History of the Entry of Islam into India

KOMPAS.com – Currently, Islam is one of the religions with the largest number of followers in the world.

In India, where the majority of the population is Hindu, Islam is the second religion with the largest number of adherents.

In 2019, Indian Muslims numbered around 204 million people. This makes India’s Muslim population the third largest in the world.

The story of the entry of Islam into India itself has several versions. Some historians claim that Islam entered India from the reign of Caliph Umar bin Khattab (634-644).

Moreover, there are also those who maintain that Islam entered India brought by the Umayyad dynasty.

The following is the story of the entry of Islam into India.

Read also: History of the development of Islam in Thailand

The Caliphate of Umar bin Khattab

Middle Eastern historians argue that Islam entered India in the 7th century, specifically under Caliph Umar bin Khattab (634-644).

Around this time, Caliph Umar bin Khattab ordered an expedition to India with the aim of spreading Islam.

In 644, after the death of Caliph Umar bin Khattab, Islamic forces succeeded in conquering Makran in Balochistan.

After successfully subduing Makran, Islam grew rapidly in India, especially during the Umayyad period.

Read also: Umar bin Khattab, the friend who always intended to kill the Prophet

The Umayyad period

After the time of Khulafaur Rashidun, the influence of Islam was increasingly spread through the Umayyads, who made expeditions to India.

The Umayyad expedition to India was led by its military commander, Muhammad bin Qasim.

During the expedition, Umayyad troops under the leadership of Muhammad bin Qasim succeeded in controlling Sindh.

After that, Arabs started entering and developing life in India in 871.

Arabs then established communities and mingled with local residents, until Islam spread rapidly.

In its development, Muslims in India can be categorized into several groups, namely:

  • Immigrant Muslims are found in Sindh and Punjab.
  • Muslims were descended from nobles and soldiers of the Islamic empire who inhabited the Deccan.
  • Muslims of Arab origin who inhabit the west coast of India.

Read also: The Umayyad Caliphate: the golden age and the end of power

Ghaznavid dynasty period

In the next period, the spread of Islam in India was achieved by Sultan Mahmud of the Ghaznawiyah dynasty (975-1187) of Persia.

It is said that the propagation of Islam achieved by Sultan Mahmud after the conquest of India was done through coercion.

The local Indian community which is still Hindu-Buddhist was forced by Sultan Mahmud to convert to Islam through oppression or forced circumcision.

However, aside from coercion by Sultan Mahmud, thousands of Indians embraced Islam of their own free will.

Read also: Conquest of Persia by the Muslims

Eastern Lenk period

The spread of Islam by way of conquest was also achieved by Timur Lenk, a conqueror and ruler of Sunni Islam of Turco-Mongol origin from Central Asia.

In a note, this powerful 14th century figure recounts his 15-day experience in Delhi after conquering India.

Timur Lenk’s account mentions that the conquest of India was a symbol of war against faithless enemies.

Timur Lenk also regretted that his sword, which was called the da’wah sword, must have been stained with murder when he conquered India.

Since then, Islam has steadily grown and become the second largest religion in India.


  • Arnold, Thomas W. (2019). Complete history of the spread of Islam around the world. Yogyakarta: IRCiSoD.

Get updates selected news and latest news every day on Kompas.com. Let’s join the Telegram group “Kompas.com News Update”, how to click on the link https://t.me/kompascomupdate, then join. First you need to install the Telegram app on your mobile phone.

Cheryl Tenny

"Thinker. Food advocate. Incurable coffee enthusiast. Communicator. Proud student. Zombie buff. Tv fanatic. Extreme troublemaker."

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *