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Qutb al-Din Aibak, History & Achievements | Gurugrah


Qutb ud-Din Aibak

Qutb ud-Din Aibak (14 November 1210) was a Turkic general of the Ghurid king Muhammad Ghori. He was in charge of the Ghurid territories in northern India, and after the assassination of Muhammad Ghori in 1206, he founded the Delhi Sultanate (1206–1526), ​​marking the beginning of the Mamluk dynasty, which would rule the sultanate until 1290.

Aibak, a native of Turkestan, was sold into slavery as a child. He was bought by a Qazi in Nishapur, Persia, where he learned archery and horse-riding, among other skills. He was later resold to Muhammad Ghori in Ghazni, where he rose to the rank of officer of the royal stables. During the Khwarazmian–Ghurid Wars, he was captured by Sultan Shah's scouts; After the Ghurid victory, he was released and was highly supported by Muhammad Ghori.

Early life

Aibak was born in c. 1150. His name is variously transliterated as "Qutb al-Din Aybeg", "Qutbuddin Aibak", and "Qutb al-Din Aibak". He came from Turkestan, and belonged to a Turkic tribe called Aibak. The word "Aibak", also transliterated as "Aibak" or "Aybeg", derives from the Turkic words for "moon" (ai) and "god" (bek).

As a child, he was separated from his family and taken to the slave market of Nishapur. Whereas, Qazi Fakhruddin Abdul Aziz Kufi,, bought it. Aibak was treated affectionately in the Qazi's house and received education along with the Qazi's sons. Apart from reciting Quran, he also learned archery and horse riding.

Aibak's career in India can be divided into three phases:

1. Officer in charge of some territories of Sultan Muhammad Ghori in northern India (1192-1206)

2. Informal sovereign who controlled Muhammad Ghori's former territories as Malik and Sipah Salar of Delhi and Lahore (1206-1208)

3. Sovereign ruler of an officially independent state in India (1208–1210)

As a subordinate of the Ghurid Sultan

Campaign against chahamanas

Aibak was one of the generals of the Ghurid army, which was defeated by the forces of the Chahamana ruler Prithviraj III in the First Battle of Tarain in India. At the Second Battle of Tarain, where the Ghurids were victorious, he was in charge of the general disposition of the Ghurid army and was close to Sultan Muhammad Ghori, who placed himself at the center of the army.

After his victory at Tarain, Muhammad Ghori ceded the former Chahamna territory to Aibak, which was placed in Kuhram (present-day Ghuram in Punjab, India). The exact nature of this assignment is unclear: Minhaj describes it as an iqta, the Fakhr-i Mudabbir calls it a "command" (sipahsalari), and Hasan Nizami states that Aibak was made governor (ayalat). Kuhram and Samana K.

Campaign against Jatwan

In September 1192, a rebel named Jatwan besieged the Hansi fort commanded by Nusrat-ud-din in the former Chahamana region. Aibak marched towards Hansi, forcing Jatwan to withdraw to Bagad, where the rebel was defeated and killed in a battle.

Early Conquests in the Doab

After defeating the Jatwans, he returned to Kuhram and prepared to attack the Ganga-Yamuna doab. In 1192, he captured Meerut and Baran (modern Bulandshahr), from where he would later launch attacks against the Gahadavala kingdom. He also captured Delhi in 1192, where he initially retained the local Tomara ruler as a vassal. In 1193, he deposed the Tomar ruler on charges of treason and took direct control of Delhi.

Stay in ghazni

In 1193, Sultan Muhammad Ghori summoned Aibak to the Ghurid capital Ghazni. The near-contemporary historian Minhaj does not elaborate, but the 14th-century historian Isami claims that some people aroused the sultan's suspicions against Aibak's loyalty. Historian KA Nizami finds Isami's account unreliable and believes that the Sultan may have sought Aibak's help in planning Ghurid expansion into India.

Return to india

Aibak remained in Ghazni for about six months. After his return to India in 1194, he crossed the Yamuna River, and captured Koil (modern Aligarh) from the Dor Rajputs.

Meanwhile, taking advantage of Aibak's absence in India, Hariraja had gained control over a part of the former Chahamana territory. After returning to Delhi, Aibak sent an army against Hariraja, who, facing certain defeat, committed suicide. Aibak later placed Ajmer under a Muslim governor and transferred Govindaraja to Ranthambore.

War against Garhwalas

In 1194, Mu'izz returned to India and crossed the Jamuna with an army of 50,000 horse and defeated the army of the Garhwal king Jayachandra at the Battle of Chandawar, who was killed in action. After the battle, Mu'izz continued his advance eastward, with Aibek in the vanguard. The city of Banaras (Kashi) was captured and "the idols in a thousand temples" were destroyed. It is generally thought that the Buddhist city of Sarnath was also destroyed at that time. Although the Ghurids did not gain complete control over the Gahadavala kingdom, the victory provided them with the opportunity to establish military stations at several places in the region.

Other campaigns

After the victory at Chandavar, Aibak turned his attention to consolidating his position in Koil. Muhammad Ghori returned to Ghazni but returned to India in 1195–96 when he defeated Kumarapala, the Bhati ruler of Bayana. He then marched towards Gwalior, where the local Parihara ruler Sallakhanpal acknowledged his suzerainty.

After the death of Muhammad Ghori

According to Minhaj's Tabaqat-i Nasiri, Aibak had conquered territories up to the limits of Ujjain in the south. Minhaj states that at the time of Sultan Muhammad Ghori's death in 1206, the Ghurids controlled the following territories in India:

• Multan high

• Naharwala (Patan)

• Purshor

• Sialkot

• Lahore

• Tabarhinda

• Tarain

• Ajmer

• Hansi surasuti

• Kuhraam

• Meerut

• Nightingale

• Delhi

• Thanker

• Badaun

• Gwalior bhira

• Banaras kannauj

• Kalinjar

• Awadh

• Malwa

• Advand (identity uncertain)

• A state in Eastern India

• Lakhnauti in Bengal

However, Ghurid control was not equally effective in all these areas. In some of these places, such as Gwalior and Kalinjar, Ghurid control had weakened or even ceased to exist.

Recognition as the ruler of North India

Tajul-Maasir, a contemporary chronicle by Hasan Nizami, states that Muhammad Ghori appointed Aibak as his representative in India after his victory at Tarain. Hasan Nizami has also stated that the iyalat (rule) of Kuhram and Samana was handed over to Aibak.

Fakhr-i Mudabbir, another contemporary historian, states that Muhammad Ghori formally appointed Aibak as the viceroy of his Indian territories only in 1206, when he was returning to Ghazni after suppressing the Khokhar rebellion. According to this historian, Aibak was promoted to the rank of malik and appointed the direct heir apparent (wali al-ahd) of the Sultan's Indian territories.

Death and legacy

After being recognized as the ruler of India, Aibak focused on consolidating his rule in the areas already under his control rather than conquering new territories. In 1210, he fell from a horse while playing Chowgan (a form of polo on horseback) in Lahore, and died instantly from a saddle splinter in his ribs.

All contemporary historians praise Aibak as a loyal, generous, courageous and just man. According to Minhaj, his generosity earned him the title of Lakh-Bakhsh, which literally means "the giver of Lakhs [copper coins or jitals]". The Fakhr-i Mudabbir states that Aibak's soldiers – who included "Turks, Ghurids, Khurasanis, Khaljis and Hindustanis" – did not dare to forcibly take even a blade of grass or a morsel of food from the peasants.

Personal life

Some manuscripts of Minhaj's Tabaqat-i Nasiri add the word bin Aibak ("son of Aibak") to the name of Aibak's successor, Aram Shah. However, this may have been an erroneous addition made by a careless scribe, as Alauddin Ata Malik-i-Juwayni's Tarikh-i-Jahan-Gusha chronicle clearly mentions that Aibak had no sons.


Historian Hasan Nizami, who moved from Nishapur to Delhi during Aibak's reign, portrays Aibak as a devout Muslim who "uprooted idolatry" and "destroyed the temples" in Kuhraum. He also mentions that the Hindu temples at Meerut and Kalinjar were converted into mosques during Aibak's reign; These include "one thousand temples" in Delhi alone. He further claims that Aibak freed the entire Kol (Aligarh) region from idols and idolatry.

Cultural contribution

The construction of Qutub Minar in Delhi started during the reign of Aibak. Aibak was also a patron of literature. Fakhri Mudabbir, who wrote Adab al-Harb – Etiquette of War – dedicated his genealogy book to Aibak. The composition of Hasan Nizami's Tajul-Masir, which was completed during the reign of Iltutmish, probably began during the reign of Aibak.



By Chanchal Sailani | January 24, 2023, | Editor at Gurugrah_Blogs.



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