By Manan Ahmed Asif
The query of the way Islam arrived in India is still markedly contentious in South Asian politics. usual debts middle at the Umayyad Caliphate’s incursions into Sind and littoral western India within the 8th century CE. during this telling, Muslims have been a international presence between local Hindus, sowing the seeds of a mutual animosity that presaged the subcontinent’s partition into Pakistan and India many centuries later.
But in a compelling reexamination of the heritage of Islam in India, Manan Ahmed Asif directs cognizance to a thirteenth-century textual content that tells the tale of Chach, the Brahmin ruler of Sind, and his kingdom’s later conquest via the Muslim normal Muhammad bin Qasim in 712 CE. The Chachnama has lengthy been a touchstone of Indian historical past, but it truly is seldom studied in its entirety. Asif bargains a detailed and entire research of this significant textual content, untangling its a number of registers and genres so that it will reconstruct the political imaginative and prescient at its heart.
Asif demanding situations the most tenets of the Chachnama’s interpretation: that it's a translation of an previous Arabic textual content and that it offers a background of conquest. Debunking either rules, he demonstrates that the Chachnama used to be initially Persian and, faraway from advancing a story of imperial aggression, is a sophisticated and complex paintings of political concept, one embedded in either the Indic and Islamic ethos. This social and highbrow background of the Chachnama is a vital corrective to the divisions among Muslim and Hindu that so frequently outline Pakistani and Indian politics at the present time.
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Extra resources for A Book of Conquest: The Chachnama and Muslim Origins in South Asia
Then from there the boats set sail for al-Hind destined for Kulam Malay, and the journey from Muscat to Kulam Malay (Quilon, Kerala), with moderate winds, is one month. 29 Sind as an Indian Ocean region was thus long connected with Arabia (and farther afield). It contained settlements, trading connections, and ports that predated the birth of Islam, and these connections continued after the rise of Muslim political power in the region. The region of Sind, as an adjacent geography, faced military campaigns from the Muslim polity based in Medina, and later those in Damascus and Baghdad.
35 As Baladhuri narrates it, the Sassanid retreat from Iran lingered for decades, continually driving the Muslim armies into pursuit. It was at this time, Baladhuri recounts, during the reign of caliph 'Uthman bin 'Affan (r. 644-655), that another naval expedition was sent to the frontier of Sind. ' The caliph said, describe it. He said, 'the water supply is sparse, the dates are i1tferior, and the robbers are bold. arrated by FRONTIER WITH THE HOUSE OF GOLD Baladhuri highlight the scarcity of resources in Sind and condemn needless expeditions which ended at the frontier-again an indication of 'Abbasid policies rather than Umayyad history.
To the novelists, dramatists, and political commentators, it provides endless permutations of history's silenced voices and the glory of Islam's heroic past. Even scholars have rather uncritically embraced this episode as the rationale for invasion. " 42 Yet we cannot take at face value the historiographic significance attached to this account. In chapter 6, I will return to this account and show how it emerged in historiography. It is enough at the moment to recognize that Baladhuri placed it about a decade before the expedition of Muhammad bin Qasim.
A Book of Conquest: The Chachnama and Muslim Origins in South Asia by Manan Ahmed Asif