1.1. THE RISE OF ISLAM
Professor R.P. Tripathi begins his famous monograph entitled Some Aspects of Muslim Administration, by writing that the Muslim “invaders gradually wormed themselves into the heart of India, and finally assumed the role of the earlier Hindu Empire-builders like Chandra Gupta, Samudra Gupta and even Harsha… The Muslim Sultan, however, differed from the earlier Hindu sovereigns in two respects. He did not belong to the country over which he had come to rule… Secondly, he believed in a religion whose outlook on social and political questions was very different from that of the Hindus. He did not come… simply for conquest. With him he had brought a well-defined religion, a highly developed civilization, and a set of institutions to which he clung with all his faith. Indeed, it was an avowed principle with him to maintain their purity and to establish them in lands under his sway.”1
This statement of R.P. Tripathi lays stress on the following points: that Muslim invaders assumed the role of earlier Hindu empire-builders like Chandra Gupta, Samudra Gupta and Harshavardhan; that they did not belong. to the country over which they had come to rule; that they believed in a religion which was very different from that of the Hindus; and that the invaders and rulers had not come just to conquer but also to establish Islamic religion and institutions in all their purity in this country.
We shall elaborate on these points to give an idea of what the present work is all about. It has been correctly said that the Muslim invaders and rulers did not belong to Hindustan. Muhammad Ghauri, Iltutmish and Balban ruled with the help of Muslim soldiers from abroad. The Khaljis and Tughlaqs may be considered Indian, but they also regularly recruited warriors from outside India for extending their dominions and spreading Islam in India. Many Muslim rulers depended upon the caliphs of Baghdad or Cairo for moral support. The Mughal invader Babur did not belong to India. He was forced by circumstances to march into Hindustan. His officers and soldiers disliked the country and clamoured to return home to Afghanistan. Babur himself had no love for the country and as per his wishes his body was taken and buried in his homeland. Akbar and Jahangir were regarded as Indians but not the other Mughals. As late as the seventeenth century the French physician Francois Bernier while on a visit to India asserted that “the Great Mogol is a foreigner in Hindustan, a descendent of Tamerlane, chief of those Mogols from Tartary who, about the year 1401, overran and conquered the Indies, consequently he finds himself in a hostile country, or nearly so ”
These alien rulers could not assume the role of earlier Hindu emperors. Although they gradually wormed themselves into the heart of India and built up large empires, they could not rule like Chandra Gupta, Samudra Gupta or Harshavardhan. The two belonged to two different religious streams. The Muslim sultans reigned according to the dictates of the Shariat, the Hindu emperors on the principles of Dharmashastra. Their rules of war and governance were poles apart. The Quran does not permit the existence or continuance of other faiths and their religious practices. Of the 6236 ayats in the Quran about 3,900 are directly or indirectly related to Kafirs, Mushriks, Munkirs, Munafiqs or non-believers in Allah and his Prophet. Broadly speaking these 3,900 ayats fall into two categories - those relating to Muslims who for their faith will be rewarded in this as well as the world hereafter, and those relating to Kafirs or nonbelievers who are to be punished in this world and are destined to go to Hell after death. The Quran reads like a manual of war on mankind rather than a charter of brotherhood for all mankind. For people of other faiths, jihad or permanent war was the command of the Quran and order of the day. Islam recommends jihad or perpetual war on adherents of other religions - to lay hold of them, bind them, strike off their heads and bum them in the fire of hell. This makes Islam a totalitarian and terrorist cult which it has remained ever since its birth.
On the other hand, Indian kings waged wars according to humane rules which have been elaborately described in the Dharmasutras and Dharmashastras, the Ramayana and Mahabharata, and the Arthashastra treatises of Kautilya, Kamandaka, and Shukra. Even during the medieval period, as has been observed by K.M. Munshi: “Whatever the provocation, the shrine, the Brahman and the cow were sacrosanct.... War being a special privilege of the martial classes, harassment of the civilian population during military operations was considered a serious lapse from the code of honour. The high regard which all Kshatriyas had for the chastity of women, also ruled out abduction as an incident of war.”2 Moreover, never in this country was a war psychology developed for aggressive ends. The whole nation was never trained for purposes of war. Only one caste - the Kshatriya - was set aside for purposes of defence against foreign invasions and protection of life and property from internal dissensions. It is another matter that against the no-holds-barred Jihadists, all castes, all sections of Hindu society joined to fight the invaders and proselytizers, but fighting was the duty primarily of the Kshatriya.
In war and in peace, the Muslim rulers of Hindustan followed, as far as lay in their power, the injunctions of the Quran and the Hadis, the Shariat and the Sunnah. They had no knowledge of the scriptures and institutions followed by Chandra Gupta, Samudra Gupta or Harshavardhan. They could not and did not rule like Hindu kings. It is often said that all religions are alike. People may follow different paths but they all lead to the same God. if that were so, there was no need of any quarrel among peoples of different faiths. But strife among followers of different creeds is common. Therefore all religions are not similar. It is the fundamental teachings of a creed that mould the character and determine the conduct of its followers. Therefore it has been rightly pointed out by Tripathi that Muslim invaders and rulers believed in “a religion whose outlook on social and political questions was very different from that of the Hindus”. The growing awareness that Muslim religion and Muslim rule were impositions and that Indians belonged to a different religious and political tradition, has not escaped Hindu consciousness of medieval history. It does not accept the Ilbaris, the Khaljis, the Tughlaqs, the Bahmanis, the Sharqis, the Lodis and the Mughals as indigenous dynasties on par with the Mauryas, the Guptas, the Cholas, the Pandyas, the Sangamas, the Marathas, the Sikhs, and the Jats. Its heroes are Prithviraj Chauhan, Vikram Pandya of Madura, Harihar and Bukka and Krishnadevaraya of Vijayanagar, Maharanas Kumbha, Sanga and Pratap, Maharajas Shivaji and Ranjit Singh and not Muhammad Ghauri, Alauddin Khalji, Sikandar Lodi or even Shahjahan.
It was the erudite Alberuni who, after describing the atrocities inflicted by Sabuktigin and Mahmud of Ghazni, declared that “the antagonism between them (the Hindus) and all foreigners receives more and more nourishment both from political and religious sources”. Muslim invaders and rulers, had come not only to conquer but also to impose the Islamic religion. And the gulf created by the phenomenon has not been bridged. For, Islam is an imposition on India. Worse, it has been imposed through conquest. Ralph Borsodi, an American educationist and social thinker, in his The Challenge of Asia observes that “everywhere in the world except in Asia Minor, the three great Semitic religions - Judaism, Christianity and Islam - are intruders; that indigenous Asia is Brahmanist, Confucianist, Buddhist, Taoist; indigenous Europe is pagan; that in Europe, Christianity is a superimposition; in Asia, Islam is.”3 The achievements of Muslim conquerors and rulers in India consist of the pursuit of their political and religious policy of superimposing Islam on India. This is clearly borne out by the writings of medieval Muslim chroniclers like Hasan Nizami, Minhaj Siraj, Ziyauddin Barani, Shams Siraj Afif, Farishtah, etc. It is by going through their works that one can appreciate the spirit of how Islam was made to spread in India. As against the modern apologists, they take pride in the fact that Islam spread in India through the sword and through methods laid down in Quran and Hadis.
Many educated Muslim rulers of medieval India had mastered the Quran and were familiar with other literature on Muslim religion and jurisprudence. The uneducated kings employed ulema to familiarize them with the Islamic lore. For an Alim and a Maulana, Quran was the first must among the works he studied. Its Surahs (chapters) and ayats (verses) are often quoted and its phraseology freely used by them while writing the chronicles of their kings. There are two sorts of Muslim historians - the dry annalists, and the pompous and flowery rhetoricians. But both of them use the language of their scriptures - a style more natural to their ideas and sentiments. Therefore, present-day scholars working on medieval Indian history should acquaint themselves with this literature to know what Islam stands for. It is necessary to know Islam in order to understand the spirit of Muslim rule in India. The religion and theology of Islam are based on four great works - (1) The Quran, (2) the Hadis, (3) the Sirat-un-Nabi or the Biography of Muhammad, and (4) the Shariat or Islamic law as elaborated in the Hidayah. The word ‘Quran’ literally means recitation, lecture or discourse. Muslims consider it to be the word of God conveyed to His prophet Muhammad through the angel Gabriel. The Quran is not only the heart of the religion but it is still “considered by one-eighth of mankind as the embodiment of all science, wisdom and theology”.4 The Quran is the principal scripture revealed by Allah to Prophet Muhammad. Consequently, its injunctions become commands of God. With the Prophet becoming inalienable part of it, he is also bestowed with unquestionable authority on each and every theory and practice of Islam.
The study of Quran and the necessity of expounding it gave rise to that most characteristically Muslim literary activity, namely, the books of tradition or Hadis, literally meaning “narrative”. It is the compendium of the doings, sayings, reservations and judgements of Muhammad. Muslim theologians make no distinction between Quran and Hadis. To them both are works of revelation or inspiration. “In the Quran, Allah speaks through Muhammad; in the Sunnah [Hadis], He acts through him… No wonder that the Muslim theologians regard the Quran and the Hadis as being supplementary or even interchangeable’.”5 Within three hundred years of the death of Muhammad, the Hadis acquired substantially the form in which it is known today. Imam Bukhari (d. CE 870) compiled ‘authentic’ traditions from a plethora of voluminous traditions. Next in importance are the collections of Imam Muslim (d. 875) and Imam Tirmizi (d. 892). These are well known and oft-quoted. In the series of original collectors of Hadis, Imam ibn Majah’s name is equally important. Born in 209 H/824 CE, he died in 273/ 886. He collected traditions at his home in Qazwin and by travelling abroad in Khurasan, Iraq, Hijaz, Egypt and Syria. In every hadis in his _Sunan ibn Majah _he quotes the copious authorities from whom he got his information.
Sunan ibn Daud _by Imam Abu Daud Sijistani is a compilation of 4,800 _ahadis selected from five lakh ahadis. In the preface to the work published from Delhi, the publisher rightly emphasizes that the Quran and Hadis are supplementary, that “without Hadis, it is not possible to practise the (injunctions) of the Quran and without Quran, Hadis is incomplete”. Mishkat-ul-Sharif also is a collection of more than 6,000 ahadis selected by Abdullah al-Khatib al-Umari (d. 743/1342 CE), from the works of Bukhari, Muslim, Tirmizi, Abu Daud and many others. He quotes their authority at the end of each hadis cited.
Equally important guide for the Muslims in the performance of their duties is the life-story of Muhammad. Apart from several maghazi books dealing with the Prophet’s campaigns, his first authentic biography too was ready in the eighth century. Its author Ibn Ishaq was born at Medina in 85 H and died in Baghdad in 151 H (7o4-768 CE). He wrote the Sirat Rasul Allah.6 Other biographers of note who succeeded him were al-Waqidi, Ibn Hisham, and at-Tabari. Muslims try to mould their lives after the model of Muhammad. As advocated by Bukhari, I, p. 623, ahadis 1578ff, “No one regarded by any section of human race as the perfect man has been imitated so minutely.”7 In short, anything derived from the Quran and the Hadis is the Shariat or Islamic jurisprudence; anything derived from Hadis and history of the prophet Muhammad by and large constitutes the Sunnah. There is no aspect of life which does not receive guidance from Islamic scriptural literature. it deals with government and administration, payment of taxes, crime and punishment, buying and selling, treatment of women and slaves, baths, prayers and fasts, marriage, divorce and sex. Nothing is missing. Islam is complete in all matters of do’s and don’ts for Muslims. A Muslim need not think at all - all his problems find a ready answer in Quran and Hadis.
Essentialism of Islam
Jihad is the highest duty of a Muslim. Jihad means attacking, killing, enslaving or converting non-Muslims even when they have done no harm to the Muslims, even when they are unarmed. Jihad is waged for the sake of Allah; war and worship in His service are the same. Shirking jihad is the greatest sin; obtaining glory through jihad is the highest grace. Islam suffers from the ego of triumphalism. It says that it should triumph over others, because it alone is true and all others are false. Not all exclusivists belong to the militant extreme, but all are convinced that their religion alone is true. This is Islamic fundamentalism. Fundamentalism is belief in the inerrancy of the scriptures of one’s religion. Fundamentalism is not accidental but essential to Islam. What Islam always meant by “knowledge” (ilm) was religious knowledge by “revelation”, the logic that all that is in Islam is right. It sees unchangeability as strength. That is why the word reform is so abhorrent to Muslim thinkers and religious leaders. In Islamic scriptures there are commands, directions and orders. There is no mention of discussions or consensus arrived at. This was the practice in Arabia after its conquest by Muhammad and this was the practice wherever Muslim armies marched. In Islam, truth is established by the sword, not through argument. Image breaking is a contribution of prophetic religions. In Islam, iconoclasm is important, but it is more important that the shrines of non-Muslims are desecrated and destroyed rather than spared through agreement or in exchange for wealth. (What Mahmud of Ghazni declared at Somnath according to Attar, is the gist of the true spirit of Islam).
The Quran and the Hadis provided the foundation upon which theology and law of Islam were raised. Totalitarian nature of Islam permits no separation of state and church. “Law in Islam is more intimately related to religion than to jurisprudence as modern lawyers understand it.”8 Named after their founders Abu Hanifa (c. 699-767), Abu Abdullah Muhammad bin Idris (c. 767-820), Ahmad Bin Hanbal (c. 780-855) and Malik bin Anas (c. 715-795) - the four mazahib or schools of Islamic law named Hanafi, Shafii, Hanbali and Malaki respectively, had come into being in the eighth-ninth century. The Hanafi law is followed in India. If at all anything was wanting with regard to Muslim law, it was provided by Hidayah or Guidance.9 The Hidayah is a voluminous treatise based on Sunni law composed by Shaikh Burhanuddin Ali who was born at Marghinan in Transoxiana about 530 H and died in 593 H (1135-1196).10 Burhanuddin claims to have studied all earlier commentaries on the Quran and the Hadis belonging to the schools of Malik, Shafi and Hanbal besides that of Abu Hanifa.11 The other outstanding work of this kind is the Kanz-ud-Daqaiq of Maulana Abdullah Nasafi.
Muslim law in its ultimate form was thus available to the conquerors and sultans who established their rule in India in the thirteenth century. True, there were no printed editions of these works. But beautiful hand-written copies were always available, at least to distinguished conquerors and kings and their counsellors. Muslim law is definite, clear and universal. This law was the actual sovereign in Muslim lands; no one was above it and all were ruled by it.12
Muslim state in India was administered according to this law. Muslims and non-Muslims were all governed by it. For Muslim sultans and governors in India, it provided examples, precedents and judgements by the learned in the law in other Muslim lands. It helped them in taking decisions in any matter of importance. Qazis and Muftis were there with them to render advice and interpretation on complicated matters. In short, the functioning of the Muslim state in India, its history and polity, cannot be correctly understood without a working knowledge of Islamic scriptures and law.
1.2. THE SPREAD OF ISLAM
Muhammad, the prophet of Islam (full name Abu al-Qasim Muhammad ibn Abdullah ibn Abdul Muttalib ibn Hashim) was born in Arabia in or around 570 CE and died in 632. In 622 he had to migrate from Makkah to Madinah (called hijrat) and this year forms the first year of the Muslim Hijri calender. During his life time, Muhammad made Arabia a land exclusively adherent to Islam. After his death, the Arabs embarked on a series of territorial expansions and made themselves masters of Syria, Palestine, Egypt and Persia within a short span of twenty years, or, in the rhetorical words of Earnest Barker, Arab Islamism “Spreading with the rapidity of an electric current from its power house in Mecca, it flashed into Syria, it traversed the whole breadth of north Africa; and then, leaping the Straits of Gibralter it ran to the Gates of the Pyrenees.”13 Such unparalleled feats of success were due to their proud feeling of Arabicism, their zeal for the new faith, and the material gains brought through holy war or jihad. The ponderosity of the jihad gave them the energy and the rapidity of electric current. And Islam came to be what the world has ever since recognized it to be - a militant religion, a creed of aggression and violence.
Islam originated in the land of the Arabs. The rise of Arabs as a political power has been elucidated by a large number of writers on Islam. T.W. Arnold observes that the expansion of the Arabs was due not so much to the religious spirit as to their desire to obtain the lands and goods of their neighbors who were richer and more fortunate than themselves.14 Most Arabs of the days of prophet Muhammad were poor. They needed a reformer to improve their economic condition. There are two ways of alleviating poverty and gaining economic well-being. One way is to work hard and raise one’s resources through labour and sweat. The other is to attack and rob others and thereby grow rich. The early indigent Arab Muslims could either be persuaded to make a living by working hard, or encouraged to attack and plunder the others. Islam resorted to the second alternative as ordered by Allah. Recruits, mainly from among the slaves or lower classes, began to swell the ranks of the believers, or in the flowery words of Edward Gibbon, the shepherds were turned into robbers and robbers were collected to form an army of conquest. “Soldiering was not only the noblest and most pleasing professions in the sight of Allah but also most profitable.”15
Anwar Shaikh analyses the expansion of Arab power in the following words: “The prophet Muhammad divided humanity into two sections - the Arabs and the non-Arabs… The Arabs are the rulers and the non-Arabs are to be ruled… Islam is the means to realize this dream… Islam has caused more damage to the national dignity and honour of non-Arab Muslims than any other calamity … Yet they believe that this faith is the ambassador of 1. Equality and 2. Human Love. This is a fiction.”16 Creation of a pure (Muslim) nation, demanded that the Jews must be expelled from Arabia. So, they were treated mercilessly. Finally, the policy of ethnic cleansing was adopted, and the Jews were banished.17
As the Quran is in Arabic, this must be the preferred language of the Muslims everywhere. Translation of Quran in fact is not Quran. The real Quran is the one that has been revealed in the Arabic language.18 Besides, “no place on earth bas ever exacted such a tribute of reverence from mankind as the Kaaba. Respect to the Kaaba means, respect to Mecca, respect to Mecca means respect to Arabia, and respect to Arabia means respect to Arabs, the dwellers of Arabia”. (italics by the author).19 Everything about Arabia is superior, says also the Hadis. Mecca is Allah’s best land and most beloved of God. Muhammad decreed that Muslims everywhere must prostrate five times a day facing Makkah. When Muslims die, they must be buried facing Mecca which is the guarantee of their salvation. Keeping one roza in Makkah brings benediction (sawab) of one lakh rozas.20
Muhammad made Hajj to Arabia an obligatory ritual for his followers. As prophet of Allah, Muhammad was aware of his power and influence over Muslims. If he had said that Hajj should be performed every year, it would “have become obligatory on Muslims to go for Hajj every year.21 He knew their limitations and therefore made one Hajj at least good enough in one’s lifetime. Mecca was declared Allah’s own land and it became a centre of pilgrimage of Islam and of all Muslims; Hajj impressed upon Muslims the sanctity of Arabia. Besides for the old, the weak and women, Hajj is their Jihad.22 Hajj created an everlasting source of income for the Arabs.23 Ruben Levy notes that “the largest amount of space devoted in the Quran to any of the four duties is then given to the pilgrimage”.24
Anwar Shaikh dwells on this early period of Arab glory. “The Arabs made a profession of robbing and murdering the non-Muslims in the name of Allah, but they called it jihad. Egypt and Iran were the early casualties. It was the pillaged wealth and abducted daughters and sisters of the foreign nations which lent the golden touch to this Arab era.”25 “After their spectacular conquests, the Arabs were unwilling to concede equality to the non-Arab converts to Islam, despite Islamic doctrine that expressively forbade discrimination. But for the Arabs there were the conquered and the conquerors… The Arabs ruled as a sort of conquistador tribal aristocracy”, to which only “true Arabs” could belong 26 Later on the same was done by the “true Turks”. The Turks took concubines from the conquered people, but their children and their slave women were heavily discriminated against and were not considered full Turks.
To sum up, Islam spread through unparalleled feats of armed might. Some Muslim merchants spread their creed by peaceful means also by making their employees and other beneficiaries join their faith. Peaceful propagation of Islam was ruled out by the fact that the majority of early Arab Muslims were not educated enough to discuss, debate, argue and convince. Hence they were not trained for spreading the new creed through any missionary endeavour. They could only wield the sword very well. Hence Muslim historical literature repeatedly mentions that Islam spread through military conquests when the vanquished were offered the alternative of Islam or death. They accepted Islam because they had hardly any other choice. Death is no choice because nobody chooses death, so they chose Islam.
In view of this it is difficult to agree with the view that Islam was hailed by people living under “despair and frustration” and that its “success should be sought, not so much in the strength of Muslim armies, as in the revolutionary impact of the principles of the new social order which Islam preached and strove to establish”.27 It is true that Muslims believe Islam to be a religion of equality and love. This idea of equality and love may not be a total fiction, but it is meant not for all the people; it is confined to Muslims only.
There are one or two passages in the Quran evincing tolerance like: Your religion to you, my religion to me; or, there is no compulsion in religion. “All passages preaching tolerance are found in Meccan, i.e., early Suras, and all the passages recommending killing, decapitating, and maiming are Medinan, i.e., later toleration has been abrogated by intolerance. For example, the famous verse 9.5, “Slay the idolaters wherever you find them,” is said to have cancelled 124 verses that dictate toleration and patience.28
Islam has two sets of principles of morality, ethics and justice: One for Muslims and the other for non-Muslims. Sincerity, well-wishing and brotherhood are for the believers and faithful. For non-Muslims the principles and standards of behaviour are different. The differences are elaborately defined in the Quran, the Hadis and the Sunnah. Subversion of many ancient civilizations by Islam is a historical fact. Welcome reception of the new creed by other people because they were living in frustration in their old order, is only an assumption.
This assumption is disproved by a patent fact. Islamic armed creed projected through war, achieved quick success only in small countries with small populations (beginning at home with Arabia itself), not in large countries with large populations. In 622 CE “when the Muslims took up arms they had little more than a tiny existence. In 632 the Muslims had conquered the whole of the Arabian Peninsula. It was conquered at the cost of only 150 men killed in the battlefield on the enemy side.”29 For the same reason, it could accomplish its aim of spreading Islam in Egypt, Syria, Iraq, Iran and North Africa. According to Colin Clarke’s estimates the population of Egypt about the middle of the fourteenth century was three million, of the rest of North Africa two million, of Asia Minor, Syria and Cyprus eleven million, and of other countries of South-West Asia also eleven million.30 The fighting force of these countries in the seventh and eighth centuries would have been very small - too small to withstand the armed might of the invading Arabs. Hence these were overrun and Islamized speedily. Big countries with large population and hoary civilizations like India, China, Russia and Europe rejected Islam. Not that Islamic armies did not try to penetrate them, but they were persistently resisted and Islam was not accepted by them as their national creed or culture. India is the most appropriate example of this phenomenon. Here a thousand years of Islamic rule, terror and vandalism failed to impress the people about the Islamic revolution. Islam was not welcomed as harbinger of a revolution promising a new world order because it was not believed to be so by those who were subjected by it. If today some Muslim countries like Saudi Arabia and Iran take pride in the achievements of Islam and dream of furthering Pan-Islamism, they do not care or dare to remember the point of time when their original religions and civilizations were subverted; they do not desire to recapitulate how their ancestors had felt at the sudden trampling of their cherished values through violence. Of course some countries like Egypt, Turkey and Algeria which were similarly Islamized in medieval times now want to rid themselves of Islamic fundamentalist shackles.
1.3. THE ADVENT OF MUSLIMS IN INDIA
Arab invasion of Sindh: The Arab and later Turk Muslims spread into India through three major waves of invasions, but it took them five hundred years to do so. After the conquest of Iran by 643 CE, the boundaries of the Caliphate touched the frontiers of India. India, known to early Arabs as Hind wa Sind, too could not escape Muslim expansionist designs, and they sent their armies into India both by land and sea. They proceeded along the then known (trade) routes - 1. from Kufa and Baghdad, via Basra and Hormuz to Chaul on India’s west coast; 2. from West Persian towns, via Hormuz to Debal in Sindh; and 3. through the land route of northern Khurasan to Kabul via Bamian. But progress of Muslim arms and religion in India was slow, very slow. For, the declarations of the objectives of Muslim invaders had not taken into account the potentialities of Indians’ stiff and latent resistance. Caliph Umar (634-44 CE) had sent an expedition in 636-37 to pillage Thana. It was followed by some attempts on the part of Caliphs Usman and Ali. But in vain. The four ‘pious’ Caliphs of Islam died without hearing of the conquest of Sind and Hind.
The first full-fledged Arab invasion of Sindh was launched by Muhammad bin Qasim in 712 on the command of Hajjaj bin Yusuf on behalf of the Caliph. By the irony of circumstance, the majority of the Sindhi population at that time was Buddhist. They were averse to fighting. But there was no difference between them and Brahmans with regard to resistance to the invader.31 Debal, the fort-temple town, was attacked first. When the siege of Debal had continued for some time a defector informed Muhammad about how the temple could be captured. Thereupon, the Arabs, planting their ladders, stormed the citadel-temple and swarmed over the Walls. As per Islamic injunctions, the inhabitants were invited to accept Islam, and on their refusal to do so, all adult males were put to the sword and their wives and children were enslaved. The carnage lasted for three days. The temple was razed and a mosque built on its site and with its debris. Muhammad laid out a Muslim quarter, and placed a garrison of 4,000 in the town.
The result of the destruction of Debal, the venerated shrine of Sindh, was that the Jats, who perhaps had earlier shown indifference if not jubilation on the arrival of the new corners, turned enemies of Muslims for all time to come,32 Most of the major cities of Sindh were captured, their temples broken, their men massacred and their women and children enslaved. Muhammad bin Qasim was permitted to remain in Sindh only for a little over three years but Muslims and Islam came to stay in Sindh permanently. A dent had been made in India’s social fabric, and its wealth looted. Foreign and newly converted Muslims remained confined mostly to cities, particularly Multan. Multan, according to al-Masudi (writing about CE 942), remained one of the strongest frontier places of the Musalmans. Ibn Hauqal who finished his work in CE 976 says, “The Muslims and infidels of this tract wear the same dresses, and let their beards grow in the same fashion. They use fine muslin garments on account of the extreme heat. The men of Multan dress in the same way. The language of Mansura, Multan and those parts is Arabic and Sindian ” This, in brief, was the social change brought about in Sindh after the introduction of Islam there.
Two points in the destruction of Debal need be taken note of. First, the carnage there lasted for three days. The conquering Muslim army is generally allowed three days of pillage. This three day pattern is repeated in many Muslim massacres, e.g., Timur’s massacre in Delhi (1399) or Sultan Muhammad’s in Constantinople (1453). The lust for slaughter used to assuage in this period and it sufficed the soldiers to gather captives and precious objects. The second is the destruction of the temple of Debal. Iconoclasm represented Quwwat-ul-Islam. Muslims destroyed Hindu temples because of ‘dominance urge’. But they did more harm to themselves than they visualized. Besides earning permanent Hindu hostility, they harmed their own maritime trade and commerce. For example, Hindu temples on the seaboard like Debal on the west coast and Jagannath Puri on the east, served as light houses for the sailing ships.33 Muslims destroyed all. They themselves suffered in the long run. They became weak on the sea so that even the might of Akbar’s empire could not prove equal to the small number of Portuguese who dominated the Indian seas.
Mahmud of Ghazni’s Campaigns in Punjab
Amore terrifying wave of Islamic invasion came with Mahmud of Ghazni, three hundred years after the Arab invasion of Sindh. During this period Islam was spreading in various regions outside India with varying degrees of success. Furthermore, the newly converted Turks, the slave protectors of the pious Caliphs, had carved out their own kingdoms at the expense of the Caliph’s “empire”. Alaptigin and Subuktigin belonged to this class of slaves. They made frequent inroads into Hindu Shahiya territories of Afghanistan and Punjab. But when Subuktigin’s son Mahmud delivered his first attack in the year 1000 CE, he let loose hell in the region.
Mahmud could launch forth seventeen expeditions during the course of the next thirty years. He fulfilled his promise to the Caliph of carrying out yearly campaigns against the non-Muslims of Hindustan both in letter and spirit of Islamic theology. For this he has been eulogized sky-high by Muslim poets and Muslim historians. He was always careful to include the Caliph’s name on his coins, depict himself in his Fateh-namas as a warrior for the faith, and to send to Baghdad presents from the plunder of his Indian campaigns. The Caliph al-Qadir Billah in turn praised the talents and exploits of Mahmud, conferred upon him the titles of Amin-ul-millah and Yamin-ud-daula (the right hand) after which his house is known as Yamini Dynasty.
Mahmud Ghaznavi was very successful in the usual fields of Islamic expansionism - conversions of Hindus to Islam, destruction of temples and acquisition of wealth. The sack of Somnath in particular came to be considered a specially pious exploit because of its analogy with the destruction of the idol of al-Manat in Arabia by the Prophet. This “explains the idolization of Mahmud by Nizam-ul-Mulk Tusi,34 and the ideal treatment he has received from early sufi poets like Sanai and Attar, not to mention such collectors of anecdotes as Awfi.”35 It is indeed noticeable that after the Somnath expedition (417H/1026 CE), “a deed which had fired the imagination of the Islamic world”, Caliph al-Qadir Billah himself celebrated the victory with great eclat. It is also significant that Mahmud now issued his coins for the first time from Lahore.
Alberuni writes that “Mahmud utterly ruined the prosperity of the country by which the Hindus became like atoms of dust scattered in all directions Their scattered remains cherish.. the most inveterate aversion towards all Muslims Hindu sciences have retired far away from those parts of the country conquered by us, and have fled to places which our hand cannot yet reach (italics ours), to Kashmir, Benaras and other places.”36 Later chroniclers write with a tinge of pride that fourteen Ghaznavids ruled at Lahore and its environs for nearly two hundred years. But there was progressive deterioration in their administration. However, the importance of occupation of most part of the Punjab lies in the fact that Muslims had come to stay in India. And these Muslims helped in the third wave of Muslim onrush which swept northern India under Muhammad Ghauri.
Muhammad Ghauri’s Invasion of India
Muhammad Ghauri was not as valiant and dashing as Mahmud, but his knowledge about India and about Islam was much better. He now possessed Alberuni’s India and Burhanuddin’s Hidayah, works which were not available to his predecessor invader. Alberuni’s encyclopaedic work provided to the Islamic world in the eleventh century all that was militarily advantageous to know about India. Equally important was the Hidayah, the most authentic work on the laws of Islam compiled by Shaikh Burhanuddin Ali in the twelfth century. These and similar works, and the military manuals like the Siyasat Nama and the Adab-ul-Harb, made the Ghauris and their successors better equipped for the conquest and governance of non-Muslim India. There need be no doubt that such works were made available, meticulously studied and constantly referred to by scholars attached to the courts of Muslim conquerors and kings.
Muhammad Ghauri led his first expedition to Multan and Gujarat in 1175 and 1178. In 1191 he attacked Prithviraj Chauhan ruling at Ajmer and Delhi but was defeated and forced to beat a hasty retreat. Next year he again started from Ghazni towards Hindustan with full preparations and with a force of one hundred and twenty thousand Turks, Persians and Afghans. On reaching Lahore, he sent an ambassador to Ajmer and invited Prithviraj to make his submission and accept Islam. The arrogant message met with a befitting retort, and the armies of the two once more encamped opposite each other on the banks of Saraswati at Tarain, 588 H/1192 CE. The Rajput army was far superior in numbers. Prithviraj had succeeded in enlisting the support of about one hundred Rajput princes who rallied round his banner with their elephants, cavalry and infantry. To counter such a vast number Muhammad Ghauri “adopted a tactic which bewildered the Rajputs” and they were defeated.
With the defeat and death of Prithviraj Chauhan, the task of the invader became easy. Sirsuti, Samana, Kuhram and Hansi were captured in quick succession with ruthless slaughter and a general destruction of temples and their replacement by mosques. The Sultan then proceeded to Ajmer which too Witnessed similar scenes. In Delhi an army of occupation was stationed at Indraprastha under the command of Qutbuddin Aibak who was to act as Ghauri’s lieutenant in Hindustan. Later on Aibak became the first Sultan of Delhi. That is how the Muslim state was established in northern India.
Muslim conquest of Sindh and Punjab is an old story. It has been graphically described by early medieval Muslim chroniclers like al-Kufi, Utbi, al-Biladuri, Ibn-ul-Asir, Hasan Nizami, Minhaj Siraj, etc. Mahmud of Ghazni’s extraordinary exploits fired the imagination of Muslim historians and they praised him sky-high for his achievements. He was their model, their hero. In all spheres of Islamic piety he excelled over all other Muslim conquerors. His iconoclastic zeal, in particular his sack of Somnath, won him unlimited praise from poets and historians, contemporary and later. Mahmud was hailed throughout the Islamic world as a second Muhammad and his destruction of Somnath was lauded by the sufi poets Attar, Sanai and Umar Khayyam. These poets equated Somnath with the temples of the Goddess al-Manat smashed by Muhammad in Arabia. As the Dictionary of Islam says, Muslim writers are “unanimous in asserting that in the time of the Prophet… the only choice given to the idolaters of Arabia was death or reception of Islam”. Breaking of temples and forcible conversions at the point of sword were achievements of all Muslim invaders and most Muslim rulers. Their Jihad spread Islam in the infidel land of Hindustan and filled the coffers of Muslim conquerors with immense wealth. However, some modern Muslim apologists express a view contrary to what has been said by contemporary chroniclers of the medieval period. Probably they are shocked at the barbarous conduct of their medieval brethren and want to salvage the reputation of Islam, although whatever was done was done in accordance with the canons of their creed. Muslim historians of the medieval period honestly state that non-Muslims were converted to Islam through force; modern Muslim apologists claim that conversions were effected through peaceful means. Medieval chroniclers take pride in the iconoclastic zeal and achievements of their heroes; modern apologists plead otherwise. Medieval historians credit Muslim invaders with fighting jihad for spreading Islam; modern Muslim writers say that their motive was economic - that the invaders were interested in loot and plunder and had little to do with religion. It needs to be emphasized that the truth here does not lie midway. It lies on the side of the medieval chroniclers. Still, the apologists complicate matters by contradicting the versions of their own co-religionists who were closer to and more intimately associated with events about which they wrote than our modern apologists. The idea of a secular Muslim state is an innovation of a few modem “progressive” writers who wish to bracket Muslim civilization with tolerant civilizations. They should remember that there is a difference between the spread of Islam and, say, spread of Buddhism and no amount of jugglery of words and “interpretations” can prove that the spread of Islam was peaceful. All Hadis, and all chroniclers discriminate between Muslims and non-Muslims, and Islam spread in India through the exertions of Muslim heroes like Mahmud of Ghazni and through jihad as recommended by Islamic scriptures.
As Dr. Ali Issa Othman, for some years adviser to UNRWA (United Nations Relief and Works Agency) on education said: “The spread of Islam was military. There is a tendency to apologize for this and we should not. It is one of the injunctions of the Koran that you must fight for the spreading of Islam.”37 The successes achieved in this fight for spreading of Islam is also the main story of the medieval Muslim chronicles. The importance of ‘force’ in Islam should be acknowledged rather than minimized. The denial of force as a means of spreading Islam by a few modem apologists, like Aziz Ahmad and Muhammad Mujeeb38 cannot alter the basic truth about the history and philosophy of Islam, nor the spirit behind words like Kafir, Jihad, Jiziyah, etc.
1 The Indian Press, Allahabad, 1936.
2 K.M. Munshi, ‘End of Ancient India’ in Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan’s Journal, vol. IV, no. II, December 29, 1959, pp. 8, 14.
3 Cited in Ram Swarup, Hindu View of Christianity and Islam, Voice of India, New Delhi, 1992, pp. 48-49.
4 P.K. Hitti, The Arabs, London, 1948, p. 31.
5 Ram Swarup, Understanding Islam through Hadis, New Delhi reprint, 1983, pp. vii, xi.
6 Trs. by A. Guillaume under the title The Life of Muhammad, Oxford University Press, 1958.
7 Hitti, op. cit., p. 29.
8 Ibid., p. 78.
9 Trs. by Charles Hamilton, 4 vols. London, 1791.
10 Hughes, T.P., Dictionary of Islam, p. 174; D.S. Margoliouth, Mohammed and the Rise of Islam, pp. xix-xx..
11 It was translated into English by Charles Hamilton of the East India Company and published in England in 1791. It is easily available in a recent reprint.
12 A. Khuda Bakhsh, Essays, Indian and Islamic, London, 1927, p. 51.
13 In the Legacy of Islam, Ed. Sir Thomas Arnold and Alfred Guillaume, Oxford University Press, London, 1931, p. 42.
14 T.W. Arnold, The Preaching of Islam, London, 1913, pp. 45-101.
15 P.K. Hitti, The Arabs, p. 44.
16 Anwar Shaikh, Islam, The Arab National Movement, 1995. It may be pertinent to mention here that Anwar Shaikh (born 1928) is living in Britain since 1956 under a fatwa of death (April 1994) because he has candidly written much that is unpalatable to Muslims. He is safe because he is settled in England and also because the assassins feel that killing him would draw attention to his ideas and writings more pointedly. However, a campaign against him is on, For example, Arshad Ali Khan in Daily Jang, London, April 30, 1995, calls on Muslim scholars of all sects of Islam to rebut Anwar Shaikh’s views to save Islam.
17 Ibid., Preface; also Hagarism; The Making of Islamic World by Patricia Crone and Michael Cook, Cambridge, 1977, p. 78.
18 Quran Majid, Rampur, Preface by Muhammad Farukh Khan, p. 11.
19 Islam, The Arab National Movement, pp. 24, 25, 28, 32, 38.
20 Sunan ibn Majah, vol. II, p. 259, ahadis 893-94; pp. 261-62, hadis 902.
21 Ibid., p. 197, ahadis 663-64.
22 Ibid., p. 199, hadis 673, p. 201, ahadis 681-682, p. 203, hadis 687-88, p. 224, hadis 771.
23 The income to Saudi Arabia from Hajj every year is considerable See also Hajj pilgrimage in Part II - Politics.
24 Ruben Levy, The Social Structure of Islam, p. 161.
25 Anwar Shaikh, Islam, p. 54.
26 Ibn Warraq, Why I Am Not A Muslim, Amhest, N.Y., U.S.A., 1995, p. 202.
27 K.A. Nizami, Religion and Politics, p. 1.
28 Ibn Warraq, p. 115.
29 S.K. Malik, The Quranic Concept of War, p. 74.
30 Colin Clarke, Population Growth and Land Use, p. 64.
31 Andre Wink, Al-Hind, vol. I, p. 151.
32 For a detailed discussion on this phenomenon, see K.S. Lal, Growth of Scheduled Tribes and Castes in Medieval India, pp. 25-27, 88-94.
33 Manucci, vol. III, pp. 112, 141, 151 and footnotes, 244-45.
34 Siyasat Nama (ed. Shefer), pp. 77-80, 138-156.
35 Aziz Ahmad, Studies in Islamic Culture in the Indian Environment, Oxford, 1964, p. 79.
36 Alberuni’s India, vol. I, p. 22.
37 Quoted by Charis Waddy in The Muslim Mind, Longmans, 1976 and reproduced in Devendra Swarup (ed.), Politics of Conversion, Deendayal Research Institute, New Delhi, 1986. p. 179 note.
38 Aziz Ahmad, Studies in Islamic Culture, pp. 81-84; M. Mujeeb, Indian Muslims, p. 22.