Timeline History

Qutb-ud-din Aybak

Qutb-ud-din Aybak was a ruler of medieval India, the first Sultan of Delhi and founder of the Slave dynasty (also known as the Mamluk dynasty). He served as sultan for only four years, 1206-1210.
Qutb-ud-din was a Turk of the Aybak tribe and was born somewhere in Central Asia. When yet a child, he was captured and sold as a slave (mamluk). He was purchased by the chief Qazi of Nishapur, a town in the province of Khorasan in northeastern Iran. The Qazi treated him like one of his own sons, and Aibak received a good education, including 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 Sultan Muhammad Ghori, ruler of Ghowr in central Afghanistan.


Starting with his native Ghowr, an Afghan principality, Muhammad Ghori managed to establish control over most of present-day Afghanistan, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Turkestan, and northern India. He however seems to have had no notion of establishing an administration or creating a state, plunder being his principal motivation. Qutb-ud-din rose through the ranks to become Ghauri's most trusted general; his greatest military successes occurred while he was still a subordinate of Ghauri. Qutb-ud-din was responsible for most of Ghauri'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 India that were under Ghuari's hegemony, as Muhammad Ghauri concentrated on Central Asia after 1192.

Muhammad Ghori established no real state,he made no nomination or provision for his succession. Upon his death in 1206, Qutb-ud-din Aybak, after a brief power struggle, succeeded in establishing himself as ruler of Muhammad Ghauri's empire in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and northern India; Ghauri's Central Asian possessions had been captured by none other than the Mongol warlord, Ghengis Khan. The areas over which Qutb-ud-din established his rule were those over which he already exercised coercive power as Ghauri'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 establish a defined administrative system, something never contemplated by Ghauri. 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 Lahore and later moved the capital to Delhi; he is hence considered the first Muslim ruler of South Asia. Qutb-ud-din Aybak initiated the construction of Delhi's earliest Muslim monuments, the Quwwat-ul-Islam mosque and the Qutub Minar. These was 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.


Qutb-ud-din died accidentally in 1210. While he was playing a game on horseback , his horse fell and Qutb-ud-din was impaled on the pommel of his saddle. He was buried near the Anarkali Bazaar in Lahore. 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 bazaar today. In the early 1970's, it was renovated at the orders of Prime Minister Bhutto.

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