Dr. Hafeezur Rahman
Ghazwa-e-Hind connotes the fall of the Indian nation to the Islamic forces. The Arabic word “Ghazwa” is unfortunately misconceived as eventual Muslim dominance of the Indian state.
A plethora of Islamic scholars unequivocally reject this purported prediction as notoriously misleading and false. They question its authenticity and assert that neither the Prophet Mohammad nor his Guided Companions ever made such spurious claims.
This politically motivated propaganda finds its way into a few unauthentic Hadiths (Sayings of Prophet Mohammad) and their misinterpretations.
The extremist factions of Pakistan percolate the venomous Ghazwa-e-Hind doctrine into Indian soil through various militant organizations such as Hizbul Mujahideen, Lashkar-e-Taiba, Jaish-e-Mohammed Harkat-ul-Mujahideen, Harkat-ul-Jihad al-Islami, Al-Badr, Afghan Taliban with the basic motive to create mayhem and political instability. The Afghan Taliban steers itself clear of the Al-Badr Afghan Taliban.
Ghazwa-e-Hind is widely denounced as a false and unsubstantiated doctrine.
Kashmir-based Ansar Ghazwat-ul-Hind – an Al-Qaeda-affiliated Islamist militant group – meticulously strives to free Kashmir from the Indian clutches and turn it into an Islamic state. To accomplish this goal it actively recruits mercenaries from Pakistan and Afghanistan to wage Jihad (Holy War) against the Indian state.
The extremist organization Lashkar-e-Taiba and the likes hypothesise the “prophecy” of Ghazwa-e-Hind, to a hypothetical scenario where the Pakistan military takes over India and unites it under one central Islamic rule
The lmeaning of Ghazwa is a war in which Prophet Mohammad led the Islamic forces to victory whereas Sirayah means those wars in which, although fought during the lifetime of Prophet Mohammad, however, he refrained from participating and instead his companions led the Islamic forces.
A gamut of Islamic scholars out-rightly discredit the authenticity of the Hadith and emphasize that the notion of Ghazwa-e-Hind runs antithesis to the fundamental Islamic tenets. It is imperative to analyze the Ghazwa-i-Hind narratives solely based on authentic sources.
Except for two Hadiths the entire corpus of almost 4500 Hadith is bereft of anything as remotely insane as Ghazwa-e-Hind. Let us critically scrutinize these two Hadith. Abu Huraira reports the first one which the majority of Islamic scholars unanimously write off as unreliable. Sauban narrates the second one. Mainstream Islamic scholars such as Albani take it as the prediction that connotes the peaceful arrival of Muslim merchants and Sufi saints during the Caliphate of Umar and Uthman via Gujarat, Sindh, and Kerala ports. Interestingly, none of the above two Hadith are found in five of the six major collections of Sound Hadith.
We were to consider the above-stated literal meaning of Ghazwa then we find that none of the two Hadiths stand the scrutiny as according to the firm Islamic belief Prophet Mohammad has already left for his heavenly abode and is not supposed to return to this temporal world. So, both of these Hadiths related to Ghazwa-e-Hind stand rejected.
The Ghazwa-i-Hind ideology hinges upon misinterpretations of unverified Hadith found in two collections of Nesai and Ahmad Ibn Hambal. However, the said Hadith fails to find any meaningful place in contemporary Islamic thought. To be true, it never was the constituent element of the teachings of Prophet Mohammed, his Guided Successors (who ruled for 30 years after his death), or Ahl-e-Bait (The sacred Family of Prophet Mohammad). It is essential to concede that throughout the first 30 years of the post-Mohammad Islamic Caliphate period, the battles were fought purely for worldly gains and the idea of Jihad (Islamic Holy war) never cropped up.
Similarly, Malaysian Islamic scholar Sheikh Imran Hussain also rules out the Hadith of Ghazwa-i-Hind as unauthentic. Across the various shades of Islamic thought this particular Hadith remains unacceptable and questionable. Sunni and Shia Islamic scholars from Egypt to Saudi Arabia Iran, Najaf, and the Indian subcontinent declare the said Hadith as spurious in no uncertain terms.
The early and medieval Muslim rulers such as Umayyids and Abbasids, Ottomans, and the Mughals were mainly engaged in power struggles and abstained from Jihad while the Ghazwa-i-Hind philosophy never formed the basis of their military expeditions.
None of the authentic Islamic sources – right from the Prophetic times through the Guided Caliphate period up to the teachings of Sufi saints – seem to corroborate the misconceived notion of Ghazwa-i-Hind. The works of Stalwarts like Abdul Haq Dehlavi and his followers are completely devoid of any reference to the expression of Ghazwa-i-Hind. The above comprehensive examination of this Hadith compels us to safely conclude that the Hadith related to Ghazwa-i-Hind are unreliable and unauthentic.
Arabic is a highly vocab-rich language and there could be tens and hundreds of words for a single object. For example for “Lion” there are almost 300 synonyms, more than 150 for camel, and so on. Similarly, the word Ghazwa in Arabic carries a wide variety of meanings that may include self-struggles to imbibe in virtues avoiding vices, and sincere efforts to create an ethical society.
The early traces of the Ghazwa-i-Hind doctrine can be traced to only half a century back in the creation of Bangladesh in 1971. Soon afterwards the Pakistani rulers aggressively pursued the Ghazwa-i-Hind agenda. Initially, it was restricted to a limited region. However, during the 1980s the Pakistani military regime exported this doctrine to India via Kashmir in the guise of Jihad. Very rapidly the flames engulfed other parts of India. It successfully radicalized the vulnerable youth who readily jumped to the wagon. Let me clarify that a large number of Islamic scholars of Pakistan and Bangladesh dissociate themselves from the spiteful Ghazwa-i-Hind philosophy terming it as anti-Islamic thought that fosters extremism.
The crux of Islamic teachings is peace and tranquility while aggression, warfare, suicide bombing, and other destructive activities are tremendously discouraged. The Ghazwa-i-Hind doctrine is a product of political vendetta and mala fide intentions of the Pakistani political establishment particularly aimed at exploiting Indian youths for ulterior motives.
In a nutshell, Ghazwa-e-Hind advocates cause immense irreparable harm to the Indian Muslims. It’s high time that they revisit their strategy and discontinue this malicious agenda. Presently, the Indian Muslims do a tightrope walk between the two conflicting narratives. This is because of the unfounded and hazardous propaganda from across the border.
(Dr. Hafeezur Rahman is an Islamic scholar, Author, and Convenor of the Khusro Foundation Nee Delhi)