Meghula assume the suffix of Beg. They arc comparatively few in number, are generally fair people, of a larger physical frame than the Arab Muhammadans, and are of unassuming manners. Of all these religionists of foreign descent, few have taken to agriculture ; a very small number have fitted themselves for the civil situations available under the British Government ; except in entering the disciplined armies of Britain as private soldiers, and forming perhaps one-fourth of its Indian forces, very few of them have accommodated themselves to the changes which the British supremacy has introduced. In India, the bulk of them are essentially a people not belonging to the present time, but dwell on the past and look forward to the future, the religious among them meditating on the transgressions which have brought upon them great reverses, and all, perhaps without exception, looking for ward to the time when it shall be God's will again to give them dominion. As a whole, they are earnest, ardent men, who can be easily excited. As soldiers they are patient, and have an elan in warfare which the steady, calmer Hindus of Southern India do not possess. Their religious feelings, for many years past, have been personal, and though dwelling and ruling in parts of India since nine hundred years, and though holding an essentially proselytizing faith, they have not made many voluntary conversions from Hinduism, either from the Aryan family or from the non Aryan servile classes. Perhaps nothing has ever taken place from the efforts of Muhammadans like the upheaving whiCh has for some years past been agitating non-Aryans in the extreme south of the Peninsula. In India, as a body they are illiter ate, and even as regards their religion they have acquaintance only with a few formulas in the Arabic language. Their book, tho Koran, has been translated into Persian, Ilindustani, English, Tamil, Burmese, and Malay ; but in India the Arabic is deemed the more sacred language, although a very small number of them know that tongue.
Tho spoken language of Muhammadans in India is the Urdu, or camp tongue, called in the Penin sula Hindustani, which, since the beginning of the 19th century, under British influence has become a written tongue, and a few books have been printed . in it ; but the educated of the higher classes all use Persian as their solo means of communication. Living as they have been amongst races so highly educated as Hindus are, it is perhaps this want of learning that has blunted their proselytizing efforts, the only great changes which their religion has effected having been amongst the Jat, the Itajput, and the people of Bengal.
Social Custonm—Distributed as these religion ists arc, from the Atlantic to the islands of the Pacific, the acknowledgment of the Koran and of their creed by all of them, gives a certain simi larity to their religious observances, bu the customs of social life in all the varied nations are as varied as are the nations themselves. In India there are ceremonials before and after childbirth, such as congratulations to the young wife on the seventh month of her pregnancy. As in tho Hebrew Law, after the birth of a child, the chahlain or fortieth-day ceremonial is per formed, and each stage of development in child hood is attended with certain forms. There is no
time rigidly adhered to for circumcision, which is not in tho Koran, and grown-up lads have not unfrequently remained unattended to in India up to the seventh or the fourteenth year. The coming of age of a girl amongst the Hindus is made known by noisy music, a practice which is imitated by the humbler Muhammadans, though the educated and noble families abstain from all such rude rejoicings. Very few of the Muham madan women of India can read, and still fewer can write. But in the towns' of India, amongst the better classes, all boys are sent to school, and their education is conducted in such a manner as permanently to fix their faith. At the age of four years, four months, and four days, each child is taught to pronounce the name of God with much ceremonial,—with more even than is shown when children of the Episcopal persuasion in England are confirmed, for the ceremony is made to last for days. The boy is then taught the first words that were revealed to Mahomed. They are recorded in the 96th chapter of the Koran, which says, ' Read in the name of thy God, for he it is who bath created all mankind out of a lump of coagulated blood. And he is likewise that almighty Being who has blessed us with the voice of utterance and taught us the use of the pen ; ' and until the lad has read the Koran (many of them learning it all by heart, and then receiving the literary title of Hafiz), and until they have been carefully instructed in all the books of their faith, the lad is not allowed to read any other tongue. In their marriages the Indian Muhammadans are united by the civil and religious rite, the Nikkei', similarly with all other of their co-religionists, but to this has been added several days of costly ccreeionial rejoicings (Shadi), which they have gathered from the Hindus. Divorce, in India, is almost unknown, for in the Nikkali the dower which the bridegroom promises is a fabulous sum, which no one can pay, and as, until paid, divorce (tallaq) cannot bo concluded, no one in India is ever divorced. The Indian Muhammadan lives faith fully to his one wife, polygamy being almost unknown, except amongst the loose livers of great towns. The Ramazan month of fast is very strictly attended to; but amongst the Sunni in the south of India the Maharram is a period of extravagant amusement, in which ninny non Hindu and many Hindu races join. The illiterate Sunni, by far the majority, at this period grossly outrage the grief of the Shish sect, and scan dalize the learned and devout. In Southern Asia there is a great reverence shoivn to saints' shrines and foot-marks.. Amongst these are the tombs of the at Baghdad, of Kadar • Wall at Negapatam, and "the footprints of the prophet at the Kadam Rasul hill near Secunder abad, to which multitudes annually resort. The great religious festivals are the Ramazan month of fasting and prayer ; the thirteen days of the Maharram, a period' of. festivity amongst the Sunni and grief amongst the Shiah ; the Shabau feast of Shab-i-Barat on the 14th day, of that month ; and the sacrificial festival of the Bakrid or Zihaj, also known as the which is held in commemoration of Abraham's sacrificial offering up of his son —of Ishmael according to Muhammadans, and oefsaac according to Hebrews and Christians.