Bawarij (Sindhi: باوارج) were Sindhi pirates from Sindh named for their distinctive barja warships.[1] They looted Arab shipping bound for the Indian subcontinent and China, but entirely converted to Islam during the rule of the Samma Dynasty (AD 1335–1520).[2] They are mentioned by Ma'sudi as frequenting the pirate den at Socotra and other scholars describes them as pirates and sailors of Sindh.

Ibn Batuta describes their ships warships as having fifty rowers, and fifty men-at-arms and wooden roofs to protect against arrows and stones. Tabari describes them in an attack upon Basra in 866 CE as having one pilot (istiyam), three fire-throwers (naffatun), a baker, a carpenter and thirty-nine rowers and fighters making up a complement of forty-five.[3] These ships were unsuited for warlike maneuvers and lacked the sleek prows or ramming capabilities of other contemporary naval units, but were intended to provide for hand-to-hand battles for crew upon boarding.[2]

See also


  1. ^ "Indian Pirates: From the Earliest Times to the Present Day", by Rajaram Narayan Saletore, page 18
  2. ^ a b Laurier, pg. 132
  3. ^ Hourani pg. 114