Ghazavatu’l-Hind: A matter of Faith
by Kashi N. Pandita
Ghazavatu’l-Hind is a narrative hotly talked about in Islamic social and political circles these days, especially among the Al Qaeda and TTP think tanks. It is no figment of imagination; it has roots in hadith (tradition), which we shall take into account.
The debate is dimensional. Ghazava (plural ghazavat or ghazavi) is an Arabic word meaning armed campaign. The Prophet of Islam (PBUH) personally led many campaigns during his lifetime against adversaries. Muslim historians have recorded these with considerable accuracy.
Commentators argue that a ghazava is one in which the Prophet led the campaign. Therefore, a campaign led by the faithful against India, but not physically headed by the holy Prophet, as deduced from ahadith cannot be called ghazava though the campaigners may assume the title of mujahideen. According to them the proper nomenclature would be “jang-i-Hind“ like jang-i-Ohod or jang-i-Siffin’.
But a characteristic of the ghazavatu’n-nabi (campaign headed by the Prophet) is that victory always was for the Prophet. In the same vein complete success is also prophesied for the faithful in the ghazavatu’l-hind.
The science of hadith (tradition) has great credibility in Islamic history, notwithstanding varying interpretations of some of these by celebrated scholars.
The term ghazavatu’l-Hind is rooted in at least 5 ahadith (traditions):
- (1) Hazrat Abu Hurairah records: “ In this ummah (community), the troops would be headed towards Sind and Hind”. This hadith is reproduced in at least 19 subsequent works of Islamic scholars including Al-Tarikhu’l-Kabir of celebrated theologian Imam Bukhari.
- (2) In his second hadith, Abu Huraira records: “Definitely some of your troops would do a war with Hindustan; Allah would grant success to those warriors, as far as they would bring their kings by dragging them in chains/fetters. And Allah would forgive those warriors, whose Muslims would return, they would find Hazrat Isa bin Maryam in Syria (Shaam). This hadith is reflected in two subsequent works.
- (3) Hazrat So’ban records: “Two groups amongst my ummah would be such, to whom Allah has freed from fire. One group would attack India and the second would be that who would accompany Isa ibn Maryam”. This hadith has been reproduced in at least 12 works of later Islamic scholars including Jaam’eu’l-Kabir of Imam Syuti and Al-Tarikhu’l-Kabir of Imam Bukhari.
- (4) Hazrat Kaa’b records: “A king of Jerusalem (Baitu’l-Muqaddas) would make a troop move forwards towards Hindustan. The warriors destroy the land of Hind; would possess its treasures; their king would use those treasures for the décor of Jerusalem. That troop would bring the Indian kings in front of the King of Jerusalem. His warriors by king’s order would conquer all the areas between East and West: and would stay in Hindustan till the issue of Dajjal”. Imam Bukhari’s teacher Naeem bin Hammad has reproduced this hadith in his work al-Fitan.
- (5) Hadith related to Hazrat Safwan bin Umroo: Some people of my ummah will fight with Hindustan. Allah would grant them with success; even they would find the Indian kings being trapped in fetters. Allah would forgive those warriors when they would move towards Syria, then would find Isa bin Maryam over there.”
Under the heading ‘ghazavatu’l-hind : Myth or Truth,’ Pakistan Defence website has listed some of the surprising prophesies of Hazart Niamatullah Shah Wali (900 years ago), which, according to the author, have come true. Reposing trust in Niamatullah’s spiritual vision, the website writes as this: “Hazrat Naimat Shah said: The people of Kabul would also come out to kill kafirs (atheists), who would run around from pillar to post and would make petty and paltry excuses to save their lives. They would literally beg the Muslims for their lives. The frontier would quiver and quake with the foot-beats of ghazis (Islamic warriors) and mujahids of the frontier who would suddenly emerge out of nowhere. This event would take place after Eid-ul-Azha and the next Eid ul Fitr.
Wali said River Attock (Kabul) would be filled thrice, with the blood of kafirs, during that period. The Muslims would capture the whole Punjab (including Lahore city), Kashmir, the land situated between River Ganges and Yamuna (Uttar Pradesh province) and the city of Bijnaur. This war would remain among the human beings for good about six months and ultimately, God willing, the Muslims would be victorious. All the enemies and the ill-wishers of Islam would be killed and the whole India would be clean of Hinduism and Hindu traditions. Suddenly there would be a great roar. It would be a catastrophic earthquake like the doomsday. It would cause great devastation and disruption in Sindh and Hind (India).
Islam would dominate India for at least forty years until Dajjal (Antichrist) would emerge from the city of Esfahan (Iran). There would be a lot of sedition, disturbance, violence and war in the region. Khorasan, Egypt, Syria and Iraq would not be an exception. The war would devastate and desolate these countries as well until the Best Year as described by the Holy Quran would come. Imam Mehdi would attain prominence. He would appear during the Hajj days and suddenly he would become famous the world over. In my opinion, Imam Mehdi would appear before Dajjal’s appearance.
The Wali further predicts Dajjal’s (Antichrist) forces would be in Esfahan and his army would be consisted of Jews and Christians and I am clearly seeing it. I can also see a dust storm rising up from Kufa (Iraq). Jesus Christ would also descend from the heavens. I can see thousands of riders accompanying the Christ and finally Jesus, the son of Mary, would kill Dajjal with his own sword. Look Niamat Shah! Stop and do not disclose the secrets of Allah. I am predicting these events in the Islamic year 548 Hijri. Allah knows best.”
A question is posed by some Islamic historians in this context. They ask whether the Indian campaigns of Muhammad bin Qasim in 712 A.D, Muhammad Ghaznavi in 999 A.D., Muhammad Ghori, Amir Timur in 1391, Abdali and Nadir Shah, Babur in A.D. 1524 or of Pakistan in 1971 cannot be categorized as ghazvatu’l-hind? Interpreters of these ahadith say that these campaigns did not fulfil the precise objective of the ghazava viz. total destruction of the community of non-believers of Hindustan.
Kashi N. Pandita is the former Director of the Institute of Central Asian Studies at Kashmir University in India. He is now a freelance journalist based in India.