Process of Meos Conversion to Islam

Topics: Muhammad, Sindh, Muhammad bin Qasim Pages: 8 (2968 words) Published: July 9, 2011
Aijaz Ahmad,
Lecturer in History,
YM.D. College Nuh,
Mewat, Haryana.

Meo, a brave, freedom-loving and warring community has had a glorious history from the ancient times. They could never be made to compromise by force or political diplomacy. That's why they were against any power or government which tried to over-power or impose their authority over this warring community. No doubt, in their so-called freedom struggle, they lost their men and money and sometimes their very existence faced the threat of being wiped out. It is also true that in their long history there have been very few leaders who gave them proper direction for upholding their honour, dignity and position. Most of their leader only took pride in their stiff opposition to the government in Delhi as their biggest and greatest achievement. It was mainly due to their illiteracy ms well as the negligence on the part of the government in Delhi that made them rebellious.1 In the ancient period they were known as Meds and their stronghold was Debal, a famous port of Sindh. They were engaged in agariculture and if we believe Elliot and Dowson, many of them were seafarers and pirates.2 After they embraced islam, they were called Meos.3 At present the area of Mewat is very small, and is distributed among different states like Haryana Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh. In Haryana, Mewat includes some parts of Gurgaon and Faridabad districts. In Rajasthan, it comprises of parts of Alwar and Bharatpur. In U.P., it includes some villages of Aligarh and Mathura Districts4 It must not be forgotten that the Meos were a warring community and troublesome to the British Government, that's why the government cunningly divided the area of Mewat into many parts controlled by various administrative authorities. When we look at the geographical history of the Meos, we have to contend with a large number of traditional sayings and even many Meo scholars who claim that their geography consisted of many parts of Arabia, China, Central Asia and whole of india. But we can only give this aboriginal geographical claim as mere rhetoric and bragging with not an iota of truth about it. As the historical evidences prove the Meos can only traced during the ancient period in the region of Sindh in the form of Meds. Another major community that lived with them was the Jat community. They both were agriculturists in profession and also barbarian in nature. Their rulers were Brahman by caste.5 When did the Meos migrate to the Indian Arawali region (Koh Paya, according to Tabaqat-i-Nasiri) is not very clear. It also can not be said with certainty as to whether they originally inhabited this region. But a Meo scholar Maulana Habibur Rahman Khan claims the around second century A.D., a group of the Meds of Sindh entered Rajputana and settled around the Arawali range and this area came to be known as Med-pat and later on Mewat.6 In the light of all such opinions it can safely be concluded that the Meos' population around Arawali was also much older. James Tod describes that the Mer or Med were a very ancient Hindu race.7 Habibur Rahman, by quoting Chachnama, claims that the Meds were followers of Buddhism.8 Another scholar, Shmdsuddin Shams tries to prove that the Meos formerly belonged to the Hindu race.9 But most of the old traditions agree with the opinion that before accepting Islam Meos followed the Buddhism. No doubt they claim themselves ms Rajputs and Kshatriyas by origin and they still follow their customs and traditions, but as far as religion is concerned, they followed the Buddhist cult. Because in Sindh, the original place of the Meos, the rulers and subjects followed the Buddhism. Chach (father of Dahir) the ruler if Brahmanabad was a Brahman but was very much under the influence of a Buddhist devotee Kirman.10 After Chach his brother Chander ascended the throne and patronized the Buddhist religion and monks and promulgated their doctrine.11 It...
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