Muhammad Bin Qasim

Muhammad bin Qasim Al-Thaqafi (Arabic: محمد بن قاسم‎) (c. 31 December 695–18 July 715) was a 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 & raised 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.

2012 01 25 10.27.21 225x300 Muhammad Bin Qasim

A member of the Thaqeef tribe, which is still settled in and around the city of Taif ( a city in modern day saudi arabia) to this very day , Muhammad bin Qasim’s father was Qasim bin Yusuf[citation needed] who died when Muhammad bin Qasim was young, leaving his mother in charge of his education. Umayyad governor Al-Hajjaj Ibn Yusuf Al-Thaqafi, 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
Military and political strategy
The military strategy had been outlined by Hajjaj in a letter sent to Muhammad bin Qasim:

“My ruling is given: Kill anyone belonging to the combatants (ahl-i-harb); 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 as part of his military strategy, but they were limited to the ahl-i-harb (fighting men), whose surviving dependents were also 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 Baladhuri or the Chachnama.  At one point, he was actually berated by Hajjaj for being too lenient. Meanwhile, the common folk were often pardoned and encouraged to continue working; Hajajj ordered that this option not be granted to any inhabitant of Daybul, 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.

Military and political strategy
The military strategy had been outlined by Hajjaj in a letter sent to Muhammad bin Qasim:

“ “My ruling is given: Kill anyone belonging to the combatants (ahl-i-harb); 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 as part of his military strategy, but they were limited to the ahl-i-harb (fighting men), whose surviving dependents were also 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 Baladhuri or the Chachnama. At one point, he was actually berated by Hajjaj for being too lenient. Meanwhile, the common folk were often pardoned and encouraged to continue working; Hajajj ordered that this option not be granted to any inhabitant of Daybul, 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.

Death
Muhammad bin Qasim had begun preparations for further expansions when Hajjaj died, as did Caliph Al-Walid I, who was succeeded by Sulayman ibn Abd al-Malik, who then took revenge against all who had been close to Hajjaj. Sulayman owed political support to opponents of Hajjaj and so recalled both of Hajjaj’s successful generals Qutaibah bin Muslim and Qasim. He also appointed Yazid ibn al-Muhallab, once tortured by Hajjaj and a son of Al Muhallab ibn Abi Suffrah, as the governor of Fars, Kirman, Makran, and Sindh; he immediately placed Qasim in chains.[21]

There are two different accounts regarding the details of Qasim’s fate:

1.The account from the Chachnama narrates a tale in which Qasims demise is attributed to the daughters of King Dahir who had been taken captive during the campaign. Upon capture they had been sent on as presents to the Khalifa for his harem. The account relates that they then tricked the Khalifa into believing that Muhammad bin Qasim had violated them before sending them on and as a result of this subterfuge, Muhammad bin Qasim was wrapped in oxen hides,[22] and returned 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 Khalifa is recorded to have been filled with remorse and ordered the sisters buried alive in a wall.
2.The Persian historian Baladhuri, however, states that the new Khalifa was a political enemy of Umayyad ex-governor Al-Hajjaj ibn Yusuf, Muhammad bin Qasim’s paternal uncle and thus persecuted all those who were considered close to Hajjaj. Muhammad bin Qasim was therefore recalled in the midst of a campaign of capturing more territory up north. Upon arrival, he was howevere promptly imprisoned in Mosul, (in modern day Iraq) and subjected to torture, resulting in his death.[4][24]
Whichever account is true, is unknown. What is known however is that he was 20 years old when he was killed by his own Caliph. None have read the tombstone marking his grave for none know where he lies.

Muhammad bin Qasim had a son named Amr bin Muhammad who later became governor of Sindh.

 
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 (