Muhammad Ibn Qasim

Imaduddeen Muhammad bin Qasim bin Yusuf Sakifi. Born: 695 in Taif, Arabia. Died: 715. He was an Umayyad general who, at the age of 17, began the conquest of the Sindh and Punjab regions in India (now part of Pakistan) for the Umayyad Caliphate.

He was born and raised in Taif and his conquest of Sindh and Punjab laid the foundations of Islamic rule in the Indian subcontinent. Umayyad governor Hajjaj Ibn Yusuf, Muhammad’s paternal uncle, was instrumental in teaching him about warfare and governance. Muhammad married his cousin Zubaidah, Hajjaj’s daughter, shortly before going to Sindh.

Under Hajjaj’s patronage, Muhammad was made governor of Persia, where he put down a rebellion. On getting a letter of appeal for help from Muslim widows captured by Hindu pirates Hajjaj sent Muhammad Bin Qasim in 711 at the head of an army even though the Muslim state was busy with conquests in Spain and Africa. The army had 6,000 Syrian cavalry and detachments of soldiers from Iraq. At the borders of Sindh it was joined by an advance guard and six thousand camel riders and later reinforcements from the governor of Makran came by sea along with five catapults.

Ibn Qasim captured Sindh and established Islamic law. Local non Muslims were treated tolerantly and formed part of the administration.

After Hajjaj died, Muhammad Ibn Qasim was captured on the orders of the new Caliph, who was a political opponent of Hajjaj, and killed when he was 20 years old. This teenage hero of Islam lies in an unknown grave. He had a son named Amr bin Muhammad who later became governor of Sindh.