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Qutb-ud-din Aybak (Persian / Urdu: قطب الدین ایبک) was a Turkic ruler of medieval India, the first Sultan of Delhi and founder of the Slave dynasty (also known as the Ghulam dynasty). He served as sultan for only four years, from 1206 to 1210

Early years

Qutb-ud-din was born somewhere in Central Asia; he was of Turkic descent. While still a child he was captured and sold as a slave (ghulam). He was purchased by the chief Qazi of Nishapurmarker, a town in the province of Khorasan in northeastern Iranmarker. The Qazi treated him like one of his own sons, and Aibak received a good education, including fluency in Persian and Arabic and training in archery and horsemanship. When his master died, his master's sons, who were jealous of Aibak, sold him to a slave merchant. Qutb-ud-din was purchased by General Muhammad Ghori governor of Ghaznimarker.


Starting with his native Ghor, an Aimak principality, Muhammad Ghori managed to establish control over most of present-day Afghanistanmarker, Pakistanmarker and northern India. Under his command, Qutb-ud-din Aybak sacked Delhi in 1193. As governor of northern India Qutb-ud-din Aybak established the first verifiable Muslim administration through collection of state taxes, establishing the rule of law, equitable distribution of land and revenues to the nobles under his charge, and governance based on a mixture of locally elected representation through Mashura courts and nominated administrators.

Qutb-ud-din rose through the ranks to become Sultan Ghori's most trusted general. His greatest military successes occurred while he was directly under Sultan Ghori's guidance and leadership. Qutb-ud-din was responsible for executing and consolidating Sultan Ghori's conquests in northern India. He was left in increasingly independent charge of the Indian campaigns and the exaction of levies from the areas in Indiamarker that were under Sultan Ghori's conquests, as after 1192 Sultan Ghori concentrated on Central Asia.

Founding of the Delhi Sultanate

Muhammad Ghori established the first real Muslim state in North India. Upon Sultan Ghori's death in 1206, Qutb-ud-din Aybak, after a brief power struggle, succeeded in establishing himself as ruler of the empire in Afghanistanmarker, Pakistanmarker, and northern India; Ghori's Central Asian possessions had been captured by none other than the Mongol warlord, Genghis Khan.
The Qutab Minar, now a World Heritage Site in New Delhi, India, was built during his time.
The areas over which Qutb-ud-din established his rule were those over which he already exercised power as Sultan Ghori's local receiver-general of periodic exactions and levies. Therefore, although his formal tenure as ruler was only four years, Qutb-ud-din managed to consolidate the administrative system that was established by his predecessor Sultan Ghori. This was achieved despite his having to quell rebellions by nobles like Taj-ud-din Ildiz and Nasir-ud-din Qubachah. Qutb-ud-din ruled initially from Lahoremarker and later moved the capital to Delhimarker; he is hence considered the first Muslim ruler of South Asia.

Qutb-ud-din Aybak initiated the construction of Delhimarker's earliest Muslim monuments, the Quwwat-ul-Islam mosque and the Qutub Minarmarker.Historical records compiled by Muslim historian Maulana Hakim Saiyid Abdul Hai attest to the iconoclasm of Qutb-ud-din Aybak. The first mosque built in Delhi.These were completed by his successor, Iltutmish. Aibak,was otherwise known as "Lakh Baksh" or "giver of hundred thousands" because of his generosity. He was thus a pious Muslim, praised by contemporary Muslim clerics. He also patronized Nizami and Fakh-i-Mudabbir, both of whom dedicated their works to Aibak. Tazul Maasir is a work primarily dealing with Aybak.

Death and succession

Qutb-ud-din died accidentally in 1210. While he was playing a game of polo on horseback (polo aka chougan in India), his horse fell and Qutb-ud-din was impaled on the pommel of his saddle. He was buried near the Anarkali bazaarmarker in Lahoremarker. Qutb-ud-din Aybak's son Aram, died in 1211 CE , so Shams-ud-din Iltutmish, another ex-slave of Turkic ancestry who was married to Qutb-ud-din's daughter, succeeded him as Sultan of Delhi.

Qutb-ud-din Aibak's tomb is located behind Anarkali Bazaarmarker, Lahoremarker today. In the early 1970's, it was renovated at the orders of the then Prime Minister Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto.


Image:QutubuddinAibakMausoleum.JPG |The mausoleum of Qutub ud Din Aibak in Anarkali, Lahore, Pakistan.Image:QutubuddinAibakMausoleum2.JPG |The mausoleum of Qutub ud Din Aibak in Anarkali, Lahore, Pakistan.Image:QutubuddinAibakGrave.JPG |The grave of Qutub ud Din Aibak in Anarkali, Lahore, Pakistan.Image:QutubuddinAibakPlate.JPG |The date of death of Qutub ud Din Aibak is mentioned as 607 AH or 1210 CE, Lahore, Pakistan.Image:QutubuddinAuibakDoor.JPG |The details of the wooden door at the mausoleum of Qutub ud Din Aibak in Anarkali, Lahore, Pakistan.

See also


  1. Dynastic Chart The Imperial Gazetteer of India, v. 2, p. 368.
  2. India: The early Turkish sultans
  3. Slave Dynasty and the Beginning of the Delhi Sultanate
  4. Fluent in Persian and Arabic (page 2)
  5. De La Fosse, Claude Fraser (1917) History of India (revised edition) Macmillan & Co., London, p. 96 OCLC 13241962
  6. Index_1200-1299,
  7. A picture of Qutb-ud-din Aibak's tomb may be viewed at Webshots; originally uploaded by 'ajmalbeig' on July 4, 2004

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