Advent of Islam in the Subcontinent

Advent of Islam in the Subcontinent:

Arab traders had been coming to India before Islam was founded. Muslim had their relations with South India (Malabar Coast in particular) before they came to North India.

Muhammad Bin Qasim:

He was the first Arab commander to conquer a portion of India i.e. Sindh. In 712 A.D

Mahmood Ghazni:-(997-1030 A.D)

He was the son of Sabuktigin. He was a great conqueror and warrior of his time. His greatest ambition was to become the master of pole of Asia and to build an Asian Empire. India’s immense wealth attracted him and carried 17 invasions to the country between 1000 to 1026         A.D. His Court poet was Firdausi who wrote Shahnama in his honour. Al Beruni, the historian who had accompanied the king came to India during the expeditions has given a reliable description of the invasions and Indian condition.

Ghori Dynasty(1186-1206):

Muhammad Ghori(1186-1206):In 1186 he  occupied Lahore. In 1191 he was defeated by Prithvi Raj, the ruler of Delhi and Ajmair in the battle of Tarain. However; he defeated Prithviraj Raj at Thanesar in 1192 laid the foundation of Muslim rule in India.

Slave Dynasty (1206-1290):

  • Qutab-ul-Din Aibak(1206-1210):

He was the founder of the slave dynasty. He himself was a slave and a general of Muhammad Ghori. After Ghori death he became the ruler of his Indian possession. During his reign he built the Great Mosque Jama Masjid at Delhi and started the celebrated Qutub Minar. This Minar is the tallest tower in India. It is the first outstanding structure in the Islamic style.

The other important kinga of the dynasty were Altamash(1211-1236), Razia Sultana (1236-1239),Ghias-ud-Din Balban (1266-1287). The last king of the dynasty was Kaikobad (1287-90), who was killed by Jalaluddin Khilji in 1920.

Khilji Dynasty (1290-1320)

Ala-ud-Din Khilji(1296-1316):

He was a great conqueror and reformer. The Southern India was conquered for the first time by him. His claim to fame is secularization of administration and various civil, military and economic reforms. He enforced price control system.


Mohd Taghlaq(1325-1351)

He was a great scholar and writer. However some of his novel administrative experiment (such as shifting capital to Daulatabad, new coinage etc) made him  unpopular. He is sometimes called the wisest fool of the Muslim period.

Lodhi dynasty (1451-1526):

The most important kings of this dynasty were Sikandar Lodi and Ibrahim Lodi. The last king was defeated by Babar at Panipat in 1526.

The Mughal dynasty:

Condition of India before Babar’s invention:

1-Politics, powerful Kingdom only several small kingdoms.

2-Social evils -malice between Hindus and Muslims are there in spite of Bhakti movement reforms trying to bring about unity.

3-Economically, India had abundance of gold and silver. However, there was high level of economic inequality between the people.

Zahiruddin Babar(1483-1530 A.D):

He laid the foundation of Mughal rule in India. He laid the foundation of Mughal rule in India after several unsuccessful invasion of India, at last fought Ibrahim Lodi in the battle of Panipat in 1526. Thus the Lodi rule ended; there was a development in Indian civilization and culture. In 1527 Babur defeated Rana Sanga at Kanwar near Fatehpur Shikari. In 1529 in the battle of Gorga he defeated the Afghan under Muhammad Lodhi .Thus become master of nearly the whole of Northern India.

Rajput were defeated because of Babur military skills, his use of artillery, his scientific tactics and discipline of his army, religious zeal of soldiers and the Rajput on political error. Babar was a great general, scholar literary man. But he ignored administration paid no attention’ to land revenue, justice economic matters and public welfare.

Humayun(1580-1556 A.D):

He  could not consolidate the Mughal Empire because of political instability, empty treasury division of dominions into jagirs and family hostility. He lacked quick decision sustained effort sternness and political insight. In 1540 he was defeated by Sher Shah Suri fled from the country and return to power only in 1555 after Sher Shah Suri’s death.

The Suri Dynasty (1540-1555 A.D):

The Suri Dynasty in particular be noted for the administration and Reforms brought about the Sher Shah Suri (1540-45) in the field of central and provincial administration and revenue police military and judicial spheres. Roads were made to encourage trade the most important was being the Grand Trunk Road. Sarais were made. Economic condition improved, currency was reformed with pure gold and silver coins. Postal department was very advanced. Education system was encouraged through state aid. As far as religious policy, he did not force Hindus to embrace Islam and his treatment of Hindus was tolerant though it too destroyed some temples. Sher Shah before Akbar attempted to build an Indian nation by reconciling the followers of divergent racial creeds.

Akbar (1556-1605):

He was crowned emperor of India at the age of 13. He defeated Hemu in the second battle of Panipat in 1556 and become the unquestioned master of the country. He continued his policy of conquest. He made several conquest winning against the rule of Malwa in 1561, against the brave Rani Durgavati of Gondwana 1564, and capturing the Fort of Chittor in 1567. Akbar defeated Rana Pratap in the Battle of Haldighati in 1567.

Aspect of Akbar’s Reign: why he was called great-

1- Empire extended from Bengal to Afghanistan and Kashmir to Godavari in the south.

2- He was an enlightened despot.

3- His greatest achievements was the land revenue administration. In times of famine farmers got loans and state share was reduced.

4- Social reforms included prohibitions of child marriage and female infanticide, widow remarriages for Hindus was legalized, forcible conversion to Islam was prohibited, abolition of pilgrim tax etc.

5- Religious policy of Akbar is famous for the formulation of Din I Elahi taking the good points of Hinduism, Islam, Jainism and Sikhism.

6- Being a Patron of the earth at his Court great Scholars like Abul Fazal, poets like Faizi statements like Todal mal witty administrators like Birbal, and musicians like Tansen flourished Tulsidas who wrote Ramcharitmanas lived in this period. Akbar built Fatehpur Sikri fort at Agra, Lahore, Allahabad and Humayun’s tomb at Delhi. When he died he was buried Sikandra near Agra.

Akbar is correctly considered as the real founder of the Mughal empire in India. Babar could not consolidate the empire, and Humayun could not keep it together.

Jahangir (1605-1627 A.D):

He came to the Throne on Akbar’s death in 1605 A.D. He is known for strict administration of Justice. His wife Nur Jehan influenced him a great deal.

1-His Reforms include striking new. Abolishing oppressive taxes, construction of more sarais etc. For public welfare freedom of civilians from military oppression, features charitable hospitals, banning slaughter of animals on certain days (in continuation of Akbar’s policy) confirmation of land endowment to scholar and religious institutions, prohibition of snatching land from the peasants.

2- His reign was marked by several revolts amidst with which Guru Arjun Dev,the fifth Guru of Sikhs was martyred and thus Sikhs were alienated. This was a political blunder.

3- His reign first witnessed the coming of European travellers such as Thomas Roe.

4-The extent of his Empire was the same as Akbar’s.

ShahJahan(1627-1659 A.D):

He came to the throne after the succession in 1627. His reign is known for promotion of arts, culture and Architecture. Red ford, Jama Masjid, Taj Mahal etc was built by him. In the last years of his life he was imprisoned by son Aurangzeb and died in captivity in 1666.

Aurangzeb (1659-1707 A.D)

He  came to the throne after the bloody war of succession. After his death the Mughal Empire disintegrated. His reign was marked by war with Shivaji, rebellion of Hats, revolts of the Satnamis, killing of Guru Tegh Bahadur, imposition of ‘Jizya’ and war with Rajputs.

Aurangzeb’s failure as a king lay in his religious policy, his Deccan policy, his suspicious nature and lack of statesmanship. He was a true Muslim among the Mughals.