A Living Portrait of India
Islam had its genesis outside India, in what is now Saudi Arabia. Followers of this faith are called Muslims. Islam was basically propounded by prophet Mohammad (born around 570A.D. in Mecca), although the belief is that it was brought to the world by Adam and different messengers were sent by God to preach this lesson and Mohammad was the one who came last. In other words, Mohammad gave the final form to an already existing religion. Muslims are also referred to as Mohammedans.
The sacred book of the Muslims is the Quran (from Arabic `to recite'), held to be revelations from Allah, and not the preachings of Prophet Mohammad. Engraved on a tablet in heaven, the Quran has existed from the beginning of time and was revealed to Mohammad himself through the angel Jibreel (Gabriel).
Islam is a monotheistic faith and the acceptance of Allah as the one God, and Mohammad as his prophet, is called Shahda. A Muslim is required to perform the devotional exercise of Namaaz five times a day. In the ninth month of the Muslim calendar, Ramzan, the Muslims have to observe Roza, a strict fast from dawn to dusk on each day of the month. They should visit Mecca, the birthplace of Mohammad, the prophet or Haji, at least once in a lifetime, and this pilgrimage is called Haj. They should donate a portion of their income to the poor, and this is the Zakat. Together, Shahda, Namaaz, Roza, Haji and Zakat constitute the five ingredients of Islam. Muslims worship at Masjids or mosques.
The law of Islam is the Shariah, believed to be based on divine revelations.
The majority of the Muslim community are the Sunnis who consider that
Mohammad as a prophet can have no successor. For the Shi'a Muslims,
the main religious authority is the Imam or priest. Muslims entered
India for the first time at the beginning of the 8th century when the
Arabs made their inroads. Muslim invaders and settlers, other than the
Arab conquerors of Sind, belonged to various Asiatic races, Iranian
Persians, Turks, Afghans, other people of mixed descent, and even Mongols.
Muslim immigration ended with the establishment of the Mughal dynasty
in the 16th century. Increase in Muslim population since then has been
by conversion and natural population growth. It was because of the weightage
of the Muslim population in undivided India that in 1947, the Partition
was effected and Pakistan was born a day before India regained her independence.