When and how was Islam Introduced to India?
The introduction of Islam in the sub-continent which includes India and Pakistan was concurrent with the Turko-Muslims invading India. The leaders of this origin took over the administration.
When did Islam come to India?
Contrary to what is generally believed, Islam came to the shores of South Asia much before the Muslims invasions that took on the soil of India. The Islamic influence could be felt as early as 7th century AD when the Arab traders arrived. Trade ties between the sub-continent and Arabia are quite ancient. Arab traders visited the Malabar region, which happened to be a link between them and ports of South East Asia. Trade was on between them and the region even before Islam had been established in Arabia.
Historians Elliot and Dawson in their book titled The History of India as told by its own Historians state that the first ship consisting of Muslim travelers was seen on the shores of the Indian coast in 630 A.D. Historian H.G. Rawlinson in his book Ancient and Medieval History of India, has claimed that the settling of initial Arabs-Muslims on Indian coast was during the last segment of the 7th century A.D. These Arab traders propagated the religion wherever they went. The first Indian mosque was built in 629 A.D.
The invasions of Mahmud of Gahzni during the initial period of 10th century and the invasion of Muhammad Ghor during the 12th century led to establishment of the Delhi Sultanate.
Islam made much contribution during this period in the art, politics and administration. Much conversion took place and those who converted were given high posts in the administration and socially they gained a lot.
Some of the Muslim rulers maltreated the locals, whereas others dealt with them more benignly. Many Hindu temples and places were expropriated. But at the same time some patronized Hindus and encouraged Indian art, music and paintings. Coming down to the Mughal period, Akbar tried to rise above religious partisanship and bigotry.
Sufficient evidence is available that the Arabs and Muslims interacted with Indians during early period of Islam, although it may not have been before the advent of Islam in Arabia.
The Muslim population in 2008 in India has been around 154 million (based on 2001 Government census) and is the second most practiced religion after Hinduism. Presently, India has the third largest population of Muslims in the world.