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The Khilafah and the Indian Subcontinent

The Khilafah and the Indian Subcontinent

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Published by Abdullah Bin Ahmad

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Published by: Abdullah Bin Ahmad on Mar 25, 2012
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The Khilafah and the Indian Subcontinent
After yet another anniversary of the abolishment of the Khilafah state it is important for us toreflect upon its history and the reaction of the Muslims towards its demise and eventualdestruction. It is assumed by some that the Muslims and their scholars did not react to the call forthe abolishment of Khilafah and that they did not realise its significance. This is untrue, history isa testament to the reaction of the Muslims, their struggle to maintain it and their pain at theeventual removal of the shade of Allah (swt) from the earth. The example of the Muslims of India and its renowned Khilafat Movement demonstrates this.Before elaborating upon the reaction of the Muslims in India, it is important to understand thebackground of how the Islamic rule reached Indian subcontinent which is now home toapproximately half the Islamic Ummah numbering more than half a billion Muslims, withapproximately 250 million Muslims in India, 160 million in Pakistan and 120 million inBangladesh. Indeed Urdu has now become probably the most widely spoken language of theUmmah, even more widespread than Arabic.
History of the Khilafah in India
 In the year 711CE, Muslim traders were sailing in the Indian Ocean from Ceylon near the coastof Sind. However, the ship was looted and the Muslims were captured and imprisoned. The newsreached the capital of the Islamic Khilafah state. Where the Khalifah al-
Walid b. „Abdul Malik 
heard about this. Then he sent a message to Hujjaj b. Yusuf, the Wali (governor) of Baghdad todemand the apologies from the ruler of Sind and rescue the Muslims. An army was dispatchedlead by one of the most brilliant sons of this Ummah. The name of this youthful figure occupiesa very high position in the hearts of the Muslims especially of the Indian subcontinent. It wasupon the shoulders of this man that fell the responsibilities of leading the Islamic Khilafah armyinto a foreign land. The name of this man was Muhammad b. Qasim al-Thaqafi, the opener of bilad al hind.When the Islamic Khilafah state army reached Debal (near modern day Karachi), Muhammad b.Qasim and presented his demands to Raja Dahir. The Raja resisted the demand and thus, wasinevitably defeated by the Muslims and his kingdom captured.After this, Muhammad b. Qasim followed up his initial success with further encounters because
it is the duty of Muslims to make the word of Allah „azza wa jall the highest. The Islamic Army,
driven by the Islamic Aqeedah, penetrated as far as Multan. Within three years, by 714 CE, thewhole of Sind and lower Punjab were brought under the rule of the Islamic Khilafah.In the conquest of the north-western part of the subcontinent of India, the army took the idolworshippers from darkness into the light of Islam. His administration made no distinctionbetween Muslims and non-Muslims. In the conquered territories he reinstated non-Muslimofficials to their former positions.Muhammad b. Qasim told the administrators of the Khilafah,
"Deal honestly between people and the State. Fix taxes according to the ability of the people to pay."
It was during the time of Khalifah Hisham b. „Abdul Malik from 724 to 743 CE that the Khilafah
State conquered the regions of Kashmir and Kangra. And during 754-
75 under the „Abbas
Khalifah Abu Ja‟far Al
-Mansur, Kandahar was opened and efforts were made to consolidate andspread the frontiers of the Khilafah state in the Indian subcontinent. It was between 786 and 809CE, during the Khilafah of Harun ar-Rashid that the Islamic Army extended the frontiers of Sindwestwards into Gujarat (now presently in India). It was during this time that Muslim soldierssettled down and new cities started to flourish. From this time onwards, large numbers of theIndians were lifted from their baseless social caste structures of disbelief and brought under theshade of global brotherhood. They were guided from the darkness of ignorance and Kufr to the
 Nur of Islam, worshipping Allah „azza wa jall and discarding their false idol gods. Islam ruled
over most of what is known today as India, Pakistan, Kashmir and Bangladesh for over athousand years.Contrary to how the Orientalists portray the history of India, we must realise that it was aWilayah of the Khilafah. Due to negligence of some of the Khulafah it was unsupervised in someperiods and left to run by itself. However the ahkam shariah were applied by the rulers and it waspart of Dar al-Islam until the British colonised it.The Muslim historians like Ibn Kathir al-Damishqi (died 774 AH) in his famous work al-Bidayah wan-Nihaya mentioned India as part of Dar al-Islam, he also quoted some ahadith about
its conquest. Abu Huraira (ra) narrated: “My true friend, Allah‟s Messenger (saw) said, “
Thearmies of this Ummah will be sent to Sindh and India.
If I get the opportunity to participatein it and am martyred then that is one (auspicious) thing, and if I return then I will be the free
Abu Hurayrah. The Exalted Lord would have given me freedom from Hell.” [Ahmad]
 India remained as a province of the Khilafah throughout the Delhi Sultanate (1205-1526 CE) andMughal period (1526-
1857 CE) except during Akbar‟s rule (1556
-1605 CE) as he apostatisedfrom Islam and formed a new religion called Deen-e-Illahi.During the last quarter of the twelfth century, Muhammad of Ghor invaded the Indo-Gangeticplain, conquering in succession Ghazni, Multan, Sindh, Lahore, and Delhi. Qutb-ud-din Aybak,one of his generals became Sultan of Delhi. In the 13th century, Shams ud din Iltumish (1211-1236), a former slave-warrior of a Turkic origin came to power in Delhi, which enabled futuresultans to push in every direction; within the next 100 years, what became known as the DelhiSultanate extended its way east to Bengal and south to the Deccan. The sultanate was ruled byfive dynasties who rose and fell: the Slave dynasty (1206-90), Khalji dynasty (1290-1320),Tughlaq dynasty (1320-1413), Sayyid dynasty (1414-51), and Lodi dynasty (1451-1526).Babur, who originated from Central Asia, took over Delhi in 1526 and became the first of theMughal rulers. After his death in 1530, his son Humayun (1530-56) came to power. According toa document available in the State Library of Bhopal, Babur left the following will to Humayun, itdemonstrates that regardless of his flaws he cared for the implementation of Islam in a justmanner:
“My son take note of the following: Do not harbour religious prejudice in your heart. You
should dispense justice while taking note of the people's religious sensitivities, and rites. Avoid slaughtering cows in order that you could gain a place in the heart of natives. This will take younearer to the people. Do not demolish or damage places of worship of any faith and dispense full justice to all toensure peace in the country. Islam can better be preached by the sword of love and affection,rather than the sword of tyranny and persecution. Avoid the differences between the Shias and Sunnis. Look at the various characteristics of your people just as characteristics of various
We have to be careful where we take our history from as much of the history of India and theIslamic rule was written by the Orientalists. We do admit that some of the Muslim rulers of Indiamisapplied some of the Islamic rules and committed some injustices. However under their rulethe Indian sub-continent remained part of Dar al-Islam (land of Islam) as the Islamic system wasimplemented. The court records which still exist in some of the major cities show that there wasno other source of law referred to other than the Islamic Shariah. Misapplication does not nullify
a Khalifah‟s rule as well as a Wali‟s (governor) or an Amil‟s (mayor). There are many ahadith
that establish the obligation of obedience to the rulers even if they are oppressive as long as theydo not commit
Kufr Bu‟ah (open disbelief) and implement the Shariah.
 Anas b. Malik reported that the Messenger of Allah (saw) said: "
Do hear and obey, even if youwere ruled by an Abyssinian slave, whose hair is like the raisin".
In another narration He(saw) said:
"As long as he leads you by the Book of Allah."
Muslim reported from „Auf b. Malik who reported: I heard the Messenger of Allah (saw) say:
"The best of your Imams are those whom you love and they love you and you pray forthem and they pray for you; and the worst of your Imams are those whom you hate andthey hate you and you curse them and they curse you."
We asked: "O Messenger of Allah,shall we not then declare war on them?" He (saw) said: "
No! As long as they establish prayeramong you. Behold if anyone was ruled by a Wali and saw him committing a sin, let himhate the sin committed against Allah, but let him not withdraw his hand from obedience."
 Ahmad and Abu Dawud reported that the Messenger of Allah (saw) said:
"O Abu Dharr, whatwould you do if some Walis possessed the booty and deprived you of it?"
He said: "By HeWho sent you with the Truth, I would raise my sword and fight until I join you." Upon this he(saw) said:
"Let me tell you something that would be better for you than that. Remainpatient and bear it until you join me."
 The fact that India remained as part of the global Khilafah has also been discussed by non-
Muslim authors such as the Hindu author Shashi S. Sharma in his book „Caliphs and Sultans – 
Religious ideology and political praxis‟
admits this. He says:
“Throughout its existence the Delhi Sultanate (1205
-1526), remained a legal part of theworldwide Muslim empire functioning under the de jure suzerainty of the Abbasid caliphs.Sultans considered themselves the deputies of the caliph and derived their validity of their administrative and legal authority only on the basis of delegation. Since the supreme authority of 

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