The Info List - Ghurid

The Ghurids
or Ghorids (Persian: سلسله غوریان‎; self-designation: شنسبانی, Shansabānī) were a dynasty of Eastern Iranian descent from the Ghor
region of present-day central Afghanistan, presumably Tajik, but the exact ethnic origin is uncertain,[6] and it has been argued that they were Pashtun. The dynasty converted to Sunni Islam
Sunni Islam
from Buddhism,[5] after the conquest of Ghor
by the Ghaznavid emperor Mahmud of Ghazni
in 1011. Abu Ali ibn Muhammad (reigned 1011–1035) was the first Muslim king of the Ghurid dynasty to construct mosques and Islamic schools in Ghor. The dynasty overthrew the Ghaznavid Empire in 1186, when Sultan Mu'izz ad-Din Muhammad of Ghor
Muhammad of Ghor
conquered the last Ghaznavid capital of Lahore.[7] At their zenith, the Ghurid empire encompassed Khorasan in the west and reached northern India
as far as Bengal
in the east.[8] Their first capital was Firozkoh in Mandesh, Ghor, which was later replaced by Herat,[2] while Ghazni[3] and Lahore
were used as additional capitals, especially during winters. The Ghurids
were patrons of Persian culture and heritage.[9] The Ghurids
were succeeded in Khorasan and Persia by the Khwarazmian dynasty, and in northern India
by the Mamluk dynasty of the Delhi Sultanate.


1 Origins

1.1 Language

2 History

2.1 Early history 2.2 The Ghurids
at their zenith 2.3 Decline and fall

3 Cultural influences

3.1 Bamiyan

4 Ghurid family tree 5 See also 6 References 7 Sources 8 External links

Origins[edit] In the 19th century, some European scholars, such as Mountstuart Elphinstone, favoured the idea that the Ghurid dynasty
Ghurid dynasty
relate to today's Pashtun people,[10][11][12] but this is generally rejected by modern scholarship, and, as explained by Morgenstierne in the Encyclopaedia of Islam, is for "various reasons very improbable".[13] Instead, the consensus in modern scholarship (incl. Morgenstierne, Bosworth, Dupree, Gibb, Ghirshman, Longworth Dames and others) holds that the dynasty was most likely of Tajik origin.[14][15][16] Bosworth further points out that the actual name of the Ghurid family, Āl-e Šansab (Persianized: Šansabānī), is the Arabic pronunciation of the originally Middle Persian name Wišnasp, hinting at a (Sasanian) Persian origin.[17] The Ghuristan region remained primarily populated by Hindus and Buddhists till the 12th century. It was then Islamised and gave rise to the Ghurids.

The rise to power of the Ghurids
at Ghur, a small isolated area located in the mountain vastness between the Ghaznavid empire and the Seljukids, was an unusual and unexpected development. The area was so remote that till the 11th century, it had remained a Hindu
enclave surrounded by Muslim principalities. It was converted to Islam
in the early part of the 12th century after Mahmud raided it, and left teachers to instruct the Ghurids
in the precepts of Islam. Even then it is believed that a variety of Mahayana Buddhism
persisted in the area till the end of the century.[5]

Language[edit] The language of the Ghurids
is subject to some controversy. What is known with certainty is that it was considerably different from the Persian used as literary language at the Ghaznavid court. Nevertheless, like the Samanids
and Ghaznavids, the Ghurids
were great patrons of Persian literature, poetry, and culture, and promoted these in their courts as their own. There is nothing to confirm the recent surmise (as claimed in the Paṭa Khazāna) that the Ghurids
were Pashto-speaking,[18] and there is no evidence that the inhabitants of Ghor
were originally Pashto-speaking.[14] Contemporary book writers refer to them as the "Persianized Ghurids".[19] History[edit] Early history[edit] A certain Ghori prince named Amir Banji, was the ruler of Ghori and ancestor of the medieval Ghori rulers. His rule was legitimized by the Abbasid
caliph Harun al-Rashid. Before the mid-12th century, the Ghoris had been bound to the Ghaznavids
and Seljuks for about 150 years. Beginning in the mid-12th century, Ghor
expressed its independence from the Ghaznavid Empire. In 1149 the Ghaznavid ruler Bahram-Shah of Ghazna poisoned a local Ghori leader, Qutb al-Din Muhammad, who had taken refuge in the city of Ghazni
after having a quarrel with his brother Sayf al-Din Suri. In revenge, Sayf marched towards Ghazni
and defeated Bahram-Shah. However, one later year, Bahram returned and scored a decisive victory against Sayf, who was shortly captured and crucified at Pul-i Yak Taq. Baha al-Din Sam I, another brother of Sayf, set out to avenge the death of his two brothers, but died of natural causes before he could reach Ghazni. Ala al-Din Husayn, one of the youngest of Sayf's brothers and newly crowned Ghurid king, also set out to avenge the death of his two brothers. He managed to defeat Bahram-Shah, and then had Ghazna sacked and burned and put the city into fire for seven days and seven nights. It earned him the title of Jahānsūz, meaning "the world burner".[20] The Ghaznavids
retook the city with Seljuq help, but lost it to Oghuz Turks.[20] In 1152, Ala al-Din Husayn
Ala al-Din Husayn
refused to pay tribute to the Seljuks and instead marched an army from Firozkoh but was defeated and captured at Nab by Sultan Ahmed Sanjar.[21] Ala al-Din Husayn
Ala al-Din Husayn
remained a prisoner for two years, until he was released in return for a heavy ransom to the Seljuqs. Meanwhile, a rival of Ala al-Din named Husayn ibn Nasir al-Din Muhammad al-Madini had seized Firozkoh, but was murdered at the right moment when Ala al-Din returned to reclaim his ancestral domain. Ala al-Din spent the rest of his reign in expanding the domains of his kingdom; he managed to conquer Garchistan, Tukharistan, and Bamiyan, and later gave Bamiyan
and Tukharistan
to Fakhr al-Din Masud, starting the Bamiyan
branch of the Ghurids. Ala al-Din died in 1161, and was succeeded by his son Sayf al-Din Muhammad, who shortly died two years later in a battle. The Ghurids
at their zenith[edit]

The statue of sultan Ghiyath al-Din Muhammad
Ghiyath al-Din Muhammad
Ghuri near the National Museum of Tajikistan, Dushanbe,Tajikistan

Sayf al-Din Muhammad
Sayf al-Din Muhammad
was succeeded by his cousin Ghiyath al-Din Muhammad, who was the son of Baha al-Din Sam I, and proved himself to be a capable king. Right after Ghiyath's ascension, he, with the aid of his loyal brother Mu'izz al-Din Muhammad, killed a rival Ghurid chief named Abu'l Abbas. Ghiyath then defeated his uncle Fakhr al-Din Masud who claimed the Ghurid throne and had allied with the Seljuq governor of Herat, and Balkh.[22] In 1173, Mu'izz al-Din Muhammad
Mu'izz al-Din Muhammad
reconquered the city of Ghazna and assisted his Ghiyath in his contest with Khwarezmid Empire
Khwarezmid Empire
for the lordship of Khorasan. Mu'izz al-Din Muhammad
Mu'izz al-Din Muhammad
captured Multan
and Uch in 1175 and annexed the Ghaznavid principality of Lahore
in 1186. He was alleged by contemporary historians to exact revenge for his great grandfather Muhammad ibn Suri. After the death of his brother Ghiyath in 1202, he became the successor of his empire and ruled until his assassination in 1206 near Jhelum
by Khokhar tribesmen (in modern-day Pakistan).[23] Decline and fall[edit] A confused struggle then ensued among the remaining Ghūrid leaders, and the Khwarezmids were able to take over the Ghūrids' empire in about 1215. Though the Ghūrids' empire was short-lived, Mu'izz al-Din Muhammad's conquests strengthened the foundations of Muslim rule in India. On his death, the importance of Ghazni
and Ghor
dissipated, and they were replaced by Delhi as power centre in India
during the rule of his Mamluk successors.[24] Cultural influences[edit] The Ghurids
were great patrons of Persian culture and literature and lay the basis for a Persianized state in India.[25][26] They also transferred Iranian architecture
Iranian architecture
of their native lands to India, of which several great examples have been preserved to this date (see gallery). However, most of the literature produced during the Ghurid era has been lost. Out of the Ghurid state grew the Delhi Sultanate
Delhi Sultanate
which established the Persian language
Persian language
as the official court language of the region – a status it retained until the late Mughal era in the 19th century.

The two mausoleums of Chisht (the western was built in 1167)

The eastern mausoleum of Chisht (built in 1194)

The Minaret of Jam
Minaret of Jam
in Ghor
Province of Afghanistan
(finished in 1174/75) – UNESCO World Heritage Site
UNESCO World Heritage Site
since 2002

Inscription on the Minaret of Jam, showing the name and titles of Sultan Ghiyath ad-Din Muhammad

Ornamental bands on the Minaret of Jam, bearing the 19th Sura of the Koran

Ruins of the Shah-i Mashhad madrasa (built in 1176)

Titular Name(s) Personal Name Reign

Malik ملک‬ Amir Suri امیر سوری‬ 9th-century – 10th-century

Malik ملک ‬ Muhammad ibn Suri محمد بن سوری‬ 10th-century – 1011

Malik ملک ‬ Abu Ali ibn Muhammad ابوعلی بن محمد‬ 1011–1035

Malik ملک ‬ Abbas ibn Shith عباس بن شیث‬ 1035 – 1060

Malik ملک ‬ Muhammad ibn Abbas محمد بن عباس‬ 1060 – 1080

Malik ملک ‬ Qutb al-din Hasan قطب‌الدین حسن‬ 1080 – 1100

Abul-Muluk ابولملک‬ Izz al-Din Husayn عزالدین حسین‬ 1100–1146

Malik ملک ‬ Sayf al-Din Suri سیف‌الدین سوری‬ 1146–1149

Malik ملک ‬ Baha al-Din Sam I بهاالدین سام‬ 1149

Malik ملک ‬ Sultan al-Muazzam سلطان المعظم‬ Ala al-Din Husayn علاالدین حسین‬ 1149–1161

Malik ملک ‬ Sayf al-Din Muhammad سیف‌الدین محمد‬ 1161–1163

Sultan Abul-Fateh سلطان ابوالفتح‬ Ghiyath al-Din Muhammad غیاث‌الدین محمد‬ 1163–1202

Sultan Shahāb-ud-din Muhammad Ghori سلطان شهاب‌الدین محمد غوری ‬ Mu'izz al-Din Muhammad معزالدین محمد‬ 1202–1206

Sultan سلطان‬ Ghiyath al-Din Mahmud غیاث‌الدین محمد‬ 1206–1212

Sultan سلطان‬ Baha al-Din Sam III بهاالدین سام‬ 1212–1213

Sultan سلطان‬ Ala al-Din Atsiz علاالدین دراست‬ 1213–1214

Sultan سلطان‬ Ala al-Din Ali علاالدین علی‬ 1214–1215

Khwarazmian conquest

Blue shaded rows signifies Ghurid vassalage under the Ghaznavids. Yellow shaded rows signifies Ghurid vassalage under the Seljuks. Green shaded row signifies Ghurid vassalage under the Khwarazmian dynasty.

Sultan Ghiyath al-Din Muhammad

Sultan Mu'izz al-Din Muhammad


Titular Name(s) Personal Name Reign

Malik ملک ‬ Fakhr al-Din Masud فخرالدین مسعود‬ 1152–1163

Malik ملک ‬ Shams al-Din Muhammad ibn Masud شمس‌الدین محمد بن مسعود‬ 1163–1192

Malik ملک ‬ Abbas ibn Muhammad عباس بن محمد‬ 1192

Malik ملک ‬ Abul-Mu'ayyid ابوالمؤید‬ Baha al-Din Sam II بهاالدین سام‬ 1192–1206

Malik ملک ‬ Jalal al-Din Ali جلال‌الدین علی‬ 1206–1215

Khwarazmian conquest

Green shaded row signifies Ghurid vassalage under the Khwarazmian dynasty.

Ghurid family tree[edit]









Amir Suri (9th-century-10th-century)



















































Muhammad ibn Suri (10th-century-1011)

























































Abu Ali ibn Muhammad (1011–1035)


Abbas ibn Shith (1035–1060)



















































Muhammad ibn Abbas (1060–1080)



























































Qutb al-din Hasan (1080–1100)






















































Izz al-Din Husayn (1100–1146)




































































































































































































































































Sayf al-Din Suri (1146–1149)



Shuja al-Din Muhammad



Qutb al-Din Muhammad



Baha al-Din Sam I (1149)


Nasir al-Din Muhammad Kharnak


Ala al-Din Husayn (1149–1161)








Fakhr al-Din Masud (1152–1163)






































































Ala al-Din Ali (1214–1215)























































Ghiyath al-Din Muhammad (1163–1202)




Mu'izz al-Din Muhammad (1202–1206)














Shams al-Din Muhammad (1163–1192)



























































































Sayf al-Din Muhammad (1149–1157)



Ala al-Din Atsiz (1213–1214)


Abbas ibn Muhammad (1192)




Baha al-Din Sam II (1192–1206)















Ghiyath al-Din Mahmud (1206–1212)





















































































































Jalal al-Din Ali (1206–1215)




Ala al-Din Muhammad

















Baha al-Din Sam III (1212–1213)























































See also[edit]

List of battles involving the Ghurid dynasty Minaret of Jam Mandesh Ghor


^ Firoz Koh in Ghur or Ghor
(a region to the west of Ghazni), the Ghurids' summer capital ^ a b Firuzkuh: the summer capital of the Ghurids, by David Thomas, pg. 18. ^ a b The Grove Encyclopedia of Islamic Art & Architecture: Three-volume set, by Jonathan Bloom, Sheila Blair, pg. 108. ^ The Development of Persian Culture under the Early Ghaznavids, C.E. Bosworth, Iran, Vol. 6, (1968), 35;;"Like the Ghaznavids
whom they supplanted, the Ghurids
had their court poets, and these wrote in Persian ^ a b c Medieval India
Part 1 Satish Chandra Page 22 ^ C. E. Bosworth: GHURIDS. In Encyclopaedia Iranica. 2001 (last updated in 2012). Online edition. ^ Kingdoms of South Asia – Afghanistan
in Far East Kingdoms: Persia and the East ^ Encyclopedia Iranica, Ghurids, Edmund Bosworth, Online Edition 2001, ([1]) ^ Finbarr Barry Flood, Objects of Translation: Material Culture and Medieval "Hindu-Muslim" Encounter, (Princeton University Press, 2009), 13. ^ Elphinstone, Mountstuart. The History of India. Vol. 1. J. Murray, 1841. Web. 29 Apr. 2010. Link: "...the prevalent and apparently the correct opinion is, that both they and their subjects were Afghans. " & "In the time of Sultan Mahmud it was held, as has been observed, by a prince whom Ferishta calls Mohammed Soory (or Sur) Afghan." p.598-599 ^ A short history of India: and of the frontier states of Afghanistan, Nipal, and Burma, Wheeler, James Talboys, (LINK): "The next conqueror after Mahmud who made a name in India, was Muhammad Ghori, the Afghan." ^ Balfour, Edward. The Cyclopædia of India
and of Eastern and Southern Asia, Commercial Industrial, and Scientific: Products of the Mineral, Vegetable, and Animal Kingdoms, Useful Arts and Manufactures. 3rd ed. Vol. 2. London: Bernard Quaritch, 1885. Web. 29 Apr. 2010. Link: "IZ-ud-DIN Husain, the founder of the Ghori dynaasty, was a native of Afghansitan. The origin of the house of Ghor
has, however, been much discussed, – the prevailing opinion being that both they and their subjects were an Afghan race. " p.392 ^ G. Morgenstierne (1999). "AFGHĀN". Encyclopaedia of Islam
(CD-ROM Edition v. 1.0 ed.). Leiden, The Netherlands: Koninklijke Brill NV.  ^ a b M. Longworth Dames; G. Morgenstierne; R. Ghirshman (1999). "AFGHĀNISTĀN". Encyclopaedia of Islam
(CD-ROM Edition v. 1.0 ed.). Leiden, The Netherlands: Koninklijke Brill NV. "... there is no evidence for assuming that the inhabitants of Ghūr were originally Pashto-speaking (cf. Dames, in E I1). If we are to believe the Paṭa Khazāna (see below, iii), the legendary Amīr Karōṝ, grandson of Shansab, (8th century) was a Pashto poet, but this for various reasons is very improbable ..."  ^ Encyclopaedia Iranica, "Ghurids", C.E. Bosworth, (LINK): ". . . The Ghurids
came from the Šansabānī family. The name of the eponym Šansab/Šanasb probably derives from the Middle Persian name Wišnasp (Justi, Namenbuch, p. 282). . . . The chiefs of Ḡūr only achieve firm historical mention in the early 5th/11th century with the Ghaznavid raids into their land, when Ḡūr was still a pagan enclave. Nor do we know anything about the ethnic stock of the Ḡūrīs in general and the Šansabānīs in particular; we can only assume that they were eastern Iranian Tajiks. . . . The sultans were generous patrons of the Persian literary traditions of Khorasan, and latterly fulfilled a valuable role as transmitters of this heritage to the newly conquered lands of northern India, laying the foundations for the essentially Persian culture which was to prevail in Muslim India
until the 19th century. . . ." ^ Encyclopaedia of Islam, "Ghurids", C.E. Bosworth, Online Edition, 2006: "... The Shansabānīs were, like the rest of the Ghūrīs, of eastern Iranian Tājik stock ..." ^ Encyclopaedia Iranica, "Ghurids", C.E. Bosworth, (LINK); with reference to Justi, "Namenbuch", p. 282 ^ Encyclopaedia of Islam, "Ghurids", C.E. Bosworth, Online Edition, 2006: "... There is nothing to confirm the recent surmise that the Ghūids were Pashto-speaking [...] the Paṭa Khazāna "Treasury of secrets", claims to include Pashto poetry from the Ghūid period, but the significance of this work has not yet been evaluated ..." ^ Finbarr Barry Flood, Objects of Translation: Material Culture and Medieval "Hindu-Muslim" Encounter, (Princeton University Press, 2009), 13.[2] ^ a b Encyclopedia Iranica, Ghaznavids, Edmund Bosworth, Online Edition 2007, (LINK Archived 15 August 2009 at the Wayback Machine.) ^ Ghurids, C.E. Bosworth, Encyclopedia of Islam, Vol.2, Ed. Bernard Lewis, C. Pellat and J. Schacht, (E.J.Brill, 1991), 1100. ^ The Iranian World, C.E. Bosworth, The Cambridge History of Iran, Vol. 5, ed. J. A. Boyle, John Andrew Boyle, (Cambridge University Press, 1968), 163. ^ Balaji Sadasivan, The Dancing Girl: A History of Early India, (ISEAS Publishing, 2011), 147. ^ Ira M. Lapidus, A History of Islamic Societies 2nd ed. Cambridge University Press 2002 ^ Ghurids, C.E.Bosworth, Encyclopaedia Iranica, (15 December 2001);[3] ^ Persian Literature in the Safavid Period, Z. Safa, The Cambridge history of Iran: The Timurid and Safavid periods, Vol.6, Ed. Peter Jackson and Laurence Lockhart,(Cambridge University Press, 1986), 951;"... Ghurids
and Ghurid mamluks, all of whom established centres in India
where poets and writers received ample encouragement.".


C. Edmund, Bosworth (2001). "GHURIDS". Encyclopaedia Iranica, Online Edition. Retrieved 5 January 2014.  Frye, R.N. (1975). "The Ghaznavids
and Ghūrids". In Frye, R.N. The Cambridge History of Iran, Volume 5: The Iranian world. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. pp. 157–165. ISBN 0-521-20093-8. 

External links[edit]

Encyclopædia Britannica (Online Edition) – Ghurid Sultanate Encyclopædia Britannica (Online Edition) – Muizz-ud-Din-Muhammad a.k.a. Mohammad of Ghor Columbia Encyclopedia (Sixth Edition) – Muhammad of Ghor The Ghurid Rulers The Ghurids The Ghurids´ Firuzkuh, the summer capital of the Sultans

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