Muslim Invasion In India

Islam arrived in the Indian subcontinent inland in the 7th century with the Arab conquest of Sindh, and later in the 12th century with the conquests of the Ghaznavid and Ghurid. It has since become a part of India’s religious and cultural heritage. The first Muslim invasion in India by the Arabs was led by Muhammad bin Qasim. It occurred in 711 AD and resulted in Sind’s conquest.

The earliest Muslims came to Kerala or Malabar for trade in India. These Muslims were Arabs, and their language was Arabic. They settled in Kerala and were called “Moplah,” also known as “Mappila.” Let us first understand who they were and read a little more about them.

  • Islam was established in Saudi Arabia and its followers were called Muslims.
  • First of all, Muslims came to Kerala/Malabar for trade in India.
  • These Muslims were Arabs and their language was Arabic, settled in Kerala and were called ‘Moplah’, also known as ‘Mappila’.
  • These Moplahs came to India when Prophet Muhammad was alive (came before 632 AD).
  • The first mosque built by them was at Kodungallur (the oldest mosque in India) in 630 AD These Muslims were buying pepper (काली मिर्च) in Kerala and were not rulers but traders. Later he became a Krishak (farmer) in Kerala
  • In 1921 the Mappilas peasants revolted against Hindus.

Muhammad Prophet (571 AD To 632 AD)

  • On the west coast of Saudi Arabia, the holiest place was “Mecca” & in the city of ‘Mecca‘ in 570 AD.
  • Prophet Mohammad was born when he was known during the time in Saudi Arabia, the people were divided into several tribes.
  • Prophet Muhammad belongs to the “Quraysh“ tribe.
  • Gods in form of idols (A total of 360 idols for different tribes). Example of Gods in South Arabia): Manaj, Uj, Lat.
  • When Muhammad Prophet was meditating in The “Hira Cave of  South Arabia” during the course of meditation some revelations by angels were delivered to him.
  • This revelation by Allah is called “Revelation of the great “.
  • Those who were idol worshippers were called believers.
  • And non-idol worshippers were called non-believers.
  • This was the beginning of the warfare between believers and non-believers.
  • Initially, believers were powerful and non-believers were less in number.

Rise Of Islam

This is connected with the migration of Prophet Muhammad from Mecca to Medina.

  • Gradually Islam became very popular in Saudi Arabia because of some social tactics. E.g. Economic Equality, Liberty &, etc. This way Prophet Muhammad was able to gain some Banks of followers.
  • He went to Mecca and defeated all the Non-Believers in Mecca; all idols of Islam were destroyed. This was a complete victory for Islam in Saudi Arabia.
  • Muhammad was first married at age 25 to Khadijah (595–619). After her death in 619 CE, he married a total of 10 women over the remaining years of his life.
  • All of Muhammad’s wives were widows or divorced, with the exception of Aisha (6 Year Old).
  • After 622 AD, Islam was formally established in Saudi Arabia.
  • 10 years later in 622 AD, Prophet Muhammad died.
  • After his death within Islam, there was a rise of two sects ‘Shia & Sunni‘. The majority of the Muslims of the world are Sunnis, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, etc.
  • Only 4 Countries Shia are in majority these are Iran, Bahrain, and Azerbaijan (Located in Central Asia).
  • The causes behind the emergence of the two sects were: Some wanted minority Muslims to be led by Ali ibn Abi Talib son in law of Muhammad Prophet (To spiritually lead them) and this sect came to be known as Shia.
  • And others known wanted an elected person to lead them and gave him the title of “Khalifa (Caliph) “and these people emerged to be the second sect called “Sunnis “. Abu Bakar Pbuh was the 1st Caliph.
Muslim Invasion In India

Muslim Invasion In India by Muhammad bin Qasim

The Delhi Sultanate is a gallant exemplar of the grandeur of Medieval India. It contributed a lot to art, culture, and architecture. These Sultans of Delhi ruled for quite a long period of 320 years during which there were achievements in different fields.

  • The Muslim invasion of India took place in 712 AD.
  • These Muslims were Arab, hence it is called Arab Invasion.
  • This happened in the second decade of the eighth century. The first Muslim invader was Muhammad bin Qasim (712 AD). Qasim invaded Sindh (presently in Pakistan). At that time Dahir was the ruler of Sindh whose kingdom he invaded in 712 AD. An Arab ship was coming from Asia to Saudi Arabia carrying the Arab royal families. This ship was hijacked by robbers.
  • Al-Hijaj was the king of Arabia at that time.
  • King Dahir of Sindh did not respond to the request made by the King of Saudi Arabia to help and rescue the royal ship.
  • As a result, a naval expedition was sent to attack Sindh.
  • Dahir was easily defeated by Muhammad Qasim and he himself became the king of Sindh.
  • Muhammad Qasim not only introduced a new tax on non-Muslims (the majority were Hindus) which was a very controversial tax and was imposed only in the Sindh region.

The Ghaznavids

After the Arab penetration into Sindh, it was the Turks who made inroads into India in the 11th Century. The credit for establishing Muslim rule in India goes to the Turks.

Alptigin, a Turkish Slave of the Samanid king Amir-Abu-Bakr Lawik founded the Ghaznivid dynasty in 963. He occupied the kingdom of Jabul, with its capital Ghazni.

He was followed by his son-in-law, Subuktigin, a capable and ambitious ruler. He succeeded in capturing all the territories which lay between Lamghan and Peshawar from the Hindushahi ruler Jayapala. Thus, the Hindu shahi kingdom failed to check the growing power of Ghaznavids towards the East. But his raids did not produce a lasting effect. Subuktigin was followed by his son Ismail, who was overthrown by Mahmud, his brother in 998. He became famous in history as Mahmud Ghazni.

  • Mahmud (998-1030) ascended the throne of Ghazni
  • Mahmud was a plunderer and destroyer of Many Hindu temples.
  • The initial raids were against the Hindu Shahi kingdom in which its king Jayapala was defeated in 1001.
  • After this defeat, Jayapala immolated himself because he thought that his defeat was a disgrace. His successor Anandapala fought against Mahmud but he was also defeated in the Battle of Waihind, the Hind Shahi capital near Peshawar in 1008.
  • In 1011, he raided Nagarkot in the Punjab hills and Thaneshwar near Delhi.
  • In 1018 Mahmud plundered the holy city of Mathura and also attacked Kanuaj. The ruler of Kanuaj, Rajyapala abandoned Kanuaj and later died. Mahmud returned via Kalinjar with fabulous riches.
  • In 1025, he raided and plundered the Somnath Temple in Gujarat. He undertook 17 raids in India and constantly fought against the Hindushahi rulers.
  • In this expedition, he preceded through Multan defeated Bhimadeva of Anhilwad, and reached Somanath Temple.
  • In 1019 and 1029 he undertook two raids on Gangetic valley.
  • Mahmud came back to India for the last time in 1027 to punish the Jats who had troubled him on his return journey from Somanath. The Jats were severely punished, looted property, and enslaved their women and children.
  • The Seljuk Empire was established with the death of Mahmud.
  • Mahmud Ghazni successfully attempted seventeen invasions on Indian Territories and died in 1030 CE

Alberuni, the scholar of Turki, Sanskrit, Mathematics, Philosophy, Astrology, and history stayed in Mahmud’s court and wrote the famous Kitab-i-Hind, an account of India. Firdausi was a court poet of Ghazni. His famous work “Shah Namah” was a watershed in the Iranian renaissance.

Turkish Conquests

  • While the Rajput put up a stout defence against the Turkish tribesmen, they allowed Muslim traders which enhanced trade and commerce.
  • The Seljuk empire was replaced by the Khwarizmi empire in Iran and the Ghurid empire in Ghur.
  • Muizzudin Muhammed ascended the throne at Ghazni while Chauhan’s powers were also constantly rising. With the capture of Delhi, the Chauhans and Ghurids were in a direct contest.
  • 1st Battle of Tarain (1191) Muhammed Ghori Vs. Prithviraj Chauhan – Ghurids lost the battle.
  • 2nd Battle of Tarain(1192) Muhammed Ghori Vs. Prithviraj Chauhan – Prithviraj Chauhan lost the battle. This led to Delhi and Eastern Rajasthan passing under Turkish rule.
  • Muhammad Ghori entrusted the positions under Qutbuddin Aibak, who later found the Slave dynasty and led to the foundations of the Delhi Sultanate. Bakthiyar Khalji has entrusted the positions east of Benares.

First Battle of Tarain (1191 AD)

The First Battle of Tarain was fought in 1191 between the Chahamana king, Prithiviraj Chauhan, and the Ghurid king, Mu’izz al-Din or Muhammad Ghori. The battle was fought between the Ghurids against the Chahamanas and their allies near Tarain (modern Taraori) in Haryana, India. In the battle that followed, Prithiviraj Chauhan defeated Muhammad Ghori.

Background of Tarain:

  • Muhammad Ghori laid the foundation of the Ghurid empire after defeating the Turks. After securing his strong position at Ghazni, Muhammad Ghori turned his attention toward India.
  • Muhammad Ghori captured Multan in 1175 and subsequently occupied the whole of Sind. He then turned south across the desert towards Anhilwara (modern-day Patan, in Gujarat).
  • In the Battle of Kayadara (Gujarat) in 1178, between Muhammad Ghori and Bhimdev Solanki II, the ruler of Gujarat, Gohri, suffered a defeat that forced him to retreat back to Multan.
  • In 1186, Muhammad Ghori attacked Punjab and defeated Khusru Malik. He added Malik’s empire to his dominions and returned back to Ghazni to help his brother, only to return in 1191.
  • Muhammad Ghori sent his envoy, Qiwam-ul Mulk Ruknud Din Hamza, to the court of Prithviraj Chauhan, to persuade the king to come to a peaceful agreement. According to Hasan Nizami, Ghori’s terms included converting to Islam and accepting the Ghurid suzerainty.
  • Prithviraj Chauhan refused to agree to the terms of Ghurid’s envoy. Muhammad Ghori then decided to invade the Chahamana kingdom.

The Battle:

  • In 1191, Muhammad Ghori marched towards India through the Khyber Pass and captured a fortress in Bathinda which was under the Chahamana control. It brought Ghori close to the north-western frontier of Prithviraj Chauhan’s kingdom.
  • The Hindu princes of north India, after realizing the situation, formed a confederacy under the command of Prithiviraj Chauhan.
  • Prithviraj Chauhan’s army was led by his vassal prince Govind Rai. The army marched on to Bhatinda and met his enemy at Tarain.
  • Muhammad Ghori was injured and wounded in battle due to which he had to retreat. Thus, Prithviraj Chauhan emerged victorious in the Battle of Tarain.

The outcome of Battle:

  • The Chahamana king, Prithviraj Chauhan, defeated Mohammad Ghori. Prithviraj Chauhan retook the fortress of Bhatinda and did not follow Ghori’s army.

Second Battle of Tarain (1192 AD)

The Second Battle of Tarain was fought in 1192 between the Chahamana king Prithviraj Chauhan and the Ghurid king, Muhammad Ghori, near Tarain (modern Taraori) in Haryana, India. In the battle, the Ghurids defeated the Chahamanas. The battle fought by Ghori was to avenge his earlier defeat at the First Battle of Tarain.

Background Second Battle of Tarain:

  • After the defeat by Prithviraj Chauhan’s forces in the First Battle of Tarain in 1191, Muhammad Ghori returned to Ghazni and started preparations to avenge the defeat.
  • When he reached Lahore, he sent his envoy to Prithviraj Chauhan demanding his submission. Prithviraj Chauhan refused to comply.

The Battle:

  • In 1192, Muhammad Ghori again challenged Prithviraj Chauhan and a battle started at the same place in Tarain.
  • The strength of the army of both Ghori and Prithviraj was increased.
  • Learning from their previous mistakes, the Ghurids made changes in their strategy. The Ghurid army was divided into five units. Four units were sent to surround the Chahamana forces on the four sides.
  • In order to cause a break in the enemy lines, Ghori ordered his fifth unit to make them appear as retreating. As the Ghurids expected, the Chahamana forces charged upon the fleeing Ghurid unit and then, the Ghurids sent a fresh cavalry unit to throw back the advance of the enemy.
  • Then the remaining Ghurid forces attacked and the Chahamana troops fled in panic.
  • Thus, Muhammad Ghori won the second Battle of Tarain.

Outcome Second Battle of Tarain:

  • Prithviraj Chauhan was defeated in the Second Battle of Tarain.
  • According to most of the medieval sources, Prithviraj Chauhan was taken to the Chahamana capital Ajmer, where Muhammad Ghori planned to reinstate him as a Ghurid vassal. After some time, Prithviraj rebelled against Ghori and was killed.
  • Govindaraja IV, the son of Prithviraj Chauhan was appointed to the throne of Ajmer as the vassal of the Ghurids.
  • At the Battle of Chandawar, the Ghurids defeated king, Jayachandra of the Gahadavala dynasty and, conquered parts of northern India as far as Bengal.
  • The second battle of Tarain proved to be a decisive battle. It proved to be a disaster for the Rajputs and their political prestige.
  • The Battles of Tarain and Chandawar laid the foundation for the establishment of Turkish rule in India.

Muslim Invasion During Delhi Sultanate Dynasties

DynastyPeriod of RuleProminent Rulers
Mamluk or Slave Dynasty1206 – 1290Qutubuddin Aibek, Iltutmish, Razia Sultan, Ghiyasuddin Balban
Khilji Dynasty1290 – 1320Alauddin Khilji
Tughlaq Dynasty1321 – 1413Muhammad Bin Tughlaq, Firoz Shah Tughlaq
Sayyid Dynasty1414 – 1450Khizr Khan
Lodhi Dynasty1451 – 1526Ibrahim Lodhi


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