It may be mentioned at the very outset that the merchants and traders had always played a vital role in the dissemination of culture and civilization throughout the history of mankind. It is common knowledge that it was the Arab traders, and not the conquerors or rulers, who first brought Islam to India, especially to Sind and north-western India. That Islamization of several parts of South-East Asia was possible through the Arab traders is well established now, thanks to the works of the distinguished French historian, Denys Lombard.