Muhammad of Ghor: Wikis


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Muḥammad Shahābuddīn Ghorī
Sultan of the Ghurid Empire
Jam Minaret decoration.jpg
The Minaret of Jam, built during Ghurid rule, inspired the Qutb Minar of India, the world's tallest stone minaret.
Reign 1202-1206
Born 1162
Birthplace Ghor, Afghanistan
Died March 15, 1206
Place of death Jhelum, Pakistan
Royal House Ghurids
Religious beliefs Sunni Islam

Muḥammad Shahābuddīn Ghorī (Persian: محمد شہاب الدین غوری), originally called Mu'izzuddīn Muḥammad Ibn Sām but famously known as Muḥammad of Ghor (a province in Central Afghanistan) and Muḥammad Ghorī, (1162 – 15 March 1206), was a powerful governor and general and ultimately sultan of the Ghorid dynasty, centered in modern day Afghanistan. He was the governor of Ghaznā and the surrounding area from 1173 to 1192. He was sultan from 1202 until his death in 1206.


The Ghori Empire

Ghor lay on the western boundary of the Ghaznavid Empire, which in the early 1100s covered an area stretching from what is now central Afghanistan to the Punjab, with capitals at Ghaznā and Lahore. Beginning in the mid 1100s, Ghor expressed its independence from the Ghaznavid Empire. In 1149 the Ghaznavid sultan captured and killed Sayf ud-Dīn Ṣūrī of Ghor. In retaliation, the Ghor army under his brother, 'Alā' ud-Dīn Ḥusayn, sacked Ghaznā in 1150.[1] The Ghaznavids retook the city with Seljuk help, but lost it to Oghuz Turk freebooters.[1] The Ghorids reconquered Ghaznā from the Oghuz Turks, and in 1173 Muḥammad Ghorī became governor of the province while his brother, Ghiyās ud-Dīn Muḥammad of Ghor, became the Sultan of the Ghorid Empire. In 1186 Muḥammad Ghorī conquered Lahore, ending the Ghaznavid Empire and bringing the last part of the Ghaznavid territory under Ghorid control.[2] As a result, he managed to push Muslim rule much further east than Maḥmūd of Ghaznā had. Muḥammad Ghorī became sultan upon the death of his brother, Ghiyās ud-Dīn, in 1202.

Indian Conquest

General Muḥammad Ghorī attacked the north-western regions of the Indian Subcontinent twice. In 1191, he invaded the territory of Prithvīrāj Chauhān of Ajmer, who ruled much of present-day Rajasthan and Haryana, but was defeated at Tarain, in present-day Haryana, by Prithvīrāj's vassal, Govindarāj of Delhi. The following year Ghorī assembled a large army and once again invaded the Kingdom of Ajmer. On the same field at Tarain, a second battle was fought in 1192. This time, Jai Chand of Kannauj and Banaras (Jayachandra), one of the former allies of Prithvīrāj Chauhān, failed to aid Prithvīrāj, and Prithvīrāj was defeated.[3] Govindarāj was slain, Prithvīrāj killed, and Muḥammad Ghorī marched onwards unchallenged towards Ajmer.[4] [5] [6] Rajput kingdoms like Saraswati, Samana, Kohram and Hansi were captured without any difficulty. Finally his forces advanced on Delhi, capturing it soon after. Within a year Muḥammad Ghorī controlled northern Rajasthan and the northern part of the Ganges-Yamuna Doab. Muḥammad Ghorī spared the son of Prithvīrāj Chauhān, Golā, who in turn took the oath of loyalty to Ghori.[7] The Kingdom of Ajmer was then given over to Golā, on condition that he send regular tributes to the Ghorids.

The Tārīkh-i Farishtah (finished in 1609 CE), however, relates that Prithvīrāj and part of his army managed to escape from the battlefield, but were overtaken by Muḥammad Ghorī's horsemen on the banks of the Sarsuti River, where the General beheaded Prithvīrāj[8].


Coin of Mu'izzuddin Muhammad Bin Sam, circa 1173-1206 , Issued from Delhi.
Obv: Rider bearing lance on caparisoned horse facing right. Devnagari Legends: Sri /hamirah'. Rev: Simple rendition of recumbent bull with long snout facing left, Devnagari Legends: ' Sri Mahamada Same ' in arc.

After defeating Prithvīrāj Chauhān, Muḥammad Ghorī quickly established Ghorid control in northern and central India. Muḥammad Ghorī returned west to Ghaznā to deal with the threat to his western frontiers from the unrest in Iran, but he appointed Qutb-ud-din Aybak as his regional governor for northern India. His armies, mostly under Turkish generals, continued to advance through northern India, raiding as far east as Bengal. Aybak sacked Ayodhya in 1193, followed by his conquest of Delhi. In 1204, after becoming sultan, Muhammad Ghori defeated the advance of Muḥammad II of Khwārezm. Qutb-ud-din Aybak's protégé Muhammad bin Bakhtiyar Khalji had been appointed as a general by Muhammad of Ghor in 1203, and in 1204 he helped defeat the army of Lakshman Sen of the Sena Dynasty, but Ghori failed to conquer Bengal. In 1206, a rebellion rose in Punjab. Muḥammad Ghorī returned to India and crushed the rebels, but was assassinated at Jhelum (where he was buried) on his way back to Ghaznā.[9]

The most profound effect of Ghorī's victory was the establishment of Muslim rule in India which would last for centuries and have great impact on life and culture of South Asia for centuries. Muḥammad Ghorī further expressed his intentions of promoting Islam in India; however, he died before he could extend his conquests further.

Ghurid Ghaznavid Struggles

Muhammad of Ghor is credited with the decimation of the Ghaznavids his ancestoral enemies.

In alliance with the Hindu Raja of Jammu Vijaya Dev , he attacked Lahore in 1187 , which was held by his ancestral enemy , the descendent of Mahmud of Ghazni , and made him prisoner . Mahmud of Ghazni's line of Sultans and Governors became extinguished.[10]

Mahmud Ghazni had attacked Ghor and the King Amir Suri an ancestor of Mohmad Ghori died taking poison after being taken prisoner . Various sources including Ferishta and Siraj attests to the events.

In the following year AH 401 (AD 1010), Mahmood led his army towards Ghoor[11]

According to Minhaj us Siraj, Amir Suri was captured by Mahmud of Ghazni, made prisoner along with his son and taken to Ghazni, where Amir Suri died.[12]

Soor, being made prisoner was brought to the king, but having taken poison, which he always kept under his ring, he died in a few hours; his country was annexed to the dominions of Ghizny[13]

A little over a hundred years after Mahmud , one of his successors to the throne of Ghazni fell into a blood feud with the ruler of Ghor , southeast of Herat .In represal Ghazni was sacked by the prince of Ghor a fellow Muslim in 1150, and burned for seven days and nights . All the magnificient Mahmudi palaces and halls were destroyed and and plunder , devastation and , and slaughter were continous .It might be a historian reporting one of Mahmud's own murderous Indian raids . The Ghori victor earned the title of Jahansoze the world burner . The bells ring again : the perpetrations of the northern foreigners were not essentially anti Hindu .They could be quite merciless with Muslim rivals as well , for that was a part of their way of life .Ghazni now fell to a Turkman tribe which was in its turn ousted by the nephew of Jahansozein 1173 . The later gave it to his brother later to be known as Muhmad of Ghori [14]

Muhammad of Ghori launched expeditions into India , first capturing Multan from a fellow Muslim chief in 1175-76. Three years later he invaded Gujarat and was roundly defeated by the Hindu Raja .Another three years later , and the Ghori was back to take Peshawar and Sialkot in 1181 . Now in alliance with the Hindu Raja of Jammu Vijaya Dev , he attacked Lahore in 1187 , which was held by his ancestral enemy , the descendent of Mahmud of Ghazni , and made him prisoner . Mahmud of Ghazni's line of Sultans and Governors became extinguished.[15]

Personal life

Muḥammad Ghorī was a loyal brother; he refrained from declaring his independence in the Indian Subcontinent, knowing that it would result in civil war between the two brothers. Until the death of Ghiyās ud-Dīn in 1202, after every victory the General would send the best of the looted items to his elder brother in Afghanistan. Ghiyās ud-Dīn reciprocated by never interfering in the affairs of his younger brother. Thus they were each able to concentrate on their own responsibilities.



Several historical sources allude the killing of Ghori to the Khokhars a clan professed related to the Kukhran, still others have attributed the killing to Ismailis .

The Khokhars were killed in large numbers, and the province was pacified. After settling the affairs in the Punjab. Shahabuddin marched back to Ghazni. While camping at Dhamayak in 1206 CE in the Jhelum district, the sultan was murdered by the Khokhars[16]


Hasan Nizami and Ferishta record the killing of Ghori at the hands of the Gakhars. However, Ferishta is known to have often confused them with the Khokhars,[18] other Historians have alluded the killing to a band of Hindu Khokhars.[19]

All the historians before the time of Ferishta agree that the Khokhars , not the Gakhars killed Shahab ud din Ghori .[20]

Some also claim Ghori was assassinated on the banks of the River Sindh by a radical member of an Ismaili Muslim sect, most popularly known as the Hashshashin[21][22]

Heirs Of Sultan

Sultan Muḥammad Ghorī had no heirs and thus he treated his slaves as his sons. It is said that he trained thousands of Turkic slaves in the art of warfare and administration. Most of his slaves were given excellent education. During his reign many hardworking and intelligent slaves rose to positions of excellence. Once a courtier lamented that the Sultan had no male heirs; Ghorī immediately replied:

"Other monarchs may have one son, or two sons; I have thousands of sons, my Turkish slaves who will be the heirs of my dominions, and who, after me, will take care to preserve my name in the Khuṭbah (Friday sermon) throughout these territories."

Ghorī's prediction proved true when he was succeeded by a dynasty of Turkish slaves. Upon his death, Quṭbuddīn Aybak, a capable general who had become Muḥammad Ghorī's closest advisor, kept control of the Indian conquests and declared himself the first Sultan of Delhi thus establishing the Sultanate of Delhi in 1206 CE.

Pakistan's Nuclear Missile

Pakistan named their missile capable of carrying nuclear warheads on April 6, 1998 as the Ghauri - I. It was symbolically named after Muhammad Ghori, who is highly revered in Pakistan [23]; Ghori's grave in Jhelum was given some maintenance just prior to 1998/04/06 launch. Pakistan has since developed the Ghauri - II and Ghauri - III as well.

See also


  1. ^ a b Encyclopedia Iranica, Ghaznavids, Edmund Bosworth, Online Edition 2007, (LINK)
  2. ^ Bosworth, Clifford Edmund (1977) The Later Ghaznavids: Splendour and Decay: The Dynasty in Afghanistan and Northern India, 1040-1186 Columbia University Press, New York, pp. 120-31, ISBN 0-231-04428-3; see also the original source, Ibn Bābā's chapter on the Graznavids, pp. 132-144.
  3. ^
  4. ^
  5. ^,M1
  6. ^
  7. ^
  8. ^ The History of the Rise of Muhammadan Power in India. Vol.I.
  9. ^ "Muhammad of Ghur - MSN Encarta". Archived from the original on 2009-11-01.  
  10. ^ Rediscovery Of India, The: A New Subcontinent By Ansar Hussain Khan, Ansar Hussain Published by Orient Longman Limited Page 54
  11. ^ Ferishta -Translation John Briggs page 28 vol 1
  12. ^ The History of Inda as told by its own Historians by Eliot and Dowson , Volume 2 page 286
  13. ^ Ferishta -Translation John Briggs page 28 vol 1
  14. ^ Rediscovery Of India, The: A New Subcontinent By Ansar Hussain Khan, Ansar Hussain Published by Orient Longman Limited Page 54
  15. ^ Rediscovery Of India, The: A New Subcontinent By Ansar Hussain Khan, Ansar Hussain Published by Orient Longman Limited Page 54
  16. ^ International Encyclopaedia of Islamic Dynasties By Nagendra Kr Singh, Nagendra Kumar Singh Published by Anmol Publications PVT. LTD. 2000 Page 28 ISBN 8126104031, 9788126104031
  17. ^ Bibliographical index to the historians of Muhammedan India - GENERAL HISTORIES. 301
  18. ^ "Muslmans by Lt. Col. j.m. wikeley, page 88". Retrieved 2009-08-09.  
  19. ^ A History of India By August Friedrich Rudolf Hoernle, Herbert Alick Stark Edition: 3 Published by Orissa mission press, 1906 Original from the University of California Page 83 Digitized Nov 27, 2007
  20. ^ A Glossary Of The Tribes And Castes Of The Punjab And North-West Frontier By H.A. Rose Page 275
  21. ^ Ira M. Lapidus, A History of Islamic Societies 2nd ed. Cambridge University Press 2002
  22. ^ "Mu'izz-al-Din Muhammad ibn Sam (Ghurid ruler of India) - Britannica Online Encyclopedia". Retrieved 2009-08-09.  
  23. ^ The Geography of War and Peace: From Death Camps to Diplomats by Colin Robert Flint, Publ Oxford University Press US, 2005, p. 149

Further reading

  • Briggs, John (Translator): The History of the Rise of Mohammedan Power in India. (Translation of the Mughal-Era Tārikh-i Farishtah. Available online at the Packard Humanities Institute.)

Simple English

Muhammad of Ghor was a governor and general under the Ghorid dynasty.


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