IslamHinduismPaper2 - Arnold Gregory Arnold Always...

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Arnold Gregory Arnold Always Separate, Always Together: Islam, Sufism, and India Dar al-Islam , the abode of the Islamic faith, is a massive span of territory, stretching from the Atlantic to the Pacific, and from the steppes of Central Asia to the tropics of the Southern Hemisphere. As such, it is completely sensible that the teachings and understandings of Islam are hardly uniform. The Indian subcontinent contains a very unique and interesting example of what distance can do to metaphysical thought. In the subcontinent, Sufi elements have deeply permeated society and led to a distinctly Indian form of Islam. But what are these alterations? And are they uniquely Sufi, or do they come from older traditions? Is this identity new, or is it co-opted from the old? It is apparent through the evidence present that the Sufi contributions to Indian Islam are not only significant, but also a crucial element in the transition between Hinduism and Islam. The core goal of Sufi thought is to reach a closer state of existence with God, ultimately culminating for some in the state of fan’a , or “annihilation” where the difference between God and the individual is blurred beyond recognition. (Ernst 1997: 60) But how does this translate practically into the common beliefs and ideals of the subcontinent? Out of all the regions for the spread of Islam, India may have been the most willing to accept this idea. India had a long religious history of gods being reincarnated and their mortal avatars. But it was in the ideas of
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IslamHinduismPaper2 - Arnold Gregory Arnold Always...

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