Conversion or Reversion? A Review of Medieval India’s Islamic Transformation


  • Saima Perveen


The paper aims to explore, analyze and investigate the relation between the Sufi shrines and religious transformation of medieval India as conversion or reversion. The religious conversion of South Asia particularly the Indian subcontinent has been associated with agricultural economy by Richard M. Eaton. For Eaton it was the agrarian economy which motivated or influenced the regional population of Multan and Pakpattan to transform religiously. Diego Abenante argued against Eaton’s idea about Islam as the religion of plough with the facts about the Multan region revealing agricultural development much later than the religious transformation of the local population. Through studying Indian Islam as a social reflection (as per Emile Durkheim’s theory) this paper tries to analyze the religious transformation of Medieval India under the theoretical model of Al-fiÏrah by Ibn-i-Khaldun. Al-fiÏrah (reversion or self- amendment) is a five step process including: (a) Umranic (social) association with community, (b) Co-operation or support of the community, (c) Communication through soft skills like language etc., (d) Competition or prevention between communities, and (e) Self amendment or Reversion. It was not the agrarian economy but the vernacularization of Islam under the Sufi shrines which made Islam less Brahmanized for the local people and allowed them to adopt it firstly according to their convenience and later on adapt according to the religion’s limits. To explain the course of religious reversion of medieval India, analytical and descriptive method has been used




How to Cite

Saima Perveen. (2021). Conversion or Reversion? A Review of Medieval India’s Islamic Transformation. Quarterly Journal of the Pakistan Historical Society, 69(1). Retrieved from