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Muhammad bin Qasim


Muhammad bin Qasim Al-Thaqafi (Arabic: محمد بن قاسم‎) (c. 31 December 695–18 July 715) was an Umayyad general who, at the age of 17, began the conquest of the Sindh and Punjab regions along the Indus River (now a part of Pakistan) for the Umayyad Caliphate. He was born in the city of Taif (in modern day Saudi Arabia). Qasim's conquest of Sindh and Punjab laid the foundations of Islamic rule in the Indian subcontinent.

Life and career

A member of the Thaqeef tribe, which is still settled in and around the city of Taif, Muhammad bin Qasim's father was Qasim bin Yusuf who died when Muhammad bin Qasim was young, leaving his mother in charge of his education. Umayyad governor Al-Hajjaj ibn Yusuf, Muhammad bin Qasim's paternal uncle, was instrumental in teaching Muhammad bin Qasim about warfare and governance. Muhammad bin Qasim married his cousin Zubaidah, Hajjaj's daughter, shortly before going to Sindh. Another paternal uncle of Muhammad bin Qasim was Muhammad bin Yusuf, governor of Yemen. Under Hajjaj's patronage, Muhammad bin Qasim was made governor of Persia, where he succeeded in putting down a rebellion.

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At the age of sixteen, he was asked to serve under the great general, Qutayba bin Muslim. Under his command Muhammad bin Qasim displayed a talent for skilful fighting and military planning. Hajjaj's complete trust in Qasim's abilities as a general became even more apparent when he appointed the young man as the commander of the all-important invasion on Sindh, when he was only seventeen years old. Muhammad bin Qasim proved Hajjaj right when he, without many problems, managed to win all his military campaigns. He used both his mind and military skills in capturing places like Daibul, Raor, Uch and Multan. History does not boast of many other commanders who managed such a great victory at such a young age.

Besides being a great general, Muhammad bin Qasim was also an excellent administrator. He established peace and order as well as a good administrative structure in the areas he conquered. He was a kind hearted and religious person. He had great respect for other religions. Hindu and Buddhist spiritual leaders were given stipends during his rule. The poor people of the land were greatly impressed by his policies and a number of them embraced Islam. Those who stuck to their old religions erected statues in his honor and started worshiping him after his departure from their land.


Edited by anabia

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The campaign

Muhammad bin Qasim's expedition was actually the third attempt, the first having failed due to stiffer-than-expected opposition as well as heat, exhaustion.

Hajjaj had put more care and planning into this campaign than the first campaign under Badil bin Tuhfa. Hajjaj superintended this campaign from Kufa by maintaining close contact with Muhammad bin Qasim in the form of regular reports and then regularly issuing orders. The army which departed from Shiraz in 710 CE under Muhammad bin Qasim was 6,000 Syrian cavalry and detachments of mawali from Iraq. At the borders of Sindh he was joined by an advance guard and six thousand camel riders and later reinforcements from the governor of Makran transferred directly to Debal by sea along with five catapults. The army that eventually captured Sindh would later be swelled by the Jats and Mids as well as other irregulars that heard of successes in Sindh. When Muhammad bin Qasim passed through Makran while raising forces, he had to re-subdue the restive Umayyad towns of Fannazbur and Arman Belah (Lasbela) The first town assaulted was Debal and upon the orders of Al-Hajjaj, he exacted a bloody retribution on Debal by giving no quarter to its residents or priests and destroying its great temple in the process of freeing the kidnapped women.He then settled a garrison of four thousand colonists in one quarter of Debal, building a masjid over the remains of the original temple.

From Debal the Arab army then marched north taking towns such as Nerun and Sadusan (Sehwan) peacefully. Again the main temples were razed and masjid were built to replace them, often using their components; additionally one-fifth of the booty including slaves were dispatched to Hajjaj and the Caliph. The conquest of these towns was accomplished easily; however, Raja Dahir's armies being prepared on the other side of the Indus were yet to be fought. In preparation to meet them, Muhammad bin Qasim moved back to Nerun to resupply and receive reinforcements sent by Hajjaj. Camped on the east bank of the Indus, Qasim sent emissaries and bargained with the river Jats and boatmen. Upon securing the aid of Mokah Basayah, "the King of the island of Bet", Muhammad bin Qasim crossed over the river where he was joined by the forces of the Thakore of Bhatta and the western Jats.

At Ar-rur (Nawabshah) he was met by Dahir's forces and the eastern Jats in battle.]Dahir died in the battle, his forces were defeated and a triumphant Muhammad bin Qasim took control of Sind. In the wake of the battle enemy soldiers were put to death - but not artisans, merchants or farmers - and Dahir and his chiefs, the "daughters of princes" and the usual fifth of the booty and slaves was sent on to Hajjaj.Soon the capitals of the other provinces, Brahmanabad, Alor (Aror) and Multan, were captured alongside other in-between towns with only light Muslim casualties. Usually after a siege of a few weeks or months the Arabs gained a city through the intervention of heads of mercantile houses with whom subsequent treaties and agreements would be settled. After battles all fighting men were executed and their wives and children enslaved in considerable numbers and the usual fifth of the booty and slaves were sent to Hajjaj The general populace was encouraged to carry on with their trades and taxes and tributes settled.

With Sindh secured Qasim sent expeditions to Surashtra, where his generals made peaceful treaty settlements with the Rashtrakuta. Sea trade from Central India passed to Byzantium via the ports here, and the Arabs wished to tax these as well, especially if commerce might be diverted here from the Sindhi ports. Muhammad bin Qasim wrote out letters to "kings of Hind" to surrender and accept Islam, and subsequently 10,000 cavalry were sent to Kannauj asking them to submit and pay tribute before his recall ended the campaign.



(BABUL QASIM gate Multan)

Edited by anabia

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Reasons for success

Muhammad bin Qasim's success has been partly ascribed to Dahir being an unpopular Hindu king ruling over a Buddhist majority who saw Chach of Alor and his kin as usurpers of the Rai Dynasty.This is attributed to having resulted in support being provided by Buddhists and inclusion of rebel soldiers serving as valuable infantry in his cavalry-heavy force from the Jat and Meds. Brahman, Buddhist, Greek, and Arab testimony however can be found that attests towards amicable relations between the adherents of the two religions up to the 7th century.

Along with this were:

1. Superior military equipment; such as siege engines and the Mongol bow.

2. Troop discipline and leadership

3. The concept of Jihad as a morale booster.

4. Religion; the widespread belief in the prophecy of Muslim success, as well as Dahir's marriage to his sister which alienated him from others

5. The Samanis persuading the population to submit and not take up arms in self-defence because Buddhism was a religion of peace.

6. The laboring under disabilities of the Lohana Jats.

7. Kind treatment of local population regardless of their beleifs

8. Defections from among Dahirs chiefs and nobles.

Administration by Muhammad bin Qasim

After the conquest, Muhammad bin Qasim's task was to set up an administrative structure for a stable Muslim state that incorporated a newly conquered alien land, inhabited by non-Muslims. He adopted a conciliatory policy, asking for acceptance of Muslim rule by the natives in return for non-interference in their religious practice, so long as the natives paid their taxes and tribute. He established Islamic Sharia law over the people of the region; however, Hindus were allowed to rule their villages and settle their disputes according to their own laws. and traditional hierarchical institutions, including the Village Headmen (Rais) and Chieftains (dihqans) were maintained. A Muslim officer called an amil was stationed with a troop of cavalry to manage each town on a hereditary basis

Everywhere taxes (mal) and tribute (kharaj) were settled and hostages taken - occasionally this also meant the custodians of temples.Non-Muslim natives were excused from military service and from payment of the religiously mandated tax system levied upon Muslims called Zakat , the tax system levied upon them instead was the jizya - a progressive tax, being heavier on the upper classes and light for the poor.In addition, three percent of government revenue was allocated to the Brahmins.

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Muhammad bin Qasim was known for his obedience to the ruler. Walid bin Abdul Malik died and was succeeded by his younger brother Suleman as the Caliph. Suleman was an enemy of Hajjaj and thus ordered Qasim back to the kingdom. Qasim knew of the animosity between the two. He was aware that due to this enmity, he would not be well treated. He could have easily refused to obey the Caliph's orders and declare his independence in Sindh. Yet he was of the view that obeying ones ruler is the duty of a general and thus he decided to go back to the center. Here he became a victim to party politics. He was put behind bars where he died at age of twenty. Many historians believe that had he been given a few more years, he would have conquered the entire South Asian region.

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* Port Qasim, Pakistan's second major port is named in honor of Muhammad bin Qasim.


* Muhammad bin Qasim has sometimes been called "the first Pakistani".

* Yom-e-Babul Islam is observed in Pakistan(Sindh), in honor of Muhammad bin Qasim.


Edited by anabia

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zabrdast anabia

good sharing

keep it up




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