Historical Articles

Who Was Sultan Mahmud Ghaznavi?

Who Was Sultan Mahmud Ghaznavi? As soon as Mansur I, a ruler of the Samanid Empire, took the throne, he first deposed Alp Tagin, the governor of an important province like Khorasan. Alp Tagin was actually a Turkish slave who rose to become the general of the Samanid Empire and the governor of the most important province of Khorasan. But in the past, he had opposed Mansoor’s accession to the throne in the succession debate.

This act alone cost him dearly. Thus, instead of Khorasan, the Emirate of a distant province like Ghazni came to Alp Tagin’s fortune. In the year 962, he reached Ghazni, this city is located in Afghanistan today and this one decision revolutionized the history of Afghanistan and also of Pakistan. How? We will explain all this in today’s episode.

Sultan Mehmood Ghaznavi

As soon as Alp Tagin reached Ghazni, he started calling himself ‘Shah-e-Ghazni’. By the way, he continued to fulfill the loyalty of the Samanids, but he definitely laid the foundation of a new state of the future, this new kingdom later played an important role in the elimination of the Samanid power from the region.

Alp Tagin’s reign was very short. He could not rule Ghazni even for a year and died. He was succeeded by the emir of Ghazni, Abu Ishaq Ibrahim. This was also a Turkish officer, who was the Amir here for about three years.

Sultan Mahmud Ghaznavi Wars

In 977, Subak Taghin became the Amir of Ghazni, the father of the famous conqueror, and infamous to his opponents, Mahmud of Ghaznavi. Subak Tagin was actually a slave of Alp Tagin and later became his son-in-law.

The history of Muslims is full of such examples. The rise of slaves from the lower ranks to the highest positions was a common phenomenon in Muslim societies. In contrast, slavery in the West was not only the worst form of human history, but the roots of racism are still visible today in one form or another. In contrast, many great empires in Muslim history were originally slave states, such as the Mamluks of Egypt and the slave dynasties of India.

The state that was now to be formed in Ghazni was a public expression of the power of the slaves.

This picture of Ghazni city was made in 1843. When he had lost all his past glories
Mahmud Ghaznavi, son of Alp Tagin, made Ghazni a completely independent and independent state in 998 AD.

All previous rulers were actually called Samanid Amirs in Ghazni, but Mahmud used the word ‘Sultan’ for himself. He was the first ruler in history who declared himself Sultan. Then in a short period of time, his Lashkar-e-Jarrar spread from Tehran to Lahore and from Sindh to Central Asia.

Sultan Mahmud Ghaznavi 17 attacks on India.

Mahmood gained worldwide fame for his 17 attacks on India. During this, he attacked Peshawar, Multan, Lahore, Kanauj, Ajmer, Gwalior, and Somnath. Much of what is now Pakistan became part of the Ghaznavid Empire during his reign and thus had a profound impact on the future of the region.

A new form of government

Mahmud Ghaznavi laid the foundations of a completely new form of government in the region. It was not unusual to have slaves in an army at that time. In Abbasid, Samanid, and Fatimid states, the rulers kept an army of slaves around them to maintain their grip on power and protect them from other powerful elements. But the entire army consists of slaves? This was not the case, but the army consisted largely of freedmen of various tribes, be they Arabs or Persians.

The same was the case with the Turkish governments themselves, most of the Qarakhanid army also consisted of freedmen. But Mahmud Ghaznavi was the first Muslim ruler whose entire “war machine” consisted of slaves. His officers, and soldiers, were all slaves.

It was a completely new strategy of forming and running the state. In today’s terms, there was a completely military regime, whose expansionist ambitions cost the region dearly. Mahmud Ghaznavi’s fast-moving army hardly ever fell below one hundred thousand. It was an army without color, caste or creed, with only one goal: to follow Mahmud’s every command.

Regardless of color, caste, nation, and religion, the Ghaznavid army had one goal: to follow Mahmud’s orders

Early period

When Mahmud Ghaznavi assumed power, he immediately faced attacks from the Qarakhani army from the north. Thus, two early Turkish states of Muslim history fought with each other. Both had their eyes on the remnants of the Samanid state and its capital Bukhara. Mehmood Ghaznavi was successful in this campaign and then he declared himself Sultan, the first Sultan of the world!

But the fact was that neither of the two states could completely dominate the other. The two even reached an agreement after negotiations and declared the Amu Darya as the border.

That is, just as the borders of Mahmud Ghaznavi in the east are similar to the modern Pakistan-India border. In the north, the border of Afghanistan and other Central Asian states was also the same as that which was determined by Mahmud Ghaznavi.

The boundaries of the Ghaznavid Empire during the reign of Mahmud Ghaznavi
Mahmud then eliminated the remnants of the Safari dynasty in Sistan and defeated Raja Jaipal in the Battle of Peshawar in 1001. The king was so heartbroken by this defeat that he committed suicide. Along with this, the steps of a Muslim state began to be established in the areas that later became part of Pakistan.

A few years later, when the Ismaili powers occupying Multan sought the help of Jaipal’s son Anand Pal, Mahmud attacked Multan and drove the Ismailis out of it. Not only this, but also defeated Anandpal and then in 1008 he defeated a combined army of Indian kings near Attock.

The current Punjab province of Pakistan was formally established in 1023 ADGhaznavi became a part of the state.

Somanat and Manat

One of Mahmud Ghaznavi’s greatest achievements, and in the words of others, one of his most infamous campaigns, was the conquest of Somnath in 1025 AD. Located in the Indian state of Gujarat, this temple was built by the Cholakhya royal family in the 10th century and was one of the richest temples in the region. Mahmud captured this temple and ordered its idols to be broken. He got a lot of wealth from here with which he returned back to Ghazni.

Surprisingly, most of the historians of that time did not make any special mention of this temple and Mahmud’s attack, even the majority of Hindu historians did not connect the hinges of heaven and earth, as is done today. However, there are two historians who mention Somnath’s victory in very dramatic terms. It was Farkhi Sistani and Abu Saeed Gardizi,

who wrote that the most famous of the idols worshiped in Arabia at the time of the advent of Islam were Lat, Uzza and Manat. After the conquest of Makkah, Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) ordered to break these idols. Lat and Uzza were abolished, but when the Muslims arrived, they did not find the idol of Manat. According to these historians, this idol was taken out of Arabia before the arrival of the Muslim army and brought to an area where idolatry was prevalent.

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It was probably the Somnath area of the Kathiawar peninsula, which is in the state of Gujarat itself. This was the reason why Mahmud Ghaznavi persisted in breaking the idol despite all the offers and thus was called idol breaker instead of idol seller.

Was there an idol of Manat in Somanat? Nothing can be said with certainty about this, but if someone had convinced Mahmud Ghaznavi about this, the result would have been the breaking of the idol anyway.

Sultan Mehmood Ghaznavi Died

After Somnath, Mahmud advanced westwards and wrested Ray, Isfahan and Hamdan from the Bani Boya dynasty and then died in 1030. His mausoleum is still present in Ghazni.

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