Arab descriptions of early medieval India

Discussion in 'Religion & Culture' started by Maharaj, Apr 28, 2013.

  1. Maharaj

    Maharaj Regular Member

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    The trade between Arabia and India flourished during the period of early 8th to
    the 12th century. A lot of Arab scholars and traders visited India and described
    the Indian civilization of early medieval period.
    The historian Malika Mohammada who is the author of the book called "The foundations of the composite culture in India" translated the Arab texts into English.
    Here is a summary:
    "The Arab scholars who visited early medieval India and returned to Baghdad accepted
    in unambiguous terms the superiority of Indian achievements.Thus the Arab scholar
    Al-Jahiz (869 CE) writes: " The Hindus excel in astrology and mathematics. They have developed
    to a perfection their arts like sculpture, painting and architecture. They are the inventors of
    chess. They make good swords and know all the tricks of fencing. Their music is pleasant
    and they have all sorts of dances. From India we received the book called Khalilah-wa-Dimnah.
    These people have judgement and are brave. In some virtues they surpass the Chinese"

    The Arab scholar Yaquibi (895 CE) observes:" The Hindus are superior to all other nations in
    intelligence and thoughtfulness. They are more exact in astronomy and astrology than any
    other people. The Brahma Siddhanta is a good proof of their intellectual powers.; by this
    book the Greeks and the Persians have also profited"

    The Muslim scholar Al-Idrisi (1154 A.D.) says: "The Hindus are by nature inclined to justice and
    never depart from it in their actions. Their good faith, honesty and faithfulness to their promises
    are well known and they are so famous for these qualities that people flock to their country from
    every side."

    Another Arab historian called Quazi Said observes: "The Hindus have always been considered
    by all other people as the custodians of learning and wisdom. For them to kill or injure
    an animal is a sin"

    Reference: The foundations of the composite culture in India
    Malika Mohammada
     
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  3. JBH22

    JBH22 Senior Member Senior Member

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    I will add Hindu gullibility was also beyond comparison :0
     
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  4. Maharaj

    Maharaj Regular Member

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    The Muslim scholar Said Al-Andalusi who lived in the 11th century stated:
    "The Indians have acquired immense information and reached the zenith in their knowledge of the movements
    of the stars (astronomy) and the secrets of the skies (astrology) as well as other mathematical studies.
    After all that, they have surpassed all other people in their knowledge of medical science and the strengths of various
    drugs, the characteristics of compounds, and the peculiarities of substances"

    Reference: Critical Issues in Mathematics Education (Hc)
    Paul Ernest,Brian Greer,Bharath Sriraman
     
  5. Maharaj

    Maharaj Regular Member

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    It seems that the Arab scholar Said Al-Andalusi who lived in the 11th century was an admirer of Indian civilization.
    According to the book "From Bharata to India: Chrysee the Golden" which was written by M. K Agarwal
    Said Al-Andalusi stated: " India is the first nation to have cultivated the sciences, and
    although black, Allah ranked them above many white and brown people. It is a powerful, wealthy and
    populous nation known for the wisdom of its people and their abilities in all branches of knowledge"

    Reference From Bharata to India: Chrysee the Golden
    M. K Agarwal

    I don't really know what he means with black. I always thought that the Indians
    were described by foreigners in the past as brown and not as black.
     
  6. dhananjay1

    dhananjay1 Regular Member

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    India before the end of 12th century was in a class of it's own. Anyone who has studied the art, history and culture of classical time would notice the glaring difference between pre and post 1192AD time, specially in the northern India.
     
  7. A chauhan

    A chauhan "अहिंसा परमो धर्मः धर्म हिंसा तथैव च: l" Senior Member

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    Waiting for the leftists to derail the thread and to abuse Hindus!
     
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  8. civfanatic

    civfanatic Retired Moderator

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    @Maharaj

    None of the Arab scholars you mentioned actually visited India. Their testimonies are similar to that of the 18th century European Orientalists.

    You should read the accounts of Al-Beruni, who actually lived in South Asia, interacted with many brahmins, and became fluent in Sanskrit. His views are quite interesting to read.
     
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  9. Maharaj

    Maharaj Regular Member

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    Sulaiman , Ibn Battutah and Al-Biruni who visited India were impressed by the code of conduct during the early medieval period.
    Al-Biruni stated: "When the Hindus recovered Sindh they did not destroy the mosque which was established
    during the rule of the caliphate"

    Sulaiman wrote: "The Indians sometimes go to war for conquest, but the occasions are rare."

    Ibn Battutah wrote: "I was surprised to observe that the Hindu rulers of Malabar showed great respect for
    each others territory and exercised restraint against warfare. In Malabar there were 12 infidel sultans
    some of them strong with armies numbering fifty thousand men and others weak with armies of
    three thousand. Yet there is no discord between them and the strong does not desire to seize
    the possessions of the weak."

    Sulaiman stated:" When a Hindu king subdues a neighboring state, he places over it a man
    belonging to the family of the fallen prince , who carried on the government in the name
    of the conqueror so that the inhabitants do not suffer."
     
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  10. maomao

    maomao Veteran Hunter of Maleecha Senior Member

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    What happened to India is a known fact and why it happened is but obvious!
     
  11. PredictablyMalicious

    PredictablyMalicious Punjabi Senior Member

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    Blaming invaders, whether muslim or anyone else is an easy way out. Invaders gonna invade, slaves gonna slave. Why were the great hindus unable to reform themselves for thousands of years?
     
  12. Maharaj

    Maharaj Regular Member

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    This is the English translation of the of the Arabic text "The Categories of Nations" which was written
    by Said Al-Andalusi in the 11th century on medieval India:
    "The first nation to have cultivated science is India. This is a powerful nation having a large population, and a rich kingdom. India is known for the wisdom of its people. Over many centuries, all the kings of the past have recognized the ability of the Indians in all the branches of knowledge.

    The kings of China have stated that the kings of the world are five in number and all the people of the world are their subjects. They mentioned the king of China, the king of India, the king of the Turks, the king of the Furs (Persians) and the king of the Romans (1). They referred to the king of China as the "king of humans" because the people of China are more obedient to authority and are stronger followers of government policies than all the other peoples of the world. They referred to the king of India as the "king of wisdom" because of the Indians careful treatment of `ul?m (sciences) and their advancement in all the branches of knowledge. They referred to the king of the Turks as the "king of lions" because of the courage and the ferocity of the Turks. They referred to the king of Persia as the "king of kings" because of the richness, glory and importance of his kingdom, since Persia had subdued the kings of the center of the populated world, and because it controlled, to the exclusion of other kingdoms, the most fertile of the climatic regions. And they referred to the king of the Romans as the "king of men" because the Romans, of all the peoples, have the most beautiful faces, the best built bodies and the most robust physique.

    The Indians, as known to all nations for many centuries, are the metal (essence) of wisdom, the source of fairness and objectivity. They are peoples of sublime pensiveness, universal apologues, and useful and rare inventions. In spite of the fact that their color is in the first stage of blackness, which puts them in the same category as the blacks, Allah, in His glory, did not give them the low characters, the poor manners, nor the inferior principles associated with this group and ranked them above a large number of white and brown peoples.

    Some astrologers came up with an explanation for this condition; they said that both Saturn and Mercury control the destiny of the Indian people. Because of the influence of Saturn, their color turned black, while the influence of Mercury provided them with intellectual power and fine spirit. Saturn in partnership with Mercury gave them correctness of reasoning and depth of perception. This is why they enjoy the purity of talent and the power of distinction, making them totally different from the people of Sudan (Blacks) (2) such as the Zinj, the Abyssinians, the Ethiopians and others. To their credit, the Indians have made great strides in the study of numbers (3) and of geometry. They have acquired immense information and reached the zenith in their knowledge of the movements of the stars (astronomy) and the secrets of the skies (astrology) as well as other mathematical studies. After all that, they have surpassed all the other peoples in their knowledge of medical science and the strengths of various drugs, the characteristics of compounds and the peculiarities of substances.

    Their kings are known for their good moral principles, their wise decisions, and their perfect methods of exercising authority. As to theology, they are in agreement as to the unity of God, may His power and glory be proclaimed, and they exalt Him above any polytheism, but they are in disagreement about His various manifestations (4). But they are in agreement as to the banning of prophecies, prohibiting the slaughter of animals and refraining from maltreating them or eating their food (6). God Himself, may His power and glory be proclaimed. They revere the stars and represent them in paintings and approach them with offerings, each in accordance with what they have learned about its nature. Thus, they obtain the power of each star and use it in the lower world in accordance with their wishes. They believe in the times of return, in the revolutions of planets and their orbits, in the destruction of all the derivatives of the four elements every time the seven planets meet in the head of the lamb (Aries), and in the recreation of compounds during every cycle (7).
     
  13. maomao

    maomao Veteran Hunter of Maleecha Senior Member

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    Peacenicks can never reform they will get influenced by the invaders! That's a peculiar case with paki converts in particular (with elites in the society who are foreigners and even they are converts) and Hindus of India are no diffident, the corruption of culture is plutonic!
     
  14. parijataka

    parijataka Senior Member Senior Member

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    Hmm...thanks to brave Rajput warriors and later Sikhs and Marathas India remained Hindu. Consider the fact that Buddhist-Hindu kingdoms in NW and Bengal capitulated.
     
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  15. LurkerBaba

    LurkerBaba Staff Administrator

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    Still can't log into your old account Bhoja ?
     
  16. parijataka

    parijataka Senior Member Senior Member

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    @civfanatic - Buddhist-Hindu kingdoms in NW regions and Bengal fell giving rise to Islamisation in these regions. I am no history buff - what is your opinion on this ?
     
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  17. civfanatic

    civfanatic Retired Moderator

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    Why they got conquered or why they became Islamised?

    There were no "Buddhist-Hindu" kingdoms anywhere in India during the 12th century, when the Turks invaded India. Sena dynasty of Bengal was firmly orthodox, and the Kabul Shahis were Shaivite brahmans. It is also unlikely that many lay people were Buddhists by this time.

    This is what the 11th century Persian scholar Al-Beruni says about the Kabul Shahis:
     
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  18. Virendra

    Virendra Moderator Moderator

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    I don't think the blame can be laid squarely on any one community.
    There was an imperial power vaccum going on for centuries.
    When internally no one could do the needful, eventually it was filled by external powers.
     
  19. civfanatic

    civfanatic Retired Moderator

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    With a lack of political centralization, a foreign domination was inevitable. If not the Turks, someone else would have eventually invaded and conquered India. The war-making capabilities of individual Indian states were too below the mark due to feudalism and political decentralization.
     
  20. MAYURA

    MAYURA New Member

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    who would have been else? georgians or russians?


    The turks and mongols nearly controlled whole eurasia in 13th century.


    indian states fell because they had not counted on determination of turks to carry out jihad in india . it is the same reason why lenin succeeded in russia, mao in china and turks in india no matter if your opponents are big, if they do not understand you and your ruthlessness they are bound to fail.


    that was also the reason why a petty camel herder conquered arabia as his enemies thought he was doing it for economics but his determination and gangsterism was too much for them to bear.
     
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  21. civfanatic

    civfanatic Retired Moderator

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    There were plenty of other people in West and Central Asia besides the Turks. The Persians, Tajiks, Afghans, maybe even the Tibetans could have invaded India. As it turned out, many of them would eventually invade India anyway at later dates. If the Turks did not establish a centralized empire in India in the 13th century, someone else would have.

    "Ruthlessness" alone has never resulted in anyone becoming victorious. There were plenty of other factors, most of which were of far more consequence.
     

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