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Old Monday, June 08, 2009
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Default Arab Conquest Of Sindh Was A Triumph Without Results?

Many authors like Elphinstore, Wolsely Haig and Lane Poole are of the opinion that the Arab conquest of Sindh was without any impact on the history of subcontinent as well as Islam. Their main argument is that the Arabs could not proceed towards the rest of india and only a small portion of country came under the their influence.The Arabs neither challenged nor broke the political and military power of Rajput rules of the North.

According to Cambridge history of India, “the rulers of states beyond the deserts have no cause for alarm that was to come later and enemy was to be not the Arabs but the Turks who were to present the faith of the Arabian Prophet in a more terrible guise than it had worn when presented by native Arabian”.

According to Prof. Habibullah, “the Arabs were not destined to raise Islam to be a political force in india.Whatever its cultural implications, politically the affair let to a dead end.It touched only a fringe of indian contenent and the faint stirrings it produced were soon forgotten. In the Islamic common wealth, the Arabs soon to lose ground; geographically stood in the way of his expansion in India; and by the 10th century his conquering role having been played out. The Indians recognized themselves only the enterprising and adaptable merchants of old”. (Foundations of Muslim Rule in India)

The view point of the above mentioned historians is true only to the extant that Arabs conquest of Sindh did not exert tremendous effects in the field of political activity, but so for as the other fields of human activity are concerned, Arabs conquest could not be dubbed simply as having no results and impacts.

The far reaching effects of the conquest of Sindh in various fields of life are given as under.


The impact of the conquest of Sindh by the Arabs was reciprocal. The Muslims brought with them the knowledge which they derived from the conquered nations like persia and Byzantine empire.The Hindus had also developed many branches of knowledge including medicine, Astronomy,Astrology, etc.


The Abasid Kaliphs were great patrons of art and learning.They set up a house of translation in Baghdad where many Sanskrit books were translated into Persian and Arabic.

The impotant books translated were Siddanta by Brahmgupta and others by Kahrah and Dimnoh etc.According to S.M.Akram, “Astrology and palmistry also received considerable attention at Baghdad and the titles of large number of books translated from Sanskrit on these subjects have been preserved.Other subjects on which books were translated were logic,alchemy,magic,ethics,statecraft and art of war.”


Indian system of medicine received even greater attention.The books by Sushruta and Charak were translated into Arabic, the foremost authorities in Hindu medicine. The indian doctors enjoyed great prestige at Baghdad and they were apponinted in hospitals.One of them Manka who was specially sent from India to treat Haroon-ur-Rasheed and his treatment was successful.


In Mathematics, the most important contribution of the Indo-Pak subcontinent went to Arabic learning which was introduced of what known in the west “Arabic numerals”.Famous Arab mathematician Al-Khurzami translated many Indian books into Arabic.


The Muslim introduced the art of history writing in India.Till that time Indian had no authentic book on their history. Muslims were renowned in historiography and the Indian history.


1. The internal weaknesses of Indian society were brought to height by the Arabs. Cast system,superstition and feudalism were the main weaknesses of Indian society.So this conquest gave courage to later Muslims to conquer India so it is rightly said, “though the Arabs were not the actual conquerors of India they were the path finder and the torch bearers.”

2. Another factor came to the light that Sindh was not the right path to enter India.All the later invaders invaded the punjab through Northern passes which were more rich than Sindh.

3. The Muslims in Sindh introduced a novel administration whose objective was the welfare of common people.All citizen were equel before law and all basic rights were protected by the state.The Hindus were allowed to decide thier disputes through their own Panchyats.This reflects the internal and external autonomy and freedom they enjoyed during the Muslim rule.

4. Before the conquest of Sindh,only the people of book (Ahl-e-Kitab) were treated as Dhimmis (protected people) but now in new tradition occurred that who surrendered to Muslim rule and remained loyal would be treated as Dhimmis either they were people of book or not.


The Arabs settled in Sindh and absorbed many local traditions but they also introduced many cultural and social traditions in Sindh. The Arabs had an egalitarian society while the Hindus were divided strictly into casts system. Muslim introduced equality,tolerance and justice in Sindh.


1. A common culture was developed in Sindh which was mixture of Arabs and Hindu culture.
2. Still the Sindh language is written into Arabic script, it has many Arabic words.
3. The use of camel and horse was also introduced by the Arabs.


Music of Indo-Pak subcontinent had its impact on Arab music and was appreciated in Abbasid capital. Professor Halim of Dhaka University who made a special study of Indo-Pak music concluded that the Arabs system and the Indian system of music influenced each other.

According to Dr.SM Akram,while discussing the cultural impacts, the world Wadera is the literal meaning of Sheikh. The games of chess and chausar were also transmitted by the Arabs from Sindh to other parts of the world.


It cannot be denied that the conquest of Sindh sowed the Seeds of Islam in India. A large number of persons in Sindh embraced Islam. The Muslim did not allow the monopoly of the Brahmans on religion and gates of religion were open to all.Islam spread in Sindh by high moral principles in which Muslims treated non-Muslims.After the conquest of Sindh by the Arabs, Sindh remained always under Muslim rule exept British rule.


Talking into account the above mentioned facts about the effects of conquest of Sindh,the Lanepool version was that it was a trimph without result,seems superficial. One can differ only that who among the Sindhis or the Arabs influenced more, but as far the far reaching effects of this event are concerned, these are out of question.

The Hindu and the European authors and historians have proved that the Arabs were influenced more by the Hindus,if it is true then the version of Lanepool seems baseless.

According to L. P Sharma “the Arabs did not impress Indians culturally, instead they themselves were influenced by the culture of India. The Arabs learnt much from fine arts, astrology,science of medicine and literature of India. Dr. A. L Srivastava has expressed the view that, “not only the Arabs but Europeans also drew advantage from the knowledge of the Indians in the eight and ninth century A.D because of their contacts with them through Arabs.”

Therefore,we can say that if history is something more than the stories of kings and their great wars than the conquest of Sindh cannot be dubbed simply as “a triumph without result.” To sum up, the effects of Sindh conquest were more invisible than visible as observed by historians in his writings.
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