Pakistan, Habbari Emirate, Silver Damma

Date: c. 854 - 1011 CE
South Asia

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Item Description:

These silver damma are from the Habbari dynasty, a semi-independent Arab emirate that ruled the Sindh territory from 854 to 1024. The Habbari dynasty pledged nominal allegiance to the Abassid Caliphate, but retained much of its independence and gained prominence during the Umayyad rule.

The Umayyad invasions of the Sindh territory marked a brutal era beginning in 711. Initially, the Caliph of the Umayyad offered the Brahmin ruler Raja Dahir protection in exchange for aiding the Umayyads with issues of piracy. However, conflict erupted after it was found that a pirate raid resulted in gifts meant for the Umayyad caliph from the king of Serendib (now Sri Lanka) being stolen. This would be the precipice of a broader invasion and mass brutality against the population of Sindh, who were primarily Buddhist and Hindu, and increasing pressure from the Arab empire to convert the population to Islam. In 712, Arab miitary commander Mohammad Bin Qasim defeated the Brahmin dynasty and annexed it to the Umayyad Caliphate.

The Habbari history in the Sindh region predated the Islamic presence. With the founder of the Habbari Emirate arriving approximately five or six generations prior. The family achieved a prominent status and were highly engaged in politics of the Arabian peninsula, and had established close relationships with the Umayyad and Abbasid emirs. While they became ingrained in the Sindh community, even marrying locals, the Habbari maintained their Arab identity and tradition. This balance of established Arab loyalty and cultural familiarity allowed the Habbari state (known as Mansura after the city designated as the capital) to function in relative peace. Mansura would be the first capital formed on the Indian subcontinent by Muslims.

There is relatively little left written about the Habbari, but some historians speculate this is because when the Habbari took power, they took an interest in establishing peace in the area and preserving their land but showed less interest in conquest. The Habbari continued to rule until they were defeated by Sultan Mahmud Ghaznavi in 1026, who would destroy the capital of Mansura and annex the region to the Ghaznavid Empire, effectively ending Arab rule in the Sindh region.

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