On the surface, Islam seems as dissimilar to Hinduism as chalk and cheese. After all, Hinduism evolved gradually as a way of life while Islam was founded by a historical person, the Prophet Mohammad.
According to Hindu mythology, Hinduism icons the existence of many God and Goddesses all manifestation of Lord Bhrama - the creator of the Universe, Lord Vishnu - the preserver and Lord Shiva - the destructor. Islam strictly adheres to the concept of one god. Hindus worship painted and sculpted images of their gods; Muslims regard idolatry as the most grievous sin.
While the Hindu temple is enclosed on three sides and there is an air of mystery in the dark inner sanctum, the Muslim mosque is open on all sides, exposed to light and air. While Hindus agree that a person cannot become a Hindu, Muslims regard the conversion of non-Muslims as a meritorious deed.
Hindu Islamic- The Two Religions Co-existed
This said, it is amazing to note the extent to which these two religions have entwined. For all those who harp upon the differences, a look down history will show that Muslims are very much a part of India and well-integrated into our social fabric. Whether it's art, craft, architecture, poetry, music, dance or such towering personalities as Kabir, Nanak, Rumi, Amir Khusrau and Akbar, they are all proof that these two religions can and have co-existed.
The Advent of Islam
Islamic influence first came to be felt in the 7 th century with the advent of Arab traders. This was followed by sporadic raids into India by Muslim traders, but the first Muslim kingdom was established in Delhi at the end of the 12 th century.
The Muslims gradually spread their rule to the south and the east. During the reign of Alauddin Khilji, only the southern part of India remained outside their power. With the coming of the Mughals in 1506, Islam seeped deeper into India. Akbar's (1556-1605) policy of religious tolerance brought the Hindus and Muslims still closer together.
The Five Pillars of Islam
A good Muslim is to assert that 'There is no God but Allah, and Mohammad is his Prophet.'
The devout should pray, preferably five times a day.
Acts of charity should be performed.
A fast must be observed from dawn to dusk throughout the month of Ramadan. The Ramadan is a holy month for Muslims because the Prophet received his divine revelation in this month.
A pilgrimage to Mecca at least once during one's lifetime is a must.
Islam does not celebrate a number of festivals like Hinduism does. The festivals are few and far between and frankly there isn't much to see except on the occasion of Muharram, which is actually not a joyous event at all.
An urs is usually the birthday of a Sufi saint which is celebrated at the grave or dargah of the saint. Some of India's most venerated sufis are Salim Chishti in Fatehpur-Sikri (Uttar Pradesh), Moin-ud-din Chishti in Ajmer (Rajasthan) and Nizam-ud-din Auliya in Delhi. The urs at their dargahs are often an occasion for melas (fairs), qawwalis (hymns in praise of Allah and his prophet Muhammad) and much frenetic dancing.
Id is celebrated twice very year and the two are separately referred to as Id-ul-Fitr and Eid-ul-Zuha (Bakr-Id, when goats are traditionally slaughtered to make special preparations). Id-ul-Fitr marks the end of Ramadan, the Muslim month of fasting. Id-ul-Zuha commemorates Abraham's attempt to sacrifice his son.
Muharram mourns the murder of Imam Hussain, grandson of the Prophet, at Karbala. Though it is an occasion for mourning, a colorful memorial procession is led through the streets of Delhi, Agra, Lucknow and Hyderabad, to name a few.
Decorated and brightly colored tazias of bamboo and paper are carried as replicas of the martyr's tomb. The procession proceeds to the frenzied beating of drums and heart-renting cries of 'Hussain, Hussain !' A peculiar practice here is that young men armed with leather whips often lash themselves repeatedly.