Muhammad Kásim or Muhammad bin Qasim or ‘Imād ad-Dīn Muḥammad ibn Qāsim ath-Thaqafī (Arabic: عماد الدين محمد بن القاسم الثقفي; c. 31 December 695 – 18 July 715) was an Umayyad general who conquered the Sindh and southern-most parts of Punjab regions along the Indus River (now a part of Pakistan) for the Umayyad Caliphate. He was born and raised in the city of Taif (in modern-day Saudi Arabia). Qasim's conquest of Sindh and southern-most parts of Punjab enabled further Islamic expansion into India.
The army which departed from Shiraz in 710 CE under Muhammad bin Qasim was 6,000 Syrian cavalry and detachments of mawali from Iraq. At the borders of Sindh he was joined by an advance guard and six thousand camel riders and later reinforcements from the governor of Makran transferred directly to Debal by sea along with five catapults ("manjaniks"). The army that eventually captured Sindh would later be swelled by the Jats and Meds as well as other irregulars that heard of successes in Sindh.When Muhammad bin Qasim passed through Makran while raising forces, he had to re-subdue the restive Umayyad towns of Fannazbur and Arman Belah (Lasbela) The first town assaulted was Debal and upon the orders of Al-Hajjaj, he exacted a bloody retribution on Debal by giving no quarter to its residents or priests and destroying its great temple.
From Debal the Arab army then marched north taking towns such as Nerun and Sadusan (Sehwan) peacefully. often using their components; additionally one-fifth of the booty including slaves were dispatched to Hajjaj and the Caliph. The conquest of these towns was accomplished easily; however, Raja Dahir's armies being prepared on the other side of the Indus were yet to be fought. In preparation to meet them, Muhammad bin Qasim moved back to Nerun to resupply and receive reinforcements sent by Hajjaj. Camped on the east bank of the Indus, Qasim 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 bin Qasim crossed over the river where he was joined by the forces of the Thakore of Bhatta and the western Jats.
At Ar-rur (Rohri) he was met by Dahir's forces and the eastern Jats in battle. Dahir died in the battle, his forces were defeated and a triumphant Muhammad bin Qasim took control of Sind. In the wake of the battle enemy soldiers were put to death - but not artisans, merchants or farmers - and Dahir and his chiefs, the "daughters of princes" and the usual fifth of the booty and slaves was sent on to 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. 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 Hajjaj. The general populace was encouraged to carry on with their trades and taxes and tributes settled.
With Sindh secured Qasim sent expeditions to Surashtra, where his generals made peaceful treaty settlements with the Rashtrakuta. Muhammad bin Qasim wrote out letters to "kings of Hind" to surrender and accept Islam, and subsequently 10,000 cavalry were sent to Kannauj asking them to submit and pay tribute before his abrupt recall ended the campaign.
Jat clashes with Muhammad bin Qasim
Passage from the Chach-nama:
"After capturing Debal and Nerun, Muhammad Bin Qasim then proceeded to the fort of Ishbahar. It was in the month of Muharram year 93AH, that (he) arrived in the vicinity of that fort. He witnessed the fort (which ) was strong and impregnable. The inhabitants of the fort (hisariyan) were making preparations for the battle and had made a deep moat (khandiqi zart) around the fort. The Jats and the rustics (rustayan) that were living in the western sid (shelter) in the fort fought against Muhammad-i-Qasim for one week displaying the mastery (ustadaqi) of their warfare by demonstrating (their tactic of) seize and hold (dar-u-gir). After that they petitioned Bin Qasim, asking for safety (aman)".
Treatment of Jats
The narrative in the Chachnama conveys that Chach humiliated the Jats and Lohanas. Denzil Ibbetson records that "Muhammad bin Qasim maintained these regulations, declaring that the Jats resembled the savages of Persia " According to Wink "While the Jats were also granted (aman) a considerable number of Jats were also captured as prisoners of war and deported to Iraq and elsewhere as slaves.
How the whole territory of Jats kept under subjection
Appointment of four of the chief men of the city as officers for the management of the country: Sir H. M. Elliot writes that Muhammad Kásim then called Widá', son of Hamídu-n Najdí, for the management of the city of Brahmanábád, that is, Báín-wáh, and appointed overseers and assistants. He entrusted four persons from among the merchants of the city with all matters concerning property. He strictly ordered that they should inform him fully and particularly of all matters, and that nothing should be decided without consulting him. He placed Núba, son of Dáras, in the fort of Ráwar, and directed him to hold the place fast, and keep the boats ready. If any boat coming up or down the stream was loaded with men or arms of war, he was to take them and bring them to the fort of Ráwar. He placed the boats on the upper part of the river under the charge of the son of Ziyádu-l 'Abdí, and appointed Handíl, son of Sulaimánu-l Azdi, to the districts which belonged to the territory of Kíraj, Hanzala, son of Akhí Banáná Kalbí, was made governor of Dahlíla, and they were all ordered to inquire into and investigate the affairs of the surrounding places, and report to him thereon every month. He also directed them to assist each other so that they might be secure from attacks of the enemy's forces, and from the opposition of rebellious subjects, and they were to punish disturbers of the peace. He stationed two thousand foot soldiers with Kais bin 'Abdu-l Malik bin Kaisu-d Damani and Khálid Ansári in Siwistán, and sent Mas'úd Tamímí son of Shítaba Jadídí, Firásatí 'Atkí, Sábir Lashkarí, and 'Abdu-l Malik son of 'Abdulláh, Al Khazá'í, Mahram son of 'Akká,
[p.190]: and Alúfá son of 'Abdu-r Rahmán, to Debal and Nírún, in order to maintain possession of those places. Amongst the companions of his exploits there was a man named Malíkh, who was a Maulá; him he appointed ruler of Karwáíl. 'Alwán Bakkarí and Kais, son of S'alibá, with three hundred men, also remained in that place, and there they had their wives and families. Thus the whole territory of the Jats was kept under subjection.
Causes of his 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.
There are two different accounts regarding the details of Qasim's fate:
- 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 and stitched in oxen hides, 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.
- 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 however promptly imprisoned in Mosul, (in modern-day Iraq) and subjected to torture, resulting in his death.
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.