Arab Invasion Of India


In the early 8th century Arabs invaded India from the North-West region. This Arab invasion in AD 712 was led by Muhammad Bin Qasim a general of the Umayyad caliphate. Invasion on India was part of the policy of Arab expansion during this period.

The rise of Islam in Arabia gave rise to a new political system. The process of expansion which had started after the capture of Mecca by the prophet Muhammad continued after his death.

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Rise And Spread Of Islam

In the 7th century AD, a new religion named “ISLAM” was born in Arabia and in a very short span it carved out an empire extending from North Africa to Iberian Peninsula to Iran and India.

Islam was founded and preached by Prophet Muhammad (AD 570–632).

This religion transformed the religious, political and social life of not only the people of Arabia but also of many parts of the world.

Islam laid emphasis upon belief in one God and its holy book as the “QURAN”. Muslims believe that the Quran is revealed by God to Prophet Muhammad. Quran is respected as the supreme source of authority in Islam. Every Muslim was asked –

  • to pray five times a day,
  • to fast during the month of Ramzan,
  • to distribute alms, and
  • to make a pilgrimage, if possible, to Mecca.

After the death of Prophet (AD 632) the task of providing religious and political leadership to the Muslims passed on to the Caliphs.

Caliph is derived from the Arabic word ‘Khalifa’ which means ‘deputy’. This is a title given to the rulers who succeeded Prophet Muhammad.

  • Between AD 632–661 there were four pious Caliphs, all close companions of the Prophet.
  • The Umayyad Caliphate (AD 661–750) succeeded the pious Caliphs. Umayyad dynasty gave stability and prosperity to the Caliphate.
  • Umayyad dynasty was followed by the Abbasid Caliphate (AD 750–1258).
  • During the time of later Abbasids, the Caliphs began to loose political control and independent Muslim Rulers (Sultans) emerged in several regions.

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The Arab expansion was notable for the speed with which it was accomplished.

  • Between AD 633–637, Arab conquered West Asia, Jordan Syria, Iraq, Turkey and Persia. They also conquered parts of North Africa and Southern Europe.
  • Between AD 639–637, Egypt was conquered.
  • By AD 712, the Arabs had entered Spain and were soon making inroads into Southern France.
  • By the 8th Century AD, the Arabs had acquired a core position from Spain to India, connecting the trade of Mediterranean and the Indian Ocean.

During the early years of the 8th Century, the Umayyads reached the height of their power. They had created the largest ever-Muslim state that existed.

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Arabs were also attracted by the wealth of India. Arab merchants and sailors had brought back stories of great wealth of India. However, the reason for the invasion of Sindh was to avenge the plunder of Arab Ships by pirates of Debol. King Dahir refused to punish the pirates.

Hajjaj the governor of Iraq dispatched an army under Muhammad Bin Qasim. He arrived in Sind in AD 712, and besieged Debol which was situated on the sea-coast. After crossing the Indus he marched forward. At Rawar, Muhammad Bin Qasim attacked Dahir who was defeated. Arabs killed a large number of fleeing soldiers. Dahir was also caught and killed. Muhammad Bin Qasim now proceeded forward and within a short span he conquered various important places in Sind including Brahmanabad.

The economic life of Sind got disturbed as a result of campaigns of Qasim. A large number of people and merchants had fled from Sind. He had conquered the major portion of Sind up to the lower Punjab. His rule lasted only for two years. However many Arabs settled down in Sind and established relations with the local population. The Arab influence continued for a long period with pockets of Muslim influence established in various parts of Sind.

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Bibliography : NIOS – Medieval India

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