Mahmud of Ghazni
Mahmud of Ghazni (محمود غزنوی; November 971 – 30 April 1030), also known as Mahmūd-i Zābulī (محمود زابلی), was the most prominent ruler of the Ghaznavid Empire. He conquered the eastern portions of the Persian empire including, modern Afghanistan, and the northwestern Indian subcontinent (modern Pakistan) from 997 to his death in 1030. Mahmud turned the former provincial city of Ghazna into the wealthy capital of an extensive empire that covered most of today's Afghanistan, eastern Iran, and Pakistan, by looting the riches and wealth from the then Indian subcontinent.
Quotes about Mahmud of Ghazni
- THEY mock’d the Sovereign of Ghaznin: one saith,
“Ayaz hath no great beauty, by my faith!
A Rose that ’s neither rosy-red nor fragrant,
The Bulbul’s love for such astonisheth!”
This went to Mahmud’s ears; ill-pleas’d he sate,
Bow’d on himself, reflecting; then to that
Replied: “My love is for his kindly nature,
Not for his stature, nor his face, nor state!”
- If Mahmud . . . had gone to India once more, he would have brought Wlder his sword all the btihmans of Hind who, in that vast land, are the cause of the continuance of the laws of infidelity and of the strength of idolators, he would have cut off the heads of two hundred or three hundred thousand Hindu chiefs. He would not have returned his "Hindu-slaughtering" sword to its scabbard until the whole of Hind had accepted Islam. For Mahmiid was a Shafiite, and according to Imam Shafii the decree for Hindus is "either death or Islam"-that is to say, they should either be put to death or embrace Islam. It is not lawful to accept jizyi from Hindus as they have neither a prophet nor a revealed book.
- Ziauddin Barani, Fatawa-i-Jahandari, quoted in Ainslie T. Embree - Sources of Indian Tradition_ Volume One_ From the Beginning to 1800. 1-Penguin Books (1991) 441 ff also in Jain, M. (2010). Parallel pathways: Essays on Hindu-Muslim relations, 1707-1857.
- Mahmud utterly ruined the prosperity of the country, and performed there wonderful exploits, by which the Hindus became like atoms of dust scattered in all directions, and like a tale of old in the mouth of the people. Their scattered remains cherish, of course, the most inveterate aversion towards all Muslims.
- At that date, the Mohammedan conqueror, Mahmoud of Ghizni, crossed India; seized on the holy city of Somnauth; and stripped of its treasures the famous temple, which had stood for centuries--the shrine of Hindoo pilgrimage, and the wonder of the Eastern world. Of all the deities worshipped in the temple, the moon-god alone escaped the rapacity of the conquering Mohammedans. Preserved by three Brahmins, the inviolate deity, bearing the Yellow Diamond in its forehead, was removed by night, and was transported to the second of the sacred cities of India--the city of Benares.
- In the year 997 a Turkish chieftain by the name of Mahmud became sultan of the little state of Ghazni, in eastern Afghanistan. Mahmud knew that his throne was young and poor, and saw that India, across the border, was old and rich; the conclusion was obvious. Pretending a holy zeal for destroying Hindu idolatry, he swept across the frontier with a force inspired by a pious aspiration for booty. He met the unprepared Hindus at Bhimnagar, slaughtered them, pillaged their cities, destroyed their temples, and carried away the accumulated treasures of centuries. Returning to Ghazni he astonished the ambassadors of foreign powers by displaying "jewels and unbored pearls and rubies shining like sparks, or like wine congealed with ice, and emeralds like fresh sprigs of myrtle, and diamonds in size and weight like pomegranates." Each winter Mahmud descended into India, filled his treasure chest with spoils, and amused his men with full freedom to pillage and kill; each spring he returned to his capital richer than before. At Mathura (on the Jumna) he took from the temple its statues of gold encrusted with precious stones, and emptied its coffers of a vast quantity of gold, silver and jewelry; he expressed his admiration for the architecture of the great shrine, judged that its duplication would cost one hundred million dinars and the labor of two hundred years, and then ordered it to be soaked with naphtha and burnt to the ground. Six years later he sacked another opulent city of northern India, Somnath, killed all its fifty thousand inhabitants, and dragged its wealth to Ghazni. In the end he became, perhaps, the richest king that history has ever known. Sometimes he spared the population of the ravaged cities, and took them home to be sold as slaves; but so great was the number of such captives that after some years no one could be found to offer more than a few shillings for a slave. Before every important engagement Mahmud knelt in prayer, and asked the blessing of God upon his arms. lie reigned for a third of a century; and when he died, full of years and honors, Moslem historians ranked him as the greatest monarch of his time, and one of the greatest sovereigns of any age.
- [T]he demonization of Mahmud and the portrayal of his raid on Somnath as an assault on Indian religion by Muslim invaders dates only from the early 1840s. In 1842 the British East Indian Company suffered the annihilation of an entire army of some 16,000 in the First Afghan War (1839-42). Seeking to regain face among their Hindu subjects after this humiliating defeat, the British contrived a bit of self-serving fiction, namely that Mahmud, after sacking the temple of Somnath, carried off a pair of the temple's gates on his way back to Afghanistan. By 'discovering' these fictitious gates in Mahmud's former capital of Ghazni, and by 'restoring' them to their rightful owners in India, British officials hoped to be admired for heroically rectifying what they construed as a heinous wrong that had caused centuries of distress among India's Hindus. Though intended to win the latters' gratitude while distracting all Indians from Britain's catastrophic defeat just being the Khyber, this bit of colonial mischief has stoked Hindus' ill-feeling toward Muslims ever since. From this point on, Mahmud's 1025 sacking of Somnath acquired a distinct notoriety, especially in the early twentieth century when nationalist leaders drew on history to identify clear-cut heroes and villains for the purpose of mobilizing political mass movements. By contrast, Rajendra Chola's raid on Bengal remained largely forgotten outside the Chola country.
- No honest historian should seek to hide, and no Musalman acquainted with his faith will try to justify, the wanton destruction of temples that followed in the wake of the Ghaznavid army. Contemporary as well as later historians do not attempt to veil the nefarious acts but relate them with pride. It is easy to twist one’s conscience; and we know only too well how easy it is to find a religious justification for what people wish to do from worldly motives. Islam sanctioned neither the vandalism nor the plundering motives of the invader; no principle known to the Shariat justified the uncalled for attack on Hindu princes who had done Mahmud and his subjects no harm; the shameless destruction of places of worship is condemned by the law of every creed. And yet Islam, though it was not an inspiring motive, could be utilised as an a posteriori justificiation for what had been done. It was not difficult to mistake the spoliation of non-Muslim populations for a service to Islam, and persons to whom the argument was addressed found it too much in consonance with the promptings of their own passions to examine it critically. So the precepts of Quran were misinterpreted or ignored and the tolerant policy of the Second Caliph was cast aside in order that Mahmud and his myrmidons might be able to plunder Hindu temples with a clear and untroubled conscience.
- Mahmud sought to make the plunder of Hindustan a permanent affair.
- Mohammad Habib, quoted in Lal, K. S. (2001). Historical essays. New Delhi: Radha.(II:17)
- Mahmud's achievements as a conqueror and empire-builder were remarkable. Throughout his long military career he never met with a defeat, because "he never attempted the impossible". His numerous successful campaigns in the subcontinent often in places far off from the capital city of Ghazni, his long journeys through inhospitable and sometimes even hostile regions and his uniform career of brilliant conquests bear ample testimony to his greatness as one of the leading military figures of the world.
- M. Kabir, A Short History of Pakistan (1967), University of Karachi Press, p. 192.
- In the year C.E. 1000 the first attack of Mahmud of Ghazni was delivered. The region of Mahmud’s activity extended from Peshawar to Kanauj in the east and from Peshawar to Anhilwara in the South. In this, wherever he went, he converted people to Islam. In his attack on Waihind (near Peshawar) in 1001-3, Mahmud is reported to have captured Jayapal and fifteen of his principal chiefs and relations some of whom, like Sukhpal, were made Musalmans. At Bhera all the inhabitants, except those who embraced Islam, were put to the sword.
- Lal, K. S. (2012). Indian muslims: Who are they.
- In his first attack of frontier towns in C.E. 1000 Mahmud appointed his own governors and converted some inhabitants. In his attack on Waihind (Peshawar) in 1001-3, Mahmud is reported to have captured the Hindu Shahiya King Jayapal and fifteen of his principal chiefs and relations some of whom like Sukhpal, were made Musalmans. At Bhera all the inhabitants, except those who embraced Islam, were put to the sword. At Multan too conversions took place in large numbers, for writing about the campaign against Nawasa Shah (converted Sukhpal), Utbi says that this and the previous victory (at Multan) were "witnesses to his exalted state of proselytism." In his campaign in the Kashmir Valley (1015) Mahmud "converted many infidels to Muhammadanism, and having spread Islam in that country, returned to Ghazni."
- Lal, Legacy of Muslim Rule in India, pp. 96-97. also quoted in Bostom, A. G. M. D., & Bostom, A. G. (2010). The Legacy of Jihad: Islamic Holy War and the Fate of Non-Muslims.
- Mahmud broke temples and desecrated idols wherever he went. The number of temples destroyed by him during his campaigns is so large that a detailed list is neither possible nor necessary. However, he concentrated more on razing renowned temples to bring glory to Islam rather than waste time on small ones. Some famous temples destroyed by him may be noted here. At Thaneshwar, the temple of Chakraswamin was sacked and its bronze image of Vishnu was taken to Ghazni to be thrown into the hippodrome of the city. Similarly, the magnificent central temple of Mathura was destroyed and its idols broken. At Mathura there was no armed resistance; the people had fled, and Mahmud had been greatly impressed with the beauty and grandeur of the shrines. And yet the temples in the city were thoroughly sacked. Kanauj had a large number of temples (Utbi’s ‘ten thousand’ merely signifies a large number), some of great antiquity. Their destruction was made easy by the flight of those who were not prepared either to die or embrace Islam. Somnath shared the fate of Chakraswamin.
- Lal, K. S. (1992). The legacy of Muslim rule in India. New Delhi: Aditya Prakashan.
- While describing ‘the conquest of Kanauj’, Utbi sums up the situation thus: ‘The Sultan levelled to the ground every fort…, and the inhabitants of them either accepted Islam, or took up arms against him.” ...According to Nizamuddin Ahmad, ‘Islam spread in this part of the country by the consent of the people and the influence of force’.
- Lal, K. S. (1990). Indian muslims: Who are they.
- Sultan Mahmud’s “court was guarded by four thousand Turkish good looking and beardless (ghulam turk washaq) slave-youths, who, on days of public audience, were stationed on the right and left of throne,- two thousand of them with caps ornamented with four feathers, bearing golden maces, on the right hand, and the other two thousand, with caps adorned with two feathers, bearing silver maces, on the left… As these youths attained into man’s estate and their beards began to grow, they were attached to a separate corps, and placed occasionally under the command of rulers of provinces.”
- Minhaj, quoted in Lal, K. S. (1992). The legacy of Muslim rule in India. New Delhi: Aditya Prakashan. and Lal, K. S. (1994). Muslim slave system in medieval India. New Delhi: Aditya Prakashan.
- Mahmud has become an icon of romantic love between males in Islamic literature. Mahmud was in love with his slave boy Ayaz, and this relationship gave rise to many anecdotes. According to one story, Mahmud asked Ayaz whether he knew a king greater and more powerful than Mahmud. Ayaz answered "Yes, I am a greater king than you." When the king asked for proof, Ayaz said, "Because even though you are king, your heart rules you, and this slave is the king of your heart."
- The Dancing Girl: A History of Early India, by Balaji Sadasivan, p. 121.
- Some one found fault with the king of Ghazani, saying, "Ayaz, his favorite slave, possesses no beauty. It is strange that a nightingale should love a rose that has neither color nor perfume." This was told to Mahmud, who said, “My love, O sir, is for virtue, not for form or stature.”
- About Mahmud and his companion Malik Ayaz, quoted from the Persian poet Sa'di in his collection of verses, the Bustan, chapter 3.
- Religion is a mighty motive force. So is rapine. But where religion in goaded on by rapine and rapine serves as a handmaid to religion, the propelling force that is generated by these together is only equalled by the profundity of human misery and devastation they leave behind them in their march. Heaven and Hell making a common case - such were the forces, overwhelmingly furious, that took India by surprise the day that Mahmud Ghaznavi crossed the Indus and invaded her.
- VD Savarkar 1923. Quoted from Elst, Koenraad (1992). Negationism in India: Concealing the record of Islam.
- Mahmud was a zealous Muslim of the ferocious type then prevalent, who felt it to be a duty as well as pleasure to slay idolaters. He was also greedy of treasure and took good care to derive a handsome profit from his holy wars.
- Vincent Arthur Smith, V. A. The Oxford History of India. Delhi, 1985. quoted in Ibn Warraq, Why I am not a muslim, 1995. p 221
- To the Indian world of his day Mahmud was a veritable devil incarnate-a daring bandit, an avaricious plunderer, and wanton destroyer of Art. He plundered many dozens of ... flourishing cities; he razed to the ground great temples which were wonderful works of art; he carried thousands of innocent women and children into slavery; he indulged in wanton massacre practically everywhere he went; and ... he forcibly converted hundred of ... unwilling people to Islam. A conqueror who leaves behind desolate towns and villages and dead bodies of innocent human beings cannot be remembered by posterity by any other title.
- SL Srivastava, Sultanate of Delhi, pp. 61-62. also quoted in Bostom, A. G. M. D., & Bostom, A. G. (2010). The Legacy of Jihad: Islamic Holy War and the Fate of Non-Muslims. Amherst: Prometheus.
- The destruction of temples even by Hindu rulers was not unknown, but Mahmud’s was a regulated activity and inaugurated an increase in temple destruction compared to earlier times
- Romila Thapar, The Penguin History of Early India: From the Origins to AD 1300, Penguin Books (2003), p. 427.
- Not only was slaughter of the infidels and the destruction of their temples resorted to in earlier period of Islam's contact with India, but as we have seen, many of the vanquished were led into slavery. The dividing up of booty was one of the special attractions, to the leaders as well as to the common soldiers in these expeditions. Muhammad [Mahmud] seems to have made the slaughter of infidels, the destruction of their temples, the capturing of slaves, and the plundering of the wealth of the people, particularly of the temples and the priests, the main object of his raids. On the occasion of his first raid he is said to have taken much booty ; and half a million Hindus, ' beautiful men and women ', were reduced to slavery and taken back to Ghazni. When Muhammad later took Kanauj, in A. D. 1017, he took so much booty and so many prisoners that the fingers of those who counted them would have tired '.
- Dr. Murray Titus quoted from B.R. Ambedkar, Pakistan or The Partition of India (1946)
Sack of Somnath (1025 CE)
- Mahmud, as soon as his eyes fell on this idol, lifted up his battle-axe with much anger, and struck it with such force that the idol broke into pieces. The fragments of it were ordered to be taken to Ghaznin, and were cast down at the threshold of the Jami Masjid where they are lying to this day.
- Somnath (Gujarat) . Tarikh-i-Alfi in Elliot and Dowson, Vol. II : Elliot and Dowson, History of India as told by its own Historians, 8 Volumes, Allahabad Reprint, 1964. p. 471
- Sultam Mahmud, having entered into the idol temple, beheld an excessively long and broad room, in so much that fifty-six pillars had been made to support the roof. Somnat was an idol cut out of stone, whose height was five yards, of which three yards were visible, and two yards were concealed in the ground. Yaminu-d daula having broken that idol with his own hand, ordered that they should pack up pieces of the stone, take them to Ghaznin, and throw them on the threshold of the Jama Masjid.
- Somnath (Gujarat) . Habibu’s-Siyar, in Elliot and Dowson, Vol. IV : Elliot and Dowson, History of India as told by its own Historians, 8 Volumes, Allahabad Reprint, 1964. p. 182-83
- The chief of Anhilwara called Bhim, fled hastily, and abandoning his city, he went to a certain fort for safety and to prepare himself for war. Yaminu-d daula again started for Somnat, and on his march he came to several forts in which were many images serving as chamberlains or heralds of Somnat, and accordingly he (Mahmud) called them Shaitan. He killed the people who were in these places, destroyed the fortifications, broke in pieces the idols and continued his march to Somnat through a desert where there was little water.
- Ali ibn al-Athir: Kamilu’t-Tawarikh, in Elliot and Dowson, Vol. II : Elliot and Dowson, History of India as told by its own Historians, 8 Volumes, Allahabad Reprint, 1964. pp. 470
- The linga he raised was the stone of Somnath, for soma means the moon and natha means master, so that the whole word means master of the moon. The image was destroyed by the Prince Mahmud, may God be merciful to him! - AH 416. He ordered the upper part to be broken and the remainder to be transported to his residence, Ghaznin, with all its coverings and trappings of gold, jewels, and embroidered garments. Part of it has been thrown into the hippodrome of the town, together with the Cakrasvamin, an idol of bronze, that had been brought from Taneshar. Another part of the idol from Somanath lies before the door of the mosque of Ghaznin, on which people rub their feet to clean them from dirt and wet.
- E.C. Sachau (tr.), Alberuni's India, New Delhi Reprint, 1983, p. 102-103
- 'When Sultan Mahmud ascended the throne of sovereignty, his illustrious deeds became manifest unto all mankind within the pale of Islam when he converted so many thousands of idol temples into masjids. He led an army to Nahrwalah of Gujarat, and brought away Manat, the idol, from Somnath, and had it broken into four parts, one of which was cast before the entrance of the great Masjid at Ghaznin, the second before the gateway of the Sultan's palace, and the third and fourth were sent to Makkah and Madinah respectively.
- Maulana Minhaj-us-Siraj: Tabqat-i-Nasiri, translated into English by Major H.G. Reverty, New Delhi Reprint, 1970, Vol. I, pp. 81-82.
- Then in accordance with his custom, he advanced with his army towards Hindustan with the object of the conquest of Somnath' there were many golden idols in the temple in the city, and the largest of these idols was called Manat...When he reached Somnath, the inhabitants shut the gate on his face. After much fighting and great struggles the fort was taken, and vast multitudes were killed and taken prisoners. The temples were pulled down, and destroyed from their very foundations. The gold idol Somnath was broken into pieces, and one piece was sent to Ghaznin, and was placed at the gate of the Jami' Masjid; and for years it remained there.
- The Tabqat-i-Akbari translated by B. De, Calcutta, 1973, Vol. I, p. 11-16
- Asjadi composed the following qaSida in honour of this expedition: When the King of kings marched to Somnat, He made his own deeds the standard of miracles' 'Once more he led his army against Somnat, which is a large city on the coast of the ocean, a place of worship of the Brahmans who worship a large idol. There are many golden idols there. Although certain historians have called this idol Manat, and say that it is the identical idol which Arab idolaters brought to the coast of Hindustan in the time of the Lord of the Missive (may the blessings and peace of God be upon him), this story has no foundation because the Brahmans of India firmly believe that this idol has been in that place since the time of Kishan, that is to say four thousand years and a fraction' The reason for this mistake must surely be the resemblance in name, and nothing else' The fort was taken and Mahmud broke the idol in fragments and sent it to Ghaznin, where it was placed at the door of the Jama' Masjid and trodden under foot.'....
- Muntakhabut-Tawarikh, translated into English by George S.A. Ranking, Patna Reprint 1973, Vol. I, p. 17-28
- 'The celebrated temple of Somnat, situated in the province of Guzerat, near the island of Dew, was in those times said to abound in riches, and was greatly frequented by devotees from all parts of Hindoostan' Mahmood marched from Ghizny in the month of Shaban AH 415 (AD Sept. 1024), with his army, accompanied by 30,000 of the youths of Toorkistan and the neighbouring countries, who followed him without pay, for the purpose of attacking this temple'...'Some historians affirm that the idol was brought from Mecca, where it stood before the time of the Prophet, but the Brahmins deny it, and say that it stood near the harbour of Dew since the time of Krishn, who was concealed in that place about 4000 years ago' Mahmood, taking the same precautions as before, by rapid marches reached Somnat without opposition. Here he saw a fortification on a narrow peninsula, washed on three sides by the sea, on the battlements of which appeared a vast host of people in arms' In the morning the Mahomedan troops advancing to the walls, began the assault...'
- The battle raged with great fury: victory was long doubtful, till two Indian princes, Brahman Dew and Dabishleem, with other reinforcements, joined their countrymen during the action, and inspired them with fresh courage. Mahmood at this moment perceiving his troops to waver, leaped from his horse, and, prostrating himself before God implored his assistance' At the same time he cheered his troops with such energy, that, ashamed to abandon their king, with whom they had so often fought and bled, they, with one accord, gave a loud shout and rushed forwards. In this charge the Moslems broke through the enemy's line, and laid 5,000 Hindus dead at their feet' On approaching the temple, he saw a superb edifice built of hewn stone. Its lofty roof was supported by fifty-six pillars curiously carved and set with precious stones. In the centre of the hall was Somnat, a stone idol five yards in height, two of which were sunk in the ground. The King, approaching the image, raised his mace and struck off its nose. He ordered two pieces of the idol to be broken off and sent to Ghizny, that one might be thrown at the threshold of the public mosque, and the other at the court door of his own palace. These identical fragments are to this day (now 600 years ago) to be seen at Ghizny. Two more fragments were reserved to be sent to Mecca and Medina. It is a well authenticated fact, that when Mahmood was thus employed in destroying this idol, a crowd of Brahmins petitioned his attendants and offered a quantity of gold if the King would desist from further mutilation. His officers endeavoured to persuade him to accept of the money; for they said that breaking one idol would not do away with idolatry altogether; that, therefore, it could serve no purpose to destroy the image entirely; but that such a sum of money given in charity among true believers would be a meritorious act. The King acknowledged that there might be reason in what they said, but replied, that if he should consent to such a measure, his name would be handed down to posterity as 'Mahmood the idol-seller', whereas he was desirous of being known as 'Mahmood the destroyer': he therefore directed the troops to proceed in their work'...'The Caliph of Bagdad, being informed of the expedition of the King of Ghizny, wrote him a congratulatory letter, in which he styled him 'The Guardian of the State, and of the Faith'; to his son, the Prince Ameer Musaood, he gave the title of 'The Lustre of Empire, and the Ornament of Religion'; and to his second son, the Ameer Yoosoof, the appellation of 'The Strength of the Arm of Fortune, and Establisher of Empires.' He at the same time assured Mahmood, that to whomsoever he should bequeath the throne at his death, he himself would confirm and support the same.'
- Tarikh-i-Firishta, translated into English by John Briggs under the title History of the Rise of the Mahomedan Power in India, 4 Volumes, New Delhi Reprint, 1981. p. 38-49 (Alternative translation: "but the champion of Islam replied with disdain that he did not want his name to go down to posterity as Mahmud the idol-seller (but farosh) instead of Mahmud the breaker-of-idols (but shikan)." in Lal, K. S. (1992). The legacy of Muslim rule in India. New Delhi: Aditya Prakashan. Chapter 3)
- "Mahmud captured the place [Somanath] without much difficulty and ordered a general slaughter in which more than 50,000 persons are said to have perished. The idol of Somanath was broken to pieces which were sent to Ghazni, Mecca, and Medina and cast in streets and the staircases of chief mosques to be trodden by the Muslims going there for their prayers.
- Srivastava, Sultanate of Delhi, p. 59. also quoted in Bostom, A. G. M. D., & Bostom, A. G. (2010). The Legacy of Jihad: Islamic Holy War and the Fate of Non-Muslims. Amherst: Prometheus.
Quotes from The History of India as told by its own Historians
- The far-flung campaigns of Sultan Mahmud would have been impossible without an accurate knowledge of trade routes and local resources, which was probably obtained from Muslim merchants.
- Mohd. Habib, Introduction, Elliot and Dowson Vol. II. quoted in Misra, R. G. (2005). Indian resistance to early Muslim invaders up to 1206 A.D. p.108. also in S.R. Goel, (1994) Heroic Hindu resistance to Muslim invaders, 636 AD to 1206 AD.
- The Sultan himself joined in the pursuit, and went after them as far as the fort called Bhimnagar [Nagarkot, modern Kangra], which is very strong, situated on the promontory of a lofty hill, in the midst of impassable waters. The kings of Hind, the chiefs of that country, and rich devotees, used to amass their treasures and precious jewels, and send them time after time to be presented to the large idol that they might receive a reward for their good deeds and draw near to their God. So the Sultan advanced near to this crow's fruit,^ and this accumulation of years, which had attained such an amount that the backs of camels would not carry it, nor vessels contain it, nor writers hands record it, nor the imagination of an arithmetician conceive it. The Sultan brought his forces under the fort and surrounded it, and prepared to attack the garrison vigorously, boldly, and wisely. When the defenders saw the hills covered with the armies of plunderers, and the arrows ascending towards them like flaming sparks of fire, great fear came upon them, and, calling out for mercy, they opened the gates, and fell on the earth, like sparrows before a hawk, or rain before lightning. Thus did God grant an easy conquest of this fort to the Sultan, and bestowed on him as plunder the products of mines and seas, the ornaments of heads and breasts, to his heart's content. ... After this he returned to Ghazna in triumph ; and, on his arrival there, he ordered the court-yard of his palace to be covered with a carpet, on which he displayed jewels and unbored pearls and rubies, shining like sparks, or like wine congealed with ice, and emeralds like fresh sprigs of myrtle, and diamonds in size and weight like pomegranates. Then ambassadors from foreign countries, including the envoy from Tagh^n Khan, king of Turkistin, assembled to see the wealth which they had never yet even read of in books of the ancients, and which had never been accumulated by kings of Persia or of Rum, or even by Karun, who had only to express a wish and Grod granted it.
- About the capture of Bhimnagar, Tarikh Yamini (Kitabu-l Yamini) by Al Utbi, in Elliot and Dowson, Vol. II : Elliot and Dowson, History of India as told by its own Historians, 8 Volumes, Allahabad Reprint, 1964. p. 34-35 Also quoted in Jain, Meenakshi (2011). The India they saw: Foreign accounts.
- The chief marched out to meet his enemy, and fought for three days with the Musulmans. On the fourth he fled, and sought to get back into the city ; but the Musulmans reached the gate before the fugitives, overpowered them, and disarmed them. A dreadful slaughter ensued, the women were dishonoured, and the property seized. When Bahira saw this destruction, he fled with some trusty followers to the tops of the mountains. Mahmud sent a force in pursuit, which overtook and surrounded the party, and put all the chiefs to the sword. Bahira saw that no hope was left, so he drew a dagger and killed himself. Mahmud remained in Bhdtia until he had settled its affairs, and drawn up rules for its governance. He then returned towards Ghazna, having appointed a representative at Bhatia to instruct the people who had become Muhammadans.
- About the conquest of Bhatia. Ibn Asir:Kamilu-T Tawarikh, in Elliot and Dowson, Vol. II : Elliot and Dowson, History of India as told by its own Historians, 8 Volumes, Allahabad Reprint, 1964. p. 248 Also quoted (in part) in Jain, Meenakshi (2011). The India they saw: Foreign accounts.
- Nasiru-d din [Subuktigin] died in the year AH 387 (AD 997) and the command of his troops descended to Mahmud by inheritance, and by confirmation of Nuh, son of Mansur. His victory over 'Abdu-l Malik, when that chieftain was put to flight, added much to his power, and he was confirmed in the government of Khorasan and Sijistan, and he received a robe of honour with the title of Sultan from the Khalif, who also made a treaty with him. In consequence of the complaints of the oppression practised by the descendants of Fakhru-d din Dailami, he marched towards Júrjan and 'Irak, and took the country from them. Afterwards he turned his arms towards Hind, and conquered many of its cities and forts. He demolished the Hindu temples and gave prevalence to the Muhammadan faith. He ruled with great justice, and he stands unparalleled among all the Muhammadan kings.
- ‘Abu Sa‘id ‘Abdullah bin ‘Abu’l Hasan ‘Ali Baizawi : Nizamu’t-Tawarikh in Elliot and Dowson, Vol. II : Elliot and Dowson, History of India as told by its own Historians, 8 Volumes, Allahabad Reprint, 1964. pp. 255
- Mahmud was a man of great abilities, and is renowned as one of the greatest champions of Islam.... His influence upon Islam soon became widely known, for he converted as many as a thousand idol-temples into mosques, subdued the cities of Hindustan, and vanquished the Rais of that country. He captured Jaipal, who was the greatest of them, kept him at Yazd (?), in Khurasan, and gave orders so that he was bought for eighty dirams. He led his armies to Nahrwala and Gujarat, carried off the idol (manat) from Somnat, and broke it into four parts. One part he deposited in the Jami Masjid of Ghazni, one he placed at the entrance of the royal palace, the third he sent to Mecca, and the fourth to Medina.
- Elliot and Dowson, Vol. II : Elliot and Dowson, History of India as told by its own Historians, 8 Volumes, Allahabad Reprint, 1964. pp. 269-270 Also quoted in Jain, Meenakshi (2011). The India they saw: Foreign accounts.
- 'So he prayed to the Almighty for aid, and left Ghazni on the 10th of Sha'ban 414 H., with 30,000 horse besides volunteers, and took the road to Multan which place he reached in the middle of Ramazan. The road from thence to India was through a barren desert, where there were neither inhabitants or food. So he collected provisions for the passage, and loading 30,000 camels with water and corn, he started for Anhilwara. After he had crossed the desert, he perceived on one side a fort full of people, in which there were wells. people came down to conciliate him, but he invested the place, and God gave him victory over it, for the hearts of the inhabitants failed them through fear. So he brought the place under the sway of Islam, killed the inhabitants, and broke in pieces their images. His men carried away water with them from thence and marched for Anhalwara, where they arrived at the begging of Zi-l Ka'da.
- Ali ibn al-Athir: Kamilu’t-Tawarikh, in Elliot and Dowson, Vol. II : Elliot and Dowson, History of India as told by its own Historians, 8 Volumes, Allahabad Reprint, 1964. pp. 469
- He now attacked the fort of Bhim, where was a temple of the Hindus. He was victorious, and obtained much wealth, including about a hundred idols of gold and silver. One of the golden images, which weighed a million mishkals, the Sultan appropriated to the decoration of the Mosque of Ghazni, so that the ornaments of the doors were of gold instead of iron.
- Nagarkot Kangra (Himachal Pradesh) . Hamdu’llah bin ‘Abu Bakr bin Hamd bin Nasr Mustaufi : Tarikh-i-Guzida, in Elliot and Dowson, Vol. III : Elliot and Dowson, History of India as told by its own Historians, 8 Volumes, Allahabad Reprint, 1964. p. 65
- He several times waged war against the infidels of Hindustan, and he brought under his subjection a large portion of their country, until, having made himself master of Somnat, he destroyed all idol temples of that country'.
- Elliot and Dowson, Vol. IV : Elliot and Dowson, History of India as told by its own Historians, 8 Volumes, Allahabad Reprint, 1964. p. 166
- From that place the Sultan proceeded to a certain city, which was accounted holy by the people of the country. In that city the men of Ghaznin saw so many strange and wonderful things, that to tell them or to write a description of them is not easy' In short, the Sultan Mahmud having possessed himself of the booty, burned their idol temples and proceeded towards Kanauj.....The Ghaznivids found in these forts and their dependencies 10,000 idol temples, and they ascertained the vicious belief of the Hindus to be, that since the erection of these buildings no less than three or four hundred thousand years had elapsed. Sultan Mahmud during this expedition achieved many other conquests after he left Kanauj, and sent to hell many of the infidels with blows of the well tempered sword. Such a number of slaves were assembled in that great camp, that the price of a single one did not exceed ten dirhams.
- Mathura (Uttar Pradesh), Kanauj (Uttar Pradesh). Habibu’s-Siyar in Elliot and Dowson, Vol. IV : Elliot and Dowson, History of India as told by its own Historians, 8 Volumes, Allahabad Reprint, 1964. p. 178-80
Quotes from Tarikh Yamini (Kitabu-l Yamini) by Al Utbi
- Sultan Mahmud at first designed in his heart to go to Sijistan, but subsequently preferred engaging previously in a holy war against Hind, and he distributed arms prior to convening a council on the subject, in order to secure a blessing on his designs, of exalting the standard of religion, of widening the plain of right, of illuminating the words of truth, and of strengthening the power of justice. He departed towards the country of Hind, in full reliance on the aid of Allah, who guiding by his light and by his power, bestowed dignity upon him, and gave him victory in all expeditions. On his reaching Purshaur (Peshawar), he pitched his tent outside the city...
- The Sultan, contrary to the disposition of man, which induces him to prefer a soft to a hard couch, and the splendour of the cheeks of pomegranate-bosomed girls to well-tempered sword blades, was so offended at the standard which Satan had raised in Hind, that he determined on another holy expedition to that land.
- Tarikh Yamini (Kitabu-l Yamini) by Al Utbi, in Elliot and Dowson, Vol. II : Elliot and Dowson, History of India as told by its own Historians, 8 Volumes, Allahabad Reprint, 1964. p. 33 Also quoted in Jain, Meenakshi (2011). The India they saw: Foreign accounts.
- The Sultan again resolved on an expedition to Hind, and marched towards Narain, urging his horses and moving over ground, hard and soft, until he came to the middle of Hind, where he reduced chiefs, who, up to that time obeyed no master, overturned their idols, put to the sword the vagabonds of that country, and with delay and circumspection, proceeded to accomplish his design. He fought a battle with the chiefs of the infidels, in which Allah bestowed upon him much booty in property, horses, and elephants, and the friends of Allah committed slaughter in every hill and valley. The Sultan returned to Ghazna with all the plunder he had obtained.
- Narain (Rajasthan) Narayanpur in Alwar district of Rajasthan. Elliot and Dowson, Vol. II : Elliot and Dowson, History of India as told by its own Historians, 8 Volumes, Allahabad Reprint, 1964. p. 36
- After the Sultan had purified Hind from idolatry, and raised mosques therein, he determined to invade the capital of Hind, to punish those who kept idols and would not acknowledge the unity of Allah. He collected his warriors and distributed money amongst them. He marched with a large army in the year 404 H., 1013 AD during a dark night ... The Sultan returned, marching in the rear of this immense booty, and slaves were so plentiful that they became very cheap; and men of respectability in their native land, were degraded by becoming slaves of common shopkeepers. But this is the goodness of Allah, who bestows honours on his religion and degrades infidelity...
- The chief of Tanesar was on this account obstinate in his infidelity and denial of Allah. So the Sultan marched against him with his valiant warriors, for the purpose of planting the standards of Islam and extirpating idolatry... The Sultan adopted the stratagem of ordering some of his troops to cross the river by two different fords, and to attack the enemy on both sides; and when they were all engaged in close conflict, he ordered another body of men to go up the bank of the stream, which was flowing through the pass with fearful impetuosity, and attack the enemy amongst the ravines, where they were posted in the greatest number. The battle raged fiercely, and about evening, after a vigorous attack on thepart of the Musulmans, the enemy fled, leaving their elephants, which were all driven into the camp of the Sultan, except one, which ran off and could not be found. The largest were reserved for the Sultan.
The blood of the infidels flowed so copiously that the stream was discoloured, and people were unable to drink it. Had not night come on and concealed the traces of their flight, many more of the enemy would have been slain. The victory was gained by Allah's grace, who has established Islam forever as the best of religions, notwithstanding that idolators revolt against it. The Sultan returned with plunder which it is impossible to recount - Praise be to Allah, the protector of the world, for the honour he bestows upon Islam and Musulmans!...
- Thanesar (Haryana). Elliot and Dowson, Vol. II : Elliot and Dowson, History of India as told by its own Historians, 8 Volumes, Allahabad Reprint, 1964. p. 40-41 Also quoted (in part) in Jain, Meenakshi (2011). The India they saw: Foreign accounts. also quoted in Bostom, A. G. M. D., & Bostom, A. G. (2010). The Legacy of Jihad: Islamic Holy War and the Fate of Non-Muslims. Amherst: Prometheus.
- When Chandal heard of the advance of the Sultan, he lost his heart from excess of fright, and as he saw death with its mouth open towards him, there was no resource to him but flight. The Sultan ordered therefore that his five forts should be demolished from their foundations, the inhabitants buried in their ruins, and imprisoned. The Sultan, when he heard of the flight of Chandal, was sorely afflicted, and turned his horse's head towards Chand Rai, one of the greatest men in Hind, who reigned in the fort of Sharwa [Siraswa].
- Elliot and Dowson, Vol. II : Elliot and Dowson, History of India as told by its own Historians, 8 Volumes, Allahabad Reprint, 1964. p. 47
- The Sultan summoned the most religiously disposed of his followers, and ordered them to attack the enemy immediately. Many infidels were consequently slain or taken prisoners in this sudden attack, and the Musulmans paid no regard to the booty till they had satiated themselves with the slaughter of the infidels and worshippers of the sun and fire. The friends of Allah searched the bodies of the slain for three whole days, in order to obtain booty... The booty amounted in gold and silver, rubies and pearls, nearly to three thousand thousand dirhams, and the number of prisoners may be conceived from the fact, that each was sold for from two to ten dirhams. These were afterwards taken to Ghazna, and merchants came from distant cities to purchase them, so that the countries of Mawarau-n nahr, Irak and Khurasan were filled with them, and the fair and the dark, the rich and the poor, were commingled in one common slavery.
- Siraswa, town near Saharanpur in Uttar Pradesh. Elliot and Dowson, Vol. II : Elliot and Dowson, History of India as told by its own Historians, 8 Volumes, Allahabad Reprint, 1964. p. 49-50. also quoted in Bostom, A. G. M. D., & Bostom, A. G. (2010). The Legacy of Jihad: Islamic Holy War and the Fate of Non-Muslims. Amherst: Prometheus.
- The Sultan then departed from the environs of the city, in which was a temple of the Hindus. The name of this place was Maharatu-l Hind. He saw there a building of exquisite structure, which the inhabitants said had been built, not by men, but by Genii, and there he witnessed practices contrary to the nature of man, and which could not be believed but from evidence of actual sight. The wall of the city was constructed of hard stone, and two gates opened upon the river flowing under the city, which were erected upon strong and lofty foundations to protect them against the floods of the river and rains. On both sides of the city there were a thousand houses, to which idol temples were attached, all strengthened from top to bottom by rivets of iron, and all made of masonry work; and opposite to them were other buildings, supported on broad wooden pillars, to give them strength.
In the middle of the city there was a temple larger and firmer than the rest, which can neither be described nor painted. The Sultan thus wrote respecting it: - "If any should wish to construct a building equal to this, he would not be able to do it without expending an hundred thousand, thousand red dinars, and it would occupy two hundred years even though the most experienced and able workmen were employed."...
The Sultan gave orders that all the temples should be burnt with naptha and fire, and levelled with the ground.
- About the capture of Mathura. Elliot and Dowson, Vol. II : Elliot and Dowson, History of India as told by its own Historians, 8 Volumes, Allahabad Reprint, 1964. pp. 44-45 Also quoted (in part) in Jain, Meenakshi (2011). The India they saw: Foreign accounts.
- The Sultan advanced to the fortifications of Kanauj, which consisted of seven distinct forts, washed by the Ganges which flowed under them like the ocean. In Kanauj there were nearly ten thousand temples, which the idolaters falsely and absurdly represented to have been founded by their ancestors two or three hundred thousand years ago. They worshipped and offered their vows and supplications to them in consequence of their great antiquity. Many of the inhabitants of the place fled and were scattered abroad like so many wretched widows and orphans, from the fear which oppressed them, in consequence of witnessing the fate of their deaf and dumb idols. Many of them thus effected their escape, and those who did not fly were put to death. The Sultan took all seven forts in one day, and gave his soldiers leave to plunder them and take prisoners.
- About the conquest of Kanauj (Uttar Pradesh). Elliot and Dowson, Vol. II : Elliot and Dowson, History of India as told by its own Historians, 8 Volumes, Allahabad Reprint, 1964. pp. 44-46 Also quoted (in part) in Jain, Meenakshi (2011). The India they saw: Foreign accounts. also quoted in Bostom, A. G. M. D., & Bostom, A. G. (2010). The Legacy of Jihad: Islamic Holy War and the Fate of Non-Muslims. Amherst: Prometheus.
- Al Utbi, the author of Tarikh-i-Yamini, writes how Sultan Mahmud punished Nawasa Shah: “Satan had got the better of Nawasa Shah, for he was again apostatizing towards the pit of plural worship, and had thrown off the slough of Islam, and held conversation with the chiefs of idolatry respecting the casting off the firm rope of religion from his neck. So the Sultan went swifter than the wind in that direction, and made the sword reek with the blood of his enemies. He turned Nawasa Shah out of his government, took possession of all the treasures which he had accumulated, re-assumed the government, and then cut down the harvest of idolatry with the sickle of his sword and spear. After God had granted him this and the previous victory, which were tried witnesses as to his exalted state and proselytism, he returned without difficulty to Ghazna.”
- Utbi, in Lal, K. S. (1992). The legacy of Muslim rule in India. New Delhi: Aditya Prakashan. Chapter 2
- Islam or death was the alternative he placed before people.
- in SR Sharma, Studies in Medieval Indian history quoted in Misra, R. G. (2005). Indian resistance to early Muslim invaders up to 1206 A.D. p.113
Quotes from Zainul Akhbar of Girdizi
- When Mahmud became Amir of Khurasan, the Caliph of Baghdad gave him the title of Yamin-ul-Daulat wa Amin-ul-Millit.
- In 930 AH (1000 CE) Mahmud left for India from Ghazni and conquered many forts.
- On 5 Ramazan 391 AH (August 28, 1001 CE) Mahmud reached Heart and left for Ghazni. He left Ghazni for India and encamped at Peshawar. He has ten thousand soldiers with him. Jaipal, king of India, with twelve thousand horse, 30,000 foot and 300 elephants came out to oppose him. Both the armies were drawn up in battle array. Soon the battle began. God gave victory to the Muslims. Mahmud was victorious. Jaipal was defeated. Many infidels were killed. The Muslims killed 5,000 Hindus in that battle and Jaipal was made a prisoner. Fifteen of his sons and brothers also fell into their hands. A good deal of booty was taken. It is said that the necklace that Jaipal was wearing was valued at 180,000 Dinars. Similarly other Hindu chiefs who were taken prisoner were found wearing valuable ornaments round their necks. This victory was gained on Friday,3 8 Muharram, 392 AH (November 27, 1001 CE)
- From here Mahmud marked on Waihind.4 This country was also ravaged. When spring came, Mahmud returned to Ghazni.
- When Mahmud returned to Ghazni (from Sistan in 393 AH; 1003-1004 CE), he decided to attack Bhatia. He marched by way of Walihtan (Sibbi) and Hissar and reached Bhatia.6 Here a battle raged for three days. Bajrao formed his troops in line of battle and sent them against Mahmud. He himself left for the bank of river Sasana. When Mahmud learned this, he sent some of his men in pursuit in order to capture Bajrao and his companions. When Bajrao learned of the pursuit, he left his main body and killed himself. Mahmud's soldiers too his head and captured all his companions and brought them before Mahmud who was overjoyed. By his orders all of them were killed. Two hundred eighty elephants fell into his hands.
- In 396 AH (1006 CE) Mahmud decided to make a surprise attack on Multan. He was afraid that if he marched by the direct route, Daud would get to know of it and make preparations to oppose him. He chose therefore a roundabout way to Multan. Anand Pal, son of Jaipal, contested his progress. Mahmud directed his army to attached Anand Pal's territories. Many men were taken prisoners and many were killed, the country was ravaged.'
- Anand Pal ran away to the mountains of Kashmir. Mahmud reached Multan. He besieged it for a week till the garrison sued for peace. They agreed to pay 20,000 Dinars in two installments every year. Mahmud now returned to Ghazni.'
- When Mahmud was free from his struggle against Ilak Khan (defeated in January 1008), he heard that Shokpal, grandson of Jaipal, who had fallen into the hands of Abuali at Nishapur and been converted to Islam, had abjured his religion. Mahmud turned towards him and captured him in the hills of Kashnod. He undertook to pay 400,000 Dinars. He was entrusted to Hakin Khazan and imprisoned. He died in prison.10
- From here Mahmud left for India. In 399 AH (1008-1009 CE) he fought against Anand Pal and defeated him. Thirty elephants were taken and a large number of prisoners were made. From here Mahmud marched on to Bhim Nagar and besieged it. For three days the siege continued. Mahmud then succeeded in entering the fort with some of his companions. Gold, silver, and diamonds that had been accumulating since the days of Bhim Pandom in this fort fell into his hands. Booty beyond counting fell into Mahmud's hands. Mahmud now returned to Ghazni. A throne of gold and silver was built. The booty was displayed at Ghazni for the people to stare at.'
- From Ghazni in 400 AH (1010 CE) he left for Multan. The territory left unconquered last time was conquered now. Many Carmathians there in Multan were captured, some were slain, other mutilated, and made to suffer otherwise so that all of them died. Daud was also captured and taken to Ghazni and sent to Ghorak where he died.
- In 402 AH (1012 CE), Mahmud left Ghazni for Thanesar. When Trilochanpal, emperor of India, heard this, he sent messengers and offered 50 elephants if Mahmud would not march on Thanesar. Mahmud paid no heed to his words. When his armies reached the Camp of Ram, his men disputed his path. From their protected places, they attacked the Muslims, many of whom were killed.
- When Mahmud reached Thanesar, he found the city deserted. Whatever fell into the hands of his men was destroyed. Many of the idols were broken. Jogar Om (which was the most famous idol in that Mecca of the Hindus)" was carried away to Ghazni and placed at the Durgah. People flocked to see it.
- In the year 404 AH (1014 CE), Mahmud decided to take Nanda.16 When Trilochanpal, king of India, learnt about it, he sent tried veterans to the fort in order to guard the fort and himself left for the passes in Kashmir. When Mahmud reached the place, it was invested thoroughly. When the besieged felt helpless, they asked for peace and surrendered the fort. Mahmud, with some of his men, entered the fort and took away all the valuables and arms that were in the fort. Mahmud left Mir Saraggh in charge of the fort and himself left for the pass in Kashmir where Trilochanpal was hiding. When he heard of the enemy's approach, Trilochanpal ran away from there as well. Mahmud so arranged matters that the forts in the pass were taken and pillaged. Is army captured a good deal of property and a large number of men. Many Hindus accepted Islam. The same year he issued orders that in the places conquered, mosques be raised and Hindus be converted to Islam by men appointed for the purpose. Mahmud himself returned to Ghazni. This victory was secured in the year 405 AH (1015 CE).
- When the year 407 AH (1016 CE) began, Mahmud decided to attack Kashmir. From Ghazni he set out for Kashmir. When he reached the pass, winter set in. Beyond the pass was the fort of Lohkot (Loharin) strong as of iron. It was invested. When the siege was turning to be successful, the severity of winter and the snow helped the garrison which was reinforced by the arrival of fresh troops, from Kashmir. Mahmud sought safety in retirement. He returned to Ghazni in the spring.
- In the beginning of the year 409 AH (1018 CE) Mahmud decided to attack Kanauj, a very populous and prosperous country. Crossing seven waters, Mahmud reached the frontiers of the kingdom, when Bakorah, the warden of the marches,19 sent a messenger and submitted. From here he advance to Baranunder (Buland Shahr) Hardat himself fled and left his tribesmen to guard the fort. But Mahmud's armies broke their defenses and overpowered them. They bought themselves back to paying 1,000,000 dirhams and thirty elephants.
- From here Mahmud advanced to Mahaban (near Muttra) on the Jumna then under Kala Chand. When he heard of Mahmud's advance, he selected his best elephant, mounted it, and tried to cross the river. Mahmud learned of his attempt at escape and ordered his men to watch the roads. In despair Kala Chand killed him- self.20 Mahaban was taken, 165 elephants and booty beyond imagination fell into Mahmud's hands. From here Mahmud advanced to Muttra, a very great city of the Hindus, sacred as the birth place of Krishna son of Vasudeva. Here is a great Hindu temple. When Mahmud reached Muttra no one opposed him. He ordered his men to spread over the whole kingdom, destroy all idols or burn them, and take possession of all property. From the temples, treasures and property beyond counting fell into Mahmud's hands. One sapphire weighed 450 mithgals. No one had ever seen such a stone. Gold and silver idols beyond estimate were taken. One gold idol was ordered to be broken and 98,300 mithgals of gold was founded therein. In this way much property and many of stones were captured.
- From here Mahmud advanced to Kanauhj where the Rai was captured. Mahmud now set out of Ghazni. On the way a peerless elephant of Chand Rai of Kanauj, which Mahmud had heard of and sought for in vain, fell into his hands. It has run away from Chand Rai's ranks and with the Mahaot was now captured. Mahmud named it Khudadad (God's gifts).
- When Mahmud reached Ghazni, the booty was valued at 2,000,000 Dinars, 53,000 slaves, and 350 elephants.'
- In the month of Tir in the year 410 AH (1019 CE) Mahmud decided to advance against Nanda. He had killed Rajpal.22 He had decided to join Trilochanpal, make him victorious, and bring back his armies to his own kingdom. When he head the news of Mahmud's advance Trilochanpal crossed the Ganges towards Bari. Mahmud also crossed the river and defeated all the Hindu armies. Trilochanpal ran away with some Hindus and did not dispute Mahmud's path. Mahmud now decided to attack the city of Bari. They found it deserted. All the temples were burnt. They carried away every thing they could lay their hands on. From here, Mahmud decided to march towards Nanda's country. After crossing many rivers, Mahmud reached its frontiers. Nanda had heard of the advance of the army of Islam. He had gathered together a good many arms and a large army. It is said his army consisted of 36,000 calvary, 124,000 foot, 650 elephants. This should give some idea of his resources. When Mahmud approached his enemy's encampments, he disposed his troops in battle array and divided then into the usual sections for battle. He encamped taking cover to protect himself. He then sent a messenger to Nanda asking him to become a Muslim and save himself from all harm and distress. Nanda returned the reply that he had nothing to say to Mahmud except on the battlefield. It is said that Mahmud ascended a height in order to get a view of Nanda's army. He saw a world of tents and encampments, besides immovable horsemen, foot soldiers, and elephants. He felt distressed. He prayed to God to grant him victory. When the night fell, God struck fear into Nanda's heart. He left camp and ran away. When Mahmud sent a messenger next day, he found Nanda's camp deserted. They had left all their arms and taken away their horses and elephants. The messenger returned and informed Mahmud who left his place of refuge and went towards the enemy's camp and found it deserted. Mahmud thanked God and ordered the camp of Nanda to be looted. A good deal of property of all kinds was thus destroyed.
- From here victorious Mahmud set out towards Ghazni. On their way back a forest fell in their way. The army entered it, 580 elephants of Nanda fell into their hands which they captured and brought to the Muslim camp.
- Then they brought the news that there are two strongly fortified passes, Nur and Qirat. Here the inhabitants are Kafirsand idolatrous. Mahmud resolved to attack them. He ordered that a large number artisans such as blacksmiths, masons, and stone cutters should accompany the troops so that they might level up the roads, cut down the trees, and break stones. When the army reached there, it was resolved to attack Qirat first. Qirat is a pleasant place and its inhabitants worship the lion. Its climate is cold and fruits abound here. When the Shah of Qirat got the news, he advanced to meet them, submitted, and sought protection. Mahmud accepted his submission and spared its territories. The Shah of Qirat became Muslim and many of the inhabitants of Qirat as well accepted Islam. The inhabitants of Nur, however, refused to comply with Mahmud's demands. Mahmud ordered Hajib All to proceed to Nur and conquer it. A fort was built here. Mir Ali was appointed Kotwal of the fort. He was ordered to put Islam round their neck by sword. Islam now made its appearance in their country. This was in 411 AH (1020 CE).
- When the year 412 AH (1021 CE) began, Mahmud decided to attack Kashmir. The fort of Loharkot24 was invested. A month was spent here. As the fort was very strong, it could not be taken. There-upon Mahmud came out of the great pass and went towards Lahore and Takeshar25 and spread his armies. When the spring came, Mahmud went back to Ghazni.
- When the year 413 AH (1022 CE) began, Mahmud decided to attack Nanda's territory. When the fort of Swalior was reached, it was invested. It was, however, a very strong fort and Mahmud failed to take it. He remained investing it for four days and nights. The commander of the fort then sent a messenger and sought for peace. He surrendered 35 elephants. The army of Mahmud now retreated from here and advanced towards Kalinjar which was under Nanda. Nanda was himself in the fort with his officers and near relatives. Mahmud ordered that the fort be surrounded on all sides. Many plans were thought of. But the fort was so situated that no man could scale its heights. It was not even possible to attack the fort by cutting down stones at its base. No plan seemed possible. Some days were passed in this fashion. Nanda, however, felt uncomfortable in the fort as all roads had been closed to him. He sent messengers and offered to pay the jizya'27 Hudya, and 300 elephants. This was agreed to. Nanda gladly sent 300 elephants and drove them out of the fort without Mahaots. Mahmud ordered him men who came up to the pack of elephants and mounted them. The garrison was very much surprised at this daring of Mahmud's soldiers. Nanda was a poet. He wrote a verse in Hindi and sent it to Mahmud. Mahmud had this recited to the Hindu '21 Persian, and Turkish poets. Everyone liked the verse and declared that it was not possible to write more elegant or more high flown lines. Mahmud therefore had an order drawn up conferring on Nanda 15 forts in return for the verse that Nanda had com posed in his honour. Besides this he sent many presents; women, jewels, and dresses. Nanda also sent a good deal in return. Mahmud returned to Ghazni from there.
- When winter came, as usual, Mahmud went towards India in order to gain religious merit. Someone said, "On the seashore there is a great city, Somnath by name. Hindus regard it with the same respect which the Muslims reserve for Mecca. There are gold and silver idols in the temple. The idol Manat, which the prophet had removed from Ka'aba, had reached this place via Aden. They had bought it. In the treasury of that temple they have placed precious stones and a good deal of property. But the way thereto is very dangerous."
- When Mahmud heard this he planned to go to that city and destroy the idols. From Hindustran he now set his forces towards Somnath. When he approached the city and was seen by the Brahmanas and Sramanas, they all busied themselves in worshipping their idols. The chief officer of the city left it and taking his family and men with him, sailed down the river in a boat seeking refuge on an island where he remained surrounding the city. When the Muslim army approached the city, they besieged it and began to attack it. Before many days had passed a breach was effected, Mahmud's army entered the city and began to kill. Many Hindus were killed. Mahmud asked the Muazzan to go to the camp and announce the time of prayers. As he announced the call to prayers, all the idols were broken, burnt, or otherwise destroyed. The stone idol of Manat was dug from its foundation in the ground and broken into small pieces. Some of these, were taken to Ghazni on camels where they are still found under the steps of the mosque. There was some treasure under the idols. All that treasure was taken. A large amount of property was thus got-silver idols, jewels, and treasure of various kinds.
- Mahmud now returned. For Parm Dev, Badshah of the Hindus, stood in his way disputing his path. Mahmud decided therefore to leave the right road back to Ghazni, for fear lest this great victory of his should turn into defeat (results of this great victory be thrown away). He left by way of Mansura towards Multan. His soldiers suffered many hardships partly on account of want of water and party on account of Jats of Sind and on other grounds. Many of the soldiers of Islam lost their lives on the way. At last Multan was sighted and from there Mahmud marched on to Ghazni.
- Mahmud had been greatly enraged at the conduct of the Jats of Multan and Bhatis of the Indus on account of their molesting his armies when he was returning from Somnath. He wanted to take vengeance on them for their conduct and punish them. Hence in the year 418 AH (1027 CE), he collected his armies for the twelfth time and set out towards Multan. When he reached the city, he ordered 1,400 strong boats to be built. They were fitted with three iron spikes each, strong and sharp, one at the bow and one each on the sides. They were so strong and sharp that they were capable of piercing, wrecking, and destroying whatever they struck against. Fourteen hundred boats were set afloat on the river. Every boat seated 20 well-equipped soldiers with bows, arrows, spears, and shields. When the Jats heard of Mahmud's approach, they carried their families to far off islands. They took up arms, equipped 4,000, and according to some accounts, 8,000 boats. Every boat contained many well-armed men. They set off to attack the enemy. When they came opposite the Muslim army, the Muslims shot arrows at them, the firemen threw rockets. When the Muslim boats came near the boats of the Jats, the spikes struck the Jat boats. In this way the Jat boats were either wrecked, drowned, or damaged. On the bands of the river, horsemen, foot soldiers and elephants had been placed. When any Jat appeared on the banks, he was again thrown in. The Muslim army marched on the banks of the river, till they sighted the camp of the refugee families. They were robbed. A good deal of booty was obtained. From there the Muslim army left with flying colors for Ghazni.
- Sri Ram Sharma, "An Almost Contemporary Account of Mahmud's Invasions of India," Studies in Medieval Indian History (1956): 22-33. Zainul Akhbar of Girdizi edited by Professor Muhammad Nazim in 1928. also quoted in Bostom, A. G. M. D., & Bostom, A. G. (2010). The Legacy of Jihad: Islamic Holy War and the Fate of Non-Muslims. Amherst: Prometheus.
Quotes from Muslim medieval histories
- Among the different coins struck in Mahmud's reign one bore the following inscription: "The right hand of the empire, Mahmud Sultan, son of Nasir-ud-Din Subuk-Tigin, Breaker of Idols." This coin appears to have been struck at Lahor, in the seventh year of his reign.
- Maulana Minhaj-us-Siraj: Tabqat-i-Nasiri, translated into English by Major H.G. Reverty, New Delhi Reprint, 1970, Vol. I,p. 88, footnote 2.
- The Sultan now received information that there was a city in Hindustan called Thanessar, and there was a great temple there in which there was an idol called Jagarsom, whom the people of Hindustan worshipped. He collected a large force with the object of carrying on a religious war, and in the year AH 402 marched towards Thanessar. The son of Jaipal having received intelligence of this, sent an envoy and represented through him, that if the Sultan would relinquish this enterprise, he would send fifty elephants as tribute. The Sultan paid no heed to this offer, and when he reached Thanessar he found the city empty. The soldiers ravaged and plundered whatever they could lay hands upon, broke the idols and carried Jagarsom to Ghaznin. The Sultan ordered that the idol should the placed in front of the place of prayer, so that people would trample upon it.
- The Tabqat-i-Akbari translated by B. De, Calcutta, 1973, Vol. I, p. 7
- From that place [Mahawan] the Sultan advanced to Mathurah, which is a large city containing many temples' and the Sultan completely destroyed the city and burnt the temples. There was one golden idol which was broken up under the orders of the Sultan...
- The Tabqat-i-Akbari translated by B. De, Calcutta, 1973, Vol. I, p. 11-16
- 'In the year AH 402 (AD 1011) he set out for Thanesar and Jaipal, the son of the former Jaipal, offered him a present of fifty elephants and much treasure. The Sultan, however, was not to be deterred from his purpose; so he refused to accept his present, and seeing Thanesar empty he sacked it and destroyed its idol temples, and took away to Ghaznin, the idol known as Chakarsum on account of which the Hindus had been ruined; and having placed it in his court, caused it to be trampled under foot by the people...From thence he went to Mathra (Mathura) which is a place of worship of the infidels and the birthplace of Kishan, the son of Basudev, whom the Hindus Worship as a divinity - where there are idol temples without number, and took it without any contest and razed it to the ground. Great wealth and booty fell into the hands of the Muslims, among the rest they broke up by the orders of the Sultan, a golden idol.
- Muntakhabut-Tawarikh, translated into English by George S.A. Ranking, Patna Reprint 1973, Vol. I, p. 17-28
- The king, in his zeal to propagate the faith, now marched against the Hindoos of Nagrakote [Nagarkot Kangra], breaking down their idols and razing their temples. The fort, at that time denominated the Fort of Bheem, was closely invested by the Mahomedans, who had first laid waste the country around it with fire and sword.'...
- 'In the year AH 402 (AD 1011), Mahmood resolved on the conquest of Tahnesur [Thanesar (Haryana)], in the kingdom of Hindoostan. It had reached the ears of the king that Tahnesur was held in the same veneration by idolaters, as Mecca by the faithful; that they had there set up a number of idols, the principal of which they called Jugsom, pretending that it had existed ever since the creation. Mahmood having reached Punjab, required, according to the subsisting treaty with Anundpal, that his army should not be molested on its march through his country...'The Raja's brother, with two thousand horse was also sent to meet the army, and to deliver the following message:- "My brother is the subject and tributary of the King, but he begs permission to acquaint his Majesty, that Tahnesur is the principal place of worship of the inhabitants of the country: that if it is required by the religion of Mahmood to subvert the religion of others, he has already acquitted himself of that duty, in the destruction of the temple of Nagrakote. But if he should be pleased to alter his resolution regarding Tahnesur, Anundpal promises that the amount of the revenues of that country shall be annually paid to Mahmood; that a sum shall also be paid to reimburse him for the expense of his expedition, besides which, on his own part he will present him with fifty elephants, and jewels to a considerable amount." Mahmood replied, "The religion of the faithful inculcates the following tenet: That in proportion as the tenets of the prophet are diffused, and his followers exert themselves in the subversion of idolatry, so shall be their reward in heaven; that, therefore, it behoved him, with the assistance of God, to root out the worship of idols from the face of all India. How then should he spare Tahnesur?"...This answer was communicated to the Raja of Dehly, who, resolving to oppose the invaders, sent messengers throughout Hindoostan to acquaint the other rajas that Mahmood, without provocation, was marching with a vast army to destroy Tahnesur, now under his immediate protection. He observed, that if a barrier was not expeditiously raised against this roaring torrent, the country of Hindoostan would be soon overwhelmed, and that it behoved them to unite their forces at Tahnesur, to avert the impending calamity....
- Mahmood having reached Tahnesur before the Hindoos had time to take measures for its defence, the city was plundered, the idols broken, and the idol Jugsom was sent to Ghizny to be trodden under foot...Mahmood having refreshed his troops, and understanding that at some distance stood the rich city of Mutra [Mathura], consecrated to Krishn-Vasdew, whom the Hindoos venerate as an emanation of God, directed his march thither and entering it with little opposition from the troops of the Raja of Delhy, to whom it belonged, gave it up to plunder. He broke down or burned all the idols, and amassed a vast quantity of gold and silver, of which the idols were mostly composed. He would have destroyed the temples also, but he found the labour would have been excessive; while some say that he was averted from his purpose by their admirable beauty. He certainly extravagantly extolled the magnificence of the buildings and city in a letter to the governor of Ghizny, in which the following passage occurs: "There are here a thousand edifices as firm as the faith of the faithful; most of them of marble, besides innumerable temples; nor is it likely that this city has attained its present condition but at the expense of many millions of deenars, nor could such another be constructed under a period of two centuries."...The King tarried in Mutra 20 days; in which time the city suffered greatly from fire, beside the damage it sustained by being pillaged. At length he continued his march along the course of a stream on whose banks were seven strong fortifications, all of which fell in succession: there were also discovered some very ancient temples, which, according to the Hindoos, had existed for 4000 years. Having sacked these temples and forts, the troops were led against the fort of Munj...The King, on his return, ordered a magnificent mosque to be built of marble and granite, of such beauty as struck every beholder with astonishment, and furnished it with rich carpets, and with candelabras and other ornaments of silver and gold. This mosque was universally known by the name of the Celestial Bride. In its neighbourhood the King founded an university, supplied with a vast collection of curious books in various languages. It contained also a museum of natural curiosities. For the maintenance of this establishment he appropriated a large sum of money, besides a sufficient fund for the maintenance of the students, and proper persons to instruct youth in the arts and sciences...The King, in the year AH 410 (AD 1019), caused an account of his exploits to be written and sent to the Caliph, who ordered it to be read to the people of Bagdad, making a great festival upon the occasion, expressive of his joy at the propagation of the faith.
- In this year, that is AH 412, Sultan Mahmud learnt that the people of Hindustan had turned against the Raja of Qanauj' Nand, the Raja of Kalinjar attacked Qanauj because Raja Kuwar (of Qanauj) had surrendered to Sultan Mahmud. As a result of this attack Raja Kuwar was killed. When Sultn Mahmud learnt it, he collected a large army and started towards Hindustam with a view to take revenge upon Raja Nanda. As the army of Musalmams reached the Jumna, the son of Raja Anand Pal stood in the way of Mahmud. The river of Jumna was in spate at this time and it became very difficult for the army to get across. But as chance would have it, eight royal guards of Mahmud showed courage and crossed the river they attacked the army of the Hindis and dispersed it, the son of anand Pal ran away with his chiefs. All the eight royal guards entered a city nearby and they plundered it to their heart's content. They demolished the temples in that place.
- 'About this time the King learned that the inhabitants of two hilly tracts, denominated Kuriat and Nardein, continued the worship of idols and had not embraced the faith of Islam' Mahmood resolved to carry the war against these infidels, and accordingly marched towards their country' The Ghiznevide general, Ameer Ally, the son of Arslan Jazib, was now sent with a division of the army to reduce Nardein, which he accomplished, pillaging the country, and carrying away many of the people captives. In Nardein was a temple, which Ameer Ally destroyed, bringing from thence a stone on which were curious inscriptions, and which according to the Hindoos, must have been 40,000 years old...
- After a long time, in AH 400, Allah' conferred the honour of sultanate on Sultan Mahmud Ghazi, son of Subuktigin' Nine men from among the Afghan chiefs' took to his court and joined his servants' The Sultan' gave to each one of them enamelled daggers and swords, horses of good breed and robes of special quality and, taking them with him, he set out with the intention of conquering Hindustan and Somnat....'Rai Daishalim whom some historians have pronounced as Dabshalim or Dabshalam was the great ruler of that country. The Sultan inflicted a smashing defeat on that Raja, demolished and desecrated the idol temples there, and devastated that land of the infidels.
- Tarikh-i-Khan Jahan Lodi, Translated from the Urdu version by Muhammad Bashir Husain, second edition, Lahore, 1986, pp. 121-22. In Goel S.R. Hindu temples What Happened to them. Tarikh-i-Khan Jahani wa Makhzan-i-Afghani of Khwajah Niamatallah Harwi, translated into Urdu by Muhammad Bashir Husain, second edition, Lahore, 1986.