MUHAMMAD BIN QASIM
Muhammad bin Qasim was among the finest colonialists in the Arab history, and a worthy soldier. Unfortunately, our modern writers have tried to paint him as a saint, and in the process they have lost all those features that made this Arab general an interesting human being. It is high time we restore his true picture from authentic sources of history written by the earliest Muslim historians. Muhammad bin Qasim was born around 694 AD (if we are to believe the tradition that he was seventeen when he attacked Sindh in 711 AD). He belonged to the Saqqafi tribe that had originated from Taif in Arabia, and he was also a close relative of Hajjaj bin Yousuf (possibly a second cousin, but not a nephew as narrated in the popular tradition). Much because of the influence of Hajjaj, the young Muhammad bin Qasim was appointed the governor of Persia while in his teens, and it is said that he did a good job at crushing the rebellion in that region. Sometime around the same period he got married to a girl in the Tamim tribe. There is also a popular tradition that presents him as the son-in-law of Hajjaj bin Yousuf, but some scholars discredit this tradition since an authentic pedigree of Hajjaji doesn’t mention any daughter. It is more likely that the young hero was married to a woman of Banu Tamim, and although the name of his wife does not appear in recorded history it is certain that she gave him two sons who later became famous for their own exploits. When Muhammad bin Qasim invaded Sindh, Hajjaj arranged for special messengers between Basra and Sindh, and told the general never to take any step without his advice. This order was followed to the letter during the campaign. “When you advance in the battle, see that you have the sun behind your backs,” Hajjaj wrote to his cousin just before the famous storming of Debal. “If the sun is at your back then its glare will not prevent you from having a full view of the enemy. Engage in fight immediately, and...
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