Before I begin deliberating on the topic, I must issue some caveats. I am neither a religious scholar nor am I here to attack anyone who disbelieves or believes in a modern-day Ghazwa-e-Hind. The purpose of this article is to enlighten what Ghazwa-e-Hind entails and furthermore in light of the Indian misstep in Jammu & Kashmir, how the narrative of Ghazwa is gaining momentum in the subcontinent.
In Pakistan, the Ghazwa has seen a shift in perception and popularity. Pre-9/11, it was heavily associated with Islamic fundamentalist groups based in Pakistan therefore many average citizens were apathetic, disbelieved, or viewed it as terrorist propaganda.
However, currently, due to Indian atrocities and bellicosity since 2014, there has been a resurgence in its discourse and an overall positive shift in its perception in the country – mainly due to social media. In India, contrastingly, the Ghazwa has obviously always been portrayed in a negative manner, but since the BJP’s arrival (in 2014) and especially in recent months, its debate has proliferated. In short, where many Pakistanis now view the Ghazwa as self-defense against a barbaric India and a war for the soul of Kashmir, the Indians still portray it as a grandiose machination by a terrorist regime. At the end of the day, many people are talking about it.
What is Ghazwa-e-Hind
Ghazwa-e-Hind is said to be a battle between Muslims and the non-believers of India. There are two main narratives relating to this Ghazwa. One states that this battle is to be fought between Pakistan and India and has not materialized yet, while the other side claims that this Ghazwa transpired centuries ago. Ghazwa-e-Hind or the Battle of India is rooted in several sayings of the Prophet (PBUH).
The world cannot feign ignorance as it did at Munich in 1938. The fascist, Hindu-Supremacist design of the Modi Govt with its ethnic cleansing & genocide of Muslims' agenda in IOJK, in India itself (Assam) & beyond into AJK is now overt for all the world to see.
— Imran Khan (@ImranKhanPTI) September 5, 2019
I will begin by stating the most authentic ones that are a part of the Kutub al-Sittah – the six books of hadith that are almost universally accepted as part of the official canon of Sunni Islam. The six books include: Sahih Bukhari, Sahih Muslim, Sunan Abu Dawood, Jami al-Tirmidhi, Sunan an-Nasa’i, and either Sunan ibn Majah or Muwatta Malik.
In one of these six books, Sunan an-Nasa’i, there are a few major hadiths in the subchapter titled “Invading India”:
It was narrated that Thawban (RA), the freed slave of the Messenger of Allah (PBUH), said:
“The Messenger of Allah (PBUH) said: ‘There are two groups of my Ummah whom Allah will free from the Fire: The group that invades India, and the group that will be with ‘Isa bin Maryam, peace be upon him.'” (Sunan an-Nasa’i, Vol. 1, Book 25, Hadith 3177).
Scholars holding the latter argument include the well-respected Dr. Israr Ahmed who said that in his opinion Ghazwa-e-Hind was fought when Muhammad Bin Qasim conquered Sindh until Multan.
It was narrated that Abu Hurairah (RA) said:
“The Messenger of Allah (PBUH) promised us that we would invade India. If I live to see that, I will sacrifice myself and my wealth. If I am killed, I will be one of the best of the martyrs, and if I come back, I will be Abu Hurairah Al-Muharrar.” (Sunan an-Nasa’i, Vol. 1, Book 25, Hadith 3175). “Al-Muharrar” means the one freed from the fire of hell.
Other hadiths (listed below) are mentioned by Imam Naim ibn Hammad (RA), the teacher of Imam Bukhari (RA), and one of the first compilers of hadith collections, in his book Kitab al-Fitan. However, the following hadiths are not a part of Kutub al-Sittah.
It is related to Hazrat Abu Hurairah (RA) that the Prophet (PBUH) talked about Hindustan (India) & said:
“Definitely, one of your troop would do war with Hindustan, Allah would grant success to those warriors, as far as they would bring their kings by dragging them in chains/fetters. And Allah would forgive those warriors (by the Blessing of this great war). And when those Muslims would return, they would find Hazrat Isa Ibn-e-Maryam (AS) in Syria (Shaam)”.
The above hadith has also been mentioned by Ishaq bin Rahuya (RA) in his Musnad with some additions.
Hazrat Kaab (RA) narrates that the Prophet (PBUH) said:
“A King of Jerusalem (Bait-ul-Muqaddas) would make a troop move forward towards Hindustan. The Warriors destroy the land of Hind; would possess its treasures, then King would use those treasures for the décor of Jerusalem. That troop would bring the Indian kings in front of King (of Jerusalem). His Warriors by King’s order would conquer all the area between East & West. And would stay in Hindustan till the issue of Dajjal”.
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Proponents of a modern-day Ghazwa-e-Hind between Pakistan and India also heavily cite the work of the famous Sufi saint, Naimatullah Shah Wali (RH). Over 850 years ago, this saint, through his poetry, accurately and astonishingly foresaw the emergence of many major historical figures and future events in chronological order.
He predicted the arrival and names of a plethora of major personalities including Timur, Akbar, Guru Nanak. He also accurately predicted that the British would rule India for around 100 years (The British Crown ruled India from 1858-1947) – interestingly Viceroy Curzon banned the saint’s predictions via legislation in India. The saint also presaged both World War I and II. He predicted that when the British leave the subcontinent, two nations will be formed. He even foresaw that these two nations (Pakistan and India) would fight a 17-day war, which Pakistan would win (1965 War), and then how Pakistan would lose in the next encounter (1971 War).
However, most importantly, he foretold of the last battle between both nations resulting in a Pakistan victory and the dissolution of India. He goes into detail stating that this conflict would begin between Eid ul Azha and Eid Al Fitr. Afghanistan, Turkey, Iran, and China will mainly aid Pakistan in this bloody endeavor. Below is a small part of his Ghazwa-e-Hind predictions translated in English:
219) This event will take place after the Eid Qurban and before the Eid-ul-Fitr’s prayers. They will acquire back the lost territory, which will be occupied by the enemy.
220) 3 times, the river of Attock will run with the blood of the deniers.
221) Punjab, City of Lahore, State of Kashmir, Do-Aab (Ganga-Jamna rivers), city of Bijnor, will be captured by the Muslims.
The Muslim forces will vanquish India and Islam will rule over the land for 40 years according to the saint. For those interested, his poetry and their explanations authored by Advocate Nawabzadah Niaz Dil Khan can be found here (in Urdu). While the English version prepared by H.M. Sarwar Nizami can be found here.
Now that I have mentioned the basis of Ghazwa-e-Hind from an Islamic standpoint, let us deliberate further. Based on analysis of the above hadiths and predictions, scholars and laypersons are divided into two major camps (as already mentioned) regarding Ghazwa-e-Hind – one states that this battle has not yet taken place, while the other states that this battle took place long ago.
Scholars holding the latter argument include the well-respected Dr. Israr Ahmed who said that in his opinion Ghazwa-e-Hind was fought when Muhammad Bin Qasim conquered Sindh until Multan. Others have posited that Mahmud of Ghazni’s conquest of parts of India or the Mughals’ reign over India could have been Ghazwa-e-Hind. While advocating for the side that asserts the Ghazwa is yet to occur, famous scholars such as Allama Raza Saqib claim that this Ghazwa will be fought eventually between Pakistan and India.
Some renowned names in Pakistan such as Orya Maqbool Jan (former civil servant-turned-analyst) and Dr. Shahid Masood (TV personality) also promote the modern-day Ghazwa-e-Hind narrative. Although “Ghazwa” is considered a battle in which the Prophet (PBUH) himself took part in, proponents of Ghazwa-e-Hind state that the Prophet (PBUH) would be a part of this battle in spiritual fashion.
Whether this battle has taken place or will in the future, God knows best. However, if it is yet to occur, we shall become fully cognizant of this in these coming years as Pakistan and India have seemingly crossed the point of no return thanks to the BJP.
Sarmad Ishfaq writes as a researcher for Lahore Centre for Peace Research. Sarmad has several publications in international journals and magazines in the fields of Terrorism/Counterterrorism and International Relations. The views expressed in this article are author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Global Village Space’s editorial policy