Islam in the Indian Ocean World A Brief History with Documents

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  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2016-01-05
  • Publisher: Bedford/St. Martin's

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This volume provides an understanding of how Islam changed the Indian Ocean world and vice versa — a world historical lesson that stretches across several centuries, a vast ocean, its littoral, and in some cases well into the interior parts of this world. It underscores the role of Islam as a religious, economic, social, and political force in the Indian Ocean world. This title is useful both for instructors who base their approach to world history on encounters and connections and to those who use a civilizational model and need help in showing such connections at key historical moments. Including accounts from Muslims, Christians, and Buddhists, the documents highlight a complex and nuanced picture of the spread and influence of Islam. Document headnotes, a chronology, and analytical questions help students to place the spread of Islam across the Indian Ocean world in global historical context.

Author Biography

Omar H. Ali (Ph.D., Columbia University) is associate professor of comparative African diaspora history and interim dean of the Lloyd International Honors College at The University of North Carolina at Greensboro. He is the author of Malik Ambar: Power and Slavery across the Indian Ocean and wrote the essays for the exhibit "The African Diaspora in the Indian Ocean World" for the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture at The New York Public Library, adopted by UNESCO as part of the "The International Year for People of African Descent." Along with colleagues at his university, he founded the Islamic Studies Research Network. His work examines the intersection of the global African diaspora and Islam.

Table of Contents


Preface and Acknowledgments

List of Maps


INTRODUCTION: Expansion and Transformation of Islam in the Indian Ocean World

Muhammad and the Ummah

Islamization and Afro-Asianization

Arabia and Muslims Beyond the Peninsula

Merchants, Law, and Custom

Sufis, Ulema, and Society

East Africa: Abyssinia and the Swahili Coast

South Asia: Delhi, the Deccan, and Malabar

Southeast Asia: Sumatra, Malacca, and Aceh




1. Ibn Battuta, Marco Polo, and Zheng He

1. Ibn Battuta, The Travels of Ibn Battuta, ca. 1350

2. Marco Polo, The Travels of Marco Polo, ca. 1294

3. Zheng He, The Overall Survey of the Ocean’s Shores, 1433

2. Trade, Society, and Social Customs

4. Abd-er-Razzak, Narrative of the Journey of Abd-Er-Razzak, Ambassador from Shah Rukh, 1442

5. Muhammad ibn Asad Jalal ud-din al-Dawwani, Jalalean Ethics, ca. 1475

6. Ahmad Ibn Majid, Book of Useful Information on the Rules of Navigation, 1490; and Gathering of the Summarizing of the Concerning the First Principalsof the Knowledge of the Seas, 1462

7. Zain al-Din al-Malibari, Gift of the Mujahidin, 1583

8. Tomé Pires, Suma Oriental, 1512-1515

9. Duarte Barbosa, The Book of Duarte Barbosa: An Account of the Countries Bordering on the Indian Ocean and Their Inhabitants, ca. 1516

10. Antoine Galland (tr.), The Thousand and One Nights, 1717

11. François Bernier, Travels in the Mogul Empire, ca. 1668

3. Islamic Law, the Qur’ān, and Hadith

12. The Call to Prayer, Azzan, ca. 622

13. Fakhr ud-din al-Razi, An Encyclopedia of the Sciences, ca. 1175

14. Maulana Burhan ud-din Marghinani, Guidance, ca. 1195

15. Abu Hamid Muhammad al-Ghazali, Revival of the Religious Sciences, ca. 1100

16. Abu Amr Uthman, Letter to the Mamluk Sultan of Egypt, ca. 1392

17. Ahmad al-Wansharisi, The Clear Measure, ca. 1485

18. Selections from the Qur’an, ca. 610-632

19. Sahih Al-Bukhari, Selections from the Hadith, ca. 846

4. Muslim Polities and Politics

20. Chauney H. Stigand, The Land of Zinj: Being an Account of British East Africa, Its Ancient History and Present Inhabitants, 1913

21. An Arabic Account of Kilwa Kisiwani, ca. 1520

22. A Journal of the First Voyage of Vasco da Gama, 1497-1499

23. Hans Mayr, On the Sack of Kilwa and Mombasa, 1505

24. Gulbadan Begum, The History of Humayun, ca. 1600

25. Pieter van den Broeke, On Malik Ambar, ca. 1610

26. Imperial Edict from Chittagong, Bengal, 1666

5. Conversion and Religious Practice

27. Muhammad Ibn Jubayr, The Travels of Ibn Jubayr: Being the Chronicle of a Medieval Spanish Moor, 1183

Nizari Ismaili Qawali Devotional Songs

28. Pir Hassasn Shah (attrib.), "From His Light He Created the Earth," ca. 1450

29. Pir Fazal Shah (attrib.), "How Tired Are My Eyes," ca. 1625

30. The Chronicles of the Kings of Pasai, ca. 1350

31. Muhammad Mujir Wajib Adib, The Key to Paradise, ca. 1350

Women’s Devotional Songs

32. Shaykh Gisu Daraz (attrib.), "Grindstone Song," ca. 1450

33. Shaykh Salar (attrib.), "Spinning Wheel Song," ca. 1500

34. Mukundaram, Kavikankana Candi, ca. 1590

35. Malay Annals, ca. 1550

36. Abd al-Ra’uf, Essential Exposition and Clarification on the Visionary Experience of the Dying and what Gladdens Him, ca. 1650

6. Pluralism, Syncretism, and Reaction

37. Amīr Khusraw, Persian Ghazals, ca. 1300

38. Muhammad ibn Sasra, A Chronicle of Damascus, 1389-1397

39. Abd al-Qadir Bada'uni, On Akbar’s Tolerance, 1595

40. Shaikh Ahmad Sirhindi, Collected Letters, ca. 1600

41. Dara Shikoh, "The Secret of Unity," ca. 1650

42. Dara Shikoh, "Paradise," ca. 1650

43. "Na’t of the Prophet," ca. 1600

44. "In the Garden of the Prophet," ca. 1600

45. Abd ul-Haqq al-Dihlawi al-Bukhari, The Perfection of Faith, ca. 1650

46. Ibn ‘Umar Mihrabi, The Indian Proof, ca. 1615


A Chronology of Islam in the Indian Ocean World (570-1704)

Questions for Consideration

Selected Bibliography


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