Muslim Rajputs or Musalman Rajputs (Urdu: مسلمان راجپوت) are Muslims belonging to theRajput tribe of Pakistan and India.
The term Rajput is traditionally applied to the original Suryavanshi, Chandravanshi and Agnivanshi clans, the ancient ruling dynasties of South Asia.
Muslim conquest of South Asia
The history of the Muslim Rajput coincides with the Muslim conquest of
South Asia. The Rajputs started converting to Islam due to Sufimisssionaries beginning with the conquest of Indus Valley from Multan to Debal by Muhammad bin Qasim in 711 AD. At the time of arrival ofIslam, the north and western regions of South Asia were ruled by Rajput clans. The Rajputs and Muslim armies fought many battles for the control of South Asia. Sultan Mahmud of Ghazni conquered the regal power of Rajput Maharaja Jayapala Shahi of the North Western South Asian region by 1026, through successive battles.
Towards the end of the 13th century Sultan Muiz-uldin Muhammad of Ghor conquered Delhi after defeating last defense of the Rajputs in the second battle of Tarain 1192 , by Maharaja Prithvi Raj Chauhan. Later his successor in
Qutb-ud-din Aibak established the Delhi Sultanate in 1206. India
In 1527, the Muslim Janjua Rajput clan aided the Mughal conquest of
South Asia by taking part in the Imperial Mughal armies as Generals.It must also be mentioned here that Hindu Rajputs also took part in these conquests as allies and even took part in marriages with the Mughals such as Raja Man Singh of the Kachhwaha Clan aided Emperor Akbar in 1568 against the Sesodias.
The Mughal princes and Emperors had maternal Rajput blood. Emperor Bahadur Shah I's mother was a Muslim Rajput Nawab Bai Begum Sahiba (second wife of Emperor Aurangzeb) being the daughter of Raja Taj-ud-Din Jarral (Raja Chatar Shena Jarral) the late Raja of Rajauri, in Kashmir. Emperor Jahangir's mother was a Kachhwaha Rajput princess, the daughter of Raja Bharmal and the aunt of Raja Man Singh.
Conversion to Islam
Many Rajput clans were converted to Islam during the early 12th century and were given the title of Shaikh (elder of the tribe) by the Arab orMirza by the Mughal rulers. Since conversion Rajput clans have remained loyal to their faith. Rajputs were converted to Islam by the MuslimSufis missionaries of the famed Chistiya, Qadriya orders and many others. Rai Tulsi Das was converted to Islam by Makhdoom Jahania Jahangasht of Uch Sharif in 1323 AD and named Sheikh Sirajuddin alias Sheikh Chachu who established his independent state (District Ludhiana) given to him by Emperor Alauddin. Some conversions also took place for political reasons. The Delhi Sultanate and laterMughal dynasty encouraged the martial Rajput clans to convert to Islam. Conversions to Islam continued into the 19th century period of the British Raj.
The fact of subsequent conversion to other faiths, did not deprive them of this heritage; just as the Greeks, after their conversion to Christianity, did not lose pride in the mighty achievements of their ancestors, of the Italians in the great days of the Roman Republic and early empire... Christians, Jews, Parsees, Moslems. Indian converts to these religions never ceased to be Indian on account of a change of their faith....
Nehru also mentioned his own personal experience with Muslim Rajputs as he grew up, "I grew to know; the Rajput peasant and petty landholder, still proud of his race and ancestry, even though he might have changed his faith and adopted Islam." More importantly he bears testament to the fact that despite his change of faith, a Rajput is still a Rajput.
The general conversion of the Muslim Rajputs from Hinduism is supposed to have taken place towards the end of the 13th or early 14th century AD. The Muslim conquests undoubtedly accelerated this change of religion, but the preaching of several renowned Muslim saints, especially Baba Farid of Pakpattan, whose eloquence drew large numbers to hear him, helped considerably to this end...
He further stated the conversions of Hindu upper castes to Islam, "Some individuals belonging to the higher castes also adopted the new faith, because for political economic reasons because of personal devotion... though all their social structure was based on the group (caste/social class), in matters of religion they were highly individualistic.... It is worth noting as a rule, conversions to Islam were group conversions to protect their entire race...Among the upper castes individuals may change their religion...almost an entire village would convert... group life as well as well as their functions continued as before with only minor variations with regards worship etc."
Recent conversions and ethos
Regarding their rule as Muslim Rajput chiefs of multi-faith subjects, it is recorded in the Jhelum District Gazetteer "thoroughly convinced of the truth of their own Islamic creed, though they are by no means intolerant or fanatical."
The Rajput conversions attracted criticism from their Hindu counterparts. In fact a testimony of the steadfast practice of Islam by the Muslim Rajputs;
By and large, the only converts who keep the prescriptions of the (Islamic) Faith intact are the Muslim Rajputs
There is also recorded instances of recent conversions of Rajputs to Islam in Western Uttar Pradesh, Khurja tahsil of Bulanshahr.
But despite the difference in faith, where the question has arisen of Common Rajput honour, there have been instances where both Muslim and Hindu Rajputs have united together against threats from external ethnic groups.
Muslim Gautama Thakurs
An interesting example is also of the Gautamana Thakurs Gautama is the gotra of Kshatriya Rajputs of Uttar Pradesh, India. Gautama Maharishi is one of the Saptarishis (Seven Great Sages Rishi) He was one of the Maharishis of Vedic times, known to have been the discoverer of Mantras -- 'Mantra-drashtaa', in Sanskrit. The kshatriyas consisting of both Hindus and Muslims, co exist as a single tribe, supported each other staunchly through the Pre Partition Communal riots and have continued their respect towards one another despite the two distinct faiths of Islam and Hinduism. They are a sub-group of the Khanzada community of Awadh, a larger grouping of Muslim Rajputs.
Rajput of the
and Punjab Hill States Kashmir
History of the Panjab Tribes by J. Hutchinson and J.P.Vogel lists a total of 22 states (16 Hindu and 6 Muslim) that formed the State ofJammu following the conquest of Kashmir by Maharaja Ranjit Singh in 1820. Of these 6 Muslim states, two (Kotli and Punch) were ruled by Mangrals, two (Bhimber and Khari-Khariyala) were ruled by Chibs one (Rajouri) was ruled by the Jarrals and one (Khashtwar) was ruled by the Khashtwaria. Of these 22 states, 21 formed a pact with Ranjit Singh and formed the State of Jammu. Only Poonch ruled by the Mangrals retained a state of semi-autonomy. Following the War of 1947 Poonch was divided and is now split between Pakistan Administered KashmirPoonch District (AJK) and Indian Administered Kashmir Poonch.
As stated in History of the Panjab Hill States by J.Hutchinson and J.P. Vogel;
"Kotli was founded about the fifteenth century by a branch of the royal family of Kashmir.Kotli and Punch remained independent until subdued by Ranjit Singh in 1815 and 1819 respectively."
British Raj references of Muslim Rajputs
A glossary of the tribes and castes of the
Punjab and North-West Frontier Province based on the census report for the Punjab, 1883 written by Sir Denzil Ibbetson has reference to the Mangral Rajput. Under Western Rajputs, he writes that "The third Group is the Rajpoots of the western hills including the Salt Range Tract, comprising both dominant tribes of proud position such as Janjua and Mongrel Rajpoots from the hills" Jammu
During the British era, the English quickly recognised the martial spirit of the Muslim Rajput and conferred great respect on their prominent clans and also documented their presence in the British army, praising their Martial traditions and abilities. In 1922 there is a mention of Muslim Rajputs having their own regiments as well as taking part in other famous regiments;
§ 18th Musalman Rajput regiment
§ Punjabi Musalmans
§ 35th Scinde Horse
§ 36th Jacob's Horse
§ 17th Musalman Rajput regiment of Wana, Bengal Army
18th Muslim Rajput regiment Mauritius
The Jhelum District Gazetteer states clearly the esteem of the Muslim Rajput tribes of Janjua and Tiwana;
"the recruiting ground par excellence for Punjábi Musalmáns...The Janjúas of the
Sir Lepel H. Griffin states;
The Janjuahs furnish excellent Cavalry recruits.... The Janjua clan are famous Muslim Rajputs of the Punjab region
Change of name
A custom during these conversions was to adopt a new name to reflect their change of faith. Many Rajput kings changed their names, but also retained their ancestral/lineal titles such as tribal Clan names. This sense of identity has never been lost and Islam did in fact support and recognize "tribal identity".
Hindu Rajput code dictates that Rajputs can only marry amongst other Rajputs that's why Mostly Muslim Rajputs still marry into other Muslim Rajputs only.. However, tradition of marriages into only one group or clan because of caste reasons is not permitted in Islam. This led to a great change in the traditional Rajput marital policy. Muslim Rajputs therefore started to marry from other dominant aristocratic Muslim clans. This was to continue the tradition of royal/strategic marriages without prejudice to Rajput affiliation. This was further realized when some major Rajput clans of Punjab intermarried into other clans of foreign descent. However, Mostly Muslim Rajputs still follow the custom of only marrying into other Muslim Rajput clans only.
Being recent converts to Islam from a culturally Rajput background, there was very little difference between Rajasthani and Uttar PradeshiHindu and Muslim Rajputs (outside of religious practices). Hence up until recently, marriages between Muslim and Hindu Rajputs also took place.
Genealogical family trees
This is a strong tradition that exists amongst the most distinguished of Rajputs of all faiths, the recording of family names and continuance of the family tree. Muslim Rajputs of prominence hold and continue to record their genealogical trees since their Hindu past even after their conversion to Islam, to the present day. The less distinguished Rajputs or claimants of Rajput heritage will more than likely not have ancestral records of family lineage.
A reference to certain customs of inheritance and marriage of Muslim Rajputs is mentioned on this link in relation to Hindu Rajputs and other tribes.
Majority of Muslim Rajputs use their ancient Royal titles such as Raja, Rana, Rao and Rai. All these titles are originated from the ancientSanskrit word Rajanya.
Many Muslim Rajputs were also conferred titles by the Delhi Sultans and the Mughal Emperors such as Sultan (king), Malik (Royal, King),Nawab ( Provincial Governor), Sardar (Chief), Khan, Mian and Mirza (Royal prince), Sheikh (elder,Royal, King of the tribe), after embracing Islam.
§ Raja: It was not uncommon for such titles to continue down the line of descent. Although the majority of Muslim Rajputs use Raja as their ancestral title.this is the main and this is the highest title in
§ Rana: Rana is a princely title of Royalty means The King of Kings or A Great King. Muslim Rajputs in Pakistani Punjab mainly in Lahore,Sheikhupura, Gujranwala, Faisalabad and Sialkot use the title of Rana.
§ Rao: The majority of Raos in
are Muslim Punwar (Pawar) Rajputs. Raos can be found all across Pakistan and are found in large numbers in the Pakistan . Raos are the brave people of the country as the majority of Raos are in Army forces of Punjab Province . Rao in Rajasthan called Jagirdar. Pakistan
§ Rai: Rai was a title of honor for certain Bhatti Rajput rulers, like Rai Khala, the ruler of Raikot State-Ludhiana 1705 AD.and Rai Bular rular of Nankana The title today is found mostly in the Pakistani province of Punjab.
§ Kunwar: (pronounced Koo-war) Hindu Janjuas use the title of Kunwar with their names. The variation of the pronounced word, Kanwar is also used by Muslim Janjuas also. Kanwar Muhammad Dilshad being the Secretary of the Election Commission of Pakistan.
§ Khan: Khan or Khaan. the title of Khaan. It is also spelled as Khaan. Khaan is considered as true spellings because it is خاں in Urdu. Khaan means the royal blood or Prince Equal to Rajput. so, originally it is Khaan. almost all Muslim Rajputs use the title of Khaan or Khan instead of Singh Title.
§ Sardar: This title is manily used by the Sikh Minhas Rajputs. However, lately some Muslim Minhas Rajput clans in Azad Jammu & Kashmir and Punjab Sialkot & Chakwal have also started using this title due to various reasons.
§ Sultan: The Janjua Rajputs of Jhelum were bestowed the title of Sultan, currently still used and recognised in Kusuk, Watli and the Sultan of Makhiala. It was bestowed upon the Houses of Watli and Makhiala by Emperor Babur is only used by the one head man of each Dynasty respectively. The current Sultan of Watli Fort and riyasat of Watli being Raja Sultan Azmat Hayat Janjua.
§ Nawab: The title Nawab was conferred on the ruler of the
, Malik Talib Mehdi Khan. His current descendants use the title as Nawabzada since the abolition of Princely States in the Islamic Republic of Pakistan. Current chief of the famed Darapur Dynasty being,Nawabzada Iqbal Mehdi Khan. Darapur State
§ Mirza: Some also adopted the Persian title of Mirza instead of Rajput to distinguish their Muslim identity from their previous Hindu one as it is a Persian word meaning prince of the blood, the equivalent of Raj-putra. Although the Rajputs of the Jarral dynasty were ordained as Mirza's after their intermarriage with the Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb Alamgir. That lineage today resides in Saman Burj, Wazirabad and some continue to use Mirza as prefix but the majority descendents of Jarral Rajputs continue to use Raja as recognised by the Queen.
§ Malik: The title Malik (meaning prince) is used by a branch of the Jhelum Jodh branch of Janjua. Malik Darwesh Khan and Malik Hast (Asad) were known by these titles. Janjuas of Shadia Dist Mianwali are also referred to as Malik. (They are in dominance in Shadia and have the following sub clans; Mulkai Khel, Pattu Khel, Aziz Khel, Longi, Musi, Shah Mir Khel, Janu Khel, Ahmed Khel, Shah-wali Khel, Mehrwan Khel, Zaid Khel, Malu Khel and Sikandri Janjua.
§ Sheikh: The title Sheikh (meaning Elder,Royal,king of state).Many honorable Rajput clans had converted to Islam during the early 12th century and were given the honorary title of Sheikh (elder,Royal, King of the tribe) by the sufi saints and Arabs due whom they embraced Islam.Sheikh rajputs were the earliest in Rajputs to embrace Islam.
§ Mian: This title was conferred upon the 'Punjab Hill Chiefs' by the Mughal King, Jhangir and was used by most of the Rajput tribes in the Punjab Hills for many centuries. The elder brother was called Raja, whereas his younger brothers were called Mian. Lately, the Rajputs have decided to use 'Thakur' instead of this Mughal title.
§ Jam: Some Muslim Rajputs use the title of honor Jam/Jaam. Jam is considered as true spellings but pronounced as Jaam . Jam means having the royal competency or Prince Equal to Rajput. and almost all Muslim Rajputs use the title of Jam to call someone honorably.
The Punjabi Rajputs has a long martial tradition which has continued into modern times. Punjabi Rajputs, being recognised in history as the warrior aristocracy, prior to this they were designated by the
British Empire as a Martial Race and recruited into the Imperial Army. Muslim Rajputs naturally engaged in the Pakistani military in strong numbers, reaching ranks of Generals and the highest grade of Chief of Staff such as 7th Chief of Army Staff General Tikka Khan, Narma, Rajput and the 10th Chief of Army Staff General Asif Nawaz Khan Janjua.
Some of the most respected officers of the Pakistan Army including its first General, PA 1, Muhammed Akbar Khan (Order of the British Empire), PA 2 General Muhammad Iftikhar Khan(designated to become the first C-in-C, but died in an aircrash), PA 12 Brig.General Muhammed Zafar(first Indian to become Commander of Cavalary) and PA 48 General Muhammad Anwar Khan (Pakistan's first E-in-C) all hail from this clan. General Anwar is considered the father of
's Corps of Engineers, and also served as Chairman OGDC. Pakistan
Top military awards
Daily Mirror Khudadad Khan was awarded Victoria Cross, the first native Indian to receive this honour
Members of Punjabi Rajput tribes have the honour of receiving top military awards both in
British India and in . Khudadad Khan VC (20 October 1888 – 8 March 1971) was the first Indian recipient of the Victoria Cross, the highest military award for gallantry in the face of the enemy given to British and Commonwealthforces. He was the first native-born Indian to win the Victoria Cross. Pakistan
31 October 1914, at Hollebeke, Belgium, 26-year old Khan performed an act of bravery for which he was awarded the Victoria Cross during the First World War.
Hilal-e-Kashmir is equal to Nishan-e-Haider. Saif Ali Janjua Shaheed received Hilal-e-Kashmir. He fought and was killed in the
Kashmir sector during the 1948 War.
Five Rajputs was awarded
's top military honour, the Nishan-E-Haider . Pakistan
§ Major Raja Aziz Bhatti Shaheed
§ Major Shabbir Sharif Shaheed Nishan-e-Haider
The 1931 census of British India was the last to record caste affiliation in a manner that provides reliable information on Rajput demographics. Any present-day estimates are therefore speculative; they also vary widely.
The 1931 census reported a total of 10.7 million people self-describing as Rajput. Of this population, about 8.6 million people also self-described as being Hindu, about 2.1 million as being Muslim Rajput and about 50,000 as being Sikh Rajput by religion.
The Joshua Project reported that 16,561,000 Pakistani's describing as Muslim Rajputs about 10% of the total population of Pakistan.Largest Provinces on file the Punjab (8,969,000), the Sindh (4,720,000), the Azad Kashmir (643,000), the Islamabad (223,000), the North-West Frontier Province (174,000), the Balochistan (37,000).
Major languages spoken by the Muslim Rajputs of Pakistan: Punjabi, Western (7,459,000 speakers), Sindhi (2,671,000), Seraiki (1,592,000),Urdu (1,458,000).
As well as Pakistan Joshua Project also reported that 2,310,000 of Indian describing as Muslim Rajputs. Largest States on file the Uttar Pradesh (1,528,000), the Jammu and Kashmir (176,000), the Haryana (161,000), the Rajasthan (91,000), the Delhi (68,000), the Uttarakhand(65,000), the Gujarat (57,000), the Punjab (28,000), the Maharashtra (28,000), the Andhra Pradesh (17,000).
Major Languages Spoken by the Muslim Rajputs of
. Urdu (1,725,000 Speakers), Kashmiri (73,000), Panjabi, Eastern (72,000), Marwari(63,000), Gujarati (39,000). India