One of the important reasons for the rapid growth of Islam is the influence of Islamic teachings based on equality and justice. The fabric of Indian society had disintegrated into hundreds of factions because of the caste based divisions and it had moved too far from the basic human values like equality. Therefore, the most significant contribution of Islam to our country was the message of equality. These teachings and their physical manifestations and their results had a deep impact on the psychology of the masses. Even though it cannot be denied that in the later centuries, this same evil of caste based inequality (due to losing connect with Islamic teachings) did penetrate into Muslim population, but his can be at best referred to the as the weakness of the Muslim society. Otherwise, the mainstream Islamic teachings and the absence of caste-based divisions in the initial years of propagation of Islam are enough to prove that Islam had done commendable job of wiping out the evil of caste-based inequality significantly from the Indian soil.
The flourishing Indo-Arab relations paved the way for progress in the fields of knowledge and wisdom. Science and art also flourished in parallel. In fact, Arab and Muslim scholars of the early medieval ages were the ones who brought many a discoveries and findings of geography, history, philosophy and science to the Indian shores. Similarly, between 750 to 900 AD followers of Islam took the Sanskrit knowledge to the nook and corners of the world by way of translation. It was Al Mansoor who translated the ‘Siddhant’ i.e. the principles of astronomy and opened up new dimensions of astronomy to the world.
Will Durant puts it in “Story of Civilisation’ that it was due to these translations that the Indian concept of zero was introduced to the world. Thus the followers of Islam not only enriched the Indian soil with various aspects of medical science, mathematics, philosophy, science, geography and art but also took Indian knowledge to foreign boundaries. Not only this, Muslim architects, engineers and craftsmen contributed heavily towards the beautiful buildings, gardens and infrastructure on the country. They introduced many new dimensions of urban development as a result of which beautiful cities cropped up in the country. They have a lion’s share in the beautiful landscape that the country presents today. The Taj Mahal, Red Fort, Qutub Minar, Shalimar Bagh, just to name a few, are the shining examples of amalgamation of Arab, Indian and Iranian architectures. As a result, by the end of the 12th century, the face of the Indian architecture had changed significantly.
Moreover, Islamic calligraphy, inscriptional art, decorative lettering, interesting use of coloured marble are adapted from the Indo-Islamic architecture. Muslims have also enriched our country with this cultural heritage.
Muslims have also played a major role in the Indian freedom struggle, and many historians have openly accepted this contribution. Maulana Mehmudul Hasan Madni, Husain Ahmed Madni, Abdullah Sindhi and Hasrat Mohani’s movements and imprisonment in British jails are shining examples of the involvement and commitment of religious leadership against the British rule. The Silk Handkerchief (reshmi romaal) movement was solely at the behest and initiative of this religious leadership which had shaken the annals of British hierarchy in India. Not just the clerics, even the common populace played a commendable role in the freedom struggle. Maulana Abul Kalam Azad, Khan Abdul Gaffar Khan, Hakeem Ajmal Khan, Rafi Ahmed Kidwai, Maulana Mohammed Ali, Maulana Shaukat Ali Jauhar and many others were a vital part of the freedom struggle. Also, lest we forget, it was Ashfaqullah Khan and other young and dynamic Muslim youth who gave the ultimate sacrifice for the country. In a nutshell, major part of the Muslim populace fought together with their brethren in the freedom struggle.
Muslims have also played an important role in building the nation in the post independence era. In spite of many a challenges, Muslim scientists, engineers, bureaucrats, entrepreneurs, intellectuals and artists and sportsmen have contributed in almost every endeavor of human interest.