Many Hindus and Indians have a misconception that the Mughal empire was the cause of the spread of Islam. But they can’t be farther from the truth. If you try to look with a neutralized vision, you will find that Islamic roots are far more profound than most Indians realize.
Islam is not a recent religion that appeared in the 16th century’s Persian Mughal Empire. It is one of the oldest religions. In fact, some evidence suggests that Islam reached south India almost a thousand years earlier. According to the evidence, it reached south India through trading practices on the Indian Ocean between Arab merchants and east African traders.
Who are Muslim Patels?
Muslim Patels refers to the Muslims living in India with the surname Patel. Most Muslim Patels are found in the state of Gujrat in India. The Muslim Patels are mostly dependent on agriculture. Some poor families work as laborers for rich landlords. They grow wheat, pulses, and cotton the most.
Gujrat – The State of Patels
Gujrat is one of the most western states of India. The coastline of Gujrat touches the Arabian sea, and so it has been a migration point. Years of migration in this state have made it a cosmopolitan area. The state is the home of different religious and ethnic communities, which are mirrored in both its architecture and its language. Gujratis are widely known for trade and business because of their years of experience in the fields.
How Muslims Become Patel?
As we discussed earlier, Islam entered Gujrat because of the Arab merchants and traders. Many of those merchants were Ismaili, both Nizari and Mustaali. These merchants laid the groundwork for Muslim communities, later known as Bohra and Khoja. Till the end of the thirteenth century, Gujrat was ruled by Hindu rulers. Gujrat experienced a Muslim ruler when Allaudin Khilji took control of Gujrat at the end of the thirteenth century. It introduced a five-century era of Muslim rulers. These events guided the conversion of Hindu Gujratis to Islam, which also led to the origination of new communities such as Miyana.
There’s a community tradition that dictates that Muslim Patels were originally Kurmi Caste Hindus. They were converted by a Sufi saint Sahawa Sindh.
Since Gujrat is home to many religious and ethnic communities, it has caused many social issues for the state. The number of issues and riots have spiked, especially after the partition of the sub-continent. It is estimated that since 1950, more than ten thousand people have been a victim of communal violence. Even in the last decade, the world saw some horrific events in Gujrat that originated because of the extreme beliefs of religious communities living in a neighborhood.
Gujrat’s land is filled with Muslim monuments, rich in culture and heritage. These monuments also serve as a shred of evidence that Muslims were a part of India, even before the reign of Mughal emperors.
Tomb of Meer Shah Syed Qutbuddin
One of the most prominent monuments of Islamic history in Gujrat is Hazira Maqbara. Hazira Maqbara is located in Purana Shahr, the old town. It is also known as the tomb of Meer Nawab Shah Syed Qutbuddin, the tutor of Jehangir, son, and successor of Akbar.
However, it is one of those Islamic monuments whose importance and recognition have been completely overlooked over the years. The mausoleum that belongs to the teacher of one of the most prominent Mughal emperors is hardly known in Gujrati history.
Chamapaner-Pavagadh Archaeological Park
Champaner-Pavagadh is an archeological park that was built in the eighth century. It is located in the city of Baroda, Gujrat. The site is full of exquisite features and designs, including masjids, mandirs, step-wells, and palaces. The site also displays the perfect mix of Islamic and Hindu architecture. It won’t be wrong to say that the site serves as a sacred destination for Hindus, Muslims, and people of other religions.
There are many other untold stories of Patels buried in the memories of Muslim locals.
The history of Gujrat and the history of Muslim Patels are intricately linked together. In recent years the Islamic heritage has been blurred out, and the primary reason behind this is the communal differences and religious extremists. Gujrat, once the home of different religious communities, now seems to be forgetting its past and tradition.