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The Languages of Political Islam

India 1200-1800

The Languages of Political Islam illuminates the diverse ways in which Islam, from the time of its arrival in India in the twelfth century through its height as the ruling theology to its decline, adapted to its new cultural context to become "Indianized."

Muzaffar Alam shows that the adoption of Arabo-Persian Islam in India changed the manner in which Islamic rule and governance were conducted. Islamic regulation and statecraft in a predominately Hindu country required strategic shifts from the original Islamic injunctions. Islamic principles could not regulate beliefs in a vast country without accepting cultural limitations and limits on the exercise of power. As a result of cultural adaptation, Islam was in the end forced to reinvent its principles for religious rule. Acculturation also forced key Islamic terms to change so fundamentally that Indian Islam could be said to have acquired a character substantially different from the Islam practiced outside of India.

200 pages | 6 x 9 | © 2004

Asian Studies: South Asia

History: Asian History

Religion: Islam


"A fascinating window into one of South Asia’s most creative historical periods."

Holly Donahue | Virginia Quarterly Review

"A significant contribution to the understanding of medieval, pre-modern India."

Muslim World Book Review

"This work is the single most useful and reliable volume on medieval north Indian cultural history available today. . . . Alam’s book will undoubtedly benefit students of history, literature, and religion."

Syed Akbar Hyder | Journal of Asian Studies

"Alam works on a large canvas with sweeping brushstrokes, seeking to relate the political theory of Muslim states in South Asia . . . to the broader sweep of medieval and early modern Islamic thought. . . . Alam has created a powerful framework for rethinking not only the creation and spread of Mughal political culture but also its ramifications into the eighteenth century and beyond."

Robert Travers | Eighteenth-Century Studies

Table of Contents

1. Introduction
2. Shari’a, Akhlaq and Governance
3. The Sufi Intervention
4. Language and Power
5. Opposition and Reaffirmation
Concluding Remarks

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