Al-Hajjaj ibn Yusuf

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Abū Muḥammad al-Ḥajjāj ibn Yūsuf ibn al-Ḥakam ibn ʿAqīl al-Thaqafī (Arabic: أبو محمد الحجاج بن يوسف بن الحكم بن عقيل الثقفي‎; Ta'if 661 – Wasit, 714 (40-95 AH)), known simply as al-Hajjaj ibn Yusuf (Arabic: الحجاج بن يوسف‎, romanized: al-Ḥajjāj ibn Yūsuf), was probably the most notable governor who served the Umayyad Caliphate.


  • When Muhammad bin Qasim began the conquest of Sindh, he exercised the policy of converting the people of a territory, which gave a fight, at the pain of death. He gave quarters to the people, if they submitted to his invading army without giving a fight. He did not force them to convert. When the report of his latter lenient policy reached his patron Hajjaj in Baghdad, disapproving the leniency, he wrote to Qasim:
    ‘…I learnt that the ways and rules you follow are conformable to the (Islamic) Law. Except that you give protection to all, great and small alike, and make no difference between enemy and friend. God says, ‘Give no quarter to Infidels, but cut their throats.’ Then know that this is the command of the great god. You should not be too ready to grant protection… After this, give no protection to any enemy except to those who are of rank (i.e., accept Islam). This is a worthy resolve, and want of dignity will not be imputed to you.’
    • Elliot and Dowson, Vol I, 173ff. Letter to M. bin Qasim.
  • Hajjaj wrote in reply, " My nephew Muhammad Kasim, you deserve praise and commendation for your military conduct, and for the pains you have taken in protecting the people, ameliorating their condition, and managing the affairs of the Government. The fixing of the revenue upon each village, and the encouragement you have giveij. to all classes of people to observe the laws, and' their agree- ments, have brought much vigour to the Government, and have tended to the good administration of the country. Now you should not stay any longer La this city. The pillars of the countries of Hind and Sind are Alor and Multan. They are the capitals and royal residences. There must be great riches and treasures of kings hidden in these two places. If you stop anywhere, you should choose the most delightful place, so that your authority may be confirmed in the whole country of Hind and Sind. If any one refuses to submit to Muhammadan power slay him. May you be victorious under the decree of the Almighty God, so that you may subdue the country of Hind to the boundary of China.
    • Chach Nama, [1]
  • Muhammad Kasim ivrote to Hajjaj, and after some days received a reply to the following efiect. The letter of my dear nephew Muhammad Kasim has been received, and the facts understood. It appears that the chief inhabitants of Brahmanabad had petitioned to be allowed to repair the temple of Budh and pursue their religion. As they have made submission, and have agreed to pay taxes to the Khalifa, nothing more can be properly required from them. They have been taken under our protection, and we cannot in any way stretch, out our hands upon their lives or property. Permission is given them to worship their gods. Nobody must be forbidden or prevented from following his own religion.
    • Chach Nama, [2]
  • Before Muhammad bin Qasim left Multan, he faithfully implemented the orders he received in a letter from Hajjaj:
    Wherever there is an ancient place or famous town or city, mosques and pulpits should be erected there; and the Kutba should be read, and the coin struck in the name of this [Caliph’s] government. And as you have accomplished so much with this army by your good fortune … be assured that to whatever place of the infidels you proceed it shall be conquered.
    • Elliot and Dowson, History of India as Told by Its own Historians, Vol. 1, 206–207. quoted in Balakrishna, S. Invaders and infidels: From Sindh to Delhi : the 500- year journey of Islamic invasions. New Delhi : BloomsBury, 2021.
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