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Monday, December 26, 2011

MOHAMMAD BIN QASIM


MOHAMMAD BIN QASIM

As mentioned elsewhere, Sind had a large Buddhist population at this time but the ruler, Dahir, was a Brahmin. It is said that the Buddhists been receiving constant information from their co-religionists in Afghanistan and Turkistan about the extremely liberal treatment meted out to them by the Arab conquerors of those regions. In view of these reports, the Buddhist population of Sind decided to extend full cooperation to Mohammad Bin Qasim and even acclaimed him as liberator from Brahmin tyranny. Several principalities in Sind were ruled by Buddhist Rajas. The Buddhist ruler of Nerun (Hyderabad) had secret correspondence with Mohammad Bin Qasim. Similarly, Bajhra and Kaka Kolak, Buddhist Rajas of Sewastan, allied themselves with Mohammad Bin Qasim.20 On similar grounds, Jats also joined the Arabs against Dahir.

Secondly, it is generally believed that Mohammad Bin Qasim conquered areas only up to Multan. No, he conquered almost the entire Pakistan which then formed part of the Kingdom of Sind. According to Chach Nama, after conquering Aror (near Rohri), Mohammad Bin Qasim advanced towards Bhatia, an old fort on Beas which was under the command of Chach's nephew. After conquering Bhatia the Arabs laid siege to Iskandla on river Ravi and took it. Chach Nama further states that Mohammad Bin Qasim proceeded to the boundary of Kashmir called Panj Mahiyat, at the upper course of Jhelum just after it debouches into the plains.21 "With a force of 6,000 Mohainmad Bin Qasim, a youth of 20, conquered and reorganised the whole of the country from the mouth of Indus to the borders of Kashmir, a distance of 800 miles in three years 712-15 A.D.22

"Waihind (neat Attock) which was one of the oldest cities of the sub-continent was included in the kingdom of Sind."23 "Mohammad Bin Qasim made Multan the base for further inroads and garrisoned Brahmanpur, on the Jhelum, the modern Shorkot, Ajtabad and Karor; and afterwards with 50,000 men marched via Dipalpur to the foot of the Himalayas near Jelhum."24

It is recognised by all historians that Mohammad Bin Qasim's rule was most liberal and his treatment of non-Muslims extremely just and fair. He not only appointed Hindus to senior administrative posts but left small Hindu principalities undisturbed. Brahmins had become so loyal to him that they used to go from village to village and urge people to support the Arab regime. When Mohammad Bin Qasim was recalled from Sind by the Caliph in very unhappy circumstances, the Hindus and Buddhist of Sind wept over his departure; and when he died they erected a statue in his memory and worshipped it for a long time. Mohammad Bin Qasim’s two sons had a distinguished career. Arnroo became Governor of Sind and Qasim was Governor of Basra for fifteen years.25

But the early Arab period is not one of peace and tranquility. With the recall of Mohammad Bin Qasim the province returned to chaos and confusion. After a few years of anarchy governor Junaid restored normalcy. A short while later, due to bad administration, chaos prevailed again. Conditions were so critical that the next governor, Hakam bin Awanah established a new city called 'Mahfooza' (place of safety) in 732 A.D. - 113 A.H. where all the Muslims collected for safety. Later on, after restoring order and reorganising most of the Province, Hakam’s general Amroo (the son of Mohammad Bin Qasim) built another city 'Mansoora' (victory) near Shahdadpur in 737 A.D. - 119 AH. which became the capital of the Arab kingdom. Because of these unsettled conditions Sind had to be conquered again and again.

"In Sind the recall of Mohammad Bin Qasim was followed by a Hindu reaction which almost wiped out the results of the first victories. When Hakam bin Awanah was appointed Governor of Sind, he found that the natives had rebelled and apostasized. He built two cities, Mahfuzah and Mansurah in the north and south of Sind, to provide places of security for Muslims.'' 26

From the departure of Mohammad Bin Qasim in 715 A.D. to the fall of the Umayyad caliphate in 750 A.D., a period of 35 years, Sind had nine governors. They were Habib Bin Mohlab, Amro Bin Muslim Bahili, Bilal Bin Ahwaz, Junaid Bin Abdur Rehman Marri, Tamim Bin Zaid Atbi, Hakam Bin Awanah Qalbi, Amroo Bin Mohainmad Bin Qasim, Yazid Bin Arrar and Mansur Bin Jamhur Qalbi. During this period "Governor Junaid again conquered all the territory up to Beas and Ravi in the north-east, Kashmir in the north, Arabian ocean in the south, Malwa in the south-east and Makran in the west."27

Umayyad caliphate was replaced by that of the Abbasids in 750 AD, Sind became part of the Abbasid dominions. It remained under Baghdad’s control during the Abbasid Caliphs Saffa, Mansoor, Hadi, Haroon, Mamoon, Mutasim, Wasiq and Mutawakkil. In the reign of the last mentioned Caliph, the Governor of Sind, Umar Hibari, became practically independent owing nominal allegience to the Caliph. Earlier, during the caliphate of Mamoon-ur-Rashid, Sind Governor Bashar Ibn-e-Dawood had revolted and withheld the payment of revenues, but the revolt was quelled judiciously. It may be of interest to note that the postal and intelligence services of Sind were directly controlled by the Caliphs.

The man who governed Sind (then covering major portion of present day Pakistan) for the longest period was Dawood bin Yazid bin Hatim who died in 821 A.D. Two members of the famous Baramaka family of Abbasid Prime Ministers ruled over Sind as Governors during this period. One was Musa Barmakh and the other his son Omar Barmakh. The Barmakh family were said to be originally Kashmiri Buddhists who had migrated to Balkh (now in northern Afghanistan) and after accepting Islam, went to Baghdad where several members of the family had distinguished career. Two of them, Yahya and Jafar, became Prime Ministers of Haroon-ur-Rashid. (The word Barmakh is derived from the Sanskrit word ‘par mukh’ meaning sardar).

During the 105 years of Abbasid period when Sind formed part of their dominions (750-855 A.D.) thirty-one Governors were appointed. The Hibari dynasty which had become independent lasted from 855 A.D. to 1010 A.D. i.e., till the annexation of Sind by Mahmud Ghaznavi. It was the last Arab government. One of its rulers Abdulla bin Omar Hibari (d. 893 AD) ruled for about 30 years and made great contribution to the cultural and economic development of the province. It was during the Hibari period that Sind severed its relations with the caliphate; and it was during this period that two separate states emerged in Sind: one had its capital at Mansura and the other at Multan. In addition, several small Hindu states had also sprung up. It was again during the Hibari rule that the Fatimid Caliph Obidullah-aI-Mahdi sent the first Ismaili missionary, Haishan, to Sind.

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