Military Campaigns Under Caliph Uthman - Campaign in Sindh (Pakistan)

Campaign in Sindh (Pakistan)

The province of Sistan was the largest province of the Persian Empire, its frontiers extending from Sindh in the east, to Balkh (Afghanistan) in the northeast. The Islamic conquest of some parts of Sindh was extension of the campaign to conquer the Persian Empire in 643, by sending seven armies from seven different routes, to different parts of empire.

The army first entered Sindh during the reign of Umar, in 644. It was not a whole scale invasion of Sindh, but was merely an extension of the conquests of the largest province of Persia, Sistan and Makran regions. In 644, the columns of Hakam ibn Amr, Shahab ibn Makharaq and Abdullah ibn Utban concentrated near the west bank of Indus River and defeated the Hindu king of Sindh, Raja Rasil, his armies retreated and crossed the river.

In response to Umar’s question about the Makran region, the messenger from Makran who brought the news of the victory told him:

'O Commander of the faithful!
It's a land where the plains are stony;
Where water is scanty;
Where the fruits are unsavoury
Where men are known for treachery;
Where plenty is unknown;
Where virtue is held of little account;
And where evil is dominant;
A large army is less for there;
And a less army is use less there;
The land beyond it, is even worst (referring to Sind).

Thereupon, Umar, after listening to the unfavourable situation for sending an army, instructed Hakim bin Amr al Taghlabi that for the time being Makran should be the easternmost frontier of the Rashidun Empire, and that no further attempt should be made to extend the conquests. Thereupon, the commander of the army in Makran said the following verses:

If the Commander of faithful wouldn’t have stopped us from going beyond, so we would have bought our forces to the temple of prostitutes.

He was referring to the Hindu temple in the interior of Sindh where prostitutes used to give a part of their earnings as charity.

After the death of Umar, these areas, like other regions of the Persian Empire, broke into revolt and Uthman sent forces to re-conquer them. Uthman also sent his agent, Haheem ibn Jabla Abdi, to investigate the matters of Hind. On his return he told Uthman about the cities, and, after listening to the miserable conditions of the region Uthman avoided campaigning in the Sindh interior, and, like Umar he ordered his armies not to cross the Indus river.

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