Biládurí informs us that under the Khiláfat of Mu'áwiya, 'Abdu-r Rahmán, son of Samrah, penetrated to the city of Kábul, and obtained possession of it after a month's siege. He conquered also the circum­jacent countries, especially Ar-Rukhaj (Arachosia). The king of Kábul made an appeal to the warriors of India, and the Musulmáns were driven out of Kábul. He recovered all the other conquered countries, and advanced as far as Bust, but on the approach of another Musulmán army, he submitted, and engaged to pay an annual tribute.*

The Kábulís subsequently profited by the contests which dis­tracted the Khiláfat, and the tribute was withheld; but in 64 A.H. = 683-4 A.D. 'Abdu-l 'aziz, the governor of Sístán, declared war against the king of Kábul, and in the combat which took place, that king was defeated and killed. The war continued under his successor, and he was compelled to submit to the payment of tribute, but whenever opportunity offered, renewed efforts were made by the Kábulís to recover their lost independence.*

Amongst the earliest attempts against Kábul may be noticed that of 'Abdu-llah, governor of Sístán, in 78 A.H.=697-8 A.D., or accord­ing to some, in the following year. When he arrived at Nímroz, Hajjáj desired him not to linger in Sístán, but to march without delay towards Kábul to enforce the payment of the tribute from Ranbal, to which that chief had agreed; and ordered him peremptorily not to return until he had subjugated the whole province. Ranbal retiring before his assailant, detached troops to their rear and blocking up the defiles, entirely intercepted their retreat, and in this situation exposed to the danger of perishing by famine, 'Abdu-llah was com­pelled to purchase the liberation of himself and followers for a ransom of seven hundred thousand dirhams.*

To wipe out the disgrace which the Muhammadan arms had sus­tained, 'Abdu-r Rahmán bin Muhammad bin Asha's, was despatched to Kábul by the famous Hajjáj in 81 A.H.=700-1 A.D.;* or in the preceding year, according to some authors, he was sent at the head of forty thou­sand men into Sístán, and having there united to his own troops the troops of the province, marched without delay against the prince of Kábul. 'Abdu-r Rahmán returned to Sístán laden with booty, but incurred the displeasure of Hajjáj by not remaining to secure his conquest. Exasperated by a threat of supersession, he determined to carry his arms against his master, and, in order to strengthen his power, concluded a treaty with the enemies of his faith, in which it was stipulated that if his expedition should be attended with success, Ranbal should be absolved from every species of tribute, provided the latter should agree to afford him an asylum in the event of failure. After many vicissitudes of fortune, 'Abdu-r Rahmán was at last com­pelled to seek the protection of his ally, who, after treating him for some time with kindness and hospitality, was at last seduced by the promises or by the threats of Hajjáj to deliver up his guest. 'Abdu-r Rahmán frustrated the vindictive designs of his enemy by throwing himself down from a precipice while he was on his way—A.H. 84.*

The interest which this contest excited throughout the Khiláfat seems to have invested the Prince of Kábul with a fictitious celebrity, insomuch that he is the hero of many Arab stories of the holy wars on the frontiers of Hind. Nevertheless there is no certainty as to the proper mode of spelling the name. The various readings of the European authors who have noticed him show how little the orthography is settled. Ockley* calls him “Zentil;” Weil,* “Zenbil;” Reinaud,* “Ratbyl” and “Zenbyl.” Wilson,* “Rateil, Ratpeil, Ratbal, Rantal, Zantíl—variations easily accounted for by the nature of the Persian letters.” E. Thomas,* “Ratpíl;” Price,* “Reteil,” “Ratteil,” or “Retpeil.”*

Price observes that the name bespeaks him to be either a Tartar or Hindú, and that the real name might perhaps have been Vittel, still common among the Hindus. Wilson considers it as a genuine Indian appellation; Ratná-pála or Rutun-pál.*

Mas'údí, in his chapter in the Murúj, which is consecrated to the kings of Syria, makes mention of a prince who reigned in the valley of the Indus, and who after having subjugated Eastern Persia, advanced to the banks of the Tigris and Euphrates. The name of this prince was Ranbal, under one of its various modifications, and he adds that the name formed in his time the designation of the indigenous princes of the country, and he calls the Buddhist princes of Kábul by this epithet, which he makes common to all. In this he is borne out by Tabarí, and M. Reinaud is induced therefore to consider the word significative.* But it is not improbable that this assertion arises from the ignorance of the Muhammadans, and that they were ready to apply all the stories relating to the border chiefs of India to that one who had obtained the greatest noto­riety with historians by his transactions with the generals of the Khiláfat, just as the Hadíka Sanáî speaks of Jaipál being the king of India in the time of Bahrám, and Hátifí speaks of Rái Pithaurá as the same even in the time of Timúr.

The Jámi'u-l Hikáyát ascribes the name to a contemporary of Ya'kúb Lais, which would make him one hundred and sixty years later than the invader of Syria, a long time for a title to have remained attached to a succession of petty chiefs. Moreover, at one time we find him ruler in Sind, at another in Kábul, though at the period spoken of those countries were not united under one dominion.

Khákí Shírází says:—“In the year twenty-two the province of Sijistán was conquered for 'Umar-bin Khattáb, by the hands of 'Amru bin al Tamímí; and in the same year Makrán was subdued by Abdu-llah bin 'Abdu-llah Anán, who marched against it from Kirmán. The ruler of that province, whose name in the language of the country was Zambíl, was also ruler of Sind, and was killed.”

In the opening of the history of Mas'úd the Ghaznivide, by Abú-l Fazl Baihakí, reference is made to the Palace of Ranbal, where it certainly seems to apply to an individual rather than a class.*

The Ranbal of whom we have been speaking as the opponent, ally, protector, and betrayer of 'Abdu-r Rahmán, must have been one of the Turkish dynasty of Kábul, of the Buddhist persuasion. We find, from the Arabic histories of the period, that some of his relatives still held dominion in Transoxiana, though the relationship was pro­bably rather that of tribe than family. If the family had been Hindú rather than Turkish, Ran-bal, “strong in battle,” would have been sufficiently significative to render that the most likely reading of this disputed name. The probable prevalence, however, of the language of the Hindús in these parts might still have encouraged the use of the terms, notwithstanding that the Brahmans had not yet attained their supremacy.

In 107 A.H.=725-6 A.D., under the Khiláfat of Hashám, part of the dominions of Kábul was taken, but the capture of the town itself is not noticed.*

The lieutenants of the Khalifs Al Mahdí and Ar Rashíd took tribute from the Ranbal of Sijistán, proportioned to the strength or weakness of that prince, and named governors to the countries where Islám prevailed—A.H. 158-193=A.D. 775-809. When Al Mámún was made governor of Khurásán, he demanded double tribute. He took Kábul, and the king submitted, and professed Islám. An agent on the part of Mámún resided in that city, and a post was established which enabled Al Mámún to procure from it fresh myrobalans.*

After this we read nothing of Kábul till the time of the Saffárides —A.H. 256=A.D. 868-9.* In the succeeding year* Ya'kúb Lais took Kábul, and made its prince a prisoner. The king of Ar Rukhaj was put to death, and its inhabitants forced to embrace Islám. Ya'kúb returned to his capital loaded with booty, and carrying with him the heads of three kings; and many statues of Indian divinities, which were amongst the booty, were sent to Baghdád for presentation to the Khalif.*

This Muhammadan conquest appears to have been more durable than the preceding ones, for we find coins of Ya'kúb struck at Panjshír, to the north-east of Kábul, in the years 260 and 261 H.*