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A similar pattern exists among the larger U. Three-in-ten Muslims also say that being successful in a high-paying career is one of the most important goals in their life — higher than the comparable share of U. Career success is most important among young Muslims and recent immigrants. Having free time is the least important of the four life goals asked about in the survey.


One-in-five Muslims say having free time to relax and do what they want is one of the most important things to them, similar to the share of Americans overall who say this. The survey included a series of questions that asked Muslims whether several beliefs or behaviors are important or essential to what being Muslim means to them, personally. A Pew Research Center survey found that U.

By comparison, a majority of U. And far fewer U. Muslims are much more likely to say this than U. Muslims are similarly divided about the importance of eating halal food see glossary for a definition of halal.

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Here again, this view is most common among the most religious Muslims. Four-in-ten U. Muslims say getting married is essential to what being Muslim means to them. There is little difference between men and women on this issue, but married respondents are more likely than those who are not married to say marriage is essential to what being Muslim means to them.

In addition to these eight items, respondents were asked if there was anything else that they personally see as essential to what it means to be Muslim. About Pew Research Center Pew Research Center is a nonpartisan fact tank that informs the public about the issues, attitudes and trends shaping the world. It conducts public opinion polling, demographic research, media content analysis and other empirical social science research. Pew Research Center does not take policy positions.

It is a subsidiary of The Pew Charitable Trusts. Muslims proud to be American, satisfied with life Nine-in-ten U. Muslims today less likely to say most of their friends are Muslim About one-in-three U. In their own words: What Muslims said about their friends and family Pew Research Center staff called back some of the Muslim American respondents in this survey to get additional thoughts on some of the topics covered.

In their own words: What Muslims said about their sense of belonging to the global Muslim ummah and the U. Muslim community Pew Research Center staff called back some of the Muslim American respondents in this survey to get additional thoughts on some of the topics covered. Pagination Next: 3.

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    Biradaris, castes, professions, and class interests kept them politically and culturally divided. The ulema made strenuous attempts to foster a religious consciousness and to build a Muslim identity on such consciousness, by dividing Indian society into believers and non-believers. Their attitude towards locally converted Muslims was particularly hostile. They argued that by retaining some of their indigenous Indian customs, they were half Muslims and half Hindus.

    The ulema further argued that true Islam could be understood only through knowledge of Arabic or Persian. By that definition, Muslims of foreign origin were taken to be better than those who had been locally converted. These latter were catgorized as ignorant, illiterate, and bad Muslims. However, it must be said that in that period AD when the power of the Muslim rulers in India was at its height, no attempts were made to arouse religious, political, or social consciousness on the basis of a Muslim identity.

    It was only in the period of Akbar, when Rajputs were being integrated with Mughal nobility, that some ulema raised a voice against his religious, political, and social reforms and asserted the separateness of Hindu and Muslim communities. Later on, Aurangzeb tried to rally Muslim support by trying to unite them under a state-imposed version of fiqh Islamic jurisprudence , compiled as the Fatawa-i-Alamgiri. But all his efforts failed to arrest the process of political disintegration which he was thus trying to avoid.

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    During the later period, the decline of Mughal political power dealt a heavy blow to the ruling Mughal aristocracy. Immigrants from Iran and Central Asia stopped coming in due to lack of patronage. The dominance of the Persian language weakened. Urdu emerged as the new language of the Muslim elite. The social as well as the political hegemony of Muslims of foreign origin was reduced.

    Locally converted Muslims began to claim and raise themselves to a new, higher status. The rise and successes of the East India Company undermined the role of the Muslim ruling classes. Defeats in the battles of Plassey AD , Buxar AD and, finally, the occupation of Delhi by the British AD sealed the fate of Mughal power and threatened the privileged existence of the Muslim ruling elite, as the Mughal emperor became incapable of defending their interests.

    Under these circumstances, after Shah Alam II, the practice of reciting the name of the Ottoman caliph in the khutba began. This was meant to indicate that the Ottoman Caliph, and no longer the Mughal emperor , was the defender and protector of the Muslim community in India.

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    Another significant change was that with the eclipse of the political authority of the Mughal emperor, the ulema began to represent themselves as the protectors and custodians of the interests of the community. They were now contemptuous of the Mughals whose decline they attribute to their indifference towards religion.

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    They embarked on revivalistic movements which they claimed would lift the community from the low position to which it had fallen. Their revivalism was intended to reform the Muslim community and infuse homogeneity in order to meet the challenges that confronted them. Their ultimate goal was to establish an Islamic state in India and to unite Muslims into one community on the basis of religion. Two factors played an important role in reinforcing the creation of a separate identity amongst Indian Muslims.

    They were, firstly, the activities of Christian Missionaries and secondly, the Hindu reformist and revivalist movements. Muslims felt threatened by both.

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    Recognizing the authority of the ulema, Muslims turned towards them for guidance. They sought fatawa over whether they should learn the English language, serve the East India Company, and regard India as Dar-ul-Islam under which they could live peacefully rather than as Dar-ul-Harb which imposed upon them an obligation to rebel. Thus, external and internal challenges brought the Muslims of India closer together.

    Religious consciousness paved the way towards their separate identity.

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    The madrassa, mosque, and khanqah became symbols of their religious identity. However, the hopes that they placed in religious revivalism as the path to political power came to an end when Sayyid Ahmed was defeated and his Jihad movement failed to mobilize Muslims to fight against British rule.

    Bengali Muslims were subdued with the suppression of the Faraizi movement, and the brutal repression that followed the uprising of reduced the Muslim upper classes to a shadow of what they had been. Indian Muslims were demoralized after the failure of the rebellion of Sadness and gloom prevailed everywhere. Muslims felt crushed and isolated. There came a challenge from British scholars who criticized Islamic institutions as being unsuitable for modern times. Never before had Indian Muslims faced such criticism of their religion.

    This frightened and angered them. In response, Indian Muslim scholars came forward to defend their religion. This led them to study Islamic history in order to rediscover that they believed to be a golden past. In reply to Western criticism they formulated their arguments, substantiated by historical facts, that Europe owed its progress to the contributions of Muslim scientists and scholars , which were transmitted to it through the University of Cordoba in Moorish Spain, where, under Umayyid rule, there was a policy of religious tolerance towards Christians and Jews.

    Muslim contributions to art, literature, architecture, and science, thus enriched human civilization. To popularize this new image of the role of Muslims in history, there followed a host of historical literature, popular as well as scholarly, to satiate the thirst of Muslims for recognition of their achievements. Such images of a golden past provided consolation to a community that felt helpless and folorn. Images of the glories of the Abbasids , the grandeur of the Moors of Spain , and the conquests of the Seljuks healed their wounded pride and helped to restore their self-confidence and pride.

    Ironically, while glorifying the Islamic past outside India, they ignored the past of the Delhi Sultanate and Mughal India. In their eyes, the distant and outside past was more attractive than the past they had actually inherited. It was left to the nationalist historians of India, mainly Hindu, to reconstruct the glory of Muslim India in building a secular, nationalist ideology in the struggle against British rule. Muslim search for pride in their Islamic past, thus, once again turned the orientation of Indian Muslims towards the rest of the Muslim world. That consciousness of a greater Muslim identity obscured their Indian identity from their minds.

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    Their sense of solidarity with the Muslim world found expression, especially, in sympathy for the Ottoman empire. Muslim community leaders most certainly want American Muslim public figures, whether observant or not, to speak out against Islamophobia and offer basic knowledge about the religion. The bigger the stage, the better. His father explains: teaching religion is both a way of caring for your children and continuing a tradition.