Page 9 - Pakistan Link - January 26, 2018
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OPINION                                                                                                         JANUARY 26,  2018  –  PAKISTAN LINK  –  P9

        n By Prof Dr Nazeer Ahmed, PhD   Signs from Allah: History, Science and Faith in Islam                                  of self-renewal. It turned increas-
                 Concord, CA                                                                                                    ingly inward, towards tasawwuf

              enghiz Khan died in 1227.    42. The Fall of Baghdad (1258 CE)                                                    and the sciences of the soul. It was
                                                                                                                                this Sufi Islam that was to conquer
              Upon his death, his vast                                                                                          the conquering Mongols, win the
        Gempire was divided up into                                                                                             hearts  of  millions  in  India,  Indo-
        five parts: (1) Mongolistan con-                                                                                        nesia  and  Africa  and  shape  the
                    sisting of the Mon-                                                                                         destiny of three continents for the
                    gol home turf, (2)                                                                                          next 400 years.
                    Chagtai, consisting                                                                                             Thus, it was in the year 1258
                    of Khorasan and                                                                                             that a civilization died even as it
                    Farghana Valley, (3)                                                                                        renewed and expressed itself on a
                    Persia, ruled by the                                                                                        different plane.
                    Il-Khans, (4) Rus-                                                                                              Editor’s Note: This series was
                    sia and Kazakhstan,                                                                                         published by Suhail Academy, La-
        ruled by the Golden Hordes and                                                                                          hore, Pakistan in 2003 and was sold
        (5) China. The Mongols continued                                                                                        out. An earlier version is available
        their advance after Genghiz.                                                                                            from under the title,
            In 1229, they planned three                                                                                         “Islam in Global History: From the
        great expeditions. The first was to                                                                                     Death of the Prophet to the First
        complete the conquest of southern                                                                                       World War”.
        China. This effort was not complet-                                                                                         (The author is Director, World
        ed until 1276 during the reign of                                                                                       Organization for Resource Devel-
        Kublai Khan. The second expedi-                                                                                         opment and Education, Washing-
        tion was to complete the conquest                                                                                       ton, DC; Director, American Insti-
        of southern Russia, Poland, Hun-                                                                                        tute of Islamic History and Culture,
        gary and Bulgaria. The Mongols                                                                                          CA; Member, State Knowledge
        were successful in this campaign                                                                                        Commission,   Bangalore;  and
        and ruled these territories for over                                                                                    Chairman, Delixus Group)
        two hundred years. The third expe-
        dition under General Charmagun                                                                                          BOOK FROM P7
        was against Prince Jalaluddin of   less, moving from battle to battle.   to the Abbasid capital and me-  Libraries burned.  Great men  of   in Pakistan during a time of unprec-
        Khorasan.                     It would have taken a combination   thodically moved to reduce it.  learning were tortured to death.   edented global violence and height-
            After crossing the Indus at the   of his prowess with the wisdom of   In June 1258, the city of Bagh-  Artisans  were  enslaved.  Women   ened suspicion of foreigners. And
        Battle of Attock in 1221, Jalaluddin   a Nizam ul Mulk (d. 1091) to con-  dad  surrendered.  No  description   were dragged, abused and left to   this kindness comes, let us not for-
        sought refuge with Altumish, the   tain the fierce Mongols.  can do justice to the horrors that   die along far-away roads. The dams   get, from people who experienced
        able Mamluke Sultan of Delhi. But   In the meantime, the devas-  followed. The sack of Baghdad   on the Tigris and the Euphrates   two centuries of subjugation under
        Altumish knew the risks associ-  tation of Khwarazm continued.                            that the Abbasids had built up over   British rule…Their grace and kind-
        ated with giving refuge to a foe of   The Mongols revisited the cities   The classic Islamic   a period of five centuries were de-  ness is unparalleled. The people of
        Genghiz. Although he was treated   and provinces they had already                         molished. The destruction of dams   Pakistan deserve far more respect
        with the dignity befitting a prince,   destroyed and what was left after   civilization was the   throughout Central Asia depressed   than they receive. The problem is
        Jalaluddin knew that his welcome   the invasions of Genghiz Khan was   light that had kept   agriculture and slowed population   that only a small number of travel-
        mat in Delhi was very thin. In   devastated once again. In 1251,                          and economic recovery for  many   ers are prepared to come to Pakistan
        1223,  he  returned  to  Isfahan  via   Mangu was elected the Chief Khan   learning, art and   centuries.  Baghdad,  which  was   to have their lazy assumptions con-
        Sindh and Makran, suffering the   of all Mongols. His first act was to   culture alive for 600   once the premier city of the world,   fronted and shattered” (Matthew,
        ravages of that inhospitable des-  launch two expeditions, one under                      became a ghost town.          2017: page 20).
        ert, much as Alexander had done   his brother Kublai Khan to con-  years while Europe         The fall of Baghdad marked a   Matthew points out, “We live
        fifteen centuries earlier. Soon, with   quer southern China and the other   lay in the stupor of   major event in world history. With   in an era of fear, of widening divi-
        the help of his brother, Jalaluddin   under Hulagu Khan to bring an                       it, the curtain fell on the classic Is-  sions between different segments of
        was in possession of what was left   end to the Caliphate in Baghdad.   its Dark Ages. This   lamic period. Baghdad had been   society: rich and poor, immigrants
        of Khorasan, Mazandaran and   On both counts, the Mongols were   civilization, even in    founded and established by the   and indigenous, between people of
        Iraq. In 1225, he marched against   successful.                                           Abbasids as the capital of orthodox   different faiths. All of these divisions
        the Caliph Al Nasir to seek re-   Hulagu established himself in   its waning years, was   Islam after Madina and Damascus.   affect Pakistan – as a predominantly
        venge against an enemy of his fa-  Isfahan and methodically moved   at once spiritual and   It was the seat of the Caliphate and   Muslim  nation  with  key relation-
        ther. The armies of the Caliph were   to eliminate all resistance. His first              the vortex of Islamic political life.   ships with Western countries; as a
        routed and Baghdad was besieged.   objective was the Assassins who   empirical, absorbing   It was to Baghdad that kings and   nation with large diaspora popula-
        Jalaluddin  continued  his  march   posed a potential threat to his rear   and transforming   sultans alike turned, seeking le-  tions around the world; as a nation
        into Georgia and occupied Tiflis   guard.  Hulagu  knew  that  the  As-                   gitimacy for their temporal power   containing extremes of poverty and
        in 1226. This infuriated the Geor-  sassins, an offshoot of the Fatimid   the best that the   and guidance on spiritual matters.   affluence. It seems to me the height
        gians who made an alliance with   sect, were a major factor in the   ancient civilizations of   With the demolition of the Caliph-  of irresponsibility to exacerbate
        the Mongols and the Russian Kip-  instability of the Muslim world                         ate in Baghdad, Muslims had to   these tensions by allowing a nation
        chaks against Jalaluddin.     during  the  11th  and  12th  centu-  Greece, India, Persia   reinvent that institution so that the   as  globally  significant as Pakistan
            Jalaluddin now had to face the   ries and had terrorized successive                   temporal and spiritual life of Islam   to be misrepresented. If we want to
        combined armies of the Georgians,   Muslim dynasties by assassinating   and Egypt had to   might continue to have a focus.  have  peace  –  and  everyone  I  have
        the Russian Kipchaks and the   generals, viziers and sultans alike.   offer. After the fall of   Hulagu established himself in   met in Pakistan sincerely does –
        Mongols. At the Battle of Isfahan   It was the dagger of an assassin that   Baghdad, Islam went   Hamadan from where he organized   then attempting to understand one
        in 1227, he defeated the Mongols.   had brought to an end the life of                     more expeditions. All of Iraq was   another seems like a prudent first
        His strategy in war was to face the   the brilliant vizier, Nizam ul Mulk   through a process of   subjugated. Aleppo in northern   step on the convoluted path towards
        Mongols in the open field and to   (1091). During the year 1256, Hu-                      Syria fell in 1260 to the combined   peaceful co-existence. We spend so
        avoid the pitfalls of his father who   lagu attacked the hideouts of the   self-renewal. It turned   onslaught of Mongol, Armenian   much time focusing on what makes
        had tried to hole himself up in one   Assassins, eliminating them one   increasingly inward,   and Crusader armies. Palestine lay   us different – skin color, religious af-
        fort after another. This gave him   after the other.                                      ahead and held the key to Egypt   filiation, personal wealth, ethnicity
        the advantage of mobility and rap-  In the winter of 1257, Hulagu   towards tasawwuf      and the cities of Mecca and Ma-  – but when do we ever stop to think
        id enveloping movements, tactics   moved  towards Baghdad. A de-  and the sciences of     dina. Only the Ganges plains of In-  about what unites us, about what
        that the Central Asian horsemen   facto alliance was formed between                       dia escaped the Mongol conquests   draws us together?”
        were masters of. In 1229, he made   the Christian powers and the Mon-  the soul. It was this   thanks to the resistance of the   In my own personal study of
        peace with the new Caliph Al   gols to eliminate Islam. The Cru-  Sufi Islam that was to   Mamluke sultans of India and the   genocide: the Jews of Germany, the
        Muntasir (1226-1242). But now his   saders and the Armenians attacked                     statesmanship of Altumish and his   Bosniaks, the Rohingiyas, and  so
        good fortune ran out. The Mongol   in northern Syria diverting some  conquer the conquering   daughter Razia Sultana. The hour   many other peoples, we found that
        armies of Charmagun caught him   of the Turkish contingents that   Mongols, win the hearts   was dark indeed. It appeared that   labeling an ethnic or religious group
        unprepared on the Moghan plains   might have been available for the                       the light of Islam that had been lit   as ‘terrorists’ was the first step in a
        (1230) and Jalaluddin narrowly es-  defense of Baghdad. Al Musta’sim   of millions in India,   six hundred years earlier might be   terri-bly careless and irresponsible
        caped with his life. Shortly there-  was no military match for Hulagu.   Indonesia and Africa   physically extinguished.  phase which eventually led to per-
        after a Kurd- ish robber assas-  Suffering from the same kind of fa-                          The classic Islamic civilization   ceiving the other as a threat, leading
        sinated him.                  talistic self-delusion that had char-  and shape the destiny of   was the light that had kept learn-  to the extermination and genocide
            Thus perished the bravest of   acterized the encounter of Shah   three continents for the   ing, art and culture alive for 600   of innocent human beings. With
        Muslim soldiers who was the only   Muhammed of Khwarazm with                              years while Europe lay in the stu-  Pakistan, there are tremendous in-
        one amongst the kings and princes   Genghiz Khan, Al Musta’sim failed   next 400 years    por of its Dark Ages. This civiliza-  ternal pressures but there are also
        of his era, Muslim or Christian, to   to organize an effective defense of                 tion, even in its waning years, was   external threats with countries la-
        face the Mongol hordes in open   the capital. The treasury of the Ca-  lasted  a week. More  than a  mil-  at once spiritual and empirical,   beling Pakistan and scapegoating
        combat and defeat them on several   liph that could have been used to   lion inhabitants were slaughtered.   absorbing  and  transforming  the   it. This image is unjust and not fair
        occasions. Brilliant as he was in   raise a large army remained closed.   Al Musta’sim was wrapped in   best that the ancient civilizations   given the vast majority of innocent
        war, Jalaluddin suffered from a lack   Hulagu sent a summons to Caliph   a carpet, beaten with clubs and   of Greece, India, Persia and Egypt   civilians. 2018 will be an important
        of organizational skills required of   Musta’sim to surrender. When the   trampled to death by Mongol hors-  had to offer. After the fall of Bagh-  year for Pakistan and we all pray
        a statesman. He was always rest-  Caliph refused, Hulagu laid siege   es. Mosques were pulled down.   dad, Islam went through a process   BOOK, P28
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