Muslim Nationalist Historiography in South Asia: An Apologetic Approach for Muslim Identity


  • Dr. Muhammad Naveed Akhtar, Dr. Muhammad Abrar Zahoor


Arab Muslims invaded Sindh in 711 AD and established their rule after ousting and killing Raja Dahar, a ruler of Hindu Shahi dynasty. After Arabs, numerous Muslim dynasties and their associates originating from distinct parts of Muslim dominated world—i.e. the Middle East, Central Asia, Persia and Afghanistan—asserted and extended their political and military control over local Indians by launching expeditions on Hindu principalities, eventually annexing and consolidating them under the Delhi Sultanate and then the Mughul Empire. Muslim rule in India finally declined at the hands of the East India Company in 1857. Their rule lasted almost a period of millennium, during which they were confronted with myriad social, cultural, religious, political, administrative and economic challenges, and attempted to reform the pertinent structures in accordance with their own worldview. This, however, was in the time of British Raj in India when their historical existence and political rule became immensely controversial. The Orientalist historians, who were said to be the promoters of the political and economic interests of the East India Company and then the British Raj, portrayed the Muslims in their historical narratives as foreign invaders, imperialists and tyrants. The propagation of such type of image coupled with their political decline frustrated and threatened the Indian Muslims and consequently the Muslim historians representing their community’s interests responded to the allegations made by the Orientalist historians against Muslim rulers. This paper gives an evaluation of the Muslim nationalist historians’ frustration and protest within their response to such negative portrayal. The second major focus of the discussion, remains on exploring and assessing how Muslim historians responded to Orientalist historians, Orientalist historiographical allegations challenging the legitimacy of the Muslim rule and nature of their association with the land and culture of India. By drawing inferences from the Muslim nationalist historiographical writings, the paper argues and underscores that these Muslim historians started revisiting Orientalist and other non-Muslims’ charges towards their identity and existence in India in an apologetic manner, but their discourse gradually sharpened with scholarly contributions containing more authoritative historical facts, rationalist interpretations and methodological skill.




How to Cite

Dr. Muhammad Naveed Akhtar, Dr. Muhammad Abrar Zahoor. (2021). Muslim Nationalist Historiography in South Asia: An Apologetic Approach for Muslim Identity. Quarterly Journal of the Pakistan Historical Society, 69(2). Retrieved from