It is unfortunate but for a large section of non-Muslims around the world, the defining perception of Islam and Islamic history has been influenced by what they see on news channels. Few realize that the 1,400-year-long history of Islam, across continents, is also a fascinating journey of cultural exuberance evident from Alhambra in Spain to the imperial capitals of Istanbul and Tehran, and further afield in South East Asia.
The recently released book Islam: An Illustrated Journey by Farhad Daftary and Zulfikar Hirji, published by Azimuth Editions in association with The Institute of Ismaili Studies, London, is a richly illustrated account of Islamic history, covering the social, political and cultural landscapes of the vast regions of the world where Islam was adopted and took root.
For centuries, India had strong trade and cultural ties with pre-Islamic Arabia and these continued even with the advent of Islam. Islam first arrived in India through Arab traders in the port cities on the western coast. The conquest of Sindh in 711 CE by the armies of the Ummayad chaliphate under Muhammad bin Al-Qasim Al-Thaqafi opened up a new chapter of Islam in Indian history.
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