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7. The Literary Evidence



Islamic literary sources provide far more extensive evidence of temple destruction by the Muslim invaders of India in medieval times. They also cover a larger area, from Sinkiang and Transoxiana in the North to Tamil Nadu in the South, and from the Seistan province of present-day Iran in the West to Assam in the East. As we wade through this evidence, we can visualise how this vast area, which was for long the cradle of Hindu culture, came to be literally littered with the ruins of temples and monasteries belonging to all schools of Sanãtana Dharma-Bauddha, Jaina, �aiva, �ãkta, VaishNava and the rest. Archaeological explorations and excavations in modern times have proved unmistakably that most of the mosques, mazãrs, ziãrats and dargãhs which were built in this area in medieval times, stood on the sites of and were made from the materials of deliberately demolished Hindu monuments.

Hundreds of medieval Muslim historians who flourished in India and elsewhere in the world of Islam, have written detailed accounts of what their heroes did in various parts of the extensive Hindu homeland as they were invaded one after another. We have had access only to a few of these histories on account of our limitations in terms of language and resources. Most of the histories pertaining to what are known as provincial Muslim dynasties, have remained beyond our reach. One thing, however, becomes quite clear from the evidence we have been able to compile, namely, that almost all Muslim rulers destroyed or desecrated Hindu temples whenever and wherever they could. Archaeological evidence from various Muslim monuments, particularly mosques and dargãhs, not only confirms the literary evidence but also adds the names of some Muslim rulers whom Muslim historians have failed to credit with this pious performance.

We are citing the literary evidence also in a chronological order, that is, with reference to the time at which a particular work was written and not with reference to the period with which it deals. Appendix 1 Provides the names and dates of dynasties and kings described in these histories in the context of India. Most of these histories start with the creation of Adam and Eve or the rise of the Prophet of Islam, and come down to the time when the authors lived. Glorification of Islam, as its armies invaded various countries and laid them waste with slaughter and rapine, is their common theme. The writers have exhausted their imagination in describing g the holocaust that was caused everywhere and in coining names for those whom they look down upon as infidels and idolaters.

The apologists of Islam are likely to point out that quite often the instances of iconoclasm have been copied by succeeding historians from the writings of their predecessors and that this repetition should be kept in mind while assessing the extent of temple destruction. There is no substance in this argument. Firstly, there are many instances of temple destruction which are not reported in the histories but which archaeological evidence proves. Secondly, what is relevant in this context is that the historians regard some instances as significant enough to bear repetition. It is obvious that no account of some reigns was considered complete unless the concerned ruler was credited with the destruction of Hindu temples. Had it not been an important pious performance from the point of view of Islam, it is inconceivable that historians who wrote in times when the dust of war had settled down, would have cared to mention it. The repetitions are valuable from another point of view as well. In quite a few cases, succeeding historians add details which are not found in the preceding accounts. It is immaterial whether the details were missed by the earlier historians or are the products of the succeeding historians� imagination. What matters is that the historians thought them fit for the glorification of Islam.


The author, Ahmad bin Yahya bin Jãbir, is known as al-Bilãdhurî. He lived at the court of Khalîfa Al-Mutawakkal (AD 847-861) and died in AD 893. His history is one of the earliest and major Arab chronicles. It gives an account of Arab conquests in Syria, Mesopotamia, Egypt, Iran, Armenia, Transoxiana, Africa, Spain and Sindh. The account is brought down to Khalîfa Mu�tasim�s reign in AD 842. We have had no access to a translation of the full text in a language we know, and have depended on extracts.

Ibn Samûrah (AD 653)

His full name was �Abd ar-Rahmãn bin Samûrah bin Habîb bin �Abd ash-Shams. He was appointed governor of Seistan after the first Arab invasion of that province in AD 650 was defeated and dispersed. Ibn Samûrah reached the capital of Seistan in AD 653.

Seistan (Iran)

�On reaching Dãwar, he surrounded the enemy in the mountain of Zûr, where there was a famous Hindu temple.�

��Their idol of Zûr was of gold, and its eyes were two rubies. The zealous Musalmãns cut off its hands and plucked out its eyes, and then remarked to the Marzabãn how powerless was his idol to do either good or evil��

Qutaibah bin Muslim al-Bãhilî (AD 705-715)

He was a general of Al-Hajjãj bin Yûsuf Saqafî, the notorious Governor of Iraq under Caliph Al-Walîd I (AD 705-715). He was made Governor of Khurasan in AD 705 and is renowned in the history of Islam as the conqueror of Central Asia right upto Kashghar.

Samarqand (Farghana)

�Other authorities say that Kutaibah granted peace for 700,000 dirhams and entertainment for the Moslems for three days. The terms of surrender included also the houses of the idols and the fire temples. The idols were thrown out, plundered of their ornaments and burned, although the Persians used to say that among them was an idol with which whoever trifled would perish. But when Kutaibah set fire to it with his own hand, many of them accepted Islãm.�

Muhammad bin Qãsim (AD 712-715)

He was the nephew as well as son-in-law of Al-Hajjãj, who sent him to Sindh after more than a dozen invasions of that province had been defeated by the Hindus.

Debal (Sindh)

��The town was thus taken by assault, and the carnage endured for three days. The governor of the town, appointed by Dãhir, fled and the priests of the temple were massacred. Muhammad marked a place for the Musalmans to dwell in, built a mosque, and left four thousand Musalmans to garrison the place�

���Ambissa son of Ishãk Az Zabbî, the governor of Sindh, in the Khilafat of Mu�tasim billah knocked down the upper part of the minaret of the temple and converted it into a prison. At the same time he began to repair the ruined town with the stones of the minaret��

Multan (Punjab)

��He then crossed the Biyãs, and went towards Multãn� Muhammad destroyed the water-course; upon which the inhabitants, oppressed with thirst, surrendered at discretion. He massacred the men capable of bearing arms, but the children were taken captive, as well as the ministers of the temple, to the number of six thousand. The Muslamãns found there much gold in a chamber ten cubits long by eight broad, and there was an aperture above, through which the gold was poured into the chamber��

Hashãm bin �Amrû al-Taghlabî

He was appointed Governor of Sindh by Khalîfa Al-Mansûr (AD 754-775) of the Abbãsid dynasty. He led many raids towards different parts of India, both by land and sea.

Kandahar (Maharashtra)

�He then went to Kandahãr in boats and conquered it. He destroyed the Budd there, and built in its place a mosque.�


The author, Abu Ja�far Muhammad bin Jarîr at-Tabarî, is considered to be the foremost historian of Islam. His Tãrîkh is regarded as Umdatu�l-Kutab, mother of histories. He was born at Amil in Tabaristan in the year AD 839. He was educated at Baghdad and lived in Basra and Kufa as well. He travelled to Egypt and Damascus in order to perfect his knowledge of Traditions. He spent the last days of his life in Baghdad where he died in AD 922. We have had no access to his work in a translation we could follow. The citations below are only summaries made by modern historians.

Qutaibah bin Muslim al-Bãhilî (AD 705-715)

Beykund (Khurasan)

�The ultimate capture of Beykund (in AD 706) rewarded him with an incalculable booty; even more than had hitherto fallen into the hands of the Mahommedans by the conquest of the entire province of Khorassaun; and the unfortunate merchants of the town, having been absent on a trading excursion while their country was assailed by the enemy, and finding their habitations desolate on their return contributed further to enrich the invaders, by the ransom which they paid for the recovery of their wives and children. The ornaments alone, of which these women had been plundered, being melted down, produced, in gold, one hundred and fifty thousand meskals; of a dram and a half each. Among the articles of the booty, is also described an image of gold, of fifty thousand meskals, of which the eyes were two pearls, the exquisite beauty and magnitude of which excited the surprise and admiration of Kateibah. They were transmitted by him, with a fifth of the spoil to Hejauje, together with a request that he might be permitted to distribute, to the troops, the arms which had been found in the place in great profusion.�

Samarqand (Farghana)

�A breach was, however, at last effected in the walls of the city in AD 712 by the warlike machines of Kateibah; and some of the most daring of its defenders having fallen by the skill of his archers, the besieged demanded a cessation of arms to the following day, when they promised to capitulate. The request was acceded to by Kateibah; and a treaty was the next day accordingly concluded between him and the prince of Samarkand, by which the latter engaged for the annual payment of ten millions of dirhems, and a supply of three thousand slaves; of whom it was particularly stipulated, that none should either be in a state of infancy, or ineffective from old age and debility. He further contracted that the ministers of his religion should be expelled from their temples and their idols destroyed and burnt; that Kateibah should be allowed to establish a mosque in the place of the principal temple, in which, to discharge the duties of his faith� To all this, Ghurek, with whatever reluctance, was compelled to subscribe, and he proceeded accordingly to prepare for the reception of Kateibah; who at the period agreed upon, entered Samarkand with a retinue of four hundred persons, selected from his own relatives, and the principal commanders of his army. He was met by Ghurek, with a respect bordering on adoration, and conducted to the gate of the principal temple, which he immediately entered; and after performing two rekkauts of the ritual of his faith, directed the images of pagan worship to be brought before him, for the purpose of being committed to the flames. From this some of the Turks or Tartars of Samarkand, endeavouring to dissuade him, by a declaration, that among the images, there was one, which if any person ventured to consume, that person should certainly perish; Kateibah informed them, that he should not shrink from the experiment, and accordingly set fire to the whole collection with his own hands; it was soon consumed to ashes, and fifty thousand meskals of gold and silver, collected from the nails which has been used in the workmanship of the images.�

Yã�qûb bin Laith (AD 870-871)

He was a highway robber who succeeded in seizing Khurasan from the Tãhirid governors of the Abbãsid Caliphate. He founded the short-lived Saffãrid dynasty.

Balkh and Kabul (Afghanistan)

�He first took Bãmiãn, which he probably reached by way of Herãt, and then marched on Balkh where he ruined (the temple) Naushãd. On his way back from Balkh he attacked Kãbul�

�Starting from Panjhîr, the place he is known to have visited, he must have passed through the capital city of the Hindu �ãhîs to rob the sacred temple - the reputed place of coronation of the �ãhî rulers-of its sculptural wealth�

�The exact details of the spoil collected from the Kãbul valley are lacking. The Tãrîkh [-i-Sistãn] records 50 idols of gold and silver and Mas�udî mentions elephants. The wonder excited in Baghdãd by elephants and pagan idols forwarded to the Caliph by Ya�qûb also speaks for their high value.

�The best of our authorities put the date of this event in 257 (870-71). Tabarî is more precise and says that the idols sent by Ya�qûb reached Baghdãd in Rabî� al-Ãkhar, 257 (Feb.-March, 871). Thus the date of the actual invasion may be placed at the end of AD 870.�


�The author, Abû Rîhan Muhammad bin Ahmad al-Bîrûnî al-Khwãrizmî, was born in about AD 970-71. He was an astronomer, geometrician, historian and logician. He was sent to Ghazni in an embassy from the Sultãn of Khwãrizm. On invitation from Sultãn Mahmûd of Ghazni (AD 997-1030) he entered his service, travelled to India and spent forty years in the country, chiefly in the Punjab. He learnt Sanskrit and translated some works from that language into Arabic. His history treats of the literature and learning of the Hindus at the commencement of the eleventh century.

Jalam ibn Shaiban (Ninth century AD)

Multan (Punjab)

The Sun Temple at Multan has been described by early Arab geographers like Sulaimãn, Mas�ûdî, Istakhrî and Ibn Hauqal who travelled in India during the ninth and tenth centuries of the Christian era. The Arab invaders did not destroy it because besides being a rich source of revenue, it provided protection against Hindu counter-attack. �Mûltan,� wrote Mas�ûdî, �is one of the strongest frontier places of the Musalmãns� In it is the idol also known by the name of Mûltãn. The inhabitants of Sind and India perform pilgrimages to it from the most distant places; they carry money, precious stones, aloe wood and all sorts of perfumes there to fulfil their vows. The greatest part of the revenue of the king of Mûltãn is derived from the rich presents brought to the idol� When the unbelievers march against Mûltãn and the faithful  do not feel themselves strong enough to oppose them, they threaten to break their idol, and their enemies immediately withdraw.�

Al-Bîrûnî records: �A famous idol of theirs was that of Multan, dedicated to the sun, and therefore called Aditya. It was of wood and covered with red Cordovan leather; in its two eyes were two red rubies. It is said to have been made in the last Kritayuga� When Muhammad Ibn Alkasim Ibn Almunabih conquered Multan, he inquired how the town had become so very flourishing and so many treasures had there been accumulated, and then he found out that this idol was the cause, for there came pilgrims from all sides to visit it. Therefore he thought it best to have the idol where it was, but he hung a piece of cow�s flesh on its neck by way of mockery. On the same place a mosque was built. When the Karmatians occupied Multan, Jalam Ibn Shaiban, the usurper, broke the idol into pieces and killed its priests��

Sultãn Mahmûd of Ghazni (AD 997-1030)

Thanesar (Haryana)

�The city of Taneshar is highly venerated by Hindus. The idol of that place is called Cakrasvamin, i.e. the owner of the cakra, a weapon which we have already described. It is of bronze, and is nearly the size of a man. It is now lying in the hippodrome in Ghazna, together with the Lord of Somanath, which is a representation of the penis of Mahadeva, called Linga.�

Somnath (Gujarat)

�The linga he raised was the stone of Somnath, for soma means the moon and natha means master, so that the whole word means master of the moon. The image was destroyed by the Prince Mahmud, may God be merciful to him! - AH 416. He ordered the upper part to be broken and the remainder to be transported to his residence, Ghaznin, with all its coverings and trappings of gold, jewels, and embroidered garments. Part of it has been thrown into the hippodrome of the town, together with the Cakrasvamin, an idol of bronze, that had been brought from Taneshar. Another part of the idol from Somanath lies before the door of the mosque of Ghaznin, on which people rub their feet to clean them from dirt and wet.�


The author of this history in Arabic was Abû Nasr Muhammad ibn Muhammad al Jabbãru�l-�Utbî. The family from Utba had held important offices under the Sãmãnîs of Bukhara. �Utbi himself became Secretary to Sultãn Mahmûd of Ghazni (AD 997-1030). His work comprises the whole of the reign of Subuktigîn and that of Sultãn Mahmûd down to the year AD 1020. He lived a few years longer. Persian translations of this history are known as Tarjuma-i-Yamînî or Tãrîkh-i-Yamînî.

Amîr Subuktigîn of Ghazni (AD 977-997)

Lamghan (Afghanistan)

�The Amîr marched out towards Lamghãn, which is a city celebrated for its great strength and abounding wealth. He conquered it and set fire to the places in its vicinity which were inhabited by infidels, and demolishing idol temples, he established Islãm in them. He marched and captured other cities and killed the polluted wretches, destroying the idolaters and gratifying the Musalmãns.�

Sultãn Mahmûd of Ghazni (AD 997-1030)

Narain (Rajasthan)

�The Sultãn again resolved on an expedition to Hind, and marched towards Nãrãîn, urging his horses and moving over ground, hard and soft, until he came to the middle of Hind, where he reduced chiefs, who, up to that time obeyed no master, overturned their idols, put to the sword the vagabonds of that country, and with delay and circumspection proceeded to accomplish his design��

Nardin (Punjab)

�After the Sultãn had purified Hind from idolatry, and raised mosques therein, he determined to invade the capital of Hind to punish those who kept idols and would not acknowledge the unity of God� He marched with a large army in the year AH 404 (AD 1013) during a dark night�

�A stone was found there in the temple of the great Budda on which an inscription was written purporting that the temple had been founded fifty thousand years ago. The Sultãn was surprised at the ignorance of these people, because those who believe in the true faith represent that only seven thousand years have elapsed since the creation of the world, and the signs of resurrection are even now approaching. The Sultãn asked his wise men the meaning of this inscription and they all concurred in saying that it was false, and no faith was to be put in the evidence of a stone.�

Thanesar (Haryana)

�The chief of Tãnesar was� obstinate in his infidelity and denial of God. So the Sultãn marched against him with his valiant warriors, for the purpose of planting the standards of Islãm and extirpating idolatry�

�The blood of the infidels flowed so copiously, that the stream was discoloured, not withstanding its purity, and people were unable to drink it� The victory was gained by God�s grace, who has established Islãm for ever as the best of religions, notwithstanding that idolaters revolt against it� Praise be to God, the protector of the world, for the honour he bestows upon Islãm and Musulmãns.�

Mathura (Uttar Pradesh)

�The Sultãn then departed from the environs of the city, in which was a temple of the Hindûs. The name of this place was Maharatul Hind� On both sides of the city there were a thousand houses, to which idol temples were attached, all strengthened from top to bottom by rivets of iron, and all made of masonry work�

�In the middle of the city there was a temple larger and firmer than the rest, which can neither be described nor painted. The Sultãn thus wrote respecting it: - �If any should wish to construct a building equal to this, he would not be able to do it without expending an hundred thousand, thousand red dînãrs, and it would occupy two hundred years even though the most experienced and able workmen were employed�� The Sultãn gave orders that all the temples should be burnt with naptha and fire, and levelled with the ground.�

Kanauj (Uttar Pradesh)

�In Kanauj there were nearly ten thousand temples, which the idolaters falsely and absurdly represented to have been founded by their ancestors two or three hundred thousand years ago� Many of the inhabitants of the place fled and were scattered abroad like so many wretched widows and orphans, from the fear which oppressed them, in consequence of witnessing the fate of their deaf and dumb idols. Many of them thus effected their escape, and those who did not fly were put to death,�


The author, Khwãjah Mas�ûd bin Sa�d bin Salmãn, was a poet. He wrote poems in praise of the Ghaznavid Sultãns � Mas�ûd, Ibrãhîm and Bahrãm Shãh. He died sometime between AD 1126 and 1131.

Sultãn Abu�l Muzaffar Ibrãhîm (AD 1059-1099)

�As power and the strength of a lion was bestowed upon Ibrãhîm by the Almighty, he made over to him the well-populated country of Hindustãn and gave him 40,000 valiant horsemen to take the country, in which there were more than 1000 rãîs� Its length extends from Lahore to the Euphrates, and its breadth from Kashmîr to the borders of Sîstãn� The army of the king destroyed at one time a thousand temples of idols, which had each been built for more than a thousand years. How can I describe the victories of the king��

Jalandhar (Punjab)

�The narrative of thy battles eclipses the stories of Rustam and Isfandiyãr. Thou didst bring an army in one night from Dhangãn to Jãlandhar� Thou didst direct but one assault and by that alone brought destruction upon the country. By the morning meal not one soldier, not one Brãhman, remained unkilled or uncaptured. Their beads were severed by the carriers of swords. Their houses were levelled with the ground with flaming fire� Thou has secured victory to the country and to religion, for amongst the Hindus this achievement will be remembered till the day of resurrection.�

Malwa (Madhya Pradesh)

�Thou didst depart with a thousand joyful anticipations on a holy expedition, and didst return having achieved a thousand victories� On this journey the army destroyed a thousand idol-temples and thy elephants trampled over more than a hundred strongholds. Thou didst march thy arm to Ujjain; Mãlwã trembled and fled from thee� On the way to Kãlinjãr thy pomp obscured the light of day. The lip of infidelity became dry through fear of thee, the eye of plural-worship became blind��


This Persian history was translated from Arabic by Muhammad �Alî bin Hamîd bin Abû Bakr Kûfî in the time of Nãsiru�d-Dîn Qabãcha, a slave of Muhammad Ghurî, who contested the throne of Delhi with Shamsu�d-Dîn Iltutmish (AD 1210-1236). The translator who lived at Uccha had gone to Alor and Bhakkar in search of accounts of the Arab conquest. He met a Maulãna who had inherited a history written in Arabic by one of his ancestors. The translation in Persian followed because Kûfî found that the Hijãjî Arabic of the original was little understood by people in those days while the work was �a mine of wisdom.� The Arabic original has been lost. The author remains unknown.

Muhammad bin Qãsim (AD 712-715)

Nirun (Sindh)

�Muhammad built at Nîrûn a mosque on the site of the temple of Budh, and ordered prayers to be proclaimed in the Muhammadan fashion and appointed an Imãm.�

Siwistan and Sisam (Sindh)

Muhammad bin Qãsim wrote to al-Hajjãj, the governor of Iraq: �The forts of Siwistãn and Sîsam have been already taken. The nephew of Dãhir, his warriors, and principal officers have been despatched, and infidels converted to Islãm or destroyed. Instead of idol temples, mosques and other places of worship have been built, pulpits have been erected, the Khutba is read, the call to prayers is raised so that devotions are performed at the stated hours. The takbîr and praise to the Almighty God are offered every morning and evening.�

Alor (Sindh)

�Muhammad Kãsim then entered and all the town people came to the temple of Nobhãr, and prostrated themselves before an idol. Muhammad Kãsim enquired: �Whose house is this, in which all the people high and low are respectfully kneeling and bowing down.� They replied: �This is an idol-house called Nobhãr.� Then, by Muhammad Kãsim�s order, the temple was opened. Entering it with his officers he saw an equestrian statue. The body of the idol was made of marble or alabaster, and it had on its arms golden bracelets, set with jewels and rubies. Muhammad Kãsim stretched his hand and took off a bracelet from one of the idol�s arms. Then he asked the keeper of the Budh temple Nobhãr: �Is this your idol?� �Yes,� he replied, �but it had two bracelets on, and one is missing.� �Well� said Muhammad Kãsim, �cannot your god know who has taken away his bracelet?� The keeper bent his head down. Muhammad Kãsim laughed and returned the bracelet to him, and he fixed it again on the idol�s arm.�

Multan (Punjab)

�Then all the great and principal inhabitants of the city assembled together, and silver to the weight of sixty thousand dirams was distributed and every horseman got a share of four hundred dirams weight. After this, Muhammad Kãsim said that some plan should be devised for realizing the money to be sent to the Khalîfa. He was pondering over this, when suddenly a Brahman came and said, �Heathenism is now at an end, the temples are thrown down, the world has received the light of Islãm, and mosques are built instead of idol temples. I have heard from the elders of Multãn that in ancient times there was a chief in this city whose name was Jîbawîn, and who was a descendent of the Rãî of Kashmîr. He was a Brahman and a monk, he strictly followed his religion, and always occupied his time in worshipping idols. When his treasures exceeded all limits and computation, he made a reservoir on the eastern side of Multãn, which was hundred yards square.  In the middle of it he built a temple fifty yards square, and he made a chamber in which he concealed forty copper jars each of which was filled with African gold dust. A treasure of three hundred and thirty mans of gold was buried there. Over it there is an idol made of red gold, and trees are planted round the reservoir.� It is related by historians, on the authority of �Ali bin Muhammad who had heard it from Abû Muhammad Hinduî that Muhammad Kãsim arose and with his counsellors, guards and attendants, went to the temple. He saw there an idol made of gold, and its two eye were bright red rubies.

���Muhammad Kãsim ordered the idol to be taken up. Two hundred and thirty mans of gold were obtained, and forty jars filled with gold dust� This gold and the image were brought to treasury together with the gems and pearls and treasures which were obtained from the plunder of Multãn.�

Jãnakî�s Evidence

Jãnakî was one of the daughters of King Dãhir of Sindh. She was captured along with her sister and sent to the Khalîfa at Baghdad. When the Khalîfa invited Jãnakî to share his bed, she lied to him that she had already been violated by Muhammad bin Qãsim. Her sister supported her statement. The Khalîfa ordered that Muhammad be sewed up in raw hide and sent to his court. Muhammad was already dead when the chest containing him arrived in Baghdad. Jãnakî accused the Khalîfa of having killed one of his great generals without making proper enquiry. She said:

�The king has committed a very grievous mistake, for he ought not, on account of two slave girls, to have destroyed a person who had taken captive a hundred thousand modest women like us� and who instead of temples had erected mosques, pulpits and minarets��


The author of this collection of stories was Maulãna Nûru�d-Dîn Muhammad �Ufî. He was born in or near the city of Bukhara in Transoxiana. He came to India and lived in Delhi for some time in the reign of Shamsu�d-Dîn Iltutmish (AD 1210-1236). He travelled to several other places in India.

�Amrû bin Laith (AD 879-900)

Sakawand (Afghanistan)

�It is related that Amrû Lais conferred the governorship of Zãbulistãn on Fardaghãn and sent him there at the head of four thousand horse. There was a large Hindu place of worship in that country, which was called Sakãwand, and people used to come on pilgrimage from the most remote parts of Hindustãn to the idols of that place. When Fardaghãn arrived in Zãbulistãn he led his army against it, took the temple, broke the idols in pieces and overthrew the idolaters��


The author, Sadru�d-Dîn Muhammad Hasan Nizãmî, was born at Nishapur in Khurasan. He had to leave his ancestral place because of the Mongol invasion. He came to India and started writing his history in AD 1205. The history opens with the year 1191 and comes down to AD 1217.

Sultãn Muhammad Ghûrî (AD 1175-1206)

Ajmer (Rajasthan)

�He destroyed the pillars and foundations of the idol temples and built in their stead mosques and colleges, and the precepts of Islãm, and the customs of the law were divulged and established��

Kuhram and Samana (Punjab)

�The Government of the fort of Kohrãm and of Sãmãna were made over by the Sultãn to Kutbu-d dîn� He purged by his sword the land of Hind from the filth of infidelity and vice, and freed it from the thorn of God-plurality, and the impurity of idol-worship, and by his royal vigour and intrepidity, left not one temple standing��

Meerut (Uttar Pradesh)

�Kutbu-d dîn marched from Kohrãm �and when he arrived at Mirãt -which is one of the celebrated forts of the country of Hind, for the strength of its foundations and superstructure, and its ditch, which was as broad as the ocean and fathomless-an army joined him, sent by the dependent chiefs of the country�. The fort was captured, and a Kotwal appointed to take up his station in the fort, and all the idol temples were converted into mosques.�


�He then marched and encamped under the fort of Delhi� The city and its vicinity were freed from idols and idols-worship, and in the sanctuaries of the images of the Gods, mosques were raised by the worshippers of one God.�

�Kutbu-d dîn built the Jãmi� Masjid at Delhi, and adorned it with stones and gold obtained from the temples which had been demolished by elephants, and covered it with inscriptions in Toghra, containing the divine commands.�

Varanasi (Uttar Pradesh)

�From that place [Asni] the royal army proceeded towards Benares �which is the centre of the country of Hind� and here they destroyed nearly one thousand temples, and raised mosques on their foundations; and the knowledge of the law became promulgated, and the foundations of religion were established��

Aligarh (Uttar Pradesh)

�There was a certain tribe in the neighbourhood of Kol which had� occasioned much trouble� �Three bastions were raised as high as heaven with their beads, and their carcases became the food of beasts of prey.  That tract was freed from idols and idol-worship and the foundations of infidelity were destroyed���

Bayana (Rajasthan)

�When Kutbu-d dîn beard of the Sultãn�s march from Ghazna, he was much rejoiced and advanced as far as Hãnsî to meet him� In the year AH 592 (AD 1196), they marched towards Thangar, and the centre of idolatry and perdition became the abode of glory and splendour��

Kalinjar (Uttar Pradesh)

�In the year AH 599 (AD 1202), Kutbu-d dîn proceeded to the investment Kãlinjar, on which expedition he was accompanied by the Sãhib-Kirãn, Shamsu-d dîn Altamsh� The temples were converted into mosques and abodes of goodness, and the ejaculations of bead-counters and voices of summoners to prayer ascended to high heaven, and the very name of idolatry was annihilated��

Sultãn Shamsu�d-Dîn Iltutmish (AD 1210-1236)


�The Sultãn then returned [from Jalor] to Delhi� and after his arrival �not a vestige or name remained of idol temples which had raised their heads on high; and the light of faith shone out from the darkness of infidelity� and the moon of religion and the state became resplendent from the heaven of prosperity and glory.�


Also known as Tãrîkh-i-Kãmil, it was written by Shykh �Abu�l Hasan �Alî ibn �Abu�l Karam Muhammad ibn Muhammad ibn �Abdul Karîm ibn �Abdul Wãhid as-Shaibãnî, commonly known as Ibn Asîr. He was born in AD 1160 in the Jazîrat ibn �Umar, an island on the Tigris above Mosul. The book embraces the history of the world from the earliest period to the year AD 1230. It enjoys a very high reputation.

Khalîfa Al-Mahdî (AD 775-785)

Barada (Gujarat)

�In the year 159 (AD 776) Al Mahdî sent an army by sea under �Abdul Malik bin Shahãbu�l Musamma�î to India� They proceeded on their way and at length disembarked at Barada. When they reached the place they laid siege to it� The town was reduced to extremities, and God prevailed over it in the same year. The people were forbidden to worship the Budd, which the Muhammadans burned.�

Sultãn Mahmûd of Ghazni (AD 997-1030)

Unidentified Places (Rajasthan and Gujarat)

�So he prayed to the Almighty for aid, and left Ghaznî on the 10th of Sha�bãn AH 414� with 30,000 horse besides volunteers, and took the road to Multãn. After he had crossed the desert he perceived on one side a fort full of people, in which there were wells. People came down to conciliate him, but he invested the place, and God gave him victory� So he brought the place under the sway of Islãm, killed the inhabitants, and broke in pieces their images�

�The chief of Anhilwãra called Bhîm, fled hastily� Yamînu-d daula again started for Somnãt, and on his march he came to several forts in which were many images serving as chamberlains or heralds of Somnãt, and accordingly he (Mahmûd) called them Shaitãn. He killed the people who were in these places, destroyed the fortifications, broke in pieces the idols and continued his march to Somnãt��

Somnath (Gujarat)

�This temple of Somnãt was built upon fifty-six pillars of teak wood covered with lead. The idol itself was in a chamber� Yamînu�d daula seized it, part of it he burnt, and part of it he carried away with him to Ghaznî, where he made it a step at the entrance of the Jãmi� masjid��


�The author, �Alãu�d-Dîn Malik ibn Bahãu�d-Dîn Muhammad Juwainî, was a native of Juwain in Khurasan near Nishapur. His father who died in AD 1253 was one of the principal revenue officers under the Mongol ruler of Persia. �Alau�d-Dîn followed in his father�s office. He was with Halãkû during the Mongol campaign against the Ismãi�lians and was later on appointed the governor of Baghdad. He fell from grace and was imprisoned at Hamadan. He was, however, exonerated and restored to his office which he retained till his death in AH 681 (AD 1282). His history comes down to the year AD 1255.

Sultãn Jalãlu�d-Dîn Mankbarnî (AD 1222-1231)

Debal (Sindh)

�The Sultãn then went towards Dewal and Darbela and Jaisî� The Sultãn raised a Jãmi� Masjid at Dewal, on the spot where an idol temple stood.�


The author, Maulãna �Abû Umr �Usmãn Minhãju�d-Dîn bin Sirãju�d-Dîn al-Juzjãnî, was born in AD 1193. In 1227 he arrived in Uccha where he was placed in charge of Madrasa-i-Fîrûzî. He presented himself to Sultãn Shamsu�d-Dîn Iltutmish when the latter came to Uccha in 1228. The same year he accompanied Iltutmish to Delhi and joined the expedition to Gwalior, which city was placed in his charge. He returned to Delhi in 1238 and took charge of Madrasa-i-Nãsiriya. His fortune brightened after Nãsiru�d-Dîn became the Sultãn in 1246; he was appointed Qãzi-i-mamãlik in 1251. His history starts with Adam and comes down the year 1260.

Sultãn Mahmûd of Ghazni (AD 997-1030)

Somnath (Gujarat)

�When Sultãn Mahmûd ascended the throne of sovereignty, his illustrious deeds became manifest unto all mankind within the pale of Islãm when he converted so many thousands of idol temples into masjids� He led an army to Nahrwãlah of Gujarãt, and brought away Manãt, the idol, from Somnãth, and had it broken into four parts, one of which was cast before the entrance of the great Masjid at Ghaznîn, the second before the gateway of the Sultãn�s palace, and the third and fourth were sent to Makkah and Madînah respectively.�

The translator comments in a footnote: �Among die different coins struck in Mahmûd�s reign one bore the following inscription: �The right hand of the empire, Mahmûd Sultãn, son of Nãsir-ud-Dîn Subuk-Tigîn, Breaker of Idols.� This coin appears to have been struck at Lãhor, in the seventh year of his reign.�

Sultãn Shamsu�d-Dîn Iltutmish (AD 1210-1236)

Vidisha (Madhya Pradesh)

�After he returned to the capital in the year AH 632 (AD 1234) the Sultãn led the hosts of Islãm toward Mãlwah, and took the fortress and town of Bhîlsãn, and demolished the idol-temple which took three hundred years in building and which, in altitude, was about one hundred ells.�

Ujjain (Madhya Pradesh)

�From thence he advanced to Ujjain-Nagarî and destroyed the idol-temple of Mahãkãl Dîw. The effigy of Bikramjît who was sovereign of Ujjain-Nagarî, and from whose reign to the present time one thousand, three hundred, and sixteen years have elapsed, and from whose reign they date the Hindûî era, together with other effigies besides his, which were formed of molten brass, together with the stone (idol) of Mahãkãl were carried away to Delhî, the capital.�

Among his �Victories and Conquests� is counted the �bringing away of the idol of Mahãkãl, which they have planted before the gateway of the Jãmi� Masjid at the capital city of Delhi in order that all true believers might tread upon it.�


The author, Zakarîya bin Muhammad, was born in the town of Kazwin in Iran and became known as al-Kazwînî. His work is a compilation from the writings of travellers like Istakhrî and Ibn Hauqal. It was written between AD 1263 and 1275.

Sultãn Muhmûd of Ghazni (AD 997-1030)

Somnath (Gujarat)

�SOMNÃT-A celebrated city of India, is situated on the shores of the sea, and washed by its waves. Among the wonders of that place was the temple in which was placed the idol called Somnãt� When the Sultãn Yamînu-d Daula Mahmûd bin Subuktigîn went to wage religious war against India, he made great efforts to capture and destroy Somnãt, in the hope that Hindus would become Muhammadans. He arrived there in the middle of Zîl K�ada AH 416 (December AD 1025). The Indians made a desperate resistance� The number of slain exceeded 50,000��

Muhammad bin Qãsim (AD 712-715)

Multan (Punjab)

�Muhammad Kãsim, ascertaining that large offerings were made to the idol, and wishing to add to his resources by those means, left it uninjured, but in order to show his horror of Indian superstition, he attached a piece of cow�s flesh to its neck, by which he was able to gratify his avarice and malignity at the same time.�


The author, �Abû Sa�îd �Abdullah bin �Abû�l Hasan �Alî Baizãwî, was born at Baiza, a town near Shiraz in Iran. He became a Qãzî, first at Shiraz and then at Tabriz, where he died in AD 1286. His history starts from the earliest period and comes down to the Mongol invasions.

Sultãn Mahmûd of Ghaznî (AD 997-1030)

�Nãsiru-d dîn [Subuktigîn] died in the year AH 387 (AD 997) and the command of his troops descended to Mahmûd by inheritance, and by confirmation of Nûh, son of Mansûr� He demolished the Hindû temples and gave prevalence to the Muhammadan faith��


The author, Amîr Khusrû, was born at Delhi in 1253. His father occupied high positions in the reigns of Sultãn Shamsu�d-Dîn Iltutmish (AD 1210-1236) and his successors. His mother was the daughter of another dignitary under Sultãn Ghiyãsu�d-Dîn Balban (AD 1266-1286). He himself became a companion of Balban�s son, Prince Muhammad, and stayed at Multãn till the prince was killed in a battle with the Mongols. Reputed to be the dearest disciple of Shykh Nizãmu�d-Dîn Auliyã�, he became the lick-spittle of whoever came out victorious in the contest for the throne at Delhi. He became a court poet of Balban�s successor, Sultãn Kaiqubãd (AD 1288-1290) and wrote his Qirãnu�s S�ãdaîn in the Sultãn�s praise in AD 1289. Next, he joined Sultãn Jalãlu�d-Dîn Khaljî (AD 1290-1296) as a court poet after the latter murdered Kaiqubãd. He wrote in 1291 the Miftãhu�l-Futûh which describes Jalãlu�d-Dîn�s victories.

Sultãn Jalãlu�d -Dîn Khaljî (AD 1290-1296)

Jhain (Rajasthan)

�The Sultãn reached Jhãin in the afternoon of the third day and stayed in the palace of the Rãya� He greatly enjoyed his stay for s

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