Muslim dynasties rose and fell but Islam as a unifying force sustained the Muslims throughout these centuries. The ulema and sufis played a dominant role in the preservation of Islam. In the capital cities where the upper-class of Muslim society lived, ulema were the custodians of religion. Among the masses the Sufis worked most assiduously, generation after generation, to preserve the inner spirit of Islam and won thousands of converts from the indigenous communities. Islam in the subcontinent was, indeed, not spread by political power but through the missionary activities, as the heaviest concentration of Muslims in present Pakistan and Bangladesh (East Pakistan) was away from the influence of metropolitan cities of Delhi, Agra and Lahore. The saints of Islam excelled the Hindu priests and monks in piety, foresight and in every aspect of morality due to which Islam spread almost in every core and corner of the country. It were the sufis and saints of Islam who consummated the process of conquest, moral and spiritual, by establishing dargahs and khanqahs on the ruined sites of Hindus and Buddhist worship. By and by Hindus who had been venerating these sites gradually forgot their past and easily transferred their allegiance to the Muslim pirs and walis who were really paragons of compassion, courtesy and kindness. All the Sufis, pirs and walis who were the religious men of lofty character started coming to the Subcontinent in larger numbers in the wake of Muslim conquerors and some of them arrived even before the military and political conquests.
This article was last updated on Monday, Jan 03, 2005