Several WhatsApp groups across the country received an unexpected video in which Syed Salahuddin, the leader of the Hizbul Mujahideen who is based across the Line of Control, made a surprising statement that Ghazwa-e-Hind has been launched in the Kashmir Valley. It is surprising because so far Salahuddin had not made an utterance on the apocyplyptic notion of Ghazwa-tul-Hind, or the so-called Islamic battle against India. He had rather reportedly said this earlier:
“The so-called Islamic State (ISIS) spilled blood of Muslims in Syria, Palestine, Iraq, Libya, Turkey and Afghanistan. Wherever you look, they (IS) have spilled blood of Muslims; they have served the interests of the imperialists.”
However, now Hizbul Mujahideen chief Syed Salahuddin is speaking much like the most jihadists based in Pakistan who had been preaching Ghazwatul Hind for long, as can be seen below:
Maulana Masood Azhar, (chief of Jaish-e-Muhammad):
“Ghazwa-e-Hind will continue irrespective of Indo-Pak ties” (Source: Al-Qalam online magazine)
Maulana Irfan ul Haq (Top Taliban cleric):
“GH is an honour that Allah has bestowed on Pakistanis. And this is the cause that led to the creation of Pakistan. Pakistanis should now get ready to fight Ghazwa-e-Hind.” (Source: YouTube video)
Sheikh Yusuf al-Abeeri (Taliban Mufti)
“Those who will participate in this war against infidels, will be granted faster entry to paradise as compared to ordinary Muslims.” (Source: Nawa-e-Afghan Jihad Urdu print magazine)
Ghazwa-e-Hind is not just the vision of terrorist organisations like Taliban and Jaish-e-Muhammad but is now liked and shared by 1.3 million people who viewed the video speech by the so-called security analyst in Pakistan Zaid Hamid.
Far from a fringe belief, it is a concept that many people in Pakistan and beyond ascribe to. Mentions of Ghazwa-e-Hind have surged since India revoked Kashmir’s special status. Pakistan’s well-known rightwing commentator, in this video posted to Facebook on August 31, brandishes a Kalashnikov as if ready to march off to the ‘Great War between believers and non-believers in Hind’, says:
“We are entering Ghazwa-e-Hind, the war which was prophesied by the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh)….“After what Narendra Modi and the infidels of the India had done to Kashmir, no one should have any doubt that in the coming times,” he says. “The final battle of the Ghazwa-e-Hind will soon be fought between Muslims and infidels.”
On the floor of parliament, a Pakistani minister, Ali Muhammad Khan, declared Ghazwa-e-Hind will come, come what may. Pakistan didn’t make an atom bomb for “fun and games [khail tamasha]”, he thundered. “We will show you if it becomes necessary.”
Even celebrity Veena Malik, a Pakistani actor who has appeared in several Indian movies, has been tweeting Hadith. On September 1, she posted the one that mentions an attack on Hind. “If you look at history, Ghazwa-e-Hind is mentioned”…. “It is also true that there comes a point when Muslims had to raise their swords and had to fight.”
Islamic Experts in India Refute Ghazwa-e-Hind:
Maulana Abdul Hamid Numani (Jamiat Ulema-e-Hind):
“Ghazwa-e-Hindhadith was fulfilled at the time of the ‘Four Righteous Caliphs’, soon after the demise of the Prophet Muhammad, when several companions of the Prophet came to India in order to spread Islam.”
Maulana Mufti Mushtaq Tijarvi (Jamaat-e-Islami Hind):
“It is possible that this hadith report is not genuine at all. It might have been fabricated at the time of Muhammad bin Qasim’s invasion of Sindh in order to justify it.”
Mufti Sajid Qasmi (Dar ul-Uloom Deoband):
“Ghazwa-e-Hind might refer to the invasion of Sindh by the Arabs under Muhammad bin Qasim in the eighth century.”
Maulana Waris Mazhari (Prof. in Islamic Studies at Jamia Hamdard):
“The conflict between India and Pakistan over Kashmir is not jihad; the dream of establishing “Muslim hegemony throughout the entire world” isfanciful. The term Ghalba-e Islam, the establishment of Islam’s supremacy, used in the context of the Quran and the sayings of the Prophet (Hadith), refers not to any political project of Muslim domination, but, rather, to the establishment of the superiority of Islam’s spiritual message.”
Islamic Experts in Pakistan Refute the Ghazwa-e-Hind:
Maulana Tariq Masood, a Karachi-based cleric who has a significant following in the Deoband school of thought, says there is a highly authentic Hadith about Ghazwa-e-Hind narrated by Hazrat Subban (RA). The gist of the Hadith roughly translates into: The Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) said that the fire of Hell has been declared haram on two groups from my Ummah: one that would fight in Hind and the other which would accompany Isa Ibn-e-Maryam (AS) (Al Nasai, 28:3, 4382).
However, he believes that it merits certain qualifications. “The most important thing that people don’t consider before explaining the Hadiths is that the word ‘Hind’ which was used in the era of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) … is not the present-day Hindustan,” he said. During the Prophet’s time, Hindustan included Bangladesh, Burma and Pakistan. They were all Arz-e-Hind or the Land of Hind. By that reasoning, if anyone attacked Pakistan, they would be technically attacking a part of Hind.
Dr Khalid Zaheer, an Islamic scholar who holds a PhD from the University of Wales, maintains that the timing of Ghazwa-e-Hind is not clearly written anywhere.
Maulana Masood says: “People often end up sharing Hadiths on Facebook without giving the proper references—a dangerous practice….. “You shouldn’t share Hadiths anywhere without authenticating it with an Aalim (religious scholar)”. He is all too familiar with the dissemination of this material as he is one of those few ulema who had successfully connected with the younger lot on social media. Video clips of his sermons are widely shared.
Knowing the reference is crucial as it goes to the authenticity of the Hadith. So, for example, Maulana Masood says, some people confuse this Hadith with another one that talks about an army which will rise from Khorasan, an area comprising parts of modern day Afghanistan, Iran and Pakistan. The army will carry black banners and will attack Hind, according to the Hadith narrated by Abu Hurairah (RA), said Maulana Masood, he said as recently reported in SAMAA TV.
Some clerics believe that after putting the rulers of Hind in chains, the army will return to Syria where it will join Isa Ibn-e-Maryam (AS). But Maulana Masood cautions that this is a weak Hadith and ulema have a difference of opinion over it.
Mufti Faisal Japanwala, a lecturer of Islamic Studies at Iqra University, says that the attacks of Afghan conqueror Mehmood Ghaznavi and Arab commander Muhammad bin Qasim on Hindustan were part of Ghazwa-e-Hind. Such is the diversity of opinion that many clerics like Mufti Faisal believe that Ghazwa-e-Hind has already taken place.
Of course, the more open to interpretation a point on religion the easier it is for militant outfits to use such texts to justify their designs.
“There are multiple religious references about Ghazwa-e-Hind but the one which I heard the most is that the Muslims will attack Hind and the rulers of Hind will be chained,” said a counter-terrorism official. These references are used to influence people when there are tensions between Pakistan and India. “Banned outfits use it to recruit people,” he added.
Clerics point out, however, that a group or outfit cannot declare Jihad. Neither can individuals.
“If rulers decide [to wage Jihad] then their army will fight and we will support them,” explained Dr Khalid Zaheer. “I, you or any individual can’t take such a step.” Jihad fi Sabilillah or Jihad in the name of Allah can only be waged under a Muslim ruler and a Sipah-e-Salar or commander.
The truth is, however, that militant groups in the region are masterful in seeking endorsements from religious texts. According to Amir Rana, an independent analyst and the director of Pakistan Institute of Peace Studies, “It has been going on for years… whenever things get bad in Kashmir you will hear it.”