The advances of the Arabs towards Sind.*

Scarcely had Muhammad expired, when his followers and dis­ciples, issuing from their naked deserts, where they had hitherto robbed their neighbours and quarrelled amongst themselves, hastened to convert their hereditary feuds into the spirit of unanimity and brotherly love. Their energies, at all times impetuous, were now solely concentrated upon executing the injunctions of the “king of fierce countenance, understanding dark sentences,”* that they should enforce belief at the point of the sword, which was emphatically declared to be “the key of heaven and of hell.”* Terror and devastation, murder and rapine, accompanied their progress, in ful­filment of the prophetic denunciation of Daniel, that this descendant of Ishmael* “shall destroy wonderfully, and shall prosper, and practice, and shall destroy the mighty and the holy people; and through his policy, also, he shall cause craft to prosper in his hand; and he shall magnify himself in his heart, and stand up against the Prince of Princes.”*

And so it was, that, within twenty years, they made themselves masters of Syria, Palestine, Egypt, and Persia. The conquest of Persia was a mere prelude to further extension in the east; and though a more difficult and inhospitable country, as well as internal dissensions, checked their progress for some years afterwards, yet it was not in the nature of things to be expected that they should long delay their attacks upon the rich and idolatrous country of India, which offered so tempting a bait to their cupidity and zeal. Accordingly, attention was early directed to this quarter, and it will be our business now, in collecting some of the incidental and scat­tered notices which betray the settled purpose of the Arabs to obtain a footing in India, to trace the slow but certain progress of their arms, until it issued in the conquest of Sind by Muhammed Kásim.

Abú Bakr, A.H. 11-13. A.D. 632-634.
'Umar, A.H. 13-23. A.D. 634-643.

Under the Khiláfat of 'Umar,—A.H. 15 or 16,—a military ex­pedition set out from 'Umán, to pillage the coasts of India. It appears to have proceeded as far as Tána, in Bombay. As 'Umar had not been consulted on the expedition, he forbad that any more should be undertaken to such distant parts; and to 'Usmán Bin Ásí Sakifí, governor of Bahrain and 'Umán, under whose orders the piratical vessels had been despatched, he signified his displeasure in very marked terms:—“Had our party,” he wrote, “been defeated, be assured that I would have taken from your own tribe as many men as had been killed and put them all to death” (supra p. 116).

About the same time, Hakam, the brother of 'Usmán, who had been placed in charge of Bahrain, sent an expedition against Broach, and despatched his brother, Mughaira Abíu-l 'Ásí, to the bay of Debal, where he encountered and defeated his opponents, according to the Futúhu-l Buldán (supra, p. 116); but the Chach-náma repre­sents that he was slain. That work also mentions that the naval squadron was accompanied by troops, that Debal was occupied by merchants, and that the governor, Sámba, son of Díwáij, had been nominated to that post by Chach, who at that time had ruled thirty-five* years in Sind (MS. p. 70).*

Shortly after, Abú Músá Asha'rí, who had been one of the com­panions of the prophet, and was otherwise conspicuous in the history of that period, was appointed governor of 'Irák (Basra), when Rábi, bin Ziyád Hárisí, one of his officers, was sent to Makrán and Kir-mán. Orders were also despatched to Abú Músa, from the capital of the empire, directing him to afford all the information in his power respecting Hind, and the countries leading to it. As he had lately learnt the disastrous result of Mughaira's expedition, he wrote in reply to say, that “the king of Hind and Sind was powerful and contumacious, following the path of unrighteousness, and that sin dwelt in his heart.” Upon which, he received peremptory orders not by any means to enter upon a holy war with that country.*

It is notorious that 'Umar had always a particular horror of naval expeditions, and it is probable that it arose from this untoward defeat. This repugnance is usually attributed to a later period, when, upon the conquest of Egypt by 'Amrú bin 'Ásí, the Khalif wrote to his lieutenant for a description of the sea; who replied:— “The sea is a great pool, which some senseless people furrow, looking like worms upon logs of wood.” On receipt of this an­swer, it is said, 'Umar forbad all navigation amongst the Musulmáns, and transgressors were severely punished. Mu'áwiya was the first Khalif under whom this prohibition was relaxed, and who despatched maritime expeditions against the enemies of his empire. The original cause of the restriction was probably that which has been already indicated, and its continuance may perhaps be ascribed to the un­skilfulness of the Arabs upon the element to which the subjects of the Greek empire were accustomed from their birth. Had the Musulmáns along the shores of the Mediterranean been as expert as the Arab navigators of the Indian ocean, there would have been no need to feel alarm at the result of actions upon the high seas.*

In the year 22 H., 'Abdú-lla bin 'Ámar bin Rabí' invaded Kirmán, and took the capital, Kuwáshír,* so that the aid of “the men of Kúj and Balúj”* was solicited in vain by the Kirmánís. He then pene­trated to Sístán, or Sijistán, and besieged the governor in his capital, who sued for peace when he found that “his city was as a tent without ropes.” After this he advanced towards Makrán. In vain, also, did the chief of that country obtain the aid of the ruler of Sind, for their united armies were surprised and defeated in a night attack. With an ardour augmented by his success, 'Abdu-lla re­quested leave to cross the Indus; but the Khalif, true to his cautious policy, which restrained his lieutenants both on the northern and western frontiers, opposed this still more distant adventure.*

The invasions of this year are confirmed by Hasan bin Muhammad Shírází, who is a careful writer; but the names of the generals are differently represented. “In the year 22 H. Sijistán was conquered by 'Amrú bin al Tamímí and 'Abdu-lla bin 'Umar Khattáb. In this year also, Makrán was conquered by 'Abdu-lla bin 'Abdu-lla bin 'Unán, who had moved against that place from Kirmán. The ruler, who in the native language was styled Zanbíl, and was also king of Sind, was killed.”*

The names are otherwise given in the Habíbu-s Siyar. Kirmán was conquered by Suhail bin Údí and 'Abdu-lla bin Autibán, Sijistán by 'Ásim bin 'Amrú Tamímí, and Makrán by Hakkam bin 'Ámar Saulbí. The conquests are also ascribed to a year later. Shohrug, the lieutenant of Fárs, was forced to yield his province to the victorious Musulmáns; upon which, Mujáshia bin Mas'ud took possession of the cities of Sirján and Jíruft, while 'Usmán bin Abíu-l 'Ásí advanced to Istakhar. In the same quarter, Sauria bin Zanním, employed with a separate division on the route from Istakhar to Kirmán, experienced a more determined resistance. In besieging one of the strongholds into which the natives had thrown themselves, he was suddenly attacked by a sally from the garrison, as well as by a numerous body of Kurds who had advanced to their relief, and was only saved through the aid of a miracle. In the end, however, the Musulmáns were victorious. These are evidently all the same transactions, disguised by change of names,—the “Kurds” of the Habíbu-s Siyar being the “Kúj” of the Guzída.

Dr. Weil, following Tabarí, gives other variations, and remarks upon Abú-l Fidá's and Elmacin's (Al Makín's) omission of the conquest of the Persian provinces in the south. The general's name is 'Abdu-lla bin Attab. “Kufej,” or “Kufess,” is given instead of “Kúj.” The invasion of Makrán is ascribed to 23 H., in which same year, it is said, the conquest of Fárs was brought to a conclu­sion. The capture of Shíráz is also mentioned, although it is ordinarily supposed not to have been built till seventy years after­wards by Muhammad Kásim.*

'Usmán, A.H. 23-35. A.D. 643-655.

'Usmán bin Abíu-l 'Ásí was not very rapid in his conquest of the province of Fárs, for he was repulsed before Istakhar, and it is not till the year 26 H., that we find him taking Kázerún and the still famous Kila'-i sufed, or white fort, between Istakhar and the Persian Gulph.* The whole province does not seem to have been reduced till 28 H.

In A.H. 30, a formidable insurrection took place at Istakhar, when the Musulmán governor fell a victim to the fury of the people. The fugitive king of Persia, Yazdijird, hastened to the scene, in the hope of retrieving his miserable fortunes; but after being nearly surprised among the ruined columns of the ancient palace, he was defeated with great loss by 'Abdu-lla bin 'Umar and 'Usmán, near that capital, and compelled to fly to Kirmán, and afterwards to Sijistán and Khurásán. The citadel of Istakhar was carried by assault, and many of the ancient Persian nobility, who had sought an asylum within that fortress, were put to the sword.*