The features of Islamic religion which contributed to its spread through the sub-continent:
(i) The developments that followed the coming of Islam were not confined to ruling elites; in fact they permeated far and wide, through the subcontinent, amongst different social strata – peasants, artisans, warriors, merchants, to name a few.
(ii) All those who adopted Islam accepted, in principle, the five “pillars” of the faith: that there is one God, Allah, and Prophet Muhammad is his messenger (shahada);
(iii) Offering prayers five times a day (namaz/salat); giving alms (zakat); fasting during the month of Ramzan (sawm); and performing the pilgrimage to Mecca (hajj).
(iv) However, these universal features were often overlaid with diversities in practice derived from sectarian affiliations (Sunni, Shi‘a), and the influence of local customary practices of converts from different social milieus.
(v) Elsewhere, Arab Muslim traders who settled along the Malabar Coast (Kerala) adopted the local language, Malayalam. They also adopted local customs such as matriliny and matrilocalh residence.