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Islam: Early Expansion and Women: Iran to South Asia

(3,467 words)

Author(s): Ansari, Sarah
The spread of Islam began in Sasanian Iran in the seventh century, and over several centuries extended eastwards from across the ranges of the Hindu Kush through to the Indian subcontinent. Most of the inhabitants of present-day Afghanistan, Pakistan, and areas of northern India were converted during this period to Sunni Islam, and indeed medieval Iran was also predominantly a Sunni territory, though the Shiʿa tradition took hold there in the long run, with important political and cultural conse…

Political-Social Movements: Millenarian: South Asia

(2,327 words)

Author(s): Ansari, Sarah
Islam, as a religion of revelation, began as an apocalyptic movement anticipating the Day of Judgment, and retains apocalyptic and millennial elements to this day, especially in Shia theology, but also in many forms of popular religiosity. In particular, the mujaddid tradition, that foresees a “renewer” at every century turn (A.H.), appears to constitute – before the century has turned – a form of apocalyptic messianic expectation in the coming of the hidden Mahdī. South Asian Islam, however, in comparison with other parts of the worl…