as-Sikka السكة
The Online Journal of The Islamic Coins Group 
as-Sikka is a peer reviewed publication
ISSN 1496-4414 

Summer 2000AD / 1421AH       Vol. 2.2

 

GHORIDS OF BAMIYAN
By Haroon Tareen

There has not been much research on this hitherto obscure dynasty. Probably due to the fame and glory of their immediate cousins the Ghorids of Ghazna, this dynasty never really enjoyed any geopolitical or historical significance. The available literature from historiographers of antiquity is limited to brief references in Tarikh-e-Farishta, Tabquat-e-Nasiri, Hayat-e-Afghani and an untitled Persian manuscript about the Afghan kings [written at the close of 18th century AD and based upon older works such as Al-Utbi (Ghaznavid court historiographer) etc]. The subsequent historiographers such as Percy Sykes [A History of Afghanistan], Majumdar, Raychaudhuri & Datta [An Advanced History of India], Vincent Smith [The Oxford History of India], Sir Olaf Caroe [The Pathans] Abdul Qadir {Indian History upto 1526], Muhammad Hayat [Tarikh-e-Vast-e-Asia], Aminius Vambery [History of Bukhara] and several others mostly borrow their facts from Farishta.

Ghor is a mountainous region [Now known as Hazarajat and populated by the Hazara tribe who, are of Turcko-Mongoloid stock, profess the Shi'a faith and were colonized in that area by Chengiz's successors] lying west-southwest of Kabul and West-Northwest of Ghazni. Under the present political divisions the region of Ghor is divided into the provinces of Ghowr [capital Chaghcharan], Bamian [capital Bamian], and some areas of Paravan [capital Charikar], and other provinces to the North and West including Baghlan, Balkh, Tukhar, Samangan and Sar-e-pol. Since the advent of Islam the area has remained under the control of the Samanides, Ghaznavids, Ghorids, and Khawarizm Shahs until the Mongol occupation. Bamian proper is a valley [100 miles approx. from Kabul] in the northern Ghoristan region, nestled in the Hindukush Mountains and particularly on the south by the 5,100-meter high Koh-e-Baba peak. Farther south between Ghazni and Bamian lies the Dasht-e-Nawar desert.

Eastern Iranian people known to the Afghans and the Turks, as Tajiks inhabited the area of Ghor during the period, of which we are presently taking account. We cannot exclude the possibility that they may have had strains of Turkish blood, even if they were not all and all out Turks. All the other dynasties carved out of the Samanid Empire and surrounding Ghor, whether Seljuqs, Ghaznavid or Qarakhanid were Turks; in such a milieu the Ghor princes would have found it hard to preserve their Iranian blood undiluted. According to Farishta, who traces the genealogy of the Ghorids right upto Zuhawk the legendary king of Persia mentioned in the Shahnamaeh, who was slain by Faridun the ironsmith.Nevertheless with a view to be brief, we will restrict ourselves to the table of genealogy from Shansab the progenitor of Ghorids who converted to Islam and was purportedly given a Farman by the fourth Caliph Ali, to rule the Ghorids.

Shansab  
Pervez
 
Darmansh
 
Darmash  
Nehatan  
Yahya Contemporary of Caliph Harun-ur-Rashid
Muhammad  
Suri . Important person in Saffaride ???? realm
Muhammad  Contemporary of Mahmud of Ghazna
Abu Ali
 
Abbas bin Shansab bin Muhammad  nephew of Abu Ali
Muhammad
 
Qutabuddin
 
Sam
 
Iz'uddin (Appointed as Mir Hajib [Master of Ceremonies] at the court of Sultan Ibrahim Ghaznavid [1059-99 AD] and married to one of his relative ladies. Promoted as Governor of Ghor by Masud bin Ibrahim Ghaznavid [1099-1115 AD]). He had seven sons [famous by the title of Haft Akhtar i.e. The Seven Stars], who were divided into two groups, the first one known as the kings of Bamian, Tukharistan and Mubatila and the other group as the kings of Ghor and Ghazni. The seven sons are listed hereunder:

 

1   Fakhuruddin Masud   King of Bamian
2   Qutabuddin Muhammad   Married to the daughter of Bahram Shah Ghaznavid [1117-1157 AD]. He was made sub-ruler of Ferozakoh, just north of Heart (at the mouth of the Ghoristan valley). Due to his intrigues to overthrow his father-in-law, he was captured by a conspiracy and executed by poisoning.
3   Shujauddin Ali   Died in youth
4   Nasiruddin Muhammad   Ruler of the province of Zaminward.
5   Saifuddin Suri   He along with his brother Bahauddin attacked Bahram Shah Ghaznavid in 1148 AD to avenge the death of his brother Qutabuddin. Initially Bahram was defeated and he fled to Hindustan. Having presumed their control over Ghazni consolidated, the younger brother (Bahauddin) returned to Ghor but Bahram Shah struck back during the following winters when the lines of communication/transport were cut-off between Ghazni and Ghor due to heavy snow. Saifuddin was captured along with his minister Majduddin, humiliated, tortured and executed.
6   Bahauddin Sam   Father of Ghiyasuddin and Shihabuddin (The famous Muhammad Ghuri). He was with his brother Saifuddin during the initial defeat of Bahram Shah and occupation of Ghazni during spring of 1148 AD, but he left for Ghor before the arrival of winters/snow.
7   Alauddin (Jehansoz [World burner])   He struck upon Ghazni in 1149 AD, surprising the Ghaznavid forces. Occupied Ghazni and gave up the city to plunder after executing all those who could be captured including women folk. Even the tombs of the Ghaznavid Sultans except Mahmud, Masud and Ibrahim were desecrated and the remains of the Sultans put to fire. Bahram Shah escaped and also solicited the help of his maternal uncle the Seljuq Sultan Sanjar. In the meantime Alauddin occupied Balkh and Heart from Sanjar [1118-1157 AD (511-552 AH)], but was defeated, captured and later restored when Sanjar was himself taken prisoner by the Ghuzz Turks. He died in 551 AH and was succeeded by his only son Saifuddin who died within a period of 1 years. The throne then passed on to the joint rule of Ghiyasuddin and Shihabuddin. (The famous Ghuri Brothers who annexed Punjab and defeated the kings of Hindustan).

We now revert to our subject, i.e. the kingdom of Bamian. [The word "Kingdom" has been used as the rulers of Bamian preferred the title 'Al Malik' which means King, over the title 'Sultan' that was being used in the neighboring realms]. The kings professed the Sunni faith as is confirmed from the inscription of Sunni Kalima on their coins. They were erstwhile feudatories to the Seljuqs of Iran whose great realm they bordered. At the same time Bamian was like a satellite state of the principal Ghorid State at Ghazna. The table of succession at Bamian is as given hereunder:

Fakhuruddin Masud 1145-63 AD [540-558 AH]
Shamsuddin Muhammad 1163-92 AD [558-588 AH]
Bahauddin Sam 1192-06 AD [588-602 AH]
Jalaluddin Ali 1206-15 AD [602-611 AH]

Numismatically, the dynasty is not very rich due to its short tenure but the variety of coins included Gold, Silver and Copper for all the kings. Inspite of the fact that Bamian is neither situated on any important caravan route nor it was (or is) rich in any kind of industrial or agricultural produce, the presence of Silver and Gold coins for such a small territory is justified by three facts:

a) This area provided bulk of the fighting mercenaries for the Ghorid armies taking on Ghazna (1149 AD) and other areas during the Eastwards expansion of the principal Ghorid realm and as a result a large quantity of booty comprising of Gold and Silver bullion found its way into Bamian;

b) Bamian and its peripheral valleys are rich in minerals including Gold and Silver. Despite primitive methods for the extraction of these metals, some production was coming out of Bamian; and

c) The kingdom of Bamian did not involve itself in any feud that would drain its resources. The only conflict that was thrust upon it in 1215 AD by Alauddin Muhammad Shah of Khawarizm brought the dynasty to an end and the area went under the control of the Khawarizm Shahs [Only to be taken away by the Mongols shortly afterwards]    

A comprehensive {perhaps the most upto date} listing of the dynasty’s coins is given in Mr. Album’s Checklist of Islamic Coins, 2nd edition (page 90). Except that Mr. Album does mention any Gold coins for Shamsuddin Muhammad whereas a gold coin (Dinar) is available in my own collection described hereunder. Mr. Album may also like to correct the listing of entry number M1754 page 88 of The Checklist as Sayfuddin Hussain was a different person than Alauddin Hussain. He was the real brother of Alauddin (Jahansoz) and a separate listing will have to be created for him in the Checklist.

The obverse of the coin is slightly weak, yet the entire legend is clearly decipherable. The reverse side contains the Kalima and is very fine. Please see the scan*.

Bamian doubleside.jpg (100139 bytes)
The obverse legend is
Bamian-
Al Malik al Azam -
Shams-ud-duniya w'ad Din -
Abu'l Muzzafar- Muhammad
bin Masood

This literally translates:
Bamian-
The great King-
Sun of the world and the religion-
Father of victory- Muhammad son of
Masood


The reverse legend reads the Sunni Kalima followed by the name of Abasside Caliph Al Nasir B'Allah [575 to 622 AH] with date around. The date is somewhat off the flank and only the word 'Ahdee' i.e. One, is legible. Since the rule of this king ended in 588 AH, therefore, the "One" at the end of a Hijri era of this king citing Caliph Nasir refers to 581 AH as by that time Al Nasir had ascended as Caliph in Baghdad.

I have tried my best to provide accurate facts for the benefit of other members. If any member has seen, or possesses such coins and has identified them otherwise, or if any inaccuracy is observed in the facts, I may please be corrected.
               

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