Concerning the religion of the Musalmäns in the East Indies.
The diversity which exists among the Musalmäns consists not only in the different explanations which they give of their Koran,1
but also in the different opinions which they entertain regarding the
first successors of Muhammad. From this cause two sects, entirely
opposed to one another, have sprung ; the one calling itself the Sunnis
is followed by the Turks, the other the Shï'as,2 which is
the sect of the Persians. I shall not delay here to say more as to the
difference between these two sects, which divide the Musalmän world,
having spoken sufficiently of them in my accounts of Persia, and
only describe the present condition of this false religion, both in the
Empire of the Great Mogul and in the Kingdoms of Golkonda and Bïjâpur.
At the first establishment of Islam in India the Christians 3 of
the East were very ostentatious [estoient fort superbes] but not very
devout, and the Idolaters were effeminate people unable to make much
resistance. Thus it was easy for the Musalmäns to subject both by force
of arms. This they did with so much success that many Christians and
Idolaters embraced the Law of Muhammad.
The Great Mogul with all his Court followed the sect of
1 Alcoran in the original.
1 Sounnis and Chias in the original, and Sunnis and Schiais in the Persian Travels, bk.
iv, eh. vii. The former revere the direct successors of Muhammad, and
the latter maintain that 'Ali and his sons Hasan and Husain are the
true successors to the caliphate. Sunnis predominate in the Musalmän
population of India, but there are also many Shï'as there, some of them
being descendants of Persian immigrants. (See Islam in India, Oxford, 1921, eh. i.)
M. Thévenot states that about the year 1665 some believed that there
were 25,000 families of Christians in Agra, but all were not agreed as
to this estimate (Voyage des Indes, 102). Colonel Sleeman, who
refers to this, adds that he himself came upon a colony of 2,000 in the
year 1814 in Bettiah in Tirhüt (Rambles and Recollections, ed. 1915, pp.
II ff. ; Smith, Akbar, The Great Mogul, 136 ff.).