunate, because it's just designed to
it's sort of self defeating, and it's designed to make,
make kind of a healthy view of the world around you impossible in a lot of ways, I think, going back to the British or the British,
in order to kind of justify their presence. They portrayed you know, the Indian history is basically this kind of the ancient India was this land of wisdom on the sort of Sanskritic Sanskritic wisdom, and then the sort of the Dark Ages of Muslim rule. And now we British are here to kind of return you to enlightenment and things like that. So the British had a vested interest in portraying the period of kind of Persianate age that that Richard Eaton talks about as being one of darkness and kind of violence and tolerance.
When of course, it was really under
The, you know, the British, that these lines that kind of communal lines are solidified even in the 19th and 20th century, right.
And, and are exploited as a divide and conquer as a divide and conquer method.
in that narrative
warnings is the, you know, this sort of the he screws up because he's too Muslim, right he the way that you are successful in India is when you're not really Muslim. So, in order to be successful and Muslim in India, you have to be not really Muslim. That's the kind of the message that the orings adolescent as opposed to give in the modern kind of Indian narrative. And if you take it into kind of BJP Indian nationalist narrative then or anxiety is just another one of the worst these these horrible Muslim rulers who destroyed temples and treat Hindus badly, etc. But that's just not that's not an accurate understanding of warnings and warnings. That was a an Indian ruler. So he's not a
Muslim, but he's Indian, right? So he has some temples destroyed, he builds some temples he takes away land for some temples, he in Dallas, some temples, and Richard Eaton has talked about this extensively as soon as Audrey church which is that Muslim rulers and Hindu rulers in Indian history doing things like destroying temples or or supporting them was political were political actions. Right? If you someone's your friend, you support their temple, if someone's your enemy, you destroy their temple, it doesn't doesn't matter if they're Hindu or Muslim, right.
Then the issue of you know, to what extent was he did he kind of turn away from the, the tolerant legacy of Akbar and Shah Jahan?
You know, I don't think that's
you know, he, during the time of Aurangzeb,
he spent most of his career campaigning in the decades, right, trying to expand what will rule and that arguably, his biggest mistake was doing that and not kind of tending to the core areas of the Mughal Empire, and not making sure that his sons were going to be effective rulers after him. But, you know, by his time, a lot of the things like the kind of burgeoning Murata power, these groups had already started to rebel against the mobile so there wasn't like, you know, he imposed the jizya and stuff. Yeah, maybe that was a bad decision. But from his, I think, his calculation, this was going to make some people happy. And the people that was going to upset were already upset at him.
Right. So he didn't really I think it was sort of, maybe it was a bad decision. But I don't think it was a kind of one that was made out of
a rational fanaticism. I think it was a calculation. And this is the same kind of decision that any ruler in South Asia would be presented with, and he was acting like a South Asian ruler. And Richard Eaton talks about this, in his book,
in its class on India, in the Persian age is a great example. He goes back to the to the, to the 10, hundreds. And he shows how differently Indian we think historically about St. Mahamudra, Eisenerz invasion of India, versus invasions of some parts of the Deccan into other parts of like,
kind of Bengal, right. So there's, why is it that one of them is from the outside and one of them is the inside? They get only makes sense if you already have this idea that there's this historical thing called India that has boundaries and borders. But the fact of the matter is, you know, people are fighting each other and conquering each other and destroying this and supporting that. And it's only if we decide that kind of being Muslim or not, or make somebody Indian or not, that those lines start taking shape ground. What is India what isn't? So I think that that's important thing to keep in mind and the these histories of Orings No, I mean, it's shocking. I I'm sorry, I take a long to
ask this question.
Yeah, I would just say it's shocking when you look at the, I can't believe some of the stuff I read by Indian scholars, like kind of Hindu Indian scholars on Islamic Middle East, middle, middle, the history of the Middle Ages, India, the stuff they write, is, if I if I wrote that about
anybody, I would be fired. I mean, it would be so horrifically intolerant the way they talk. I mean, some things like you know, it's not conceivable that anybody would actually
convert to Islam out of free will like I've literally seen that written by African academic publications by Indian scholars. I mean, who is intolerant here? I don't know what to say except that that that that that way of telling history is backward I would never accept it. Right Thank you. So
say this and you're next
you mentioned that he Jaws is the center of learning a lot.
Jeremy Allah Hassan that has any influence on Indian scholars. And the second question is another
Alim also is vilified. Yes. Any influence in India?
I was ally.
Yeah, I mean, he does.
You know, they're the the, the canon of that. I'd say that other people have a lot more if you're certain to the Sufi tradition. So as early as a, as a jurist was Shafi which means he's going to have limited I mean, his his work had already been superseded in the Shafi school. As a theologian he's, you know, archery, his work had already been superseded by other later scholars. As a Sufi, you know, his probably his most influential book is here, Aluma Deen, which does get discussed. And I remember there's one scholar who brings a copy of it, I think even in like part of its in his own hand, to India in the 1500s. And that's really treasured.
there, I'd say he's the if you look in terms of India, and the 1400s, and hundreds and hundreds and hundreds, the scholars from the Sufi tradition, who are really paid attention to a lot more, so her Wardy we die, I think 1245 in Iraq, Rumi, especially in the 1600s and 1700s. Muslim scholars love writing commentaries on Rumi Masnavi. Of course, if an hour B is very influential, so because Ali, it's not that he's not important, it's just that he's in a lot of ways his work had been superseded by people like even r&b and Rumi, and
later figures. Right, thank you. There was a question from Syed Hassan, but I think he has left so I'm gonna skip that. Next one is from Google, you have couple of questions you want to go ahead.
And after that will be Dr. Abdul Jabbar and mono G. Chatterjee.
Yeah, thank you. I want to ask why scholars in India wrote commentaries of books or for Hadees whether it was needed, or some other reason was there.
Professor Brown because to keep it short, please. Yeah.
You know, I don't I don't know why they did. I think that's that's a really, that's a really good question.
Because other other people in the Muslim world didn't, from the same time did not do that.
And it's not that they were any more or less Muslim.
I think they just got
they really got
I don't know, I think they just this this genre of writing became really valued and important. And people, it was their way of honoring the Prophet. I think that's one theory is that was their way of honoring the Prophet.
Right. Thank you. Abdul Jabbar? Yes.
Thank you. Great presentation. I didn't know a lot of history about Islam. I came from a very briefly I would like to kind of you talked about everything happened that not I come from a rural coastal part of Tamil Nadu, southmost, part of India. So I also come from a village as 100% Muslims. I was wondering about how this came about. Do you have an insight into the spread of Islam, Islamic traditions in other parts of India? Because there's something I always wondered about it. How, how come? So yeah, I don't know. I mean, there's, there's Richard Eaton has a great book called The rise of Islam on the Bengal frontier, which I recommend reading.
I think there's a lot of
a lot of different theories about kind of why conversion to Islam happens at various points. There's some theory that you know, kind of lower castes people become Muslim because it's sort of a way of escaping that and entering into a more not egalitarian but a more egalitarian community. Of course, the irony is then that Muslims basically recreate the caste system.
internally within an Assad with things like Park and now Park and things like that.
But what's very interesting is the areas where you have the most intensive conversion to a comprehensive conversion to Islam in the population in Ben Gaul and the Punjab are outside the areas of the kind of Hindu caste, sort of,
oh, you know, Brahmanic tradition, right. So, the areas that are within the sort of cause, you know, they can do Brahmins in the, you know, hundreds or something, if they would go to Bengali, they'd have to, like, purify themselves when they came back, because this was like you went outside the borders of your world, right? So the places where there's the most intensive conversion to Islam are the places that were not really within the Hindu religious universe before. And I wonder I don't know the answer about whether or not there's some elements in Tamil Nadu, Tamil Nadu that are similar to that, but I don't, I don't know. But I would look at
Richard Eden's book on the rise of Islam and the Bengal frontier as a source. Thank you. Thank you, one of the Chatterjee, your next.
Thank you, um, I agree with what strongly with Jonathan's issue, but you know, scription of the role of our unsaved
he is vilified and he is vilified for a number of reasons to do with, you know, I don't know the killing of Guru Gobind and Shivaji sun and so on. But that was a time when India was not India, it was a series of the Mughal Empire was had got too big, it couldn't be controlled centrally, he spent half as more than half his life trying to control other parts of the country and so on. And the narrative that we see if you could explain that narrative in more than one way. And the narrative which is now becoming the definitive nationalist narrative is this Hindu versus Muslim thing. But it's actually a regional conflict that was taking place at the time. There were Muslims and Shivaji
is armies. There were Muslims in the Guru's armies. So it was not it was not Muslim versus Sikh or Muslim versus Hindu. It was Punjabi versus the center, it was Maharashtrian versus the center. And the overcentralisation of the country was RMZ. Great, great failure, and it paid directly paved the way for the coming of the British. And in particular, because the Mughal Roger disintegrated to the point where when the British when the battle of Plessy took place, it was not made Jaffa who betrayed Suraj Tula. It was a Mughal emperor, this was a vassal of the Mughal emperor fighting a foreign power. And the Mughal emperor sent him Noid whatsoever. And when gold was lost, and it was
the richest part of the country at the time. So it was a regional conflict, which has been going on for a long, long time. The one thing, if anything, that came God from the British rule, it was the idea that we as a people had to rise together. And that is, indeed what happened. During the Great uprising in 1857. It was the first time that we actually rose together against it, common people, not some mirages, and stones or any of that common people, ordinary soldiers, of all communities rose together against a foreign invader.
Yeah, I think it's, you know, I'm not I'm not Indian.
I really like South Asia. I mean, I know, that's sort of a stupid thing to say, but I mean, I really, and I
don't, I don't, I don't see how, you know, anytime.
If you try to apply a really simplistic lens to such a complicated place, I can't see how that ends up leading to something good. I mean, you have to have a view that is going to be a little bit more permissive and flexible, otherwise, I just don't know how this is such a deep and broad universe can be managed. And, you know, I would, what's really interesting is the, the extent to which,
you know, the, when the Europeans first had the Portuguese first came and the British first came into, into Indian that, you know, the 1500s and stuff and they, they, they were encountered these, like some of the states in the deck and had and on the, in the good on the coast and Malabar coast, they had like cannon making technology that was way better than the Portuguese. It's really interesting. They had, they were exceptionally good arms makers, they, and then even when you look at the kind of history, that British takeover of, you know, kind of from roughly 1757 to around 1800 they were you know, it was not it was a really close call, right? I mean, if there had been one or
just one or two decisions made differently by rulers, you know, of the great states of India in the 1700s. The it'd be simply company would have been cast into the sea. And you know, the British had really
unmatched fighting skills when they came, but then the the different Indian states learned these from their French advisors. And they were as they really gave the British Army run for its money over and over again. And it was, you know, you know, it was like close quotes, close call, you know, one or two things that had to happen differently, and it would have been very different history. So I think even,
yeah, gosh, sorry. So so but at no stage during that time between 1757 and 1800, to the various Indian rulers, bless them rise together. So the British were fighting separately, then they took Heather ally and proposal done separately, at no point that these people communicate the first time we did that, and we almost won in 1857. That was a very, very close call, indeed, and could have gone either way. But that was the first time we had something called a sense of a nation. Yeah, you guys totally correct. I mean, it's if you if there had just been,
like one or two slight differences in alliances, you know, who was aligned with who in the 1770s or 80s, it would have been a good game over for the British in South Asia. Right. Thank you. That was the last question resume that you
were. So I guess everybody is happy now with the questions and responses.
While we don't have that many questions, and so can you can you show me the next slide.
So what, thank you very much President, Jonathan browser. It is really very informative and very enlightening lecture. And I hope that most of our audience has learned a lot
coming lecture is from Jamia Millia. Islamia Delhi. And though we stand with this, but I'm not so sure about the speaker's health. Last night he called me that he is having a fever and with the corona epidemic there. I
just wish him well and hope that he recovers and he doesn't have it. So he will be the next speaker.
But in case he doesn't, then we will have some emergency speaker coming to our coming Saturday.