Inauguration Of Muslim Rule In Subcontinent

(Ghulam Murtaza, Islamabad)

Indian subcontinent has had close relations with Islam. Islam came to India in his very beginning period. It is believed that one of the companion of Muhammad ﷺ, Malik bin Deenar came to the western coast of India in seventh century. A mosque still exists there which dates back to 629 AD. It is also famous that Arab traders used to come to the shore of India for to sell their goods. The Muslim Arab’s earliest contact with Malabar Coast (India) dates back to reign of second pious caliph Umar (R.A). He ruled Muslim empire from 634 to 644 AD. For the purpose of trade, Arabs got an opportunity to came into close contact with local people and impress them by their fair dealing in business. The Arabs left a long-lasting impact of their piety, simplicity and equal dealing to everyone on Indian population. Along with their business dealings, they also preached Islam. First Indian ruler to embrace Islam was ruler of small state known as Kirning Noor. He entered the fold of Islam due to preaching of Sheikh Sharaf bin Malik and his preaching party. During the rule of Muslim’s second pious caliph Umar (R.A), the governor of Oman Sarqafi sent an army to Thana and barouche, small seaports near Bombay, without the permission from caliph. Umar (R.A) did not like overseas expeditions and did not take further action. Until the end of Rashidun caliphate, the boundaries of Muslim empire spread to present Iran, some parts of Afghanistan and Turkmenistan. After Rashidun caliphate, Umayyad caliphate begins in 661 AD. Like Rashidun caliphate, Umayyad caliphate also continued to extent the boundaries of Muslim empire. Until 705 A.D, when Al-Walid ibn Abd Al-Malik ibn Marwan commonly known as Al- Walid (I), came into power, the sultanate extend upto present Afghanistan and the borders of Muslim empire touched the boundaries of subcontinent. The caliph did not want to send further expeditions toward Eastern boundaries because it is difficult for caliph to send big army and to gave them continuous supply of food and to fulfil other needs, which was far away from capital of Muslim empire Damascus. Instead of far expeditions caliph want to occupy byzantine (present Turkey) and parts of Africa , which were near to capital and easy to occupy, Caliph also wanted to make state strong from inside. In 705 AD, when Walid (I) came into power, Hajjaj bin Yousaf was the governor of Iraq. He had great skills to command and was strict administrator. He was also very excursive among all governors.

Ruler of Deabul (Sindh) Raja Dahir
During the rule of Walid (I), Raja Dahir an autocratic Hindu ruler, was ruling in the areas of subcontinent, which were touching the Muslim empire. Once the king of Ceylon (present Sri Lanka) sent vessels carrying Muslim women who had been living in Ceylon, The orphaned children of Muslim merchants were also included, who died in Ceylon. The king also added vessels loaded with gifts for Hajjaj bin Yousaf, the governor of Iraq. On their way to Iraq near Sindh, the pirates that were living in areas adjoining Dahir’s territory attacked the fleet and captured the ship in which women and children were sailing. The pirates put the women and children in the jail. A woman from tribe Banu Yarib cried out “Of Hajjah, Al Hajjaj”. When Hajjaj bin Yousaf heard about her of this, he exclaimed, “Here am I” Hajjaj Bin Yousaf sent messenger to Raja Dahir and asked him to set the prisoners free. Raja Dahir bluntly refused and asked that he had no control over the area where pirates live. He also replied that Hajjaj could do so himself. After the reply of Raja Dahir, Hajjaj bin Yousaf became anxious and decided to punish Raja Dahir for his contemptuous attitude. Some sources said that Hajjaj bin Yousaf wanted excuse, so that he can get the support of caliph Walid (I) to attack on Raja Dahir. However when Raja Dahir denied to free the prisoners, Hajjaj bin Yousaf got that excuse. It also had some advantages that the Umayyad Caliphate could have gained after occupying the subcontinent. These advantages include gaining the foothold on Sindh Baluchistan and Makran region, protecting the maritime interests of caliphate, and to punish the armies that participated alongside with Persians from subcontinent in several battles, and for allowing refuge to fleeing rebel chieftains. Whatever the reason, Hijaj bin Yousaf had decided to invade and conquer Sindh. Hajjaj gave formation to his army under the command of his most trustable commanders for expedition to punish Raja Dahir. He sent expeditions several times but failed and their commanders were killed. After several defeats, Hajjaj decide to change the strategy.

Muhammad bin Qasim
He then decided to send his son-in-law and nephew Muhammad bin Qasim as a commander. Who was then only seventeen years old. Muhammad bin Qasim was trained by the Hajjaj and he was very impressed with Muhammad bin Qasim's abilities. When Hajjaj gave command to Muhammad bin Qsasim he was in Iran. Hajjaj gave him a trained and well-equipped army. The army include six thousands Syrian cavalry, six thousand camel riders, five catapults were included and he was join by an advance guard at the border of Sindh. Muhammad bin Qasim marched toward deabul (present Sindh) through the area of Makran. Muhammed bin qasim conquered all the areas adjoining deabul. Muhammad bin Qasim bivouacked on the bank of river Indus that is near deabul. Deabul was surrounding by strong fortification and Raja Dahir was living inside it. Muhammad bin Qasim laid a formidable siege around deabul and challenged Raja Dahir for decisive battle in 712 AD. According to chach-namma (the oldest chronicle of Arabs conquest of Sindh ), Raja Dahir came into battle ground with army of young men of royal blood, and celebrated horsemen and veteran warriors, numbering five thousands with 60 elephants, some say thousand like elephants and 20 thousands foot soldiers with complete armour or coats of mail, marched out. Both the armies faced each other at Roar (modern Nawabshah). The battle continued for several days, both the armies fought bravely for their victory. On the sixth day of battle, Raja Dahir killed on June 712 AD, fighting bravely against Muslim army. Head of raja Dahir cut off from his body and sent to Hajjaj bin Yousaf. Captive children and women were set free and sent back to their homeland. The backbone of Hindu army was broken. However, after the death of Dahir his wife Rani Bai took the command and fled to the Rowar fort with her 15000 troops. From Rowar fort, she challenged Muhammad bin Qasim for battle. Muhammad bin Qasim chased Rani bai and again put siege around her fort. He ordered to demolish the walls of fort by digging mines and by using catapults. After a strong attack by Muhammad bin Qasim, Rani Bai found herself surrounded by every side. She surrendered and committed suicide along with other women. Muslim army occupied the fort and became victorious. Thus, Muhammad bin Qasim got the honour that first Muslim commander who entered Indian subcontinent as a conqueror. He further continued his campaign and conquered areas upto Multan.

Administered area under Muhammad bin Qasim
He took control of whole area and set himself to solve administrative problems of India. Qasim very wisely formulate the strategy of controlling the captured land with the help of local inhabitant. He imposed tax of twelve dirham’s to be collected from all public for development. He also allowed other religion followers to led their lives according to their beliefs. In addition, Brahmins were allowed to enjoy their position in society but they have to pay a poll tax (jizeya). In this way, Muhammad bin Qasim show mercy upon his opponents and won their hearts. He acquainted Islam as faith and system in his territory. Islamic sharia was declared as the supreme law of of newly conquered state and all the other laws were suspended. He also establishes the office of Sadru-i-imam-al-ajall and appointed Musa bin Tai in the office to interpret Islamic law. During stay in Sindh, Muhammad bin Qasim set glorious example of piety, simplicity and equality by personal character and attracted large number of followers to fold of Islam. In this way, he did merit able services in spread of Islam and contributed immensely to increase population of Muslims in India. However, Muhammad bin Qasim establishes the first Muslim state in subcontinent and opened gates of subcontinent for Islam. He made Sindh a Dar-ul-Islam. Muhammad bin Qasim set up a superstructure of administration in Sindh that impressed the people of whole subcontinent. He continued his mission of conquering new lands and captured some other areas touching Sindh. Muhammad bin Qasim sent his trusted commander Abu Hakim Shaibani toward Kanauj and other areas of subcontinent with mission to swaying the local leaders of India to embrace Islam. In 714 AD, Hajjaj bin Yousaf the governor of Iraq, his uncle and master died. By the end of 714 AD, Muhammad bin Qasim was deciding to march toward the further parts of subcontinent and for capturing remaining parts of subcontinent. Suddenly in the beginning of 715 AD, caliph walid (I) died and some changes came about in the Umayyad caliphate. The brother of walid(I), Suleiman bin Abdul Malik became the new caliph of Muslim empire. He did’t liked Hajjaj bin Yousaf and other important personalities of walid (I) regime. He wanted to punish them all. Hajjaj was already dead, to take revenge caliph Suleiman called back Muhammad bin Qasim and put him in jail. Because of very hard punishments, he died at young age of 20 years, in 715 AD. He was dead but his unremarkable services for Islam live forever.

My name is Ghulam Mustafa khan. I belong from Pakistan and lives in Islamabad. I am 17 years old. I passed my intermediate in 2020.


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