Islam in India Bibliography


Ahmad, Aziz. An Intellectual History of Islam in India. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 1969.

A descriptive account of the learned classes of Islamic society in India and their concerns; this is an important topic, in view of the normative function and influence of the `ulama' (Islamic scholars) in any Islamic society.

Amman, Mir. A Tale of Four Dervishes. New Delhi: Penguin, 1994. (Various editions, including nineteenth century ones, exist in Widener library. The introduction for this edition is recommended.)

This engaging work of fiction, ascribed to the fourteenth century North Indian poet, Amir Khusrau, was translated into Urdu from the Persian in the early nineteenth century by Mir Amman. The work shares some characteristics with The Arabian Nights; it is the story of a king who meets four princes who have become impoverished wanderers. As each relates his life story, the themes of love, life's difficulties, destiny, and divine providence emerge. An interesting final paper could address the question of what we can learn about South Asian culture from this popular work of fiction.

Asani, Ali. "In Praise of Muhammad: Sindhi and Urdu Poems" in Lopez, Donald S., ed. Religions of India in Practice. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1995.

Translation of and commentary on devotional poems to the Prophet Muhammad in two South Asian languages.

al-Biruni. Alberuni's India. E. Sachau, ed. New Delhi: Atlantic Publishers, 1989. (Other editions exist.)

"An account of the religion, philosophy, literature, geography, chronology, astronomy, customs, laws and astrology of India about A.D. 1030" by the Muslim scholar al-Biruni. Remarkable for its thoroughness, depth and impartiality, the work may be considered a pioneering anthropological investigation of Indian civilization.

Eaton, Richard. "Approaches to the Study of Conversion to Islam in India" in Martin, Richard C., Approaches to Islam in Religious Studies. Tucson: University of Arizona Press, 1985.

__________. "Sufi Folk Literature and the Expansion of Indian Islam" in Eliade,, eds., History of Religions, vol.14, part 2. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1974-5, pp.117-127.

__________. Sufis of Bijapur: 1300-1700. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1978.

Eaton's works explore how Islam became naturalized in particular South Asian contexts, and emphasizes the creative role Sufis played in this process of cultural accommodation.

Ernst, Carl. Eternal Garden: Mysticism, History, and Politics at a South Asian Sufi Center. Albany: State University of New York Press, 1992.


A multi-faceted and illuminating examination of a Deccan Sufi center, its history, and its living and literary religious culture. Includes discussion of the problematic historiography of Islam in South Asia, and of the relation between Sufism and politics in the region.

__________. 'India as a Sacred Islamic Land" in Lopez, Donald, ed. Religions of India in Practice. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1995.

Indian geography/cosmology from the Muslim perspective.


Esposito, John. Islam: The Straight Path. New York: Oxford University Press, 1991.

A useful general introduction to Islam, with an emphasis on Middle Eastern context and contemporary developments.


Findly, Ellison Banks. Nur Jahan: Empress of Mughal India. New York: Oxford University Press, 1993.

A pioneering and insightful biography of one of the most spectacular and influential of Mughal royal women. Explores, among other topics, Nur Jahan's political role during the reign of her husband, Emperor Jahangir, the nature of harem life, and the business enterprises of royal and noble women.


Gandhi, Rajmohan. Understanding the Muslim Mind. Albany: State University of New York Press, 1986.

Eight biographical chapters on prominent Muslim leaders of the twentieth century in the context of "a fresh look at the Hindu-Muslim relationship" by the author of Revenge and Reconciliation.


Lowry, Glenn. "Humayun's Tomb: Form, Function, and Meaning in Early Mughal Architecture" in Muqarnas 4, 1987, pp.133-147.

An example of the school of contemporary scholarship which explores history and political ideology through architecture.


Metcalf, Barbara. Perfecting Women: Maulana Ashraf `Ali Thanawi's Bihishti Zewar. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1990.

A partial translation of and commentary on an enormously influential early-20th century North Indian reformist text for women.

__________. Moral Conduct and Authority: The Place of Adab in South Asian Islam. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1984.

An anthology of selected essays by leading scholars on the rich topic of adab, or the Islamic notion of civilized behavior (which incorporates Islamic knowledge, values, and action) in South Asian Islamic society. Parts I-IV of the book cover "Classical Adab", "Adab as Islamic Ideal", "Adab as Cosmopolitan Culture", and "Alternatives to Adab". Essays deal with themes such as the adab of musicians, of Sufi saints and their disciples, of women.

Mujeeb, M. The Indian Muslims. London: George Allen & Unwin, Ltd., 1967.

An extensive overview, arranged historically, which covers Islamic law, politics, religious thought, Sufism, literature, architecture and the arts, and social life across early, middle and modern periods.


Richards, John F. The Mughal Empire. The New Cambridge History of India Series. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1993.

A fresh and creative look at Mughal history, with interesting treatment of modes of autocratic centralization, consolidation of the empire, land taxation, and the emperors' religious policies.


Rizvi, S.A.A. A History of Sufism in India. New Delhi: Munshiram Manoharlal Publishers, 1978-1983.

Includes information on the various Sufi orders; North Indian focus.


Robinson, Francis. "Perso-Islamic Culture in India From the Seventeenth to the Early Twentieth Century" in Robert Canfield, ed., Turko-Persia in Historical Perspective. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, pp.104-131.

Persian culture was "the second great cultural nexus of the Islamic world" (after the Arabic), and infused Mughal and Deccan court life in a variety of ways. Robinson explores the evolution of the Persian heritage in the South Asian context.


Roy, Asim. "The Interface of Islamization, Regionalization and Syncretization: the Bengal Paradigm" in A.Dallapiccola and S.Lallemant, eds., Islam and the Indian Regions. Stuttgart: Steiner, 1993, pp.95 -128.

Roy shares Eaton's concern with the means of indigenization of Islam in India.


Russell, Ralph. "The Pursuit of the Urdu Ghazal" in Journal of Asian Studies, Nov 1969, pp.107-124.

An exploration of one of the most important and appealing of South Asian Muslim literary forms. The ghazal, typically recited or sung, is remarkable as a sophisticated poetic form, as well as for its ambiguous, subtly nuanced content -- for example, the same verses may express illicit romantic love or the high reaches of mystical devotion.


Annemarie Schimmel. Islam in the Indian Subcontinent. Leiden: E.J. Brill, 1980.

An excellent overview by one of the world's leading scholars of Islam and Sufism.


Troll, Christian. Muslim Shrines in India: Their Character, History and Significance. Delhi: Oxford University Press, 1989.

An edited volume of essays, including "documentary", "interpretive", "theological" and "review" sections, with accounts of several of the major shrines of (northern) India such as that of Mu`inuddin Chishti at Ajmer (Rajasthan).


Welch, Stuart C. Imperial Mughal Painting. New York: George Braziller, 1978.

Treatment of one of the most highly developed and prized of Indian Islamic art forms, by a leading scholar of the field.