Table of Contents
Conquest of Central Asia: 705 – 715
Across the river Oxus lay the region of Transoxiana. Muslims’ rule extended till the Khurasan Province. Transoxiana was divided into several kingdoms, tribes and independent cities like Bukhara, Samarqand, and Shash (Tashkent) etc. The people were mostly Buddhists and Magians (fire-worshippers). The cities of the Central Asia were renowned for their prosperity and riches, for they were situated on the great international trade route between China and Western Asia and Europe.
Qutayba bin Muslim
After the accession of Walid, Hajjaj dismissed Yazid bin Muhallab from the post of governorship of Khurasan and replaced him with Qutayba. On the instruction of Hajjaj, Qutayba took an extensive expedition to conquer vast lands of Central Asia. Qutayba shifted the capital from Nishapur to Merv, which would help him in his conquests.
Wins of Qutayba:
➢ Captured Balkh in 705
➢ Captured Bukhara in 709 after 3 years of fighting
➢ Captured Samarkand in 711
➢ Captured Ferghana in 714
➢ Conquered Kashgar Province of China in 715
In the meanwhile, al-Walid had died. His successor Sulaiman was a mortal enemy of Hajjaj and hated anyone who worked under Hajjaj’s command. Qutayba knew about Sulaiman and decided to revolt against him, but half of his troops deserted him. He died at the hands of Sulaiman just like Hajjaj did.
Review of the Conquests of Central Asia
First, the governor had started to favor people of Tamim tribe, who showed great valor in the battles. This disappointed few other tribes. Second, the battles that lasted for
about a decade had disrupted the trade that Khurasan people were part of. They traded with Central Asians. Lastly, Hajjaj kept Mawalis in secondary position. This is the reason why no one came to the aid of Hajjaj or Qutayba when Sulaiman executed them.
Conquest of Sindh: 711 – 715
We all know the story of how Hajjaj sent Muhammad bin Qasim after Raja Dahir refused to hand over the people that were captured near his seas. Muhammad bin Qasim was sent with 6k horsemen and 6k camel-riders. He stayed there nearly for a year or two during which he conquered the lands till Multan. The Islamic Empire would go on to rule the region for another century.
Conquest of Spain: 711 – 714
At that time, Spain was a Gothic Kingdom ruled by Roderick, a usurper. The Gothic Kings and feudalist had tight control over the serfs and slaves and later on the Jews there too. They all were persecuted and tortured to work on the fields for the benefit of the lords. Upon the capture of the region, serfs, slaves and the Jews welcomed Arabs.
Roderick had killed one of legitimate King’s daughter. That King approached Musa to invade Spain. Musa sought Walid’s permission, which Walid was reluctant to give at first but ultimately gave him the permission.
Musa first sent his officer Tarif to South Spain. He sent message to Musa that conditions were favorable there since the serfs, slaves, and the Jews were all under persecution there. Upon the message, Musa raised an army of nearly 7k men and put it under the command of Tariq bin Ziyad. Tariq went on to conquer Southern Spain fort which was built on a rock and came to be called as Jabal al-Tariq, today known as Gibraltar.
Roderick came to fight Tariq in 711, but was defeated. Tariq, after that, divided his army into four units and dispatched each in particular direction for conquest.
Musa, on hearing about the great conquests of his lieutenant, also set out for Spain. Both started to quarrel on the division of bounty but finally came to terms and resolved for further conquests. Except for North-Western region, they conquered the whole of Peninsula and had plans to go further towards France. The Caliph Walid called them back to asses the situation and then would allow them to go further in France. But as they returned, Walid had died and had been succeeded by Sulaiman, who took all the war bounty and threw them both in dungeons. They were soon released but died in destitute state.
The Arab conquest brought prosperity back to the land. Many serfs and slaves accepted Islam. Jews and Christians had complete freedom; they were now to pay Jizya and Kharaj only. Over time, Spain would go on to become one of the chief centers of Islamic empire where art, architecture, and learning flourished.