Al-Hajjaaj Ibn Yoosuf
Al-Thaqafee, the ruler of Iraq was sitting in his court surrounded by his
dignitaries and army commanders (chief of staffs). They were discussing the
affairs of the state trying to find solutions to people's problems. One of
Al-Hajjaaj's men entered and whispered some words to him, so he stopped the
conversation and said loudly: "Let him enter immediately!"
The man entered with a message and said to Al-Hajjaaj: "This is an urgent
message that has just been brought by the messenger from 'Sindh'
territories". Al-Hajjaaj took the message and began to read it. Before he
had finished, he stood up abruptly in a rage. The attendants got worried,
and one of them said:
"May Allaah rectify your affairs? What was said in this message to upset
you? Has anything wrong happened to the Caliph 'Al-Waleed Ibn `Abdul-Malik'?
Has any of our enemies attacked any part of our land?"
Al-Hajjaaj did not speak for a while then he erupted in a rage and started
to tell them the content of the message. He said, "The king of the island of
Sri Lanka sent us some ships full of gifts. On board, there were some Muslim
women. On their way, some pirates from the city of 'Daibul' (a port at the
mouth of the River Sindh in Pakistan) attacked it. They stole the gifts and
took the women as captives.
When Al-Hajjaaj became calm, he wrote a message to 'Daahir' the king of
Sindh demanding him to release the Muslim women, but the king was unable to
do so. He sent a message to Al-Hajjaaj telling him that the captives had
been caught by notorious thieves and that he could not rescue them. Al-Hajjaaj
was not convinced with the answer of the king of Sindh, so he intended to
punish those pirates and restore dignity to the Muslims. He sent a military
expedition to fight the pirates, but they were completely defeated on the
land of Sindh. So, he sent another expedition, but it also failed to fulfill
After the defeat of his expeditions, Al-Hajjaaj realized that he must plan
and prepare himself so his enemies would not underestimate the Muslim state.
He intended to send a huge army to conquer the territories of Sindh,
propagate Islam there, and help its people get rid of the injustice of their
governors. At the same time, he wanted to secure the borders of the Islamic
state and trade routes. He sent for the Umayyad Caliph in Damascus Al-Waleed
Ibn `Abdul-Malik' asking for his permission to prepare and equip the army.
It took Al-Hajjaaj some months to prepare the army and recruit thousands of
experienced and brave soldiers. He equipped them with the most powerful
weapons, supplies, and food sufficient for their expedition.
After preparing the army, he began to review the names of the army leaders
he had in order to choose one who could fulfill this mission. Then he
decided to choose his cousin Muhammad Ibn Al-Qaasim whose reputation had
begun to increase even though he was still less than twenty years old. He
was an emerging star who was known for his power, bravery, and skill in
strategies of war and undertaking military campaigns. He had the ability to
lead soldiers to victory. He was patient in fighting and firm in the
battlefield. The news that Muhammad Ibn Al-Qaasim had been chosen to lead
the army, spread, so the soldiers were optimistic and were confident that
Allaah would grant them victory. The young leader began to survey the army
preparations, set the military plans, explored his enemy's position, and
came to know the points of their power and weakness. When he was sure that
everything was all ready, he ordered his soldiers to depart.
The army set out towards its target, fully equipped and thoroughly prepared.
The soldiers were shouting "Allaahu Akbar" (Allaah is the Greatest). When
the army reached 'Makraan', they rested there for some days. The young
leader started to split his army into two divisions. One division went
through the land route and the other through the sea.