The Arab Invasion of India

The first incursion by the new Muslim successor states of the Persian Empire occurred around 664 CE during the Umayyad Caliphate(Arab), led by Mohalib towards Multan in Southern Punjab, in modern day Pakistan. Mohalib’s expeditions were not aimed at conquest, though they penetrated only as far as the capital of the Maili, he returned with wealth and prisoners of war. This was an Arab incursion and part of the early Umayyad push onwards from the Islamic conquest of Persia into Central Asia, and within the limits of the eastern borders of previous Persian empires. The last Arab push in the region would be towards the end of Ummayyad reign under Muhammad bin Qasim, after    the Arabs would be defeated by the Rajputs at the Battle of Rajasthan in 738 , The Battle of Rajasthan is a battle where the Indian coalition of Gurjara Pratihara and Chalukya dynasty of Lata defeated the Umayyad Caliphate governor of Sindh and Muslim incursions would only be resumed under later Turkic and Pathan dynasties with more local capitals, who supplanted the Caliphate and expanded their domains both northwards and eastwards.

Sind, a principality on the shores of the Arabian Sea and the lower reaches of the Indus, was invaded from the sea by the Muslims in 711. The sea port of Daibul fell first, then several towns on the banks of the Indus, including Arur, the capital. Finally, in 713, the Arabs took Multan and the conquest was complete. The fall of Sind opened the way to the markets of Central Asia.

Coastal trade and the presence of a colony in Sindh permitted significant cultural exchange and the introduction of Muslim teachers into the subcontinent. Considerable conversions took place, especially amongst the Buddhist majority. Multan became a center of the Ismaili sect of Islam, which still has many adherents in Sindh today. This region under generous patronage of the arts provided a conduit for Arab scholars to absorb and expand on Indian sciences and pass them onwards to the West.

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