It baffles the mind on the opposition by some Islamic and anti-Hindu organizations in India to the construction of Ram Mandir in Ayodhya. Historical facts and the Hindu’s strong faith in their religion has failed to convince them to accept the truth and willingly agree to the Ram temple being built.
To try to deduce what could be the reason for their stubborn opposition and illegitimate demand, maybe there’s a need to go back in history to understand the relation the Islamic invaders and rulers had with the Hindu temples and the native population of the country.
These are historical events that had been recorded by many Islamic historians whose works were then translated in English,most of them back in the early 1900s.
Let’s start with one of the early Islamic rulers – Mahmud of Ghazni.
Mahmud of Ghazni (Afghanistan)
Mahmud was born in AD 971 in Ghazni, eastern Afghanistan. Among his first attacks on India, on the order of Amir Sabuktagin (his father), Mahmud destroyed a temple on the bank of the River Sodra (Chenab). This was even before he became a ruler. He was called a Ghazi primarily because he fought against the non-muslims. He is said to have invaded Hindustan around 16 to 17 times, each time wreaking havoc and committing atrocities on the natives there.
He is known to have said, “Whenever I am at leisure from the affairs of my kingdom I will spend most of my time in going to Hindustan and wage a Holy War”. (Pg8-Tarikh-i-Sultan Mahmud-i-Ghaznavi)
In the year 1001 AD, in his war against Jaipal fought in current Peshawar, its recorded – “Sultan Mahmud behaved bravely and victory fell to him, so he become famous as a Ghazi; and he captured Jaipal with fifteen men, who were some his sons and some his relations, and he killed five thousand Hindus and brought back much plunder. And he took from the necks of those prisoners sixteen necklaces, and those necklaces are called in the Hindi language ‘Mala’ and people fixed the price of each necklace at one lac and eighty thousand gold mohurs.” (Pg9-Tarikh-i-Sultan Mahmud-i-Ghaznavi)
In the year 1008 AD, after winning the war against Anandpal (son of Jaipal), its noted, “To make firm his religion he determined (to wage) a holy war against the infidels of Nagarkot in Kangra (Kangra was given the name because of the ancient plastic surgeons who provided services to royals to improve their looks and soldiers who were injured during wars – now in Himachal), and to destroy their idol-houses and started. And at that time that fort was famous as the fort of Bhim, (and) when the Sultan reached, he ordered it to be besieged, and killed many people in the neighborhood. Seven lakhs of gold mohurs and eight hundred maunds (1 maund ~ 15kg at that time) of gold and silver vessels and two hundred maunds pure gold and two thousand maunds of virgin silver and twenty maunds of assorted jewels which had been collected there since the time of Bhim”. (Pg18-Tarikh-i-Sultan Mahmud-i-Ghaznavi)
In a separate account of that raid its mentioned that he decamped with 1,400 lbs of gold and silver plate, 400 lbs of golden ingots, 4000 lbs of silver bullion, 40 lbs weight of pearls, corals, diamonds and rubies valued at 313,333 pounds sterling. (Pg595 – The Illustrated history of the British empire in India and the East – Dr. E.H.Nolan)
According to historical accounts by royalkangra- “After loading the booty on camels, the Sultan returned to Ghazni where he displayed his loot to the citizens of Ghazni. It is believed that he ordered the idol of Ambika Mata to be cut and made into weights to measure beef (cow-meat), the base of the idol was crushed and sprinkled on the path which leads to the Mecca-Madina. The gold canopy of the goddess was melted and turned into the Sultan’s bathing tub.” (www.royalkangra.com)
In the year 1011 AD, its noted by the historians– “a longing for holy war again was born (in his mind) and he started for Thanesar, which is one of the countries of Hindustan, because someone had said to him that Thanesar is, in the opinion of the Hindus, the comparison, in honor equal to Mecca the Great, and that in it there is an ancient idol-house in which the Hindus have made many idols, and the greatest among them (all) is called Jag-som, and this is the belief of the infidels that when the world was born that idol was born with it.” (Pg18-Tarikh-i-Sultan Mahmud-i-Ghaznavi)
[Thanesar – possibly coming from the word Sthanishwar – Place/abode of the lord, is situated in current Haryana. The Sthaneshwar Mahadev Temple, whose presiding deity is Lord Shiva, is believed to be place where the Pandavas with Krishna prayed to Lord Shiva and received his blessings for victory in the battle of Mahabharata.]
On coming to know of Mahmud’s intentions, when Anandpal pleaded with him not to destroy the temple, the Sultan answered- “In the religion of the Musalmans it is (laid down that this is) a meritorious act that anyone who may destroy the place of worship of the heathen he will reap great reward on the day of judgment, and my intention is to remove entirely idols from the cities of Hindustan. How then can I prevent myself from going to Thanesar”. (Pg21-Tarikh-i-Sultan Mahmud-i-Ghaznavi)
Before the kings could prepare to defend Thanesar, Mahmud reached it and its recorded, “.. he plundered it (Thanesar) at his ease, and broke all the idols and sent (the idol) Jag-som to Ghazni (with orders that) it should be placed in the road, so that everyone might pass over it and trample it under his feet ; and he found so great a treasure in the temples that it could not be counted.” (Pg21-Tarikh-i-Sultan Mahmud-i-Ghaznavi). After that, Mahmud dispatched a little less than two hundred thousand slave-girls and slaves from Hindustan and returned to Ghazni. It is said that that year they counted the city of Ghazni as one of the cities of Hindustan, because many slaves and slave-girls had fallen to each noble there. (Pg22-Tarikh-i-Sultan Mahmud-i-Ghaznavi)
In the year 1013 AD, while trying to defeat Anadpal’s son Trilochanapala in the Kashmir valley, the historians write– “Sultan plundered much wealth in that valley, and reconciled many people to (joining the) Musalman faith, then he returned to Ghazni”. (Pg26-Tarikh-i-Sultan Mahmud-i-Ghaznavi)
In the year 1018 AD, Mahmud marched toward Mathura. The historians write– “He reached his destination without anxiety and without interference, and plundered the city and burnt the idol-houses of the city and neighborhood, and broke the idols and much wealth came into his hands. And he was so astonished at the sight of those buildings (which he found there) that he sent a letter to the nobles and chiefs of Ghazni, and wrote this paragraph in it: ‘In this city there are a thousand buildings with foundations (as strong) as the sky and most of them are built of marble, and there are so many idol-houses in them that they are beyond counting; and if anyone should desire to build such buildings, then if he were to spend a lakh of gold mohurs on expert builders, he would (hardly) complete it in two hundred years.’” (Pg29-Tarikh-i-Sultan Mahmud-i-Ghaznavi)
It is said that – “he found amongst them five idols of pure gold, in the eye-sockets of which they put sapphires (and) all those sapphires were valued at fifty thousand dirams. There was another idol of gold in which they had inserted a plate of emeralds, which in weight was 400 miskals (1 miskal = 4.25g). When they had broken up that idol eight thousand three hundred miskals of gold were got from it, and of idols of silver, great and small, there were more than one hundred, (and) when they broke them all up they loaded a hundred camels with them. After this they set fire to all the buildings, (and) when twenty days had passed they marched from that place.” (Pg30-Tarikh-i-Sultan Mahmud-i-Ghaznavi)
In a similar rendition in history, its noted- “Among the lord’s idols in that temple, there were 5 made of red gold, each 5 yards high, fixed in air without support… In the city of Mathura, there were a thousand houses, to which idol temples were attached. The sultan gave orders that all temples should be burnt by naphtha and fire and leveled with the ground.” (Pg45;The history of India as told by its own historians)
On his way to Kanauj, Mahmud destroyed 7 forts on the banks of the Ganga and of all the gorgeous shrines, not a single was spared. Its noted – “The Sultan reached those forts and was taking a view of the (surrounding) countries (when) it chanced that his eye fell on an idol-house which, in the belief of the Hindus, was standing for four thousand years. In those forts and idol-houses everything that the Musalmans found they took possession of..” Utbi – Mahmud’s court historian narrated about that expedition– “The Sultan then opposed the fortresses of Kanûj; and he beheld seven castles, placed upon the margin of the water of the Ganges.
Nearly ten thousand temples were built in these forts, and these lying idolaters declared that the date of the commencement of those fabrics was two or three hundred thousand years, and from this confident belief derived pride and pretension. Their trust in them was continually recurring, under all circumstances, for they were desirous to deposit money therein, and in time of need made processions around them, humbly imploring aid. The greater number of the people had deserted their homes, from terror at the Sultan, but some remained. The Sultan in one day took all those fortresses and plundered them, and thence turned to the fortress of Manaj, called the Brahmin’s Castle. The Sultan levelled to the ground every fort.. and the inhabitants of them either accepted Islam or took up arms against him”. (Pg457 – The Kitab-i-Yamini by Al-Utbi)
The aftermath of the attack on Kanauj in 1018 AD, resulted in – “.. twenty thousand gold pieces and a thousand thousand rupees and fifty thousand slave, female and male, and three hundred and fifty elephants, and there was much other property.” In that attack, its mentioned that the loot and prisoners (Hindus) were such great in number that the slave markets of Persia were glutted and a servant could be bought for a couple of shillings. (Pg25 – Medieval India under Mohammedan rule; Stanley Lane-Poole)
In the year 1021 AD, Mahmud again attacked the kingdoms of Kirat near Turkestan (which was part of Hindustan) and Nardin (Punjab). Under the threat of the sword he made the king of Kirat and his subjects accept Islam. In his attack on Nardin its mentioned – “The Sultan sent Hajib Ali, the son of Altaian Jazib to Nardin; He, when he got there, conquered that place and many slave-girls and slaves and (much) property came into his hands, and there was a great idol-house there, and when he destroyed it an engraved stone was found. in it which (showed that the idol) had been, in the belief of the Hindus, built for, 40,000 years.” (Pg35-Tarikh-i-Sultan Mahmud-i-Ghaznavi)
As noted by the Islamic historians in their accounts of Mahmud, the Somnath idol was thought to be from the time of lord Krishna and that it was 4,000 years old. According to the Brahmins, lord Krishna disappeared from earth from that place. “And in the temple of Somnath on nights or days when the moon or the sun is eclipsed more than two or three lakhs of people would assemble, and from distant countries people would bring offerings to it, and all the villages with which (various) rulers of Hindustan had endowed Somnath were said to be two thousand (in number.) And two thousand Brahmans used continually to worship Somnath, and every night they used to bathe it in fresh water from the Ganges… And in the treasury of Somnath so many small idols of gold and silver were found that people could not count them.” (Pg42-Tarikh-i-Sultan Mahmud-i-Ghaznavi)
That was the very significance of the Somnath temple. In the year 1024 AD, after coming to know of the importance of this temple, Mahmud led a war campaign to destroy it. In the war that followed its noted by historians that Mahmud’s army – “slew five thousand heretics… (he saw) in the fort an idol-house which had been built so long and broad, that it had fifty-six pillars and all were studded with jewels. And Somnath was an idol of stone five yards long, of which two yards were in the earth and three yards out..” In another version of that incident by Col. G.B. Malleson, its mentioned “Band after band of the defenders (Hindus) retreated in the temple of Somnath and with their hands clasped around their necks, wept and passionately entreated Mahmud to spare them. Then again they tried to put up a fight, till they were slain and but a few were left alive. These took to the seas in boats to make their escape, but the Musulmans over-took them and some were killed and some were drowned.” (Pg76; History of Afghanistan, From the Earliest Period to the Outbreak of the War of 1878 –
In another excerpt from Tarikh-i-Alfi its mentioned that as soon as Mahmud cast his eyes on the God’s idol he lifted his battle-axe with much anger and struck it with such force that that the idol broke into pieces. The fragments of it were ordered to be taken to Ghaznin and were cast down at the threshold/steps of Jami Masjid [to be walked on daily by people visiting there]. According to Ibn-Asir, by the time Mahmud completed the Somnath massacre the number of slain exceeded fifty thousand. (Pg471;The History of India, as Told by Its Own Historians. The Muhammadan Period; Sir H. M. Elliot)
In another version by Stanley Lane-Poole (1907), according to records on Somnath attack by Mahmud– “Fifty thousand Hindus suffered (died) for their faith, and the sacred shrine was sacked to the joy of the true believers. The great stone (shiva-ling) was cast down, and its fragments carried off to grace the conquerors palace. The temple gates were set up at Ghazni, and a million pounds worth of treasure rewarded the iconoclast”. (Pg28 – Medieval India under Mohammedan rule; Stanley Lane-Poole)
According to the translation of ‘Tarikh-i-sultan Mahmud-i-Ghanznavi’ – ‘Mahmud struck it so in the face that he broke the face. After that he gave orders (and) took two pieces from it (and) sent them to Ghazni. One lie put in the doorway of the Friday mosque, and the other lie put in the palace of the King’s audience hall. For six hundred years those pieces (of the idol) lay there and people used to see them. And he separated two more pieces of Somnath and sent them to Mecca and Medina (so) that they might pave-them in the main roads that poor and great- might walk over them”. (Pg41-Tarikh-i-Sultan Mahmud-i-Ghaznavi)
An apt gist of Mahmud was again written by one of his historians – ‘When Sultan Mahmud ascended the throne of sovereignty, his illustrious deeds became manifest unto all mankind within the pale of Islam, when he converted so many thousands of idol-temples into masjids, and captured so many of the cities of Hindustan, and overthrew and subdued its Raes.’ (Pg81 – Tabaḳāt-i-Nāṣirī by Minhāj Sirāj Jūzjānī)
These are but some examples of Mahmud’s savagery on India and its native population where his aim was the annihilation of Hinduism, destruction of temples and murtis and imposing the Islamic way of life by the sword.
The question we should ask ourselves – Has that hateful and ignorant ideology been discarded in this modern world or do we still have institutions/individuals in India who conform to it, possibly because of which they oppose the legitimate demand of the Hindus for the construction of the Ram Mandir?