Arab Conquest of India

December 6, 2017 | Author: Rahmatahir Rahma | Category: Sindh, Hindu, Religion And Belief, Qur'an, Unrest
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Arab Conquest of India...


The last Prophet of Islam, Prophet Muhammad (SAW), completely changed the intellectual outlook of Arabia. Within a span of 23 years he transformed the barbarous and impious Arabs into a civilized and religious nation. During his life and also after his death, Muslims took the message of Islam to every corner of the world and within a few years Muslims became the super power of the era. Trade relations between Arabia and the Sub-continent dated back to ancient times. Long before the advent of Islam in Arabia, the Arabs used to visit the coast of Southern India, which then provided the link between the ports of South and South East Asia. After the Arab traders became Muslim, they brought Islam to South Asia. A number of local Indians living in the coastal areas embraced Islam. However, it was the Muslim conquests in Persia, including the provinces of Kirman and Makran, which brought the Arabs face to face with the then ruler of Sindh, who had allied with the ruler of Makran against the Muslims. But, it was not until the sea borne trade of the Arabs in the Indian Ocean was jeopardized that serious attempts were made to subjugate Sindh. During the reign of the great Umayyad Caliph Walid bin Abdul Malik, Hajjaj bin Yousaf was appointed as the governor of the Eastern Provinces. At that time, Raja Dahir, a Brahman, ruled Sindh. However, the majority of the people living in the region were Shudders or Buddhists. Dahir treated members of these denominations inhumanly. They were not allowed to ride horses or to wear a turban or shoes. Sindhi pirates, protected by Dahir, were active on the coastal areas and whenever they got a chance, they plundered the ships passing by Daibul. During those times, some Muslim traders living in Ceylon died and the ruler of Ceylon sent their widows and orphans back to Baghdad. They made their journey by sea. The King of Ceylon also sent many valuable presents for Walid and Hajjaj. As the eight-ship caravan passed by the seaport of Daibul, Sindhi pirates looted it and took the women and children prisoner. When news of this attack reached Hajjaj, he demanded that Dahir return the Muslim captives and the looted items. He also demanded that the culprits be punished. Dahir replied that he had no control over the pirates and was, therefore, powerless to rebuke them. On this Hajjaj decided to invade Sindh. Two small expeditions sent by him failed to accomplish their goal. Thus, in order to free the prisoners and to punish the guilty party, Hajjaj decided to undertake a huge offensive against Dahir, who was patronizing the pirates. In 712, Hajjaj sent 6,000 select Syrian and Iraqi soldiers, a camel corps of equal strength and a baggage train of 3,000 camels to Sindh under the command of his nephew and son in-law, Imad-uddin Muhammad bin Qasim, a young boy of just seventeen years. He also had a 'manjaniq', or catapult, which was operated by 500 men and could throw large stones a great distance. On his way the governor of Makran, who provided him with additional forces, joined him. Also, a good number of Jats and Meds, who had suffered at the hands of native rulers, joined the Arab forces Muhammad bin Qasim first captured Daibul. He then turned towards Nirun, near modern Hyderabad, where he easily overwhelmed the inhabitants. Dahir decided to oppose the Arabs at ARaor. After a fierce struggle, Dahir was overpowered and killed. Raor fell into the hands of the Muslims. The Arab forces then occupied Alor and proceeded towards Multan. Along the way, the Sikka (Uch) fortress, situated on the bank of the Ravi, was also occupied. The Hindu ruler of Multan offered resistance for two months after which the Hindus were overpowered and defeated. Prior to this, Muhammad bin Qasim had taken Brahmanabad and a few other important towns of Sindh. Muhammad bin Qasim was planning to proceed forward when the new Caliph Suleman bin Abdul Malik recalled him. After the departure of Muhammad bin Qasim, different Muslim generals declared their independence at different areas. The Muslim conquest of Sindh brought peace and prosperity to the region. Law and order was restored. The sea pirates of Sindh, who were protected by Raja Dahir, were crushed. As a result of this, sea trade flourished. The port of Daibul became a very busy and prosperous commercial center.

When Muhammad bin Qasim conquered Sindh, the local people, who had been living a life of misery, breathed a sigh of relief. Qasim followed a lenient policy and treated the local population generously. Everyone had full religious freedom and even the spiritual leaders of local religions were given salaries from the government fund. No changes were made in the local administration and local people were allowed to hold offices - particularly in the revenue department. All taxes were abolished and Jazia was imposed. Everyone was treated equally. Poor people, especially Buddhists, were very impressed by his policies and many of them embraced Islam. A number of Mosques and Madrasas were constructed in important towns. In a short period of time Sindh became a center of Islamic learning. A number of religious scholars, writers and poets were emerged and they spread their knowledge. The Muslims learned Indian sciences like medicine, astronomy and mathematics. Sanskrit books on various subjects were translated into Arabic. During the reign of Haroon al Rasheed, a number of Hindu scholars were even invited to Baghdad. The establishment of Muslim rule also paved way for future propagation of Islam in Sindh and the adjoining regions. Later Sindh also attracted Ismaili missionaries who were so successful that Sindh passed under Ismaili rule. With the conquest of Lahore by Mahmud of Ghazni, missionary activity began again under the aegis of Sufis who were the main agents in the Islamization of the entire region. There were various reasons that gave Arabs an easy victory of Sindh. 1. Sindh was a weak state with meager resource and it was not strong militarily. 2. The were sharp social divisions in Sindh. 3. The Barhaman Kings had been oppressive towards martial people like Jates and Meds who fully cooperated with Qasim and played crucial role in the conquest of Sindh. 4. The rule of Dahir’s family was not stable because it had captured throne recently. 5. Other Indian rulers remained indifferent to Dahir’s fate because Sindh was located at the extreme west corner of India and was practically isolated. 6. The Arabs possessed superior arms, cavalry and military tactics. 7. The Muslims were inspired by the religious zeal which was infused by Islam. 8. The Hindus lacked emotional unity and thier religion and culture could not inspire them to fight with the Arabs. 9. Dahir lacked foresightedness and he could not foresee the danger of Arabs invasion when they had conquered Makran. 10. Dahir could not divide the strength of his army by attacking from different directions rather he left his fate to be decided by a single pitched battle against the Arabs. 11. Muhammad Bin Qasim was certainly of more capable commander than that of Dahir.The

efficient commandership of Qasim was largely responsible for the Arabs success in Sindh. 12. The treachery from Indian side certainly helped in the success of Arabs.Many cities were surrendered without fight and other with nominal fight. 13. The nice behaviour of Qasim with those people who surrended also won the hearts of the local people. 14. The keen interest of the Hijjaj was also one of the causes of success.He kept himself touch throughout the expedition and guided Qasim at all important occasions. 15. The help of Moka (a chieftain),Sisakar (miniter of Dahir) and kahra (the cousin of Dahir) was won over by Qasim and thier council and help proved very useful for Arabs. 16. Another reason was that the Arabs fought with great objective to help Muslim women who were captured by sea-pirates and the sad end of earlier campaigns of Sindh had also aroused the sense of avenge among the Muslims. All this situation gave Muslim forces moral supremacy as well as national zeal. Other conquests of bin qasim

Fall of Nirun: Flushed with success, Muhammad-bin-Qasim marched towards Nirun, which was under the charge of Dahir’s Son Jai Sindh. With the approach of the Arabs, Jai Sindh fled away after handing over the fort to a priest. Qasim captured it without a fight. It is said Nirun fell because of the treachery of some Buddhist citizens. Whatever may be the fact; Dahir had taken the matter lightly and did not attempt to check the further advances of the Arabs. Fall of Sehwan: After capturing Debal & Nirun, Muhammad-bin- Qasim marched against Sehwan, a town which was under the charge of the cousin of Dahir named Bajhra? The town was mostly inhabited by the merchant class and the priests. Bajhra could not defend the town in the face of the Arabian attack and fled away with panic. After his flight, the people of Sehwan surrendered to Muhammad-bin-Qasim. Sehwan fell because of poor defence.

Fall of Sisam and Victory over the Jats: Sisam also met the same fate as had happened to Sehwan. It was the capital of the Jats of Budhiya and was ruled by Kaka, a jat king. Kaka had given shelter to Bajhra after his flight from Sehwan. Muhammadbin-Qasim defeated the Jats who in turn surrendered to the Arabs. But during the encounter, Bajhra and his followers were killed. When so much had happened, yet Dahir did not raise his little finger to check the invader. Muhammad-bin-Qasim then reached the river Mihran where he was detained for some months because most of his horses of his army died of scurvy and he had to wait for fresh re-inforcement from home.

The Battle of Rawar: Dahir, the powerful king of Sind was waiting for the Arab invader with a huge army of 50,000 sword men, horsemen and elephantry at a place called Rawar. He was determined to finish the enemy once for all. He did not know that the Arab army led by Muhammad-bin-Qasim was also equally strong to face any Challenge. After waiting for some days, both the armies started fighting on 20th June, 712 A.D. It was a serious and severe battle. Dahir was a great warrior. He was fighting with a great spirit and was leading his army from the front. By riding on an elephant he was at the front and was attacking the opponent with great courage and valour. Calipha Walid died in 715 A.D. and was succeeded by his brother Sulaiman who had enmity with Hajaj, the governor of Iraq and fatherin-law of Muhammad-bin-Qasim. 1

Results/Impacts of M. Bin Qasim’s Invasion a Religious Impacts b Cultural Impacts c Intellectual Impacts d Social Impacts e Mystic Impacts

fAdministrative impacts g Economic Impacts h Political impacts iJudicial Influence jMilitary Interaction a. Religious Impacts:  It was Muhammad Bin Qasim, who officially brought Islam into India.  Sind became the center of Islam.  According to Masudi, the principle Arab colonies were Mansurah, Multan, Debu, and 

Nirun where large Friday mosques were built. Non-Muslims formed the bulk of the population and were in a preponderating majority at

Debul and Alor. The relations between Arabs and non-Muslim population were very good. Unlike the

historians of the Sultanate period . Soon after the conquest of Sind and Multan, cow-slaughter was banned in the area. This might have been due to desire to preserve the cattle wealth, but regard for Hindu sentiments

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may also have been partly responsible for this step. Indian trading centers were formed into mosques. Islam became a new religion of India. If Islam spread in Sind, it was due to the fact that Buddhists, Jats and Medas were eager to seek emancipation from Brahamanic tyranny. Islam appealed to them as an egalitarian religion, and its appeal was made attractive by the liberal and tolerant policies of the Muslim

amirs and its teachings brought home to people by the saints, scholars and traders. . Intellectual Impacts:  During the Ummayads and the early Abbasid period, the Arabs were, not only at the height of their political power, but were also very active in the intellectual field and made 

every effort to acquire knowledge from all sources. After the Arab invasion of India in 712 AD, the most important development took place

in the exchange of intellect between the Arabs and the Indians. The Indo-Arab intellectual collaboration was at its height during two distinct periods. It began during the reign of Mansur. As Sindh was under the actual rule of Khalifah Mansur, there came embassies from the part of India to Baghdad, and among them were scholars, who brought important books with them. The second fruitful period was the reign of Harun Rashid when the famous Barmakid family, which provided wazirs to the Abbasid caliphs for half a century, was at the zenith of its power. The Barkamids sent scholars to the Indo-Paksistan subcontinent to study medicine and pharmacology.

Sind became the link through which the fruits of Indian learning were transmitted to the Arabs, and by them made available to the civilied world.

Arabs were the masters of sciences and arts. They learnt a lot of knowledge from the

Hindus like astrology, astronomy. The Abbasid caliphs started utilizing the services of Hindu scholars from Sind to translate Sanskritic works on astronomy, mathematics and medicine. The Hindu scholars translated the Greek books into Arabic language at Dar-ul-Trarjuma. They engaged Hindu scholars to come to Baghdad, made tehm the chief physicians of their hospitals and ordered them to translate from Sanskrit into Arabic books on medicine,

pharmacology, toxicology, philosophy, astrology and other subjects. “the earliest Indo-Arab intellectual contact recorded in history in 771, when a Hindu scholar of astronomy and mathematics reached Baghdad with a deputation from Sind and took with him Sanskrit work (Siddhanta by Brahmangupta) which he translated into

Arabic with the help of an Arab mathematician. Indian doctors enjoyed great prestige at Baghdad. An Indian doctor, Manka, was specially sent for from India when Harun Rashid fell ill and could not be cured by the doctors at Baghdad. Manka’s treatment was successful and not only was he richly awarded by the Khalifah, but was entrusted with the translation of medical books from Sanskrit. Another Indian physician was called in when a cousin of the caliph suffered

from a paralytic stroke and was given up for lost by the Greek physician. Many Indian medicines, some of them in their original names like artifal, which is the

Hindi triphal ( a combination of three fruits), found their way into Arab pharmacopoeia. Astrology and palmistry also received consideravle attention at Baghdad. Other subjects on which books were translated were logic, alchemy, magic, ethics, statecraft and art of

war, but the books which gained greatest popularity were linked with literature. The Indians introduced the games of chess and chausar to the Arabs, which the Arabs

later spread to the other parts of the world. The Sindi language came to be written in Arabic script and in that manner, Sind was linked up with the main-stream of Islamic culture. Later the Quarn was translated in Sindi

language. The Muslims in Sind took active interest in Islamic studies. Some scholars of Hadith like

Abud Maashor Najeeb and Raja-al-Sindhi gained recognition even in Arabia. An Arab historian wrote a book known as “Chach Nama”. This book describes the history of Sind, which sheds light on the socio-economic, political, religious and cultural

aspects of Sind at the arrival of Arabs in Sindh. The style of writing this book changed the traditions of history writing. d. Social Impacts:  The caste system in India was broken by Islam.  They married the Sindi women and as a result a new class arose which was less Arab in   

blood but Arab in culture and Islam in religion. The Sindhi temper had much in common with the Arabs. The Living standards were changed. The Arab rulers adopted local practices to a much greater extent than did the Ghaznavids later at Lahore, or the Turks and the Afghans at Delhi. According to Mas’udi , the ruler of Mansurah had eighty war elephants and occasionally rode in a chariot drawn by elephants. Like the Hindu rajas, he wore ear-rings as well as a necklace, and wore his

hair long. The Arabs of Mansurah were generally dressed like the people of Iraq, but the dress of the ruler was similar to that of the Hindu rajas.

e. Administrative Impacts:  The Arabs divided Sindh into a number of districts called Iqtas and an Arab military 

officer was put in charge of a district. The officers in charge of the district were given a lot of discretion in the matters of

administration but were required to render military service to the governor. Soldiers were given jagirs. Endowments of lands were also given to the Muslim saints

and scholars. A large number of colonies came into being. The names of some of these colonies were

Mansura and Mahfuza etc. The people of Sind were allowed to mange their local affairs a principle of policy as well as the dictate of the situation.

f. Economic Impacts:  After the Indian invasion of Arabs, they brought new economic concepts to India, which 

proved an economic revolution for the Indian people. The Arabs introduced the interest free economy, which was an opposite to the Hindu

concept of concentration of wealth in one hand; the Bania. Life in the Arab dominion of Sind and Multan was simple, but agriculture and commerce were highly developed. Masudi mentions a large number of hamlets in the principalities

of Multan and Mansurah, and the whole country was well cultivated and covered with 

trees and fields. There was active commerce between Sind and other parts of the Muslim world. Caravans were often passing and repassing that country and Khurasan, most commnly by the route of Kabul and Bamian. Sindi Hindus, who were excellent accountants and traders, had a

major share in this commerce, and Alor is mentioned as a great commercial center. The prosperity of the area may be judged by the fact that Sind and Multan contributed eleven and a half million dirhams to Abbasid revenue, while the total revenue from the

 

Kabul area in cash and cattle was less than two and a quarter million dirhams. They followed the Islamic concept of distribution of wealth through Zakat and Charity. The Arab Muslims built infrastructure, which provided new opportunities of employment

to the Indian people. Arabs levied tax on land at the ratio of 2/5th of the total production of the crops.

f. Political Impacts:  Era of Raja Dahir ended and a new beam of light emerged on the political scene of India.  The native population were groaning under the tyrannical rule of Raja Dahir  Though the Muslim political power in Sind began to decline in the later 9 th century, Islam 

continued to live even after the fade out of Muslim power. In the political field, the arrangements made by Muhammad bin Qasim with nonMuslims provided the basis for later Muslim policy in the subcontinent.

g. Judicial Impacts:  Rough and ready justice was given to the people. There was no uniformity of law or of 

the courts. The Arab chiefs were allowed to have their courts and they could inflict capital

punishments of their dependents. There was a Qazi at the capital and there were similar qazis in the districts. They all

decided cases according to the Islamic law. The Hindus decided their cases and disputes regarding marriages, inheritance and other

social matters in their Panchayats. h. Military Interaction:  The Arabs introduced new ways of war techniques in India.  The Arabs were the ruler of a mighty empire. They defeated the Romans, Persian, 

Bayzantine, Greeks, and learnt new ways of warfare from them. The Arabs brought these war tools like the use of fire-works, cannons (Manjneeq) etc. and techniques in India.

b Consequences: 1. Islam as a rising power: 2. Sind as independent province: 3. Mission to conquer other areas: 4. End of absolutism: 5. Introduction of new administrative set-up: 6. Coordination with the governor of Iraq:

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