74% Indian Muslims prefer Sharia over Indian laws: Pew Research

74% Indian Muslims prefer Sharia over Indian laws: Pew Research


On June 29, Pew Research Centre published findings of a survey that stated 80% of Muslim men do not want their women to marry non-Muslims. The study titled ‘Religion in India: Tolerance and Segregation’ talked about religion across India. The survey was based on face-to-face interviews of 29,999 Indian adults that included 22,975 Hindus, 3,336 Muslims, 1,782 Sikhs, 1,011 Christians, 719 Buddhists, 109 Jains and 67 who belonged to another religion or identified themselves as religiously unaffiliated. It was conducted under the direction of RTI International between November 17, 2019, and March 23, 2020.

Indians are religiously tolerant, respecting other religions is seen as a core value of being an Indian

Over 84% of the people who participated in the survey emphasized religious tolerance. However, they asserted the fact that the majority of Indians live religiously segregated lives. For most people, respecting all religions is a part of their identity as an Indian. The survey stated, “People in all six major religious groups overwhelmingly say they are very free to practice their faiths, and most say that people of other faiths also are very free to practice their own religion.” Notably, due to differences between the religious practices, the majority of the Indians prefer to stay in a closed circle of people from their own religion.

Source: Pew Research Center

‘There is a need to stop interfaith marriages’

A large share of Muslims is against interreligious marriages. As per the survey, 80% of Muslims say it is very important to stop Muslim women from marrying outside their religion. 76% want to stop Muslim men from marrying non-Muslim women. In the case of Hindus, while 67% did not want Hindu women to marry non-Hindus, 65% were not in favour of Hindu men marrying non-Hindu women.

80% of Muslims want to stop interfaith marriages. Source: Pew Research Center

The link between national identity, religion and language

According to the survey, 64% of Hindus believe to be truly Indian, it is important to be a Hindu. 80% of these individuals link the Hindi language to the national identity as well. The idea of such an interlinked connection among Hindus is most visible in the Hindi belt, where Hindi is the major one of over a dozen spoken languages.

Dietary laws and religious identity go hand-in-hand

Muslims consider eating pork as Haram. In the survey, 77% of Muslims believe that a person cannot be a Muslim if they consume pork. On the other hand, as Hindus traditionally see cows as sacred, a large share of Hindus (72%) believe that a person is not Hindu if they eat beef. 

Muslims prefer Shariah over regular courts

As per the survey, 74% of Muslims are in support to have access to the existing system of Islamic courts. Notably, since 1937, they have the option to resolve family and inheritance-related cases in officially recognized Islamic courts, known as dar-ul-qaza. Religious magistrates identified as Qazis oversee these courts and follow Shariah principles. However, decisions taken by these courts have no legal binding.

Muslims prefer Shariah courts. Source: Pew Research Center

While the majority of Muslims want access to Islamic courts, the followers of other religions are not in favour of allowing Muslims to have a separate court system.


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