This is an account of the conquest of Ma‘bar; it is a river full of pearls.*— The blade of the Khalīfa’s sword, which is the flame of the lamp of Islām, had now illuminated all the darkness of Hindustān with the light of its guidance. On one side, it had formed a wall of iron before the Magog-like Tātārs, so that those wretches were compelled to draw their feet into the skirt of the Ghaznī mountains, and even their advance-arrows were unable to cross the territory of Sindh. On the other side, so much dust had been raised from the temple of Somnāth that it dried up the bottom of the sea. On the right hand as well as on the left, the army had conquered all land from sea to sea; even the good news of the conquest of the two seas* (Baḥrain) was brought; and the arrows of the state flew so far that even the territory of Kaish* was in danger of being captured by the Imperial officers. There were many capitals of the Hindū deos (demons), where Satanism had prospered from the earliest times, and where, far from the pale of Islām, the Devil in the course of ages had hatched his eggs and had made his worship compulsory on the followers of the idols; but now with a sincere motive, the Emperor removed these symbols of infidelity, first from Deogīr and then from all other demon-lands, so that the light of the Sharī‘at may reach their neighbourhood to dispel the contamination of false beliefs from those places through the muain’s call and the establishment of prayers. God be praised for all this!

But the sea of Ma‘bar is so far from Delhī that a man travelling with expedition can only reach it after a journey of twelve months. The arrows of preceding Sulāns had never reached that distant land, but the exalted ambition of the World-Conqueror induced him to test the marksmanship of his archers, and the Muslim faith was published in that far-off region. The general, Malik Nāīb Bārbek ‘Izzud-daulah (May God increase his dignity and grandeur!) was, for the honour of Islām, despatched on the expedition with the august canopy and the victorious troops. He was ordered through his victorious drums to bring to the ears of the idols—‘and they have ears with which they do not hear’—the warning, ‘that He may make it (Islām) overcome the religions, all of them.’* And when the ‘water’ of the sword flows on the coast, the sea of infidelity will be drowned in the ‘Shar‘īat.’* The obedient officer, after accepting the command, represented: ‘The enclosure of the Imperial Court has been dignified by the enormous elephants of Arangal. If the “Sulānus Salāīn” wishes to make the “balance of the state” heavier by mountain-like elephants, there are over five hundred of them on the coast of Ma’bar. As soon as the Imperial army marches in that direction, the Hindū troops will scatter like leaves of grass; and though these vermilion-coloured hills* may be removed to another spot, it is quite possible for the Emperor’s men to overtake them. If the expedition is entrusted to me, I will pick up all these hillocks from the land of Ma’bar and bring them in the palm of my hand as “weights” for the carpet of the State. I have been reflecting on the design ever since my return from Arangal. But the exalted judg­ment of the great Khalīfa (May God increase the weight of his good deeds!) is superior to my opinions; for he sends me to break the bodies of the large idols rather than to capture the large bodies of the elephants. There can be no doubt that the scale of the Emperor’s good deeds will be so heavy after this virtuous act that the elephants will be mere make-weights in the balance. So taking the Emperor’s order as a “strong rope” to support my weak faith, I have determined to embark on the expedition. God helping, I will conquer the country on the sea-coast before I allow the army to open its baggage.’ With this faith he left the Court; and trusting in the Emperor’s fortune, he brought the good news of the conquest of treasures to the army.

The march of the army to Dhūr Samandar and Ma’bar, like a river hat flows towards another river.* — On Tuesday, 26th Jamādīul Akhir, 710 A.H. a fortunate moment, at about mid-day the red canopy started for the expedition. To protect the men from the heat of the sun, the august canopy of the ‘Shadow of God’ collected so many clouds under itself that the sun’s rays were unable to pierce through them. First, it moved towards the bank of the Jamnā, like a cloud going to the sea, and halted at Tankal,* which it made quite red with its ruby velvet. There the clerks of the ‘Dīwān-i ‘Ariẓ-i Mumālik began to run their pens along the extensive river-bank to take the muster of the army, while the Arīẓ-i wāla collected his men like drops of rain under the towering canopy. For full fourteen days, i.e., half-a-month, the crescent standard of the Malikus Sharq stopped at the place and a list of all the stars and planets was prepared. Then on the morning of the 9th Rajab, the drums began to beat for the march, and the exultation of the Muslim army raised the dust up to the eyes of the stars.

* Owing to the multitude of horsemen, the earth looked like the pages of the Shāh Nāma. You would have thought that the sky had rained Bahmans, or that a swarm of Suhrābs and Bihzans was moving from one territory to another. A hundred thousand Rustams appeared on every side with their bows; some of them were so red-haired that you could not have painted them even with the blood of Sīāwash. There were Gurgīns who, with the impetuosity of Ardshir, could have pounded a tiger with a piece of bone, and lions like Barzīn, who could have made a headstall for Rakhsh with the skin of Godurz.*

*For twenty-one days the men of the army made long marches, and took short routes, till they arrived at Katīhun. From there in seven­teen more days they reached Ghurgāūn. In these seventeen days the Ghats were crossed. Great heights and depths were seen, in contemplat­ing which human understanding was helpless—like an ant in a basin or a hen in the sea. On the summits of the mountains the horses appeared small like needle-points of rust on the blade of a sword; deep in the valleys the largest camels looked like revolving particles of dust. Kai Khusrau would have been lost with all his troops in the depths of the clefts and the vultures of Kai Kāūs* would have perished in attempting to fly above the mountains. You could have found the egg of a Sīmurgẖ* on every mountain-top in that wilderness. Through Divine assistance, the army passed safely even over such a road, trampling the heights and depths under its feet. For when a man, for the sake of his faith, carries his head on the palm of his hands before the enemy’s sword, the blade of steel is frightened and hides itself under the ground. * Three great rivers were crossed, and the army learnt good lessons in crossing them. Two of the rivers equalled one another, but neither equalled the Narbada. A hundred thanks to God, that the army was able to cross the rivers, even as a bird flies through the rain or the sky traverses the ocean. After the rivers, mountains and valleys had been crossed, a present of twenty-three elephants, huge as Elburz, arrived from the Rāī of Tilang. They could act as a shīb for opening the way to a besieged fort, or send a hill flying into the air, or drag down a cloud from the hill-tops with their trunks. Like standards* fixed on mounds, they were sent as presents to the Sulān, if he would accept them. * The victorious army took twenty days before it could move these huge hills in that ‘field of resurrection’—‘you see the mountains, you think them to be solid, and they shall pass away like the passing away of the cloud.’ A roll was taken of those present in, and absent from, the army; and when the muster was finished, in accordance with the Emperor’s orders, the standards were carried forward, so that by their growth and multiplication they might bring about the ‘day of resurrec­tion’ in Ma’bar. The inhabitants of that region were given the call of ‘the day on which the trumpet shall be blown, so you shall come forth in hosts’—of ‘the day on which a man shall fly from his brother, and his mother and his father, and his spouse and his sons.’ The order—‘lay hold on him, then put a chain on him’—was executed on rebellious necks, and the attack at which mountains pass away was delivered on the elephants of that country. The defeated Hindūs were despatched with the sword to their brothers in the flames, so that fire, the undeserving object of their worship, may be their proper punishment ‘when hell is kindled up.’

* When on the seventh day, which was Friday, the sky bathed its blue wings in the rays of the sun and cast the carpet of light over its shoulders, and the world was clothed in its white radiance like a Mussalmān putting on a clean dress on Friday, the army began to move with the swiftness of a hurricane from Ghurgāūn. Wherever the accursed tree that produced no religion was found, it was torn up by the roots; the conquered people looked like uprooted trees falling in the strong current of the Jaihūn, or like straws tossed up and down and carried forward in a whirlwind. On reaching the Tāvī,* they saw a river only slightly smaller than the sea. The army crossed it quicker than the hurricane it resembled, and afterwards employed itself in cutting down the jungles and destroying the gardens. Owing to the excessive dust raised by the army, the other rivers in the land were filled with mud like the intestines of earth-eating animals.

* Owing to the tramping of the horses, the hills became consumptive and wished to bury themselves in the womb of the earth, while the dry-tempered desert became tuberculous and was covered with cracks. On Thursday, the 13th of Ramaẓān, the royal canopy cast its shadow on the capital of Deogīr, which, at the command of Heaven, had been protected by the angels; and here the army determined to collect shooting-stars* and four-feathered arrows for overthrowing Bilal Deo and other deos (demons). The Rāī Rāyān, Rām Deo, had heard safety to Satan proclaimed by the dreadful Mussalmān cymbals, and submitting to the Imperial Court, considered himself safe under the protection promised to him. * With a true intuition, this Rāī of noble origin became the embodiment of correct judgment in rendering honour and obedience to the orders of the Imperial Court, in providing material of war for the army, and in advising the conquest of Bīr and Dhūr Samandar. In order to please the servants of the Emperor, this model of his generation, i.e., the Rāī Rāyān, wrote a letter of homage with the pen of sincerity and adorned the city of Deogīr with the gems of paradise. He ordered all things needed by the army to be placed in the market; if the (Muslim) Rustams required the feathers of Sīmurgẖ for their arrows, all possible efforts were made to obtain them, so that every horseman of the army of Irān and Tūrān* might slay a huge demon of Dhūr Samandar even as Rustam had killed the deos of Mazindrān.* At the order of the noble Rāī, who was a tree planted by the Imperial Court, the markets of the city were decorated like the garden of Aram, and the men of the army rode up to them on their horses. They saw a city more beautiful than the Paradise of Shaddād; every market was like a garden differently planned; the money-changers sat with bags of small and large coins, and red and white tankas lay before them like roses and many-petalled flowers; the cloth-merchants had every variety of cloth from bahār-i Hind to the bāward-i Khorāsān, the like of which you cannot find among the flowers of the gardens, piled up in their shops like tulips over the mountain-top or basils in the orchard. Fruits better than pomegranates and rarer than nagẖz lay in heaps.

* The material provided for the army—hard and soft goods of wool and leather, brass and iron—was beyond all computation. Everyone gave good money and bought things at a just price. The Turk did not oppress the Hindū and the will of the Hindū was not opposed to the will of the Turk. As these sun-worshippers had become worshippers of the Imperial sword, they considered the purchasers a great good fortune for themselves and brought to the army all that their community could provide. The Rāī Rāyān had already informed a Hindū, named Dalvī, who lay on the frontiers of Bīr and Dhūr Samandar,* that the Imperial army would be at his place in a few days; so, with his mouth open like a bucket, Dalvī sat waiting for the army and even wished to draw the whole of Dhūr Samandar into a single bucket for the sake of the Mussalmāns. * The army, which had already heard the message, ‘Surely we have given to you a clear victory’, stopped for three days at the aforesaid fort to put its battalions (hazāras) into order. When the advance guard had started,* they packed up their baggage for the holy war and the armies of heaven and earth were with them. On Tuesday, the 17th Ramaẓān, the Imperial archers and swordsmen began to move rapidly and were accompanied by the august canopy.* From the Aimanābād of Deogīr to the Kharabābād* of Paras Deo Dalvi, the army made five marches and crossed three large rivers. One of them, Sini,* had such a wide breast that the broad sea looked like a heart pulsating in its left side; its breadth exceeded thirty long reeds (nai). Of the other, Godāvarī, you might say that, in its extensive playing ground, it had carried the ball successfully against all other rivals.* The third was Bihnūr with a breast as wide as the Sīnī’s.* The army also crossed several other rivers, some roaring, others softly melodious. After five days, it reached the stage of Bandrī in the territory of Paras Deo Dalvī.* Now Dalvī, a bucket drawn out by the Imperial officers, hoped to get water out of Bīr Dhūr and Bīr Pandya* and desired that with the strong arm of the victorious army, the two Bīrs (wells) together with the seas that encircle them, may be drawn into (his) single cup.* *He had dried up in the general scarcity of water, but now seeing his star in the ascendant and his constellation stable, he came forward to receive the Muslim army and undertook to guide it. When the day of Jupiter had been illuminated with the heart of the moon, the Malikus Sharq sent forward swift-footed scouts in quick succession to find out the condition of the country and made diligent inquiries on all sides. Finally, it was discovered that the two Rāīs of Ma’bar had formerly but a single will (rāī) and were as united as the two furqadain.* But the younger brother, Sundar Pandya, had from political ambition coloured his hands in the blood of his father according to the law, ‘seize what you find’. Thereupon, the elder brother, Rāī Bīr Pandya, collecting many thousand Saturnine Hindūs and leaving his two cities empty, had hastened to flay his younger brother alive. Meanwhile Bilāl Deo, the Rāī of Dhūr Samandar, hearing that the cities were without their Mahā-rāīs, had marched forward to plunder the merchants of the two cities at one swoop. At this moment, however, he heard a sky-rending thunder of the Muslim drums behind his back.—‘And most surely our host alone shall be the victorious one’. Finding himself in this critical situation—‘They put their fingers into their ears because of the thunder-peal, from fear of death’—Bilāl Deo, like an upturned and unlucky Saturn, marched down to his own low constellation.

* The Malik gathered all this information with the greatest care. Then on Sunday, the 23rd Ramaẓān, after consultation with the great maliks on whom rested the responsibility of the campaign, he selected a tuman (i.e., 10,000 men) from the officers and men of the army and started in haste. There were archers with him who could split a grain of poppy into a thousand fragments for the pleasure of the spectator, and swordsmen who could cut a hill into two like a nut.* For twelve successive days men, horses and cattle* went up hill and down dale; the depths were such that the sky fell into fits on seeing them, and the attempt to gaze at the heights took away the onlooker’s breath. The carpet of thorns growing out of the rocks would have pierced into a rhinoceros, yet in their haste the men marched over it as over a cushion of silk. In the darkness of the night, they waded through wide rivers, which looked like waving silk, and through rushing torrents, which could have overturned a mountain; and they passed, like a ship sailing through a storm, across streams into which Noah’s deluge had subsided without rising up again, sometimes carried on the crest of a wave, at other times enclosed in a hollow. Through Divine assistance, most of the soldiers crossed the land, though at the bottom of the valleys you could drink water from the centre of the earth and at the summit you could wash your hands with the clouds; many difficulties were met with, but they were all surmounted. * On Thursday, the 5th Shawwāl, in that equatorial region where the disk of the sun heats the earth like a furnace, the fort-reducing Imperial army enclosed Dhūr Samandar* as in an oven. They saw a fort so magnificent, that after viewing it one began to despise the sky. It was not (so to say) Dhūr Samandar, but a sea, called Bīr (well), which was surrounded by a larger sea. You would have thought the fort was a building encircling the sun, which had been ruined by repeated rounds of the full goblet. You saw a fort sur­rounded by water and its name was Bīr; there is water in other wells (bīr), but here there was a well within water.