Arab and Turkish Invasion in India: Impact, Mahmud Ghazni and Muhammad bin Qasim

By BYJU'S Exam Prep

Updated on: November 14th, 2023

Arab and Turkish Invasions in India are an important segment of Indian medieval history. The Umayyad Caliphate’s expansionist strategy resulted at the beginning of the Arab conquest of India in the eighth century. Invading from the northwest of India in 712 CE were Arabs under the command of Muhammad bin Qasim, a general of the Umayyad Caliphate (Sindh). The Arab invasion of Sindh was headed by Muhammad bin Qasim. The Muslim Arabs began their conquest of the Turkish territory in 705 CE, but the Turks resisted and joined the Arabians in their fight against the Chinese in the Battle of Talas in 751 CE. This, in turn, contributed to the relationship being made between Turks and Arabs.

The Turkish as well as Arab Invasion in India were one of the major advents in Indian History. The UPSC Syllabus lays special emphasis on the topic, and aspirants preparing for the UPSC Exam need to study well in depth. The article here will cover all the major aspects of the Arab Invasion and Turkish Invasions, along with their significance and impact.

Arab Invasion in India

Muhammad bin Qasim (December 31, 695 CE – July 18, 715 CE) was an Arab military leader who served the Umayyad Caliphate and oversaw the Muslim conquest of Sindh during the Umayyad operations in India. Al-Hajjajj, the Iraqi governor, sent Muhammad bin Qasim to India, where he took control of Sind with Caliph Walid’s approval. Bin’s military prowess led to the creation of Arab Sind and the province’s acquisition from the Sindhi Brahman dynasty and Raja Dahir, who was in charge of it.

With the Arab invasion of Aror, the former capital of Arabia, Qasim became the first Muslim to conquer Hindu territory, initiating the Arab Invasion in India.

Muhammad bin Qasim (December 31, 695 CE – July 18, 715 CE)

In the year 695 AD, Muhammad bin Qasim was born. He belonged to the Saqqafi tribe, which originated in the Arabian city of Taif. He was also a close relative of Hajjaj bin Yousuf, and because of Hajjaj’s connections, the young Muhammad bin Qasim was named governor of Persia when he was still in his teens, and he put down the uprising in that province.

  • He commanded the Muslim conquest of Sindh during the Umayyad operations in India. He was an Arab military leader working for the Umayyad Caliphate.
  • His military prowess led to the founding of Arab Sind and the annexation of the area from the Sindhi Brahman dynasty and Raja Dahir, who was later beheaded.
  • Between 709 and 711 CE, when Hajjaj, the Iraqi governor, chose him to head an expedition against Sindh, which is documented in the ChachNama.
  • On July 18, 715, Muhammad bin Qasim died in Mosul, Iraq. Some reports claim that his remains were moved to Makran in Balochistan.

Battle of Rewar

  • Dahir, the king of Sindh, and Muhammad-bin-Qasim engaged in combat at the Battle of Rewar. The Brahmin king of Punjab, Dahir, was overthrown in combat.
  • They captured Multan and Sindh.
  • Multan was referred to as “The City of Gold” by Muhammad bin Qasim.

Administrative System After the Arab Invasion in India

Arabs were in charge of Sindh when it was captured. The Arab conquerors followed the same strategy in other territories they had taken over. According to academics, this administrative style was more liberal than later ones. This was primarily caused by the earlier centuries’ Islamic legal school not being as stringent as later centuries.

  • To establish his reign, Arab military officers split Sind and Multan into several Iqtas, or districts, under Muhammad bin Qasim.
  • The districts’ subdivisions were under the control of the local Hindu officers.
  • A tax known as jizya was levied against non-Muslims.

Impact of Arab Invasion in India

The impacts of the Arab Invasion in India are as follows:

  • Economic and cultural developments: Hindus were permitted to practise their faith because the Arabs embraced a tolerance policy. The Brahmins’ elaborate ceremonies were borrowed from the Arabs, who also studied astrology, medicine, and Arthashastra. Arab dictionaries often contained Sanskrit words.
  • Changes in Religion: In Sind and Multan, Islam was firmly established. The Rajputs had a stronghold in the north; therefore, the endeavour failed. The death of Muhammad bin Qasim initially shocked Khalifah, which caused Islam to spread more slowly.
  • Political and social impact on India: Arabs became interested in occupying all of India due to the Hindu rulers’ bad management and their feeble army forces being made public.

Turkish Invasion in India

The ascent of the Turks in Central Asia and the subsequent Turkish invasions in India in the 11th and 12th centuries allowed them to establish themselves on the limits of the northwest. Mahmud Ghazni and Muizzuddin Mohammad Ghori’s pillaging operations opened the door for Islam to spread to India. Early in the 11th century, Mahmud Ghazni pillaged and looted, marking the beginning of the Turks’ Muslim invasion. The first Muslim state in India was founded by Muizzuddin Mohammad Ghori in the latter half of the 12th century, marking its culmination.

  • Invading India after the Arabs took over Sindh in the eleventh century was the Turks. It is thought that the Turks brought Islam to India.
  • The Ghaznavid dynasty was founded in 963 by Alptigin, a Turkish slave of the Samanid ruler Amir-Abu-Bakr Lawik. He seized control of the Jabul kingdom, which had Ghazni as its capital.
  • He was replaced by his talented and aspirational son-in-law, Subuktigin. He successfully overthrew Hindushahi ruler Jayapala in all regions between Lamghan and Peshawar.
  • Consequently, the Hindushahi kingdom could not restrain the Ghaznavids’ expanding authority in the east.

Mahmud Ghazni

The Turkic Ghaznavid dynasty, which lasted from 998 CE to 1030 CE, was established by Mahmud of Ghazni (971–1030 CE). By his death, his kingdom had developed into a formidable military empire that spanned from northwest Iran to Punjab in India, Khwarazm in Transoxiana, and Makran.

  • Asia’s greatest Muslim ruler was Mahmud of Ghazni.
  • He admired scholars like Firdausi and Alberuni, as well as art and literature.
  • Firdausi wrote Shahnameh, while Alberuni wrote Kitab-i-Hind.
  • Others remember him as a desecrator of Buddhist, Hindu, and Jain sites, while some remember him as an Islamic hero.
  • He irrevocably changed the subcontinent’s politics, religion, and culture by establishing Muslim dominion over a sizable chunk.

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Muhammad Ghori

Ghori took over the Ghazni monarchy after Mahmud’s passing. In an assault against Khusro Malik in 1186, he took Punjab and annexed it to his lands. Hindu princes from North India formed a confederacy under Prithvi Raj Chauhan’s leadership after realising the seriousness of the Turkish Invasion in India.

  • Near Delhi, in 1191, the Battle of Tarain saw Prithvi Raj Chauhan triumph over Muhammad Ghori.
  • Prithviraj Chauhan was once more given a message by Muhammad Ghori, who had gathered a sizable army, pleading with him to convert to Islam and recognise his rule, but Chauhan refused.
  • The second battle of Tarain in 1192 saw the capture and death of Prithvi Raj Chauhan, who had established the first Muslim kingdom control over Ajmer in India.
  • Qutubuddin Aibak, Muhammad Ghori’s general, was left to carry on his conquests in India while Muhammad Ghori retreated to Ghazni. Aibak conquered Delhi and Meerut in 1193.
  • In the Battle of Chandwar or Ghardawala, Ghori invaded and conquered Jayachandra, Ruler of Kannauj, establishing Turkish dominance in North India.

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Arab and Turkish Invasion in India UPSC

The Arab and Turkish Invasion in India are important segments of medieval Indian History. The Arab Invasion in India began in the eighth century, whereas the Turkish Invasion in India began somewhere between the 11-12th Centuries. One can refer to the Medieval History Notes for UPSC Exam to study the topic.

Question: When did Muhammad Ghori invade India?

  1. 1000 AD
  2. 1026 AD
  3. 1175 AD
  4. 1191 AD

Answer: Option C

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