Despite claiming to belong to one universal brotherhood or Umma , the only things common about Muslims is the use of the word “ Allah” for addressing God , as being the followers of The Prophet Muhammad [PBUH]1 and his teachings and practices and in their adherence to the holy book of Koran. There is much difference between Indian Muslims and Arab Muslims.
The basic difference between the two is race. Indian Muslims are descendants of the Hindu Arya race who are different from Arabs in facial appearance, skin color, body stature and body language. Indian Muslims who have gone for employment in the Arabian Peninsula have complained of racial discrimination and of being looked down upon by Arabs as being inferior.
Indian Muslims speak one of the Indian languages as their mother tongue depending on the part of India they were born in. The Arab Muslim on the other hand speaks the Arab language which is his or her mother tongue.
The Indian Muslim has his own distinctive dress. In North India they usually dress in loose pair of Shirt [Kurtha] and pants [Pajama] which is usually white in color. Muslims from the state of Bengal and South India generally wear a long rectangular piece of colored cloth called “Lungi” which is fastened around the waist and hangs down lose up to the toe. The Indian Muslim women in North India wear the version of the loose shirt and pajama called the Kurtha and Salwaar. In some parts they also wear the “Sari” and “Lungi” .The Arab Muslim wears a loose, ankle length white cotton robe common throughout the Arabian Peninsula while the women wear the Hijab or veil from head to toe with slit opening for the eyes.
Islam has no roots in the Indian sub-continent. It entered India through waves of invasions by Islamic armies between 900AD to 1700AD. The invaders compelled Hindus to convert to Islam. Those who resisted were killed and their women and children, sold into slavery. The establishment of Muslim rule over parts of India may have encouraged some Hindus engaged in different profession to convert in order to win favor of the ruling dispensation. Voluntary conversions were almost negligible. The Arabs Muslims were followers of the Prophet who was himself an Arab, born in the Arabian Peninsula. Islam is an indigenous creation and Arab Muslims were the original followers of his teachings
The Indian Muslim belongs to the seven thousand year old Arya [Hindu] civilization, heirs to the world most ancient and largest number of written records on almost every subject of human knowledge from Mathematics to Architecture to Philosophy. They are heirs to the ancient Sanskrit language which is the most advanced of all human languages and the original source of them. Of course being Muslims they have been indoctrinated to reject their pre-Islamic past as something Un-Islamic and belonging to Non-Muslims or Kafirs. In the contrast The Arabs can hardly claim to belong to any Civilization of worth. They were a nomadic people who never stayed long in any one place to create anything permanent. They never knew how to write. Their first book, The Koran, was a gift from “Allah” given through the Prophet. The Arabian Peninsula is a barren land filled with dry sand.
Indian Muslims follow certain customs which would otherwise be considered un-Islamic by orthodox Islam. This includes such practices as “ Kite Flying “ , Visiting tombs of revered saints , Singing songs and ringing bells etc all of which are prohibited by Islam. In contrast the Arabs follow customs that have been allowed by the Prophet and have discarded all pre-Islamic practices.
All the above mentioned differences are superficial and not important. So long as Muslims follow the teachings of The Prophet as found in the Koran, Hadith and Sunna and is devoted to “Allah” he is a Muslim of the “Umma” .