Islam Under Scrutiny by Ex-Muslims

Muslim Brothers of Indian Subcontinent: It's Time for Homecoming, Part 5b

Editor note:  We are in favor of leaving religions altogether. However, this article is published here, because, a peaceful appeal to Muslims for their return to their roots, from which they were brutalized to accept Islam, deserves a place here and everywhere else.

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Origin of Muslim Caste System

Initially, the Muslim caste system in India originated as Ashraf and Ajlaf divide: the Ashraf were the noble castes, who came from foreign lands; the converted Indians were classed as the inferior Razil, Kamin or Ajlaf. This Ashraf-Ajlaf divide was a kind of apartheid as Yogindar Sikand writes,

This owed not just to racial differences, with local converts generally being dark-skinned and the Ashraf lighter complexioned, but also to the fact that the Ashraf belonged to the dominant political elites, while the bulk of the Ajlaf remained associated with ancestral professions as artisans and peasants which were looked down upon as inferior and demeaning.

A classical, oft-quoted example in this regard is provided by the Fatawa-i- Jahandari, written by 14th-century Turkish scholar, Ziauddin Barani, a leading courtier of Sultan Muhammad bin Tughlaq of Delhi. This text is the only known surviving Indo-Persian treatise exclusively devoted to Islamic political theory from the period of the Delhi Sultanate. Barani was a fervent champion of Ashraf supremacy and despised the Ajlaf, whom he designated as 'low-born'. Barani insisted that the Sultan should consider it his religious duty to deny the Ajlaf access to knowledge, branding them as 'mean', and 'despicable'.

Thus he designated the Ajlaf as dogs, pigs and bears and advised the Sultan:

Teachers of every kind are to be sternly ordered not to thrust precious stones down the throats of dogs or to put collars of gold round the necks of pigs and bears, that is, to the mean, the ignoble and the worthless, to shopkeepers and to the low-born they are to teach nothing more than the rules about prayer, fasting, religious charity and the haj pilgrimage, along with some chapters of the Qur'an and some doctrines of the faith, without which their religion cannot be correct and valid prayers are not possible. But they are to be taught nothing else, lest it bring honour to their mean souls.

According to Barani, if the Ajlaf were allowed access to education, they might challenge the Ashraf hegemony. Therefore, he sternly warned the Sultan and said:

They are not to be taught reading and writing, for plenty of disorders arise owing to the skill of the low born in knowledge.

If it is discovered at the time of investigation that the teachers have imparted knowledge or taught letters or writing to the low born, inevitably the punishment for their disobedience will be meted out to them.

Barani continued:

To promote base, mean, low-born and worthless men to be the helpers and supporters of the government has not been permitted by any religion, creed, publicly accepted tradition or state-law.

Allah Himself, Barani claimed, had decided that the Ajlaf be confined to 'inferior' occupations, as they were 'low born, bazaar people, base, mean, worthless, plebian, shameless and of dirty birth'. He also maintained that Allah had given them 'base' qualities, such as 'immodesty, wrongfulness, injustice, cruelty, non-recognition of rights, shamelessness, impudence, blood-shedding, rascality, jugglery and Godlessness'. So the Ajlaf had to be restricted from taking up professions reserved by Allah for the Ashraf, even if they were qualified. Therefore, the Ashraf alone had the right and responsibility of taking up 'noble' occupations, such as ruling, teaching and preaching the faith.

Barani warned the king that if the Sultan conferred any post in his court or government service to the Ajlaf, the 'court and the high position of the king would be disgraced, the people of Allah would be distressed and scattered, the objectives of the government would not be attained, and, finally, the king would be punished on the day of Judgment'.

To establish his claim, Barani referred to a hadith, in which Muhammad is said to have declared that for some tribes, 'The vein is deceptive'. Barani explained the tradition that 'the good vein and the bad vein draw towards virtue and vice', and that 'in the well-born and the noble only, the virtue and loyalty appear, while from the man of low birth and bad birth only wickedness and destruction originate'.

Verse 49:13 of the Koran says, “O mankind! Lo! We have created you male and female, and have made you nations and tribes that ye may know one another. Lo! The noblest of you, in the sight of Allah, is the best in conduct. Lo! Allah is knower, Aware.”

Many pro-Ashraf scholars believed that the verse conclusively proves that Allah Himself created some people as noble and some others as lowborn. According to H. N. Ansari, a contemporary Indian Muslim scholar and an activist of a 'low' caste Muslim organization, remarked that, this represented a profoundly 'un-Islamic' explanation of the Qur'an. However, Prophet Muhammad himself held a similar view between Koreish and the non-Koreish Arabs. Furthermore, he believed that the Koreish were the noblest among the Arab tribes and only the Koreish had the right to be a Caliph.

The Notion of Kafa’a

The word kafa’a stands for legitimacy of a marriage. It is widely, but fallaciously or deceptively, propagated that the Qur'an and genuine Prophetic traditions consider Muslims as equals, and hence, allow any Muslim to marry a suitable Muslim spouse from any background. In choosing an ideal partner for marriage, they propagate the notion that the Qur'an recommends piety (taqwa) and faith (iman) as the only mark, rather than birth or wealth. They cite examples of the Prophet that he had allowed freed slave men to marry the Arab women. In this regard, they cite the example of Zaid, a black slave freed by Muhammad, to whom the Prophet gave his cousin Zainab in marriage. But they ignore the fact that this marriage was sham, a ploy, set up by aged Muhammad in his desire to add the young and beautiful Zainab into his own harem (read the story: Sex With Daughters-in-Law: Divinely Ordained in Islam). Indeed, Muhammad had added her into his harem before the marriage between Zaid and Zainab was consummated.

One must also take into account that the famous Salman the Persian, a distinguished convert of Muhammad, had to withdraw his desire to marry a daughter of Caliph Omar, because he was a non-Arab. It should be added here that Salman had saved Muhammad and his community, and, Islam, for that matter, in the Battle of the Ditch by giving Muhammad the idea of digging a trench surrounding his community as defence. Muhammad himself had thanked Salman for the saving the day for Islam and praised him and his people for their excellence in knowledge.

The social hierarchical system, as recognized by the Quran and Prophet Muhammad (read more here: Racism in Islam: Allah’s White Faces), in which the Koreish were placed at the height of nobility, followed by other Arab tribes, followed by non-Arabs, later on evolved further transforming Islamic societies into a sharply hierarchical social order. Notions of social hierarchy based on birth, clan or race also gradually became incorporated into the corpus of writings of Islamic jurisprudence or fiqh. Taking a spouse from outside one's kafa'a was sternly frowned upon, if not explicitly forbidden by the fuqaha (jurists). For a non-Arab, marrying an Arab, particularly a woman, became a social crime during the entire age of Islam, continuing to this day in Arab societies.

In the Indian subcontinent, the vast majority of Indian Muslims follow the Hanafi law. The opinions of the classical Hanafi scholars regarding kafa’a continued reflect the caste system and social hierarchy. Most Indian Hanafis seem to have regarded caste (biraderi), understood as hereditary occupational group (i.e., division of labour) as an essential factor in deciding kafa'a. It was continued to be determined on consideration of following salient points: (1) legal status as free or enslaved (azadi), (2) economic status (maldari), (3) occupation (pesha), (4) intelligence ('aql), (5) family origin or ethnicity (nasb), (6) piety (taqwa), and (7) absence of bodily defects.

In this way, the caste system was legitimized amongst Muslims of India through the notion of kafa'a: taking a spouse from outside one's kafa'a was sternly frowned upon, if not explicitly forbidden by the fuqaha. In support of this notion of kafa’a, the ulama used to refer to a hadith according to which caliph 'Umar refused to let a girl from a rich family to marry a man from a lower class.

But later on, many scholars raised their voice against the above-mentioned caste system amongst Muslims declaring it un-Islamic, out of their ignorance of course. Contemporary Indian Muslim scholar, Maulana 'Abdul Hamid Nu'mani, is one of them. Nu'mani belongs to the Ansari caste of hereditary weavers, traditionally considered ‘low born’ by ashraf Muslims. He asserts that, according to the Qur'an, kafa'a should be considered only on piety. Hence, the only criterion for deciding a marriage partner should, ideally, be his or her personal character and dedication to the faith. In other words, he suggested that, there should be no religious bar for a Muslim man, even from a low caste, or a low caste Hindu convert to Islam, to marry a Muslim girl from a high caste or vice versa.

However, caste and caste-based social hierarchy, through the notion of kafa'a, were accepted and propagated as a social norm and binding for Muslims by important sections of the ulama. It is widely practised amongst Muslims today, despite some Muslim scholars' denouncement of it (as do Hindus in their society). So, the Muslims of India, who usually denounce Hinduism for its caste system and try to project that Islam is free from this evil, are either ignorant or trying to hide caste system deeply integrated in Muslim society.

In conclusion, let me emphasize that the Muslim society of India are not at all free from many of the socials ills of Hindu society, they frequently point to. They are often as stark and integrated in the Muslim society, but remain unrecognized, unspoken. The Hindus have recognized all its past and continuing social ills and are making strenuous efforts to rid their society from them. The Hindus of India would cleanse their society of these ills and move forward to become a proud and contributory part of the emerging global civilization: the sings are all there for one to see.

Unfortunately, the same cannot be expected of the Muslim world, of India's Muslims in particular. The Arab Islamic imperialism they embraced did little to free themselves from what they call the ills of Hinduism. Instead, the debilitating, violent nature of their new ideology is crippling them in every respect: their contributions to all indices of social and national development and progress are declining. Poverty, lack of education, tendency toward violence, human rights violation within the Islamic community and beyond are becoming the hallmark of their community within the wider Indian society.

Freeing themselves from the yoke of the Arab imperialism, from the debilitating cult of Islam, remains a precondition for the subcontinental Muslim society (and of the wider Muslim world) to march toward progress and prosperity. Freedom and liberty to choose as one wishes to live one's life, to pursue one's dream, is a precondition to excel in the race of modern civilization. The Islamic creed imparts religious scruples at every step of one's life to pursue what is needed to excel in today's society. For India's Muslims, returning to their civilizational root, which, undoubtedly, allows much greater freedom and liberty, is an option to them. They just have to look around to realize where their non-Muslim neighbors are heading to and where their own society.

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Name: religion is a disease truth is the only cure
Date: Monday February 02, 2009
Time: 06:06:13 -0500


religion is a disease truth is the only cure.u hindus send mails to all abt isw.mullas and arabs have entrapped hindus ,muslims all world from islam.

Name: hindus why u r so coward ?? why not fight islam ??
Date: Monday February 02, 2009
Time: 08:42:55 -0500


why hindus r so cowardly ?? why not fight idlam openly ?? i gave isw site details to some hindu friends,who were ranting abt islam.i said go to gmail open ficticious id,put all yr id's into it and send to all so noone knows,and GAND PHATI,means they r shit scared.i said u want to defeat islam why afraid.finally took their mail id's list and created id and send to all hindus.i expected high response,but of the 1500 mails,less then 10 responded that too saying dont send this crap to us. i wonder how these stupid hindus will ever be able to stand up and fight.i am aghast at this indifference of hindus.i have no words to say but that hindus r themself responsible for their position and islamistaion of their country.

Name: balam
Date: Monday February 02, 2009
Time: 09:47:19 -0500


Hinduism and Islam are the two sides of the same coin.Both are pagan and racist cults.Hindus believe that the Brahmins are superior to other castes and the Muslims are deluded in believing their superiority over non-muslims.Both of these are evil cults,because they lack humanity and based on human fabrication. Mohammad was a trader ,turned robber and claimed prophethood with no credentials.I would never follow one,who is a child molesting paedophile,a robber, a murderer, a rapist,a deceiver of highest order,wife cheater as my moral guide. No wonder the Muslims are most hypocrite, callous and a-moral people one can meet but they are still so self deluded and arrogant. Hindus and Muslims hate the Christian teaching and the person of the Jewish Messiah, because the darkness can not stand the Light

Name: continuum to balam
Date: Monday February 02, 2009
Time: 17:29:33 -0500


"Hinduism and Islam are the two sides of the same coin.Both are pagan and racist cults.Hindus believe that the Brahmins are superior to other castes" So says a Christian whose religion teaches that non-Christians are dirty and unrighteous by default. ---------------Young’s Literal Translation (2 Corinthians) 6:14 Become not yoked with others — unbelievers, for what partaking is there to righteousness and lawlessness? 6:17 wherefore, come ye forth out of the midst of them, and be separated, saith the Lord, and an unclean thing do not touch, and I — I will receive you,------------ As you can see, why Hindus hate christian teaching which is actually darkness. your christian messiah is darkness, not light. Hinduism does not believe all Brahmins are superior by default. A King is superior to Brahmin, a good Shudra is superior to an evil Brahmin etc... I wonder why Islam-watch allows such blatantly christian comments with the goal of prioritization...

Name: Ilham Abdullah (ex-muslim)
Date: Monday February 02, 2009
Time: 23:35:58 -0500


Great research and a very fine article Dr.Brahmachari. Islamic history is certainly filled with many dark chapters. The horrors that Islam has inflicted on India in particular are truly disturbing. This religion is a recipe for disaster.

Name: Concerned
Date: Tuesday February 03, 2009
Time: 04:10:00 -0500


There is much bad blood amongst the readers of this website. Please realize that no religion is as detestable as Islam. Islam by its primitive, authoritarian, totalitarian outlook is a threat to the whole humanity. Kindly desist from taking potshots at other belief systems when discussing Islam. It leads to recrimination and distraction. This is not the place to promote your own religious brand. That will only cause our ranks to split. Let us also not quibble about theism and atheism. Every human being is threatened by Islam. Opposing Islam is the most urgent and crying need. Please, let us not be distracted

Name: dd
Date: Tuesday February 03, 2009
Time: 05:40:03 -0500


"i wonder how these stupid hindus will ever be able to stand up and fight.i am aghast at this indifference of hindus.i have no words to say but that hindus r themself responsible for their position and islamistaion of their country." Within 100 years of mohammed almost all of africa, arabia, mesopotomia, persia and almost all of europe was conquered by islam. By contrast after 1000 years of islamic agression and genocide only 30-35% of india has been islamized and that is because of the fighting spirit of our great ancestors, Islam had to fight for every inch of India. And Hinduism is today in better shape than it has been for a thousand years. At last we have started ruling ourselves even it is by a bunch of blinkered elected gasbags.

Name: Islam
Date: Tuesday February 03, 2009
Time: 06:14:09 -0500


Islam has started melting. That is true. On the one hand enlightened people are leaving Islam. On the other hand brainwashed fools are struck in Islam.Will they ever see the light of the truth.

Name: barudgar and qureshi r these 2 castes in islam ?
Date: Tuesday February 03, 2009
Time: 07:34:52 -0500


i am ex-muslim from india.recently a friend i will not give his first name but only last name : barudgar his sn fell in love with a girl from a qureshi family. due to soe reason this qureshi family said they r not of same caste and they r higher caste muslim and finally the marriage was not allowed,so the boy and girl adopted buddhism and got married.what is funny is that how come this happens in islamic people who claim to be casteless ??

Name: Peace
Date: Tuesday February 03, 2009
Time: 09:51:38 -0500


He is a big liar there is no caste system in islam on the other hand hinduism supports caste system, satti etc

Name: A House Divided
Date: Tuesday February 03, 2009
Time: 11:22:29 -0500


A house divided cannot stand. All those opposed to Islam must set aside differences otherwise Islamists will have the last laugh.

Name: Many
Date: Tuesday February 03, 2009
Time: 23:32:22 -0500


Hindus are not coward but are more tolerant they don't want to start the fight between people of another religion

Name: To : hindus why u r so coward.......
Date: Wednesday February 04, 2009
Time: 04:51:00 -0500


Stop yuor childish rants. Are muslims really so brave??? They are the worst cowards ever. They plant explosive in market places ,shoot down unarmed innocent civilians,murder women and children,etc. Do you call these acts of bravery?? These are acts of cowards , mentally deranged people who follow a man who died some 1400 years ago ,the world's first terrorist who calls himself a prophet. Prophethood is the biggest fraud since they claim to represent some fake nonexisting deity just to grab political power to spread tyrany ,anarchy, immorality and bigotry. These prophets are scheming rascals ,self-promoting bastards, evil,satanic and yet they claim to be holy!. What is their 'god' but a ruse to further their immorality and pursue personal glory,wealth without earning it honestly but by looting,plundering and massacring ,all in the name of that fake 'Allah'. These people are conscienceless, unscrupulous scoundrels, blackguards bent on creating discord and unmitigated violence to further their own selfish ends. No doubt you belong such an amoral,criminal and immoral ilk that you cannot stomach civilzed and cultured behaviour that you mistake for cowardice. Do you have the guts to go on a war than hiding and terrorising with killing innocent and unarmed men,women and children??. You will not dare a war because you are a coward and you know that you will lose any proper war miserably. So you loud mouthed filthy islamist shut your filthy trap!!!

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