In Peninsular India, the only important ruling power of these religionists is that of the Syud of Hyderabad, the Nizam Subandar of the Dekhan, whose sway has existed above a century, them selves strangers, ruling with a mixed foreign soldiery of Arabs, Negroes, Abyssinians, and northern Hindus, over parts of the Canarese, Teling, Mahratta, Gond, and Kol races, and their capital is now the principal resort of adventurers. In the extreme south of India there are three Muhammadan races,—the Moplah, the Labbai, and the Nao-Aiti,—differing, by very marked charac ters, from all around them. The Labbai are a tall and large-made race, of a deep bronze colour. Their usual dress consists of a wrapper round the loins. They are extensively engaged in mercan tile business, and as pedlars. They use the Tamil alphabet, have a Tamil Koran, and speak and read the Tamil language only. Their name is derived from the Arabic word Labek,—May it please you,—and the people are usually supposed to be descendants of trading or sailor Arabs with mothers of India. The Nao-Aiti are a small non military race, who, but for a slightly xanthous tinge, would have an almost English fairness. They are called Nao-Ait, new-comers, emigrated from Arabia about 300 years ago, and are to be found. in considerable numbers in Southern India. They are slender, fair men, with very handsome women, and are engaged in civil avocations, never becoming soldiers. They say that they came from Arabia to the Konkan. Indian Muhammadans assert that they are the descendants of women and children from Arabia, whose men were killed on being detected in an attempt to rob the tomb of Mahomed, and with their wives and children were sent off in a ship, which landed on the western coast ; but this is doubtless a story got up to vilify the race.
The Moplah on the south - western coast of India and in Ceylon are said to have had a similar origin to the Labbai, viz. from Arab fathers and Indian mothers, and the name is supposed to be derived from the Tamil Ma, mother, and Pillai, son. On several occasions since that part of India came into the possession of Great Britain, they have required to be coerced, and are believed to possess a restless spirit, with much fanatical zeal ; but it is generally recognised that agrarian disputes have been a prominent cause of their outbursts. The Moplah of North Malabar, although Muhammadans, follow the rule as to property of descensus a matrice, the Marumakkatayam, having in this respect conformed to Hindu usage, in the times of Hindu ascendency. The Moplah also take the wife of a deceased brother.
The 3loplah and Labbai are called by the Teling, Jonangi, Zonangi, Jonagar, Jonakara. The inter course of Muhammadan merchants and seamen with the women of Western India seems to have been from the most ancient times. Abu Zaid, writing A.D. 916, mentions that the more devout merchants of Siraf, when young men were on board, avoided sending their ships to Ceylon, as the women were very licentious, and merchants would, when newly arrived, make advances to the daughter of•a king, and she, with the knowledge of her father, would go to meet him in some woody place.
The Abyssinian and Negro races in India are usually known as the Habshi, Habush, or Sidi.
Many of them are slaves, but both as slaves and freemen they are often employed about the house holds of native sovereigns. The Sidi of Janjera or Zanjera was long powerful and independent, occupying the coast a few miles south of Bombay.
The Bohra are found on the north-western coast of Peninsular India, and in the Rajput states, and represent themselves to be the descend ants of the followers of the Shaikh-ul-Jabl, or the celebrated Old Man of the Mountain. They call
themselves Ismaili, acknowledge an Archaman drite or religious chief. They principally follow mercantile pursuits, and are a robust, active, intelligent mercantile race. They are scattered all over the country, but are found principally in Gujerat and the adjoining provinces of Cutch, Sind, and other parts of the Bombay Presidency, and are a peaceable, inoffensive body of men.
The Maiman or Mehman are said to be the descendants of a couple, of Sind, long childless, who about six hundred years ago became converts to Muhammadanism, in consequence of the prayers in their behalf by Mahbub Sub'hani at Baghdad being rewarded by seven children. Their original language is Sindi. They greatly revere Mahbub Sub'hani. Many families are met with in Gujerat and Bombay, and they are a useful, hard-working, trusty mercantile people.
In Sumatra and the more western islands of the Archipelago, there has been a large conversion to the creed of Islam. In Sumbawa the Muham madans take a high place, and they are largely proselytizing the mountaineers, who, however, secretly trust in their idols.
There are many Muhammadans in China who are neither zealous in the propagation of their doctrines nor over-strict in the observances of their religion. But their religion is one of the authorized state creeds of that country.
Muhammadan religionists are of two great sects, the Sunni and Shiah, the former being the more numerous in India, Turkestan, Turkey, and Arabia, while the Shiah are most numerous in Persia. The Sunni hold, amongst other points, the succession to the khalifat to have followed in the line of Mahomed, Abubakr, Omar, Osman, and Ali ; the Shiah sect, on the other hand, main taining All to have, and by right, succeeded his cousin and father-in-law Mahomed. There are other points on which their sectarian differences turn ; but small numbers of the Shiah religionists, in several parts of Asia, as in the west of India, believe in incarnations of Ali, and of these the Ismaili may be instanced. The Muhammadans of India, of these two great religious sects, worship apart ; but amongst both sects are to be found men of Syud, Shaikh, Moghul, and Pathan descent, and sons will be found as Sunni and the daughters Shiah. The Syuds, the Saadat, or lords, are chiefly descendants of Mahomed through his daughter Fatima and her husband Ali, and as a rule are quiet, humble-minded men, not dis tinguished by other qualities from the Shaikhs. They are of the Sunni and also of Shiah persua sion, and are met with in India serving as soldiers, or in civil avocations, or following some religious duties. The term Shaikh is given to other descendants of Arabian origin, and is applied generally to all of the Sunni sect other than SyUds, Pathans, or Moghuls. The Shaikh, there fore, is of the most varied origin, and is engaged in all avocations, military and civil, as soldiers in regular and irregular armies, as police, shop keepers, and a sprinkling of them in learned pro fessions or occupations requiring prior education. The Fatima is the descendant of the Afghan soldiers who came into India with the armies of Mahmud, Timms Chengiz Khan, Baber, Nadir Shah, and Ahmed Shah, and carved out princi palities or obtained lands for themselves and their descendants; but there are numerous individuals of tho Afghan and Baluch tribes, large, powerful,' fair men, scattered throughout India, who arc seeking a livelihood in it as soldiers, traffickers,' and chapmen. The Pathan claims for himself the designation of Khan, but this is never permitted at courts, Khan being one of the honorific appella tions bestowed by Indian sovereigns.