There are different traditions about the background of Arain community. Apparently, this community is Arabian, and it entered India in 712 A.D. (92 H) with Mohammad Bin Qasim. The history unanimously accepted and proved this theory after much research.
Mohammad Bin Qasim’s attack on India
Hajjaj Bin Yousaf was the governor in the reign of Umayyad Caliph Waleed Bin Abdul Malik. He ordered Mohammad Bin Qasim to attack India (Sub continent). The Muslim empire was expanding rapidly. Wherever the Muslims went, they spread Islamic teachings and got lacs of people converted to Islam. This was because of their good morality and Islamic preaching. They established Muslim colonies in the conquered areas. The Muslim army included not only the soldiers but also the people from various walks of life. This was because army had to stay there for months rather years instead of a few days. They required experts and workers of different fields along with them, for establishing a colony. To preach Islam, they included religious scholars in the army. The soldiers only conquered the area, preaching was not their job.
First Research on the History of Arains
Mohammad Akbar Ali Sufi was an Arain scholar from Jalandhar. He was the first to publish the research about the background of his community. He wrote authentic references about the Arains in his book titled Saleem-ul-Tawarikh, published in 1919.
First Theory About the Arains
Mohammad Akbar Ali gave the first theory about Arains. He named it al-Raee theory. The theory had the following concepts;
Arains are the Arabians
Mohammad Akbar Ali writes in his book Saleem-ul-Tawarikh;
Arains are the Arabians who conquered Sindh along with Mohammad Bin Qasim. Shaikh Saleem, an eminent ancestor of this community, came to Syria (present Iraq) migrating from Madina. Like other Arabs, atrocities of Yazid had exhausted him as well so he decided to migrate.
The Ancestors of Arains were Shepherd
Upon migration Shaikh Saleem settled at the bank of river Euphrates. Here he started the ancestral Arabic profession of flock-keeping as a shepherd. Later, he became famous for it and was entitled ‘al-Raee’. The Arabic word ‘Raee’ means custodian as the following Hadith says:
اَلاَ کُلُکُمْ رَاعٍ وَّ کُلُّکُمْ مَسْؤُلٌ عَنْ رَعَّیٖتِہٖ
Meaning: Beware! You all are Raee (custodians) and (Allah) will ask you about your respective subject.
Flock keeping had been the profession of most of the Prophets and Saints. Our Holy Prophet also tended the herd during his stay at Halima al-Sa’diyah’s place. Shepherd being the custodian of his herd will be referred as ‘Raee’ in Arabic.
Habib al-Raee is the Ancestor of Arains
- According to Akbar Ali’s research, Arains are the progeny of Saleem al-Raee’s son Shaikh Habib al-Raee.
- His title ‘Raee’ became the recognition of his descendants and tribe.
- This title with the passage of time, became Ra’een, Ara’een and then Arain.
- Shaikh Habib’s son Haleem al-Raee also came to India with Mohammad Bin Qasim for preaching Islam.
Habib al-Raee was Tabi’un Saint
- Habib al-Raee was a high grade Tabi’un Saint.
- Tabi’un were contemporaries of the Holy Prophet’s Companions. They gained beneficence from the Prophet’s Companion, Suleman the Persian (included in the Companion of al-Suffa).
- Suffa fraternity is the foundation of mysticism and Faqr.
- Holy Prophet spiritually trained and educated Suleman the Persian. He is the spiritual guide in the Naqshband order after the Caliph Abu Bakr and also his successor.
Lineage of Arains connects to Holy Prophet
Mohammad Akbar Ali referred the genealogical tree of Saleem al-Raee from Mohammad Khan of Kandahar’s writing Tazkirah-tul-Ikhwan fi Dhikr Umda-tul-Bayan. According to this genealogical tree, the lineage of Saleem al-Raee connects to the Holy Prophet at the sixth generation.
Below is the genealogical tree;
Fihr is the ancestor of Quraysh from whom the Quraysh tribe originated. People before Fihr are Kinanah. Afterwards, the Quraysh tribe divided into ten branches. These are; Banu Hashim, Banu Umayyad, Nawfl, Abdul Dar, Bani Asad, Tameem, Bani Makhzoom, Adi, Jerham and Bani Sahm.
Ganj Bakhsh calls Habib al-Raee a Great Saint
The ancestor of Arains Shaikh Habib al-Raee was a great Saint. Ganj Bakhsh Ali ibn Usman al-Hajveri (ra) describes about him in his famous mystic writing Kashf-ul-Mahjub. He said;
“Habib Bin Saleem al-Raee is highly graded Mystic leader and possessed great status of a spiritual guide. The signs and proofs of his sainthood are quite numerous. He was one of the companions of Suleman the Persian”.
Miracles of Habib al-Raee
1. Wolf Guarding the Sheep
Habib Bin Saleem al-Raee was a shepherd and lived at the bank of river Euphrates. He liked to remain in solitude. A very noble man related,
“Once I went to him, he was offering prayer and a wolf was guarding his sheep. I thought I must meet that sage because I was witnessing the sign that he was a perfect Saint. I waited a little until he completed his prayer, then I offered salutation. He asked me the purpose of being there. I replied, ‘I have come to see you.’ He blessed me with his prayers. Then I enquired that how come a wolf was companion of his sheep. He answered that it was because of the companionship of the shepherd with Allah”.
2. Spring of Milk and Honey
Habib al-Raee once put a wooden cup under a stone for a noble man visiting him. Two springs sprouted from the stone, one was of milk and the other was of honey. He filled a cup and offered him. The man inquired that how he got such a status.
Habib al-Raee replied,
‘The people of Prophet Moses were against Moses even then they got water from the stone by his grace. Whereas, I love Prophet Mohammad then why Allah would not provide me with milk and honey. Indeed, Holy Prophet is the most superior and the beloved of Allah.’
Advise of Habib al-Raee
On seeing the signs of Sainthood in Habib al-Raee, a noble man requested for his advice. He advised:
لَا تجْعَل قَلْبُکَ۔ صَنْدُؤق اِلّحِرّْصِ وَبَطْنُکَ وِعَاءِ الْحَرَامْ
Meaning: You must not make your innerself a box of lust and your stomach a place of illegitimate things.
Commenting about this advice Ganj Bakhsh said,
“The creation is prone to destruction for these two things and the redemption of creation also lies in salvation from these two.
He also adds;
My perfect spiritual guide used to narrate several traditions of Habib al-Raee. I am short of time and cannot describe anymore because my books are in Ghazni. May Allah safeguard them” (Kashf–ul-Mahjub page 161, 162. Interpretation by Maulana Mian Ramzan Ali December 2007, Ilm-o-Irfan Publications Lahore).
Son of Habib al-Raee
- The son of Habib al-Raee, Haleem al-Raee, also entered India through Sindh.
- He came along with his progeny and close relatives in the army of Mohammad Bin Qasim. He came for the sake of preaching religion.
- For four years, Mohammad Bin Qasim had been conquering different parts of India.
- The Arabs were also proceeding along him. When the Arabs settled here and the living circumstances were also conducive, their families came to India as well.
Hardships faced by al-Raee’s
Salman Bin Abdul Malik became ruler after the death of Umayyad caliph Waleed Bin Abdul Malik and governor Hajjaj. He was very much against Hajjaj and his generals. He was also punishing his generals severely. Hence, he called Mohammad Bin Qasim back from India. Then he got him killed after brutal torture. He ordered the Arabs who went to India with him to never return to Arab. Consequently, not only the conquering ceased in India but also the Arabs living there faced great hardships. Tareekh-e-Zakai is a book that describes the merciless behaviour of Salman Bin Abdul Malik. It states,
“It was as difficult for the Arabians to proceed ahead in India as was to return back.”
The book, Tareekh-e-Tabri mentions that Salman Bin Abdul Malik ordered them,
“There is no place for you in Arab. Go wherever you can, work as labourers or cultivators.”
Al-Raee’s as Cultivators
After the death of Mohammad Bin Qasim, al-Raee’s had no choice but to continue living in India. Therefore, Shaikh Haleem al-Raee and his sons along with the preaching of Islam adopted cultivation. It was the most respected profession at the time. The following ancient saying confirms it.
اُتم کھِیتی ، مدھم بیوپار، نکھد چاکری بھیک دوارMeaning: The best profession is cultivation, trade is lower than it and service is the lowest which is equal to begging.
The Objections on al-Raee Theory
The analysis of objections upon Al-Raee theory and the suppositions of other researchers about Arains are as under;
The second research on Arains
Ali Asghar Chaudhry did the second research on the background of Arains. In 1963 he published his research in the form of book, titled Tareekh-e-Arain (History of Arains).
The first objection was that Prophet Mohammad is Lu’ay’s ninth generation while Saleem Al-Raee in his sixth generation. Whereas the latter’s time is the aftermath of the Holy Prophet. How is it possible that the ninth generation comes before the sixth?
Argument against the objection
The answer or argument against the first objection could be the following possibility;
- Sometimes in a generation the children are born earlier, then they are married earlier in their young age as well. Consequently, their issues are also born earlier and then their weddings also take place early and so on so forth. Eventually, this generation will then grow rapidly and their generations will change more in less time.
- Contrarily, the generation in which the marriages take place late and children are born late, would grow slowly. Similarly, generation of the eldest son will proceed more rapidly than the issue of the youngest son. Even today, we find several such examples in our surroundings. That is why, this objection is irrelevant.
- Ubaydah ibn al-Harith Bin Muttalib and his brothers Tufayl and al-Husayn from Quraysh tribe are a great precedent. They were from the seventh generation, also among the first and foremost ones to embrace Islam. While Nawfal Bin Haris, son of Abdul Muttalib’s eldest son Harith Bin Abdul Muttalib, was from the ninth generation. Even then, he was two years older than his uncles Abbas and Hamza. That is to say, the ninth generation was two years older than the eighth.
Similarly, Sultan Mohammad Najib-ur-Rehman’s father Abdul Hameed was the eldest brother but his children are the youngest of all.
Ali Asghar’s second objection was that he could not find any chief named Haleem Al-Raee in Mohammad Bin Qasim’s army. He claimed it after his thorough research. In this regard, he gave the reference of a book on history of Sindh Chach Nama. He also referred another book on history of India Aina Haqeeqat Numa.
Argument against Second Objection
- The first answer to this objection is that Chach Nama is not a complete history. In that book, Author wrote whatever facts he found at the time. He did not write the remaining inspite being present, only because they were unavailable at that time. History is always incomplete if written by a single person. Same is the case with the other book Aina Haqeeqat Numa.
- Second answer is that minimum twelve thousand individuals were there in Mohammad Bin Qasim’s army. Any historical book can not contain all of them. Though, it may have the names of high-grade commanders and generals. Haleem al-Raee, however came to India with Mohammad Bin Qasim as a preacher not as a general or commander. The history written about the Muslim kings and wars revolves only around the kings or generals. Normally they do not mention Saints or religious scholars. The Sub-continent is replete with the tombs of the Saints but very few authentic history books mention their names. They would have to study other books especially written about these Saints and scholars of Sub-continent.
Haleem Al-Raee was a Perfect Saint per Ganj Bakhsh
Haleem al-Raee, just like his father Habib al-Raee, was a true and perfect Saint. Ali al-Hajveri verifies that in Kashf-ul-Mahjub. In the old era, just like even today, the religious scholars were part of the army. They were employed for the religious training of soldiers and other duties in the army. They used to preach Islam and also help and train the army spiritually.
Haleem al-Raee- A religious aid to army
- Haleem al-Raee must have accompanied the army as the scholar of spirituality. His job may have been religious preaching as well as spiritual instruction and assistance of the army. He would have performed his job while remaining unknown because the Saints are not interested in their fame and publicity. That is why, their description is not available in the books of history.
- However, it is true that several Saints came to India with Mohammad Bin Qasim.
- Its proof is that almost one lac graves of martyrs and Saints are still present in Sindh. (Referred from Qari Sayyid Meeran Shah).
The Second Theory About Arains
Arains are from Areha?
Ali Asghar, the author of Tareekh-e-Arain, on the basis of his research presented another theory about the background of Arains.
- He states that Arains are the Arab warriors who came with Mohammad Bin Qasim from ‘Areha’ the Syrian region. Ali Asghar presented this theory because he could not find Shaikh Haleem al-Raee’s name in Mohmmad Bin Qasim’s army.
During the reign of Caliph Umar Farooq, Ameer Muawiya was the governor of Syria. He established a cantonment in the ancient city of Areha near Damascus. He titled the door that opened towards that side of Damascus as Bab-e-Areha (Door of Areha). This door is the same even to date. Ameer Muawiya brought the warriors of Quraysh and other tribes of Arab and got them settled in that cantonment. They entered India with Mohammad Bin Qasim in a victorious style. Afterwards people called them Arehai which changed to Araaeen and then Arain.
Reference from ‘Jannat-ul-Sindh’
According to the book Jannat-ul-Sindh,
“The Arabian army that attacked Sindh consisted of officers from Iraq, Syria, Yemen and Hijaz. (Hijaz is the old province of Arab which included the cities of Makkah, Madina and Taif). Among them were several sages who had benefitted from the sacred Companion’s company. This is why they possessed the essence of Islam. They were the nobbles from different tribes. These included Quraysh, Umayyad, Banu Kilab, Banu Qais, Banu Asad, Banu Taym, Banu Saleem, Rabee, Sheban, Oman, Yemen and Hijaz. These tribes had defeated the great empires of Ceasar and Kisra in the bloody battles of Yarmouk and Madain”.
(Reference: Tareekh-e-Arain published 1977, Page 69).
Reference from ‘Aina Haqiqat Numa’
The writer of Aina Haqiqat Numa is Akbar Shah Najeeb Abadi. He also proclaims the Arains as the descendants of chiefs of Areha. He writes;
The comrades of Mohammad Bin Qasim consisted of people from Syria and Iraq. The Syrians were the most confident and loyal supporters of the Umayyad Caliphate. Most of them belonged to Banu Umayyad and Quraysh of Hijaz. They mostly settled in the city of Syria named Areha. The military sent by Hajjaj Bin Yousaf with Mohammad Bin Qasim had a reasonable number of citizens of Areha.
Objections on The Theory of Arehai
Generation after generation, the elders of Arain caste have been transmitting the knowledge that supports the al-Raee theory. All the newspapers and journals about Arains also accept the al-Raee theory. Some examples of these journals and newspapers are;
- Weekly al-Raee,
- Raee Gazette,
- the Urdu newspaper al-Raee,
- Monthly al-Raee Lahore,
- Monthly al-Raee International London,
- Caravan-e-Arainyan by the Anjuman Arain Pakistan (Registered).
Drawback of the Theory of Areha
The problem in accepting the theory of Areha is that Areha is the name of a military cantonment. Basically, the cantonment had deployed all Arab warriors. A quality of Arabs is that they never change their tribe. They can never forego the relation to their tribe, especially the Quraysh can never do so at all.
- How is it possible that these warriors adopted the title ‘Arehai’ only because of their residence in a cantonment?
- How can they break their original relation to their tribe? Neither any clan of Quraysh can do so nor would it let its progeny to do so.
- Moreover, combining a crowd of people of different clans cannot make one nation. Rather, a community belongs only to one tribe and one sage and comprises of the generations of his progeny.
Arains Maintain their Individuality
Arains have always maintained their individuality. They neither merged into any other community nor let any other to merge into them. They preserved their originality even after settling in India. Then how come, thirteen hundred years ago, it would have constituted by the merger of various communities gathered at Areha.
Drawback of the Second Theory
There were other Arabian communities included in Mohammad Bin Qasim’s army which settled in Sindh.
- If we accept the second theory, then the question arises why these communities were not named Arain.
- Why did they maintain their exclusive identity? For example, Tameemi (Yemeni) Saqeefi, Bani Mugheera, Yatwar, Taee, Haris Sadia, Atliya, Ansari, Siddiqui, Farooqi, Abbasi, Qurayshi, Qazis of Sukkur, Sheikh, Makhdoom, Pir Syed, Akhwand, Alvi etc.
- Hence proved that the Arehai theory is contrary to the reality.
Third theory – Aal-e-Zorain
Munshi Ibrahim Mehsher Anbalvi presents his perspective about Arains in his book Aal-e-Zorain published in 1922. He says;
Arains are, in fact, the Qehtanite Arabs. They are the progeny of Prem Zorain, who was born in 1352 B.C. Since the time of Haris, a man in the progeny of Zorain’s uncle, the community Ra’aeen had been attacking India. That means it started coming to India almost two thousand years before the advent of Islam. Then, had been coming to India in Islamic era joining the Muslim army. People called them Raen which changed to Ra’aeen and then Arain.
Conversion of Nauman Zorain to Islam
In 633 A.D. Nauman Zorain from the Ra’aeen community converted to a Muslim after reading the letter of Holy Prophet. At that time, he was the ruler of a part of Yemen. Along with him, his brothers Naeem Bin Abd Kalal Zorain and Hars Bin Abd Kalal Zorain also accepted Islam. Nauman Zorain had written letter to the Holy Prophet which was an affirmation of acceptance of Islam. The replying letter from Prophet Mohammad and the letter itself are historical and therefore preserved.
The genealogical tree of the progeny of Zorain is as under:
Drawback of Third Theory
The third theory does not hold strong grounds as well. The history does not prove the attack on India by the Arabs before Islam. Also, there is no proof of the inclusion of the progeny of Zorain in Mohammad Bin Qasim’s army. However, if this research is true then it also proves Arains of Arabic race.
Other theories About Arains
Some people presented merely their personal perceptions about the origin of Arains. These perceptions however are not based upon solid arguments, facts, witnesses and research.
Theory stating Arains are from Arya Community
“Arains are from Arya community.” This theory presented merely due to the similarity in pronunciation of both words. The Germans relate Arains with Aryans. Therefore, they warmly entertain the Arains whose passport state ARAIN. The history is unable to provide any witness in the favour of this concept. Aryans came from the German region Raen. All the historians agree to it but none of the authentic historians associated the Arain to Arya.
Concept stating Arains as Iranians
- “Arains are Iranians.” This perception presented only because of the similarity of sound of the words.
- The tribes which migrated from Iran to India were very different. Their living style and culture is entirely distinct from the Arains and historically it is an unreasonable supposition.
Theory presented by Mohammad Hanif Meher Kacheilvi
In April 1962, Mohammad Hanif Meher Kacheilvi presented a theory in a periodical Khadim-e-Watan. He said that the Arains grow vegetables. Similarly, the Jews also wished to grow vegetables rejecting ‘Mon Salwa’ (the heavenly food presented to the Jews from God). This somehow made him believe that the Arains are the descendants of Jews.
Argument on Mohammad Hanif Meher Kacheilvi’s Theory
- Do Arains are the only ones who grow vegetables in the sub-continent and in the entire world? This logical question is strong enough to reject Mohammad Hanif’s concept. For a moment suppose it is true, then it is safe to say that Judaism is a high breed religion. Also, the Jews are the children of Prophet Isaaq the son of Prophet Abraham. Hence, they are the blood of Prophets.
- Had it been the reality then it would have been a matter of pride for the Arains. They would have felt honoured to be from the progeny of the ancient Prophets. In addition to that, there was also a righteous group in Jews who believed in the last Prophet of Allah and embraced Islam. Examples are various distinguished Companions of Prophet Mohammad as well as the mother of nation Safia bint-e-Haee. They converted to Islam from Judaism. Had this theory been true, it would have been an honour for Arains. They would have accepted it readily, rather than being ashamed or dishonored about it.
Concept that Arains are Rajput
The concept about the Arains that they are Rajput is also wrong. If so, at least some Arains would have titled themselves as Rajput. Neither is there any historical proof of it nor any Arain has ever referred to himself as being a Rajput.
Concept stating Arains as Hindus
‘Arains were originally Hindus’ is also an unacceptable hypothesis. Reason is because not a single non-Muslim Indian ever claimed to be an Arain. According to the census (a preserved written report) of 1881 all the Arains are Muslims.
Arains as descendants of Arayan Sama
Subedar Major (Rt) Mohammad Sharif from London presented an entirely different and strange supposition about Arains. He has mentioned three branches of Banu Sama tribe;
- Abrah Sama
- Shaikh Sama
- Arayan Sama.
He declared Arains the descendants of Arayan Sama but failed to give any historical proof or any valid reason. So, the historians rejected this hypothesis as well.
We have composed all known and unknown concepts about the Arains to make reader aware of this community’s background. The whole discussion concludes on the point that the Arains are Arabians. Though it is an undenied fact that the lineage of this community is confusing and controversial. However, if the al-Raee theory is true then the Arains are the Quraysh Arabs. They came to India with Mohammad Bin Qasim and inhabited here.