Muhammad bin Qasim: Mass murderer and conqueror (0695 - 0715) | Biography
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Muhammad bin Qasim
Mass murderer and conqueror

Muhammad bin Qasim

Muhammad bin Qasim
The basics

Quick Facts

Intro Mass murderer and conqueror
A.K.A. Muhammad bin Qasim al-Thaqafi
Is Military leader Mass murderer Murderer
From Saudi Arabia
Field Crime Military
Gender male
Birth 31 December 695, Ta'if, Saudi Arabia
Death 18 July 715, Damascus, Syria; Mosul, Iraq
The details (from wikipedia)


Muhammad bin Qasim al-Thaqafi (Arabic: محمد بن القاسم الثقفي‎, Muḥammad bin al-Qāsim al-Thaqafī; c. 695 – 715), also known by the laqab (honorific epithet) of Imad ad-Din (Arabic: عماد الدين‎, ʿImād al-Dīn), was an Arab commander of the Umayyad Caliphate general, who, during the reign of Caliph al-Walid I (r. 705–715), led the Muslim conquest of Sindh and Multan (both in present-day Pakistan) from the third and the last Maharaja of the Brahmin dynasty, Raja Dahir. He was the first Muslim to have successfully invaded Sindh.


Information about Muhammad bin Qasim and the Arab conquest of Sind in the medieval Arabic sources is limited compared to the contemporary Muslim conquest of Transoxiana. The Futuh al-Buldan (Conquests of the lands) by al-Baladhuri (d. 892) contains a few pages on the conquest of Sindh and Muhammad's forces, while biographical information is limited to a passage in the work of al-Ya'qubi (d. 898), a few lines in the history of al-Tabari (d. 839) and scant mention in the Kitab al-aghani (Book of songs) of Abu al-Faraj al-Isfahani. A detailed account of Muhammad's conquest of Sind and his death is found in the Chach Nama, a 13th-century Persian text. The information in the Chach Nama purportedly derives from accounts by the descendants of the Arab soldiers of the 8th-century conquest, namely qadis (judges) and imams from the Sindhi cities of Alor and Bhakar who claimed descent from Muhammad's tribe, the Banu Thaqif. The orientalist Francesco Gabrieli holds the accounts likely emerged after c. 1000 and considers the Chach Nama to be a "historical romance" and "a late and doubtful source" for information about Muhammad.

Origins and early life

Muhammad was born in c. 694. His birthplace was almost certainly in the Hejaz (western Arabia), either in Ta'if, the traditional home of his Thaqif tribe, or in Mecca or Medina. Following their general embrace of Islam in c. 630, members of the Thaqif gradually attained high military and administrative ranks in the nascent Caliphate and played important command and economic roles during and after the early Muslim conquests, particularly in Iraq. The tribe produced effective commanders associated with early Arab military operations against the Indian subcontinent: in c. 636 the Thaqafite governor of Bahrayn (eastern Arabia), Uthman ibn Abi al-As, dispatched naval expeditions against the Indian ports of Debal, Thane and Bharuch. The tribe's power continued to increase with the advent of the Umayyad Caliphate in 661. Muhammad belonged to the Abu Aqil family of the Banu Awf, one of the two principal branches of the Thaqif. The Abu Aqil family gained prestige with the rise of al-Hajjaj ibn Yusuf, the paternal first cousin of Muhammad's father al-Qasim ibn Muhammad ibn al-Hakam. Al-Hajjaj was made a commander by the Umayyad caliph Abd al-Malik (r. 685–705) during the Second Muslim Civil War and killed the Umayyads' chief rival for the caliphate, Abd Allah ibn al-Zubayr, in 692, and two years later was appointed the viceroy of Iraq and the eastern Caliphate. Following his promotion, al-Hajjaj became a patron of the Thaqif and appointed several members to important posts in Iraq and its dependencies. Muhammad's father was appointed the deputy governor of Basra, though his career was otherwise undistinguished. According to a letter between Muhammad and al-Hajjaj cited by the Chach Nama, Muhammad's mother was a certain Habibat al-Uzma (Habiba the Great). The Chach Nama also indicates Muhammad had a similar-aged brother named Sulb and Arabic sources indicate he had a much younger brother named al-Hajjaj, who served as an Umayyad commander during the Alid revolt of 740.

No information is provided by the Arabic sources about Muhammad's childhood and adolescence. The modern historian Nabi Bakhsh Baloch holds that Muhammad most likely grew up partly in Ta'if and then Basra and Wasit, the provincial capital of Iraq founded by al-Hajjaj in 702. Muhammad's time in Basra, a military and intellectual center of the Islamic world at the time, may have widened Muhammad's career horizons, while at Wasit he was likely educated and trained under al-Hajjaj's patronage. Al-Hajjaj was highly fond of Muhammad, and considered him prestigious enough to marry his sister Zaynab, though she preferred the older Thaqafite al-Hakam ibn Ayyub ibn al-Hakam, to whom she was ultimately wed. The Kitab al-aghani refers to Muhammad at the age of 17 as "the noblest Thaqafite of his time". In the summation of Baloch, "Muhammad grew up under favorable conditions into an able, energetic and cultured lad of fine tastes".

Governor of Fars

Muhammad's first assignment was in the province Fars in modern Iran, where he was asked to subjugate a group of Kurds. After the successful completion of the mission, he was appointed as the governor of Fars. He likely succeeded his uncle Muhammad ibn Yusuf al-Thaqafi, a brother of al-Hajjaj, who was previously a governor. The city of Shiraz is said to have been revived by Muhammad. He built a royal villa in the city and a military camp at a short distance from it. He was also given the task of subjugating the area to the south of Shiraz, and the distant area of Jurjan near the Caspian Sea.

Fars might have also had at this time some of the rebels left over from the revolt of Ibn al-Ash'ath, which almost brought down the rule of al-Hajjaj. Al-Tabari and Ibn Hajar mention a Shia notable Atiyya ibn Sa'd Awfi, who was captured by Muhammad and asked to curse Ali. Upon his refusal, he was punished with 400 lashes, as ordered by al-Hajjaj. What happened to Attiya after this treatment is not clear. According to al-Tabari and Ibn Hajar, he fled to Khurasan, but the Chach Nama states that he joined Muhammad's invasion force as an officer. However, modern historians dispute the credibility of such reports in the Chach Nama.

Background on Sindh

Early Muslim presence in Sindh

Rashidun Caliphate (632-661 AD)

The connection between the Sind and Islam was established by the initial Muslim missions during the Rashidun Caliphate. Al-Hakim ibn Jabalah al-Abdi, who attacked Makran in the year 649 AD, was an early partisan of Ali ibn Abu Talib. During the caliphate of Ali, many Jats of Sindh had came under influence of Shi'ism and some even participated in the Battle of Camel and died fighting for Ali. Harith ibn Murrah Al-abdi and Sayfi ibn Fasayl' al-Shaybani, both officers of Ali's army, attacked Makran in the year 658. Sayfi was one of the seven shias who were beheaded alongside Hujr ibn Adi al-Kindi in 660 AD near Damascus. Under the Umayyads (661 - 750 AD), many Shias sought asylum in the region of Sindh, to live in relative peace in the remote area. Ziyad Hindi is one of those refugees.

Umayyad interest in Sindh

Map of expansion of Umayyad Caliphate

According to Wink, Umayyad interest in the region was galvanized by the operation of the Meds (a tribe of Scythians living in Sindh) and others. The Meds had engaged in piracy on Sassanid shipping in the past, from the mouth of the Tigris to the Sri Lankan coast, in their bawarij and now were able to prey on Arab shipping from their bases at Kutch, Debal and Kathiawar. At the time, Sindh was the wild frontier region of al-Hind, inhabited mostly by semi-nomadic tribes whose activities disturbed much of the Western Indian Ocean. Muslim sources insist that it was these persistent activities along increasingly important Indian trade routes by Debal pirates and others which forced the Arabs to subjugate the area, in order to control the seaports and maritime routes of which Sindh was the nucleus, as well as, the overland passage. During Hajjaj's governorship, the Meds of Debal in one of their raids had kidnapped Muslim women travelling from Sri Lanka to Arabia, thus providing a casus belli to the rising power of the Umayyad Caliphate that enabled them to gain a foothold in the Makran, Balochistan and Sindh regions.

The Umayyad Caliphate on the eve of the invasions of Spain and Sindh in 710.

Also cited as a reason for this campaign was the policy of providing refuge to Sassanids fleeing the Arab advance and to Arab rebels from the Umayyad consolidation of their rule.

These Arabs were imprisoned later on by the Governor Deebal Partaab Raye. A letter written by an Arab girl named Nahed who escaped from the prison of Partab Raye asked Hajjaj Bin Yusuf for help. When Hajjaj asked Dahir for the release of prisoners and compensation, the latter refused on the ground that he had no control over those. Al-Hajjaj sent Muhammad Bin Qasim for action against the Sindh in 711.

The mawali; new non-Arab converts; who were usually allied with Al-Hajjaj's political opponents and thus were frequently forced to participate in battles on the frontier of the Umayyad Caliphate — such as Kabul, Sindh and Transoxania. An actual push into the region had been out of favor as an Arab policy since the time of the Rashidun Caliph Umar bin Khattab, who upon receipt of reports of it being an inhospitable and poor land, had stopped further expeditionary ventures into the region.

The campaign of Muhammad bin Qasim

Hajjaj had put more care and planning into this campaign than the second campaign. Al-Hajjaj gave Muhammad command of the expedition between 708 and 711, when Muhammad was only 15–17 years old, apparently because two previous Umayyad commanders had not been successful in punishing Sindh's ruler Raja Dahir for his failure to prevent pirates from disrupting Muslim shipping off the coast of Sindh. Al-Hajjaj superintended this campaign from Kufa by maintaining close contact with Muhammad in the form of regular reports for which purpose special messengers were deputed between Basra and Sindh. The army which departed from Shiraz under Muhammad consisted of 6,000 Syrian cavalry and detachments of mawali (sing. mawla; non-Arab, Muslim freedmen) from Iraq. At the borders of Sindh he was joined by an advance guard and six thousand camel cavalry and later, reinforcements from the governor of Makran were transferred directly to Debal (Daybul), at the mouth of the Indus, by sea along with five manjaniks (catapults). The army that eventually captured Sindh would later be swelled by the Gurjars and Meds as well as other irregulars who heard of the Arab successes in Sindh. When Muhammad passed through the Makran desert while raising his forces, he had to subdue the restive towns of Fannazbur and Arman Belah (Lasbela), both of which had previously been conquered by the Arabs.

Extent and expansion of Umayyad rule under Muhammad bin Qasim in medieval India (modern international boundaries shown in red).

The first town assaulted in Muhammad's Sindh campaign was Debal and upon the orders of al-Hajjaj, he exacted a retribution on Debal by giving no quarter to its residents or priests and destroying its great temple. From Debal, the Arab army then marched northeast taking towns such as Nerun and Sadusan (Sehwan) without fighting. One-fifth of the war booty including slaves were remitted to al-Hajjaj and the Caliph. The conquest of these towns was accomplished with relative ease; however, Dahir's armies being prepared on the other side of the Indus had not yet been confronted. In preparation to meet them, Muhammad returned to Nerun to resupply and receive reinforcements sent by al-Hajjaj. Camped on the east bank of the Indus, Muhammad 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 crossed over the river where he was joined by the forces of the Thakore of Bhatta and the western Jats.

At Ar-rur (Rohri) Muhammad was met by Dahir's forces and the eastern Jats in battle. Dahir died in the battle, his forces were defeated and a Muhammad took control of Sindh. In the wake of the battle enemy soldiers were executed —though artisans, merchants and farmers were spared —and Dahir and his chiefs, the "daughters of princes" and the usual fifth of the booty and slaves were sent to al-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. Multan was a key site in the Hindu religion. 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 al-Hajjaj. The general populace was encouraged to carry on with their trades and taxes and tributes settled.

The conquest of Sindh, in modern-day Pakistan, although costly, was a major gain for the Umayyad Caliphate. However, further gains were halted by Hindu kingdoms during Arab campaigns. The Arabs attempted to invade India but they were defeated by the north Indian king Nagabhata of the Gurjara Pratihara Dynasty and by the south Indian Emperor Vikramaditya II of the Chalukya dynasty in the early 8th century. After the failure of further expeditions on Kathiawar, the Arab chroniclers conceded that the Abbasid caliph al-Mahdi (r. 775–785) "gave up the project of conquering any part of India."

Military and political strategy

The military strategy had been outlined by Al-Hajjaj in a letter sent to Muhammad bin Qasim:

My ruling is given: Kill anyone belonging to the ahl-i-harb (combatants); arrest their sons and daughters for hostages and imprison them. Whoever does not fight against us...grant them aman (safety) and settle their tribute [amwal] as dhimmah (protected person)...

The Arabs' first concern was to facilitate the conquest of Sindh with the fewest casualties while also trying to preserve the economic infrastructure. Towns were given two options: submit to Islamic authority peacefully or be attacked by force (anwattan), with the choice governing their treatment upon capture. The capture of towns was usually accomplished by means of a treaty with a party from among the enemy, who were then extended special privileges and material rewards. There were two types of such treaties, "Sulh" or "ahd-e-wasiq (capitulation)" and "aman (surrender/ peace)". Among towns and fortresses that were captured through force of arms, Muhammad bin Qasim performed executions of ahl-i-harb (fighting men) as part of his military strategy, whose surviving dependents were enslaved.

Where resistance was strong, prolonged and intensive, often resulting in considerable Arab casualties, Muhammad bin Qasim's response was dramatic, inflicting 6,000 deaths at Rawar, between 6,000 and 26,000 at Brahmanabad, 4,000 at Iskalandah and 6,000 at Multan. Conversely, in areas taken by sulh, such as Armabil, Nirun, and Aror, resistance was light and few casualties occurred. Sulh appeared to be Muhammad bin Qasim's preferred mode of conquest, the method used for more than 60% of the towns and tribes recorded by al-Baladhuri and the Chach Nama. At one point, he was actually berated by Al-Hajjaj for being too lenient. Meanwhile, the common folk were often pardoned and encouraged to continue working; Al-Hajjaj ordered that this option not be granted to any inhabitant of Debal, yet Qasim still bestowed it upon certain groups and individuals.

After each major phase of his conquest, Muhammad bin Qasim attempted to establish law and order in the newly conquered territory by showing religious tolerance and incorporating the ruling class – the Brahmins and Shramanas – into his administration.

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.
  5. The Samanis being persuaded to submit and not take up arms because the majority of the population was Buddhist who were dissatisfied with their rulers, who were Hindu.
  6. The laboring under disabilities of the Lohana Jats.
  7. Defections from among Dahirs chiefs and nobles.

Administration of Sindh

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. In return, the state provided protection to non-Muslim from any foreign attacks and enemies. 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.

Incorporation of ruling elite into administration

During his administration, Hindus and Buddhists were inducted into the administration as trusted advisors and governors. A Hindu, Kaksa, was at one point the second most important member of his administration. Dahir's prime minister and various chieftains were also incorporated into the administration.

Jat clashes with Muhammad bin Qasim

Significant medieval Muslim chronicles such as the Chach Nama, Zainul-Akhbar and Tarikh-I-Baihaqi have recorded battles between the Jats and forces of Muhammad bin Qasim .

Treatment of Jats

When Muhammad bin Qasim invaded Sindh, he encountered Jats and all Hindus were termed Jats by the foreign invaders. The narrative in the Chach Nama conveys that Chach of Alor humiliated the Jats and Lohanas. He compelled them to agree to only carry sham swords, to wear no undergarments of shawl, velvet or silk; only wear silk outer garments provided they were red or black in color, to put no saddles on their horses, to take their dogs when they went out, to furnish guides and spies and carry firewood for the royal kitchen. Qasim maintained these regulations, declaring that the Jats resembled the savages of Persia and the mountains. He also fixed their tribute. Jats of Ghasul who had submitted to the Arab rule garrisoned the Ságara and the island of Bait.


Historians such as Elliot, Cousens, Majumdar and Vaidya, have the general consensus that there was coercive conversion during the reign of Muhammad the Qasim, and destruction of temples was a reflection of the more basic, religiously motivated intolerance, facts also corroborated by various islamic sources such as Chachnama, Zainul-Akhbar and Tarikh-I-Baihaqi.

Lane-Poole writes that, "as a rule Muslim government was at once tolerant and economic". The preference of collection of jizya over the conversion to Islam is a major economic motivator. Hindus and Buddhists who were classified as Dhimmis had to pay mandatory Jizya, a form of ransom money. Jizya is normally higher than the zakat to be paid by muslims. Contrastingly preferential treatment was given to a small number of people who were converted to Islam by "exempting them from Jizya in lieu of paying the Zakat". Qasim fixed Zakat at 10% of the agricultural produce. Dhimmis, who are given a second-class status and often treated harshly, have to pay the mandatory jizya. Dhimmis have to endure more restrictions and lesser rights than muslims. In Al-Biruni's narrative, according to Manan Ahmed Asif – a historian of Islam in South and Southeast Asia, "Qasim first asserts the superiority of Islam over the polytheists by committing a taboo (killing a cow) and publicly soiling the idol (giving the cow meat as an offering)" before allowing the temple to continue as a place of worship.

A religious islamic office, "sadru-I-Islam al affal", was created to oversee the secular governors. The native hereditary elites were reappointed with the title of rana. According to Yohanan Friedmann, Qasim declared that the Brahmins of Brahmanabad were good people.

While proselytization occurred, given the social dynamics of areas of Sindh conquered by Muslim, the spread of Islam was slow and took centuries. No mass conversions to islam took place and some temples escaped destruction such as the Sun Temple of Multan on payment of jizya. In the Arab settlers controlled areas of Sindh and Multan, conversion to Islam occurred only slowly, not on a massive scale. Majority of the population continued to remain Hindu who had to pay the jizya imposed by the Muslim state.


Muhammad had begun preparations for further expansions when al-Hajjaj died in 714, followed a year later by Caliph al-Walid I, who was succeeded by his brother Sulayman. The latter took revenge against the generals and officials who had been close to al-Hajjaj. Sulayman owed political support to al-Hajjaj's opponents and so recalled both of al-Hajjaj's successful generals Qutayba ibn Muslim, the conqueror of Transoxiana (Central Asia) and Muhammad. He also appointed the son of the distinguished general al-Muhallab ibn Abi Sufra, Yazid, who was once imprisoned and tortured by al-Hajjaj, as the governor of Fars, Kirman, Makran, and Sindh; he immediately placed Muhammad in chains.

There are two different accounts regarding the details of Muhammad's fate:

  • According to al-Baladhuri Muhammad was killed due to a family feud with the governor of Iraq. Sulayman was hostile toward Muhammad because apparently he had followed the order of Hajjaj to declare Sulayman's right of succession void in all territories conquered by him. When Muhammad received the news of the death of al-Hajjaj he returned to Aror. Muhammad was later arrested under the orders of the Caliph by the replacement governor of Sindh, Yazid ibn Abi Kabsha al-Sasaki, who worked under the new military governor of Iraq, Yazid ibn al-Muhallab, and the new fiscal governor, the mawla Salih ibn Abd al-Rahman. Salih, whose brother was executed by al-Hajjaj, tortured Muhammad and his relatives to death. The account of his death by al-Baladhuri is brief compared to the one in the Chach Nama.
  • The Chach Nama narrates a tale in which Muhammad's demise is attributed to the daughters of Dahir who had been taken captive during the campaign. Upon capture they had been sent on as presents to the Caliph for his harem in the capital Baghdad (however Baghdad had not yet been built and the actual capital was Damascus). The account relates that they then tricked the Caliph into believing that Muhammad had violated them before sending them on and as a result of this subterfuge, Muhammad was wrapped and stitched in oxen hides, and sent to Syria, which resulted in his death en route from suffocation. This narrative attributes their motive for this subterfuge to securing vengeance for their father's death. Upon discovering this subterfuge, the Caliph is recorded to have been filled with remorse and ordered the sisters buried alive in a wall.


After bin Qasim's departure, the next appointed Arab governor died on arrival. Dahir's son recaptured Brahmanabad and c. 720, he was granted pardon and included in the administration in return for converting to Islam. Soon, however, he recanted and split off when the Umayyads were embroiled in a succession crisis. Later, Junayd ibn Abd al-Rahman al-Murri killed Jaisiah and recaptured the territory before his successors once again struggled to hold and keep it. During the Abassid period, c. 870, the local emirs shook off all allegiance to the caliphs and by the 10th century the region was split into two weak states, Mansurah on the lower Indus and Multan on the upper Indus, which were soon captured by Ismailis who set up an independent Fatimid state. These successor states did not achieve much and shrank in size. The Arab conquest remained checked in what is now the south of Pakistan for three centuries by powerful Hindu monarchs to the north and east until the arrival of Mahmud of Ghazni.


There is controversy regarding the conquest and subsequent conversion of Sindh. This is usually voiced in two antagonistic perspectives viewing Qasim's actions:

His conquest, as described by Stanley Lane-Poole, in Medieval India (Published in 1970 by Haskell House Publishers Ltd), was "liberal". He imposed the customary poll tax, took hostages for good conduct and spared peoples' lives and lands. He even left their shrines undesecrated: 'The temples;' he proclaimed, 'shall be inviolate, like the churches of the Christians, the synagogues of the Jews and altars of the Magians'. In the same text, however, it is mentioned that "Occasional desecration of Hindu fanes took place... but such demonstrations were probably rare sops to the official conscience..."

H. M. Elliot considered him to be "better" than other invaders, indulging in "much less, wanton sacrifice of life than was freely indulged in by most of the ruthless bigots who have propagated the same faith elsewhere." He considers the "unwonted toleration" to have probably "arisen from the small number of the invading force, as well as from ignorance of civil institutions", however destruction of temples and civilian massacres still took place.

  1. Coercive conversion has been attributed to early historians such as Elliot, Cousens, Majumdar and Vaidya. They hold the view that the conversion of Sindh was necessitated. Qasim's numerical inferiority is said to explain any instances of apparent religious toleration, with the destruction of temples seen as a reflection of the more basic, religiously motivated intolerance.
  2. Voluntary conversion has been attributed to Thomas W. Arnold and modern Muslim historians such as Habib and Qureishi. They believe that the conquest was largely peaceful, and the conversion entirely so, and that the Arab forces enacted liberal, generous and tolerant policies. These historians mention the "praiseworthy conduct of Arab Muslims" and attribute their actions to a "superior civilizational complex".

Various polemical perceptions of Islam, Hinduism and Buddhism are also reflected in this debate. Elliot perceived Islam as a religion of "terror, devastation, murder and rapine" where the conquering Arabs were characterized as "ruthless bigots" and "furious zealots" motivated by "plunder and proselytism". The period of Qasim's rule has been called by U.T. Thakkur "the darkest period in Sind history", with the records speaking of massive forced conversions, temple destruction, slaughters and genocides; the people of Sindh, described as inherently pacifist due to their Hindu/Buddhist religious inclinations, had to adjust to the conditions of "barbarian inroad". On one extreme, the Arab Muslims are seen as being compelled by religious stricture to conquer and forcibly convert Sindh, but on the other hand, they can be seen as being respectful and tolerant of non-Muslims as part of their religious duty, with conversion being facilitated by the vitality, equality and morals of the Islamic religion. Citations of towns taken either violently or bloodlessly, reading back into Arab Sindh information belonging to a later date and dubious accounts such as those of the forcible circumcision of Brahmins at Debal or Qasims consideration of Hindu sentiment in forbidding the slaughter of cows are used as examples for one particular view or the other.

Some historians strike a middle ground, saying that Qasim was torn between the political expediency of making peace with the Hindus and Buddhists; having to call upon non-Muslims to serve under him as part of his mandate to administer newly conquered land; and orthodoxy by refraining from seeking the co-operation of "infidels". It is contended that Qasim may have struck a middle ground, conferring the status of Dhimmi upon the native Sindhis and permitting them to participate in his administration, but treating them as "noncitizens" (i.e. in the Caliphate, but not of it).

While Muhammad's warring was clearly at times brutal, he is supposed to have said of Hinduism that 'the idol temple is similar to the churches of the Christians, (to the synagogues) of the Jews and to the fire temples of the Zoroastrians' (mā al-budd illā ka-kanāʾis al-naṣārā wa ’l-yahūd wa-buyūt nīrān al-madjūs). This 'seems to be the earliest statement justifying the inclusion of the Hindus in the category of ahl al-dhimma, leading Muhammad to be viewed by many modern Muslims as a paragon of religious tolerance.


  • Qasim's presence and rule was very brief. His conquest for the Umayyads brought Sindh into the orbit of the Muslim world.
  • After the conquest of Sindh, Qasim adopted the Hanafi school of Sharia law which regarded polytheists such as Hindus, Buddhists and Jains as "dhimmis" and "People of the Book", allowing them religious freedom as long as they continued to pay the tax known as "jizya". This approach would prove critical to the way Muslim rulers ruled in India over the next centuries.
  • Coastal trade and a Muslim colony in Sindh allowed for cultural exchanges and the arrival of Sufi missionaries to expand Muslim influence. From Debal, which remained an important port until the 12th century, commercial links with the Persian Gulf and the Middle East intensified as Sindh became the "hinge of the Indian Ocean Trade and overland passway."
  • Muhammad Ali Jinnah claimed that the Pakistan movement started when the first Muslim put his foot on the soil of Sindh, the Gateway of Islam in India.. He is often referred to as the first Pakistani according to Pakistan Studies curriculum.
  • Yom-e Bab ul-Islam is observed in Pakistan, in honor of Muhammad bin Qasim.
  • Port Qasim, Pakistan's second major port is named in honor of Muhammad bin Qasim.
  • Bagh Ibne Qasim is the largest park in Karachi, Sindh, Pakistan named in honor of Muhammad bin Qasim.
  • Ibn-e-Qasim Bagh Stadium, Multan is a multi-use stadium named after Muhammad bin Qasim.
  • The Pakistan Naval Station Qasim, or PNS Qasim, is the major naval special operations base for the Amphibious Special Operations Forces in the Pakistan Navy named after Muhammad bin Qasim.
  • Bin Qasim Town in Karachi is named after Muhammad bin Qasim.
  • Muhammad bin Qasim Road/avenue in Karachi is named after Muhammad bin Qasim.
  • Mohammad Bin Qasim Library in Sujawal, Thatta is named after Muhammad bin Qasim.
  • Qasim Company in Pakistan Army is name after Muhammad bin Qasim.
The contents of this page are sourced from Wikipedia article on 11 Feb 2020. The contents are available under the CC BY-SA 4.0 license.
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