The Truth About Ghazwa-e-Hind

Loyalty to nation is a part of faith. But opponents try to call this fact into question by misrepresenting one of the prophecies of Muhammad(sa).

The Truth About Ghazwa-e-Hind

Loyalty to nation is a part of faith. But opponents try to call this fact into question by misrepresenting one of the prophecies of Muhammadsa.


FEBRUARY 28, 2021

Of all misunderstood terms in Islamic terminology, the word Jihad is the most misinterpreted and misused one. Upon the premise of a baseless understanding of Jihad, many ideologies and concepts in Islam have been largely distorted; Ghazwa-e-Hind being one of them.

Ghazwa-e-Hind has been employed by various rulers, theocratic establishments and extremist organizations to perpetrate acts of aggression and furnish selfish ambitions blinded by geopolitical gains. It has also been repeatedly quoted by the enemies of Islam as a tool to question and put under suspicion Muslims’ loyalty to their country.

The concept of Ghazwa-e-Hind is generally interpreted, both by the so-called Muslim scholars and the proponents of Islamophobia, as a military raid prophesied by the Holy Prophetsa, in which India will be conquered by Muslims through warfare.

However, factual analysis and an unbiased study of Islamic texts will convincingly prove the attribution of such a violent notion to Islam to be false and baseless.

Authenticity of the narrations

Of the six most authentic collections of Hadith known as the Sihah-e-Sittah, only one, Sunan al-Nasai, carries the narrations of Ghazwa-e-Hind. Nasai has recorded three narrations regarding this, of which, the first two are similar in text, in which, Hazrat Abu Hurairara is reported to have said:

The Messengersa of Allah promised us an expedition in India. If I live to see that, I will expend myself and my wealth in it. If I am killed, I will be one of the best of the martyrs, and if I come back, I will be Abu Hurairah, the freed one [from the hellfire].[1]

This narration has been ruled to be inauthentic by Hadith scholars. For instance, the famous scholar of Hadith, Al-Dhahabi writes:

Jabr ibn Abidah narrated a rejected report from Abu Huraira. His tradition is: We have been promised the invasion of India.[2]

Likewise, Shaykh al-Arna’ut said:

There are traditions narrated on this topic from Abu Huraira with two weak chains.[3]

Hence, both of these narrations are considered weak and untrustworthy by Hadith scholars. The third narration recorded in Sunan al-Nasai is as follows:

The Messengersa of Allah said: There are two groups of my Ummah whom Allah will free from the hellfire: The group that undertakes an expedition in India, and the group that will be with Isa ibn Maryamas.[4]

This narration, compared to the other two, carries some authenticity and is considered by many scholars to be trustworthy, though it is not absolutely free of criticism. Ibn Adi has included this tradition in his collection of weak narrators[5]. Similarly, Sheikh al-Arna’ut comments:

It is a fair tradition but this chain is weak due to Baqiyah, who is Ibn al-Walid, although some follow him. The remaining narrators are reliable except for Abu Bakr ibn al-Walid al-Zubaydi, whose status is unknown.[6]

In short, this narration is considered by many to be hasan or fair, but not so authentic to be called sahih as there are at least two narrators whose status is doubtful.

However, even if this narration is regarded to be trustworthy, it should be noted that it carries no mention of fighting and getting killed as in the first two narrations. It only speaks of a group undertaking a mission in India who will be granted refuge from hellfire. Hence, this narration in no way supports the violent version of the concept of Ghazwa-e-Hind usually understood and promoted by various extremist groups.

‘Ghazwa’ does not necessarily denote war

The word ghazwa is derived from the root word ghaza which means to intend to attain something or to undertake a mission. In Islamic terminology, the wars fought in the time of the Holy Prophetsa, all of which were defensive in nature, are usually referred to as Ghazwa and Sariya. Ghazwa refers to those wars in which the Holy Prophetsa himself took part while sariya denotes such expeditions which were sent by the Holy Prophetsa but he did not take part in them himself.

However, these words do not always stand for military expeditions, instead, peaceful campaigns with no intention of wars are also referred to using the same words. Hence, campaigns, where the Holy Prophetsa sent delegations to spread Islam among those who did not get the Divine message, are also known as Saraya – plural of Sariya- in Islamic history.

Occasionally, such delegations were attacked by refractory infidel tribes resulting in the killing of peaceful Muslims. Sariya al-Raji and Sariya Bir Mauna are examples of such expeditions.

Hence, the word ghazwa can indicate two possibilities; either a battle to stop an act of aggression and protect the righteous ones, or a campaign initiated to invite people to faith by peaceful means without any form of threat or violence.

The Holy Quran rejects the notion of violence

The Holy Quran is unambiguous in strictly prohibiting aggression in the name of religion. There is absolutely no permission to attack anyone either for propagating Islam or overtly or covertly harming those who do not follow Islam.

So, if some Muslim organizations interpret Ghazwa-e-Hind as military conquest, they do so with geopolitical motivation giving it a religious angle to garner support and appeal to emotions. If off and on they talk of Jihad and declare themselves as God’s crusaders, they are no different than those hypocrites who keep plunging one or other corner of the world in war in the name of protecting democracy or ensuring peace.

In the judgement of God, as stated in the Holy Quran, killing a single innocent human being carries the curse equivalent to murdering the entire humanity[7]. No destruction of temples or killing of non-Muslims, nor doing anything that harms the interest of any fellow human being is sanctified in Islam. Rather such acts of aggression and oppressions go against the very spirit of Islam which stands for selflessness, sacrifice, tolerance, peace and brotherhood. Under no circumstances does any kind of invasion and war – except in self-defence – carry any divine sanction[8].

The spiritual mission of promoting peace

The only possibility as to what the narration of Ghazwa-e-Hind actually denotes is that it is a spiritual mission of propagating the peaceful teachings of Islam in the Indian subcontinent. Holy figures like Mueenuddin Chishtirh, Fariduddin Ganjshakarrh , Nizamuddin Auliyarh and the likes of them were those who performed Jihad in India. But their Jihad was not a Jihad of violence and aggression, which is how the concept is nowadays generally understood. Instead, their Jihad was the Jihad performed by the Holy Prophetsa himself, which was to propagate the teachings of Islam and to promote the values of pluralism and tolerance. This is the group that has been mentioned in the narration as undertaking a mission in India.

The next part of the narration substantiates this view. The second group regarding whom the Holy Prophetsa said would be granted refuge from the hellfire is the one who would be with Isa ibn Maryam or the Promised Messiah, who was to appear in the latter days. Many prophecies of the Holy Prophetsa about the Promised Messiah and Imam Mahdi point to his birth in the land of India[9]. Hence, the narration indicates the spiritual conquest that is to happen through him and his companions.

Since the Promised Messiah was supposed to end war and establish a new world order through rationality and truth, it is bizarre and illogic to expect any battle during his times. The truth is that all prophecies pertaining to struggle during latter days through him and his followers are meant to indicate intellectual struggle through literary means to summon minds to truth.

The Holy Founder of Ahmadiyyat, Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmadas, being the Promised Messiah, carried out that peaceful mission through the propagation of Islam till his demise in 1908. The uphill task of winning the hearts of diverse mankind belonging to all countries of the world continues to this day under the guidance of his spiritual successors.


Since a clear perspective about Islamic injunctions exists, it would be a fatal blunder to attribute a concocted notion of aggression against a peace-loving country like India, which has welcomed noble ideas from diverse streams of faith with open arms and demonstrated reverence to Islam in no uncertain terms.

The conditions of the times of early Islam when all efforts were made to annihilate the faith were completely different. Permission to fight against oppression was given when all options of peace were exhausted, and the oppressors had a malicious intent to put an end to the new religion and all its adherents through violence and warfare.

Hence, the very conception of Ghazwa-e-Hind by coercive means goes against the basic tenets of Islam and the spirit of the Holy Quran which has strongly advocated absolute freedom of conscience. The only acceptable conclusion which remains and is proven by research is the spiritual struggle carried out in India by various saints followed by the intellectual revolution brought about by the Promised Messiah.

As it was the Promised Messiahas who was to accomplish the noble objective of resurrecting Islam to its pristine purity, any act, overt or covert, that goes against the values defined by him – i.e. the values of tolerance, compassion, rationality, justice and peace – falls outside the purview of Islam.

Many misguided bigots and extremists have been befooled in their zealous quest for ‘divine’ kingdom which they seem to have tried to establish or lay the foundation for. All such frivolous attempts would go in vain, and every one of such fringe organizations would meet utter destruction since they run completely against the will of God.

The author holds a Master’s degree in English and is also a Management Post Graduate. Currently, he serves as the head of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Youth Association (Majlis Khuddamul Ahmadiyya), Kolkata chapter.


[1] Sunan al-Nasai, Kitab al-Jihad

[2] Mizan al-I’tidal 1/388

[3] Takhrij Musnad Ahmad 37/42

[4] Sunan al-Nasai, Kitab al-Jihad

[5] Al Kamil fi Du’afa al-Rijal

[6] Takhrij Musnad Ahmad 12/30

[7] Holy Quran 5: 33

[8] For honest seekers, it is encouraged that they read the following books to understand with detailed testimonies about the prohibition of any act of aggression in the name of religion:

The British Government and Jihad by Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmadas.

The Advent of the Promised Messiah by Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmadas.

Murder in the Name of Allah by Hazrat Mirza Tahir Ahmadrh.

Islam’s Response to Contemporary Issues by Hazrat Mirza Tahir Ahmadrh.

Islam and the Freedom of Conscience by Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmadaba.

A Message for Our Time by Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmadaba.

All these books are available for both online reading and PDF download, free of cost, at www.alislam.org.

[9] It is evident from many traditions of the Holy Prophetsa that the Promised Messiah and Imam Mahdi are not two different persons, but are different titles given to the same person. For instance, Ibn Maja records a narration of the Prophet saying that the Mahdi will be no other than the Messiah. Similarly, Musnad Ahmad records a tradition of the Prophet saying that in the latter days, people will find Isa ibn Maryam as the Imam Mahdi.

There are many narrations indicating the Mahdi to appear in India. Imam Bukhari records a tradition in his Tarikh al-Kabir in which the Holy Prophetsa informed of a group undertaking a mission in India under the leadership of Imam Mahdi. Similarly, Jawahir al-Asrar records a narration which mentions Imam Mahdi to appear from a city called Kad’ah which can be understood as an Arabic variant of the Indian town, Qadian, the birthplace of the Holy Founder of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community.


Anees · March 3, 2021 at 9:33 am

Interesting article. Well written.

Dr. Rajib Gupta · March 5, 2021 at 3:38 pm

Amir has written the content after thorough research. Basically all religions profess harmony and brotherhood but
people with vested interests misinterpret to fulfill their hidden agenda. People should read more and more on various subjects
and also on other religions to develop independent views void of preconceived biasness. Convey my good wishes to Amir for his work.

Rafi · March 7, 2021 at 5:22 am

Jazakmumullah for giving light on this subjects

‘ഗസ്‌വയെ ഹിന്ദ്’: യാഥാർത്ഥ്യമെന്ത്? - TheMessiah · September 5, 2021 at 9:50 am

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