Qazi Athar Mubarakpuri's studies on Jats

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Qazi Athar Mubarakpuri's studies on Jats
Author: Prof. Abdul Ali

Note: Prof. Zafarul Islam has contributed the article 'Qazi Athar Mubarakpuri’s Studies on Jats', The Jats, Vol. II, Ed. Dr Vir Singh, Delhi, 2006. pp. 25-30. Here is reproduced this article for research and analysis.


Qazi Athar Mubarakpuri showed very keen interest in socio-cultural and intellectual history of India, especially of Sind region and produced a number of books on this subject into Arabic and Urdu such as:

(1) Rijal al Sind wal-Hind,
(2) Al-Iqd al-Thamin fi man waradafi al-Hind min al-Sahabah wal Tabiin,
(3) Islami-i-Hind ki Azmat-i-Raftah,
(4) Arab wa Hind ahd-i-Risalat mein,
(5) Khilafat-i-Rashidah aur Hindustan,
(6) Khilafat-i- Umawiah aur Hindustan,
(7) Khilafat-i-Abbasiah aur Hindustan.

These works have not only discovered many hidden aspects of Indo-Arab history, they have also brought to focus in the light of original sources very close cultural and academic relationship between two great regions of Asia during the four significant phases of Islamic history-the period of Prophet Muhammad (SAW), pious Caliphate, Umayyad and Abbasid Caliphate. Some of these works, especially the 4th and 5th ones contain very rich material about Jats and their development in different periods of history. The learned scholar has not only collected materials about them from authentic sources of varied nature, he has also critically examined and subtly analysed them to bring out his rich findings.

The studies of Maulana Mubarakpuri on Jats

The studies of Maulana Mubarakpuri on Jats1 are mainly based on the Arabic works of famous traditionists (muhaddithin), Sirah-writers, genealogists, historians, geographers, travellers, biographers and lexicographers. These included

Ibn-i-Hisham (d. 833 AD),
Imam Bukhari (d. 870 AD),
Ibn-i-Qutaibah (d. 889 AD),
Al-Baladhuri (d.892 AD),
Ibn-i-Khurdazbeh (d. 893 AD).
Al-Yaqubi (d. 897 AD),
Imam Tirmezi (d. 907 AD),
Al-Tabari (d. 922 AD),
Ibn-i-Hazm (d. 1056 AD),
Yaqut al-Hamawi (d. 1229 AD),
Ibn-i-Athir (d. 1233 AD),
Ibn-i-Khalkan (d. 1282 AD),
Ibn-i-Manzur (d. 1311 AD),
Abul Fida (d. 1331 AD),
Ibn-i-Kathir (d. 1372 AD),
Ibn-i-Batutah (d. 1378 AD) and
Muhammad Tahir Patani (d. 1578 AD).

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Qazi Athar Mubarakpuri's studies on Jats covered many important aspects of their history and culture and their achievements in different walks of life with reference to the ancient as well as medieval period. In his well documented works he has discussed, though briefly but comprehensively, the etymology of the Arabic version of Jats, their original place In India, their history of settlement in Persian and Arab regions, Their customs and traditions and their impact on socio-cultural life of the Arabs. The scholarly discussion of Maulana Mubarakpuri shows that on one hand the Jats had a significant role in socio-cultural life of India since the ancient period, on the other they had socio-cultural bonds with the Muslims from the times of Prophet Muhammad (SAW).

The etymological discussion on Jats

In his etymological discussion the learned author has pointed out that the word Zutt or Zutti used in the Arabic sources is an arabicised form of Jat as explained in several Arabic and Persian dictionaries including Lisan-al-Arab of Ibn Manzur, the most famous and voluminous Arabic lexicon.2 Quoting the same work, he states that Zutt are people of a race from Sind who are of black colour. 3 This is arabicised from the Indian (Hindi) word Jat and its singular Zutti. He has also given opinion of some other lexicographers who thinks that this is the Arabic form of the Indian word Chat. 4

Jats originally belonged to India

With reference to the well-known geographical work, Taqwim al-Buldan, he observed that in the ancient period the Jats were also found in Baluchistan in a large number in addition to Sind5: But he did not agree with those historians.6, who traced their origin to the Middle East and treated this region as their native place.7 He fully supports Maulana Sayyed Sulaiman Nadvi, the distinguished disciple of Allama Shibli Nomani and the author of a scholarly work on the Indo-Arab relations (Arab wa Hind ke Toalluqat) that during the occupation of Sind and Baluchistan by the Persian kings (Chosroes), the Jats of this region came to be employed in Persia or Iran in army and state administration.8 He considered it an established fact that the Jats originally belonged to India but it could not be denied that in course of time a large number of them had settled in other parts of Asia for different purposes. It is quite evident from the account of the Arab geographers, particularly Ibn Khurdazbeh, that their population was mainly concentrated in Makran, Baluchistan; Multan and Sind and that for about thousand miles from Makran to Mansurah the whole passage was inhabited by them. Moreover, on this long route they rendered great service to the travellers as huffaz al-tariq or road-guards9 In the same way, Al-Istakhari, the author of an important geographical work Al-Masalik wal-Mamalik, had stated that the whole

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region from Mansurah to Multan was full of the Jats.10 In view of Qazi Athar Mubarakpuri, it was from these places that many Jats had migrated to to Persia and different parts of Arab and settled there long ago.11

Jats' settlement in Persia

Giving an account of the Jats' settlement in Persia, he had stated that they had been living in this region since a long time and they had developed many big and flourishing towns of their own as we are informed by Ibn-i-Khurdazbeh (d. 893 AD) that at about sixty miles away from the city of Ahwaz there is a big city of the Jats which is known after them as al-Zutt.12 Another geographer of the same period had also observed that in the vicinity of Khuzistan there was a grand city Haumat al-Zutt.l3 These evidences given by the eminent author are enough to suggest that the Jats who settled in Persia gradually built up their economic resources and made significant contribution to urbanization of that country.

Jat settlement in different parts of Arab land

The studies of Qazi Athar Mubarakpuri also bring to light that the Jats did not remain confined to Persia. They got settlement in different parts of Arab land which was under the Persian rule in those days. The Arab geographers testified the fact that in the coastal region of the Persian Gulf from Ubullah to Bahrain they had many pockets of their population and that they engaged themselves in different kind of work including cattle breeding.14 It is also confirmed by the Arab historians that in pre-Islamic period -their largest concentration was found in Ubullah, a fertile an peasant place near the city of Basrah.

Their second big settlement was in Bahrain where they had been residing in large numbers prior to the period or the Prophet (SAW) as we are informed by Al-Baladhuri and other historians.15 In the same way, there are clear evidences for their settlement in Yemen before the advent of Islam and their important role in socio-political life of those days Yemen. In the times of pious Caliphs when Persia and many parts of the Arab region (previously ruled by Persian and Roman kings) came under the Muslim rule the Jats got further opportunity to expand in other parts of Arab territories. In course of time, many of them had joined the Muslim army and a number of them got converted to Islam also. It is confirmed by different historical and geographical works, as cited by Maulana Mubarakpuri that they had settled in large number in Antioc and coastal towns of Syria under the patronage of the pious and Umayyad Cahphate (Khilafat-e-Rashidah and Banu Umayyab).16

A very important and useful information that comes forth through the researches of Maulana Mubarakpuri is that the people of the Holy cities of Makkah and Madinah in the times of the Prophet (SAW) were not only familiar with the Indians, the Jats were also well-known to them. On the authority of Sirat-i-Ibn-i-Hisham, Maulana has stated

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that once some people came from Najran to Madinah. Looking at them Prophet (SAW) asked who are they? They are just like Indians.17

These Indians were assumed to be Jats (Zutt). In the same way, it is recorded in Jami-i-Tirmezi, the well-known collection of Hadith that the famous Sahabl Hazrat Abdullah lbn Masood (R.A.) once saw some persons in the company of the Prophet (SAW) in Makkah, he observed that their hair and body structure is just like the Jats.18

There are also some other references in the Arabic sources to the existence of the Jats in Madinah that period. They also included a physician (Tabib) who was once consulted during the illness of Hazrat Aisha (R. A.), the Holy Wife of the Prophet (SAW). 19

Influence of Jats on the Arabian people

It also appears from authentic sources that the Jats not only lived in different parts of the Arab land, they also observed their soc1al Customs and traditions in their daily life and that the local people got influenced by them in different ways as the studies of Qazi Athar Mubarakpuri show.20 Some Arab writers have referred to the Jats' peculiar Style of hair-cut which had been adopted by some Arabs.21 In the same way, some special clothes were known after them and so called al-Thiyab al-Zuttia (Jats' clothes), which were available in the Arab markets. 22 But our author is not quite sure that whether the Jats prepared these clothes or these were part of their special dress like dhoti. 23 Moreover, the learned author has also come to the conclusion, in the light of some references in the Arabic poetical works, that certain form of Indian song were known to the Arabs since the ancient period and these were were most probably introduced by the Jats as this was called Song of Jats (Ghina al-Zutt). 24

These points are enough to suggest that the Jats were full free in the Arab lands to follow and observe the customs and traditions of their native land. This is also supported by the fact that the Jats who had been living in the places around Basrah continued to talk in their original language at least upto the period of the pious Caliphs. We are informed by the author Majma al-Bahrain that they had once spoken even to the fourth Caliph Hazrat Ali in in their own language.25

The Jats, Vol. II: End of p.28

It is very interesting that we come to know through the studies of Maulana Mubarakpuri that the Jats residing in Bahrain, Yemen and other coastal regions in a large number had influenced the local Arabs by their language to such extent that the latter lost the originality and eloquence of their language. For the same reason, the language of the people of the tribes of Banu Abd Qais and Azd was declared to be diluted and unauthentic due to their mingling and frequent interaction with Persian and Ind1an people.26

Arab Influence on Jats

The studies of Qazi Athar Mubarakpuri give a clear impression that the Jats who had settled in different parts of the Persian and Arab land had left the1r socio-cultural impact on the local people27 but did not give details as to what extent the Jats had been influenced by the customs and traditions of the Arabs and Persians which is also, of course, an important and interesting issue to be studied and examined.


1 This is mainly available in his work Arab wa Hind Ahd-i-Risalat mein, published from Nadwatul Musannefin, Delhi, 1965.

2 Ibn Manzur, Lisan ai-Arab, Dar-i Sadir, Beirut, 1956, III/308, See also, Ali Akbar, Lughat Namah-i Dahkhuda, No.53. p. 379.

3 Muhammad Tahir, Majma Bihar al-Anwar, Nawal Kishore (n. d.). II/62 (as cited by Qazi Atbar, op. cit., p. 8).

4 Majma al-Bahrain, under entry-Zutt, (as quoted by Qazi Athar, p. 61).

5 Abul Fida, Taqwim al-Buldan, Paris, 1840, p. 334.

6 Abdul Malik lbn Hisbam, Kitab al-Tijan, Hyderabad (n.d.), p. 222 (as cited by Qazi Athar, p. 62).

7 Qazi Athar, op. cit., p. 62.

8 Sayyed Sulaiman Nadvi, Arab wa Hind ka Taalluqat, Matba Maarif. Azamgarh, 1992, p. 11; Qazi Athar, p. 66.

9 Ibn Kburdazbeb, Al-Masalik wal Mamalik, E.J. Brill, 1889, p. 56.

10 Al-Istakhari, Kitab-o-Masalik wal Mamalik E. J. Brill, 1927, p. 35.

11 Qazi Athar, pp. 62-63.

12 Ibn Khurdazbeh, op. cit., p. 43.

13 Al-Istakhari, op.cit., p. 94.

14 Al Baladhuri, Futuh al-Buldan, Al Matba al Misriah, Cairo, 1932, pp. 166, 367, 369; Qazi Athar, p. 66.

15 Al Tabari, Tarikh-i Tabari. Darul Maarif, Cairo, 1962, III/304.

16 Qazi Athar, pp. 66-67.

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17 Ibn Hisharn, Sirat al-Nabi, Darul Fikr, Cairo (n .d.), IV/264.

18 Jami-i-Tirmezi, Abwab al-Amthal, Kutubkhana Rashidia, Delhi (n.d.), p. 109.

19 Imam Bukhari, Al-Adab al-Mufrad, Al-Matbhb al-salafiah, Cairo, 1375AH, p.51.

20 Qazi Athar, pp. 67-68.

21 Lisan al-Arab, VII/30S, Majma Bihar al-Anwar; II/62.

22 Lisan al-Arab, VII/30S.

23 Qazi Athar, p. 6S.

24 Al-Jahiz, Kitab-al Haiwan, Mustafa al-Babi-al-Halbi, Egypt, 1943, VI 407.

25 Majma-al-Bahrain, under Zutt (as cited by Qazi Athar, p. 69).

26 Qazi Athar, p. 69.

27 Qazi Athar, p. 68-70.

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See also

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