|Regions with significant populations|
|• India • Pakistan|
|• Urdu • Hindi • English|
|Related ethnic groups|
|• Kayastha • Shaikh of Uttar Pradesh • Shaikhs in South Asia|
The Muslim Kayastha (Urdu: مسلمان کائستھ), a community of Muslims, are related to the Kayastha of northern India, mainly modern Uttar Pradesh, who converted to Islam during the rule of the Islamic empires in India. The Muslim Kayastha and Nagar Muslims of Uttar Pradesh are considered Shaikh and follow Sunni Hanafi fiqh. The Muslim Kayasths have intermarried with other Muslim communities over the centuries, lost their community consciousness, and consider themselves Urdu speaking Muslims of Pakistan and northern India.
The Kayastha community has historically converted to Islam and held the occupations of land record keeping, administration and accounting. They speak Urdu, although they are also fluent in Hindi in India. in Pakistan they also speak Sindhi and Punjabi. They consider themselves part of the Shaikh community.
The Muslim dynasties recruited individuals from different Hindu castes by merit and trained them to become civil servants and members of the Kayasth caste. They successfully adapted as scribes and functionaries under Islamic rule, then the British. In the reign of the Mughals, a number of educated upper caste Hindus with sharp intellects attained administrative positions through rapid adaptation to the Persian language and culture of these new rulers of South Asia. These influential upper caste Hindus formed the Kayastha, whose secular viewpoint and adaptability allowed them to succeed. Their close association with Muslim rulers led most of them to convert to Islam.
According to the Hindu scriptures known as the Puranas, the Kayasthas descend from Chitragupta, a Hindu god who keeps complete records of the actions of human beings on earth. When they die, Chitragupta decides between heaven or hell for them, based on their actions. Chitragupta Maharaj (Chitragupta the King) is the patron deity and forefather of the Kayasthas Hindu caste: scribes, officials, administrators, writers, magistrates, judges. lawyers, chief executive officers and village accountants. Kayasthas celebrate Qalam and Dawaat (pen and ink-pot) worship, a ritual in which pens, papers and books were worshipped.
Most South Asian kingdoms and princely states valued Kayasthas as desired citizens or immigrants in the second millennium. They treated the Kayasthas more as a community than a Hindu caste, because they developed expertise in Persian (the state language in Islamic India), and learned Turkish and Arabic, economics, administration and taxation. This gave them an edge over the Brahmins, the priestly Hindu caste) who traditionally reserved the study of Sanskrit shastras for themselves. Muslim Kayastha outnumber the Hindu Kayastha even today. They adapted to change, such as the advent of the British Raj. They learned English, and the more affluent sent their children to school in the United Kingdom. They became civil servants, tax officers, junior administrators, teachers, legal helpers and barristers, and rose to the highest positions accessible to natives in British India.
Muslim Kayasth have traditionally been a literate landlord community, Patwaris and Qanungohs (land record keepers), except the large land-owning taluqdar families.
The Muslim Kayasth live in the northern Indian states of Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh and Bihar and also in other states: Jharkhand, West Bengal, Telangana, Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra. In Uttar Pradesh, the Muslim Kayasth live in the urban and semi-urban centers of the state. There is also a large community in Delhi, capital of India.
After the independence in 1947, many Muslim Kayasthas migrated and settled in the provinces of Sindh and Punjab in Pakistan. In Sindh province, they are mainly settled in the urban centers especially in Karachi, Hyderabad and Sukkur. In Punjab province, they have settled in Lahore, Rawalpindi, Multan and Faisalabad. There is also large community also in Islamabad, the capital of Pakistan.
Kayasthas are said to be of three sorts (kinds)— (1) the Chitragupta Kayasthas (2) Dhalbhaga Gatri Kshatriya Kayasthas and (3) Kayasthas of the mixed blood. The origin of Chitraguptavanshi Kayasthas is given in the Puranas. He was born from the body of Brahma while he was contemplating how he should know the good and evil acts of living beings. He was a brilliant person with pen and ink in his hands. He was known as Chitragupta and was placed near the God of death. He was appointed to record the good and evil acts of men. He was a Brahmin possessed of supra sensible knowledge. He was a god sharing the offerings at sacrifices. All the Brahmins offer him oblations of rice before taking their meals. He is called Kayastha because of his origin from the body of Brahma. Many descendants of his bearing different Gotras still exist on this earth. From this it will be seen that Kayastha Brahmins of Karhada and Khandesha are the Brahma-Kayasthas. Now about the origin of Chandraseniya Kshatriya Kayastha.....