Abu Rayhan al-Biruni

Abu Rayhan al-Biruni (973 to 1050 AD) was an Iranian scholar and polymath during Islamic Golden Age. He has also been called as "Founder of Indology", Father of "Comparative Religion", and Father of "Modern Geodesy". He was, in a way, the first Anthropologist.

Many scholars, including al-Biruni, were taken to Ghazni, the capital of the Ghaznavid dynasty. Biruni was made the court astrologer and accompanied Mahmud Ghazni on his invasions into India. It is said that Mahmud invaded India no less than 17 times between 1000 to 1025 AD, including his destruction of Somnath Temple.


Since al-Biruni came to India many times with Mahmud, he happened to study the Hindus during that time. Before the Muslim invasions of India, it would not be wrong to say that the entire population of the Indian subcontinent were Hindus. There is a very famous sentence he coined for Hindu mentality - There is no concept in Hinduism that anything which has become impure can be purified again. If we see this statement against the backdrop of massive conversions in the next 700 years, we realise the importance of the same.

Now let's see why the original Hindus must have converted to Islam.

  • Liked Islam Religion
  • Forced to convert by coercion
  • To gain Economic Benefits such as avoidance of Jizya tax
  • Persecution by their own Hindu religion, on caste and other issues.

Here I would like to give an example of Pakistan's father of the nation, Mohd Ali Jinnah. The ancestors of Jinnah were Lohana (sub-caste of Dudhi Rajputs) from Paneli Moti village in Kathiawar, Gujrat and were fishermen by profession. The Hindus didn't approve of their profession, and they were ostracised. They converted to Islam out of frustration.

An even more silly example is from Goa. The Portuguese rulers had to drop a loaf of bread in the wells. The people who drank water from that well were considered impure to be Hindus and forced to convert to Christianity.

And as al-Biruni said, there was no system in the Hindu religion to undo the wrong.

Very sad but true.

Yeshwant Marathe


#Islam #Christianity #Conversion #Gazni

Leave a comment

Ashok Prabhu

4 years ago

Good researched article. Thanks.

Sanjay Kher

4 years ago

While convertions (Islam, Christian, Buddhist) is a reality, one always wonders why after 700 years of proselytisers ruling this land, the sub-continent still harbours 75% Hindus. Either these people were ineptitude beyond compare (tough to say that), or there is a different narrative shielded from our view.

A conjoint reading of DD Kosambi, Irfan Habib, Will and Ariel Durant, Romila Thapar, et al - tells me a different story. Infact Mehendale's latest monumental work on Shivaji - reveals a complex politics quite different from the nationalistic narrative sought to be propounded today.

Yeshwant Marathe

4 years ago

Yes Sanjay, the point you raised has also perplexed me. Let’s see if I can come up with something in future.

Ajit S Gokhale

4 years ago

Indians lived in the villages. Villages were independent units. And
the invaders were not so very powerful as they are shown to be or believed to be. Even the Mughal rulers could not penetrate down to village level.

Ahom dinesty of Brahmputra region and kings of Odisha held their forts till late 18th Century. In other places local chieftains were pro Hindus.

Just about 30 km from Agra (long time Mughal Capital), was Jat dominated territory of Maharaja Surajmal. Not even Aurangzeb could make them Muslim.

स्नेहा धारप

4 years ago

It is so frustrating.

Rajnikant Agrawal

4 years ago

Arya samaj movement of Swami Dayanand addressed this very issue by starting purification or “Shuddhikaran “. This movement reconverted large number of Muslims and Christians to Hinduism.

One problem arose: which caste do they belong to post shuddhikaran. That is why most Aryasamajis do not write cast names

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