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Wednesday, August 27, 2008

The spread of Islam to India

My previous post,"Arab conquest of Sind and Multan" has acquired many complains and disagrement regarding the absence of telling the damage that Muhammad bin Qasim and other Arab Muslim rulers caused during their rule, and violence that they offered at the time of their invasion.
It is true that there were persecutions and forcible conversions committed by some Muslim rulers in India, such as the well known brutal massacres of Brahmans by Mahmud of Ghazna, the persecutions of Aurangzeb and the forcible conversion of Hydar Ali and Tipu Sultan ect.
Timur wrote in his authobiography after he captured Delhi, "I had triumphed over my adversaries, I have put to death some lacs of infidels and idolaters, and I had stained my proselyting sword with the blood of the enemies of the faith". But it is worthy to be noted, as T. W. Arnold wrote, that among the sixty-six millions of Indian Musalmans there are vast numbers of converts or descendants of converts, in whose conversion force played no part and the only influences at work were the teaching and persuasion of peaceful missionaries.

Most of the Muslim invaders seem to have acted in similar way; in the name of Allah, idols were thrown down, the priest and warriors of the enemy killed, and their temples destroyed, in place of that the mosques were usually built. But however, the war was fought only as the last alternative where there was no other way could be afford. Moreover, the offer of Islam was generally made before any attack.

One of my blog reader complained because I didn't write the brutality of Muhammad bin Qasim, Mahmud of Ghazna ect. I'm telling you, that killing and destruction is the natural result of war in every part of the world. We can not find any war that has no victim at all. But the way the Muslim rullers treat their enemy of war showed more honour to humanity insted of any other nation in the wolrd which had happened to be involved in a war. At least, their religion order them to do so. Just for your considerasion, Saladin, in act of mercy freed many prisoners of war during crusade.

The prophet Muhammad said,"Paradise lies in the shadow of sword". What MBQ, MOG or Timur had done could be based on this prophetic tradition. Dont be offended with the hadith (prophet tradition), because it could become the subject of misinterpretation if you see the full text of the original hadith as follows:
"Salim relates that a letter written to the Kharijite sect by Abdullah ibn Abi Awfa, and conveyed to them by Amr ibn Ubaydillah, tells of how on certain days, when the prophet was engaged in a military campaign, he would wait until the sun had almost set and then, standing up amidst his companions, he would say: "Oh my people, be not eager to meet the enemy on the battlefield. Ask God instead for peace. But, when confronted by the enemy, stand fast and do not flinch. You must know that paradise lies in the shadow of swords". Then the prophet pray to God: "Oh Allah, you who reveal the scripture, who set the clouds afloat, who defeat armies, defeat them and grant us succour in our struggle against them".

Thus the true message of this hadith is that there should be no keenness to meet the enemy on the battlefield. I would like to quote a story of Saladin more, just to show the Muslim's love of soul, as follows: In the wake of his victory at the Battle of Hattin in July 1187, Saladin conducted a successful campaign in the Christian territories of the Holy Land. Among those Christian nobles who managed to escape from Hattin was Balian of Ibelin who first fled to Tyre. A short time later, Balian approached Saladin to ask permission to pass through the lines to retrieve his wife, Maria Comnena, and their family from Jerusalem. Saladin granted this request in exchange for an oath that Balian would not take up arms against him and would only remain in the city for one day. And what did happen when Balian breach the oath? Though angered by Balian's choice, Saladin did allow Maria and the family safe passage to travel to Tripoli. Within Jerusalem, Balian faced a bleak situation. In addition to laying in food, stores, and money, he created sixty new knights to reinforce its weak defenses. On September 20, 1187, Saladin arrived outside of the city with his army. Not wishing further bloodshed, Saladin immediately opened negotiations for a peaceful surrender. With Eastern Orthodox clergyman Yusuf Batit serving as a go-between, these talks proved fruitless.

MBQ came to Sind for the sake of restoring order, during the uncertain treat of the local chieftains and Rajput reign, and religious mission as well. Not for the sake of merely looting and sending the infidels to hell. Though we can not deny that forcible conversion could be there, but the majority of the heterogenous elements of which Indian Muslim is made up entered the pale of Islam with their own free will.

Ghukkars, a Barbarous people in North Punjab are said to have been converted through the influence of Muhammad Ghori. It is said that Muhammad Ghori released them from the prison and confirming their chieftain to bear the title of chief of the tribe. In the period of Khiljis, Ibn Batuta said that the Hindus who adopt the Islamic faith were exonerated from the Jizyah and were favoured with presents and honours. Thus the large number of Hindus admitted to the honour of Islam.

The religious influence of Islam became more persistent in the period of Mughal dynasty. Bishop Lefroy said that the positive character of Muslim teaching attracted minds that were dissatisfied with the vagueness and subjectivity of a phanteistic thought. Many Rajputs embraced Islam and are very zealous in the pracrice of their religion, yet often betray their Hindu origin.
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