CHACH-NÁMA is the name now universally given to the work which details the usurpation of the Brahman Chach and the Arab conquest of Sind; but the history itself gives us no authority for this name, on the contrary it is spoken of in the preface and conclusion merely as Fath-náma, “a despatch announcing victory.” It is sometimes styled, as by Elphinstone, Táríkh-i Hind o Sind. It is quoted by Núru-l Hakk in the Zubdatu-t Tawáríkh, and by Nízámu-d dín Ahmad in the Tabakát-i Akbarí, as the Minháju-l Masálik, which the latter tells us is more commonly known as the Chach-náma.

This work was translated from the Arabic by Muhammad 'Alí bin Hámid bin Abú Bakr Kúfí, in the time of Násiru-d dín Kabácha, who is styled, amongst many other titles, Amíru-l Múminín Abú-l Fath Kabáchau-s Salátín,* “the tents of whose glory were pitched with the ropes of his authority, and with the mallet of the strictness of his commands.” He is said to adorn the throne lately occupied by the blessed martyr Abú-l Muzaffar Muhammad bin Sám Násir Amíru-l Múminín.

The translator informs us that, after having spent much of his life in the enjoyment of great comfort and happiness, he was re­duced to distress, and compelled by the vicissitudes of the time to leave his native land and take up his abode in Úch. He says that in the 58th year of his age, and the 613th of the Hijrí (1216 A.D.), he withdrew his hand from all the concerns which had previously occupied his mind, and made a few delightful books his sole com­panions. He considered within himself that learned persons of every age had, by the assistance of their masters and patrons, compiled histories and books, and established a reputation for themselves by their literary attainments; that, for instance, the conquests of Khurásán, 'Irák, Persia, Rúm, and Shám had been celebrated at large in poetry and prose by authors of past ages; and that a victory had been achieved, and the country of Hindústán conquered, by Muhammad Kásim and other nobles of Arabia and Syria, and mosques and pulpits had been raised throughout the country, from the sea-shore to the boundaries of Kashmír and Kanauj, and Ráí Dáhir, son of Chach, the king of Alor, had been slain by the great noble, the best man of the State and Religion, Muhammad bin Kásim bin 'Akíl Sakifí, may God's mercy be on him! and the Ráí's territory with all its dependencies had been taken possession of by that conqueror. The translator, therefore, wished to be acquainted with an ac­count of the country and its inhabitants, and also with the history of Dáhir's defeat and death, in order that he might be able to compile a book upon that interesting subject.

In the endeavour to obtain this information, he left the sacred city of Úch, and went to Alor and Bhakar, the Imáms of which places were the descendants of the Arab conquerors. On his arrival there, he met with the Maulána Kází, Isma'íl bin 'Alí bin Muhammad bin Músá bin Táí bin Ya'kúb bin Táí bin Músá bin Muhammad bin Shaibán bin 'Usmán Sakifí. He was a mine of learning and the soul of wisdom, and there was no one equal to him in science, piety, and eloquence. On being consulted on the subject of the Arabian conquest, he informed the trans­lator that an account of it was written by one of his ancestors, in a book composed in the Arabic language, which had descended from one generation to the other, till it reached his hands by course of inheritance. But as it was dressed in the language of Hijáz, it had obtained no currency among the people, to whom that language was foreign.

When the translator read the book, he found it adorned with jewels of wisdom and pearls of precepts. It related various feats of chivalry and heroism on the part of the Arabs and Syrians. It treated of the capture of those forts which had never before been taken, and showed the morning of the night of infidelity and barbarism. It recounted what places in those days were honoured by the arrival of the Muhammadans, and having been conquered by them, were adorned by religious edifices, and exalted by being the residence of devotees and saints. Up to this day, the translator continues, the country is improving in Islám faith and knowledge, and at all periods since the conquest the throne of royalty has been occupied by one of the slaves of the house of Muhammad, who removed the rust of Paganism from the face of Islám.

He proceeds to tell us that he dedicates his translation to the minister of Násiru-d dín Kabácha, whom he designates among other titles, the Defender of the State and Religion, the greatest of all Wazírs, the master of the sword and pen, Sadr-i Jahán Dastúr-i Sáhib-Kirán 'Ainu-l Mulk Husain bin Abí Bakr bin Muhammad al Asha'rí.

He states as his reason for the dedication, that not only might he advance his own interests by the minister's favour and influence, but that the selection was peculiarly appropriate in consequence of the minister's ancestors, Abú Músá al Asha'rí, having ob­tained many victories in Khurásán and 'Ajam. To him there­fore might be most fitly dedicated an account of the early con­quest of Sind.

At the close of the work, he again says that as the work was written in the Hijází (Arabic) language, and was not clothed in a Pehlví garb, it was little known to the inhabitants of 'Ajam (foreign countries or Persia), and repeats the name of the person to whom it was dedicated, as 'Ainu-l Mulk.

There can, therefore, be little doubt that this is the same minister to whom Muhammad Aufí has dedicated his Lubbu-l Lubáb, respecting whose identity some doubt has been enter­tained, in consequence of the title 'Ainu-l Mulk not being com­monly ascribed to any minister of that period. The repetition of the name by the translator of the Chach-náma leaves no doubt that Husain bin Abí Bakr bin Muhammad al Asha'rí is the person indicated.

As this translation was made at so early a period of the Muhammadan dominion in India, it is greatly to be regretted that the translator did not attempt to identify the many un­known places of which mention is made in the course of the narrative. As he had himself visited Úch, Alor, and Bhakar, and probably other places lower down the Indus, he might have cleared up the many doubts which our ignorance of the localities entails upon us.

It is difficult to fix the precise period of the composition of the original Arabic. It is not said to have been composed by an ancestor of the person from whom the translator obtained it at Bhakar, but merely to have been written in the handwriting (khat) of one of his ancestors. This may be applied either to composition or transcription, but the use of the term renders the precise meaning doubtful—most probably composition is referred to. In either case, we have a guarantee for the authen­ticity of the narrative, in the fact that the ancestor of Isma'íl, the possessor of the manuscript, was himself a participator in the scenes and the advantages of the conquest; for we find it dis­tinctly mentioned, that the Kází appointed by Muhammad Kásim, after the conquest of Alor, was Músá bin Ya'kúb bin Táí bin Muhammad bin Shaibán bin 'Usmán. Now if we look at the name of the person from whom the translator obtained the Arabic original, we shall find it mentioned as Isma'íl bin 'Alí bin Muhammad bin Músá bin Táí bin Ya'kúb bin Táí bin Músá bin Muhammad bin Shaibán bin 'Usman. In both in­stances 'Usmán is mentioned as Sakifí, that is, of the same tribe as the conqueror himself.* The genealogies do not tally in every respect, and it is evident that in the later one some inter­mediate generations, as is frequently the case, are omitted; but still there is quite sufficient similarity to show descent from the same ancestor. The titles also of ancestor and descendant re­semble each other most closely. The first Kází appointed to Alor is called Sadr al Imámia al Ajall al 'Álim Burhánu-l Millat wau-d dín. The contemporary of the translation is called Mauláná Kází al Imám al Ajall al 'Álim al Bári' Kamálu-l Millat wau-d dín. It is very strange that the translator takes no notice of this identity of pedigree, by which the value and authenticity of the work are so much increased; but it is pro­bable that it did not occur to him, or such a circumstance could scarcely have escaped mention.

Notwithstanding that Elphinstone uses the expression “pro­fesses to be a translation,” which would imply a suspicion of the fact, there is no reason to doubt that the work is a translation of a genuine Arab history, written not very long after the conquest. There appears in it very little modern interpolation, and it is probable that those passages which contain anachronisms were the work of the original writer, and not of the translator. The placing a sentence of the Kurán in Ládí's mouth—the Bismillah at the beginning of the letters of Sindian princes, the praises of Islám ascribed to Hindús, the use of the foreign names of Brahmanábád, which is explained to be a version of the native Bámanwáh, are all evidently the work of the original author.