Muhammad Ghoris Early Indian Campaigns

The Ghaznavid Empire was founded by Sabuktigin (977-997) in 977 and lasted until 1186 under the rule of Khusrau Malik. The succession of rulers went as follows: Ismail (997-998), Mahmud, better known as Mahmud of Ghazni (998-1030), Muhammad (1030-1st reign), Masud I (1030-1040), Muhammad (1040-2nd reign), Maudud (1040-1049), Masud II (1049), Ali (1049-1051), Abd-al-Rashid (1051-52), Toghrul (1052), Farrukh-Zad (1052-1058), Ibrahim (1058-1098), Masud III (1098-1115), Shirzad (1115), Arslan Shah (1115-1117), Bahram Shah, Khusrau Shah, and Khusrau Malik.

Ghor was a province ruled by the Ghaznavid dynasty. During the reign of Masud III, Eiz-ud-din Husain, the son-in-law of the late Sultan Ibrahim, was appointed as the governor of Ghor in 1099. 

Eiz-ud-din's son and successor, Qutub-ud-din founded the city of Firuzkoh, assuming sovereignty over the area. Bahram Shah, however, suspected Qutub-ud-din's intentions over Ghazni and poisoned him. Saif-ud-din, Qutub-ud-din's brother, marched towards Ghazni to avenge his brother's death. Ghazni fell, and Bahram fled to India. Bahram Shah afterwards put Saif-ud-din to death and retook Ghazni. 

Ala-ud-din Husain, the brother of Qutub-ud-din and Saif-ud-din, defeated Bahram Shah and recaptured Ghazni. Ala-ud-din imprisoned his nephews, Ghias-ud-din and Muiz-ud-din in the fort of Waziristan. 

Khusrau Shah established his capital in Lahore. However, his attempts to recover Ghazni were thwarted when he received news that the Turks of Ghuzz were marching with a large army to subdue Ghazni. Meanwhile, the Ghuzz expelled the troops of Ghor and took control of Ghazni. 

At Ghor, Ala-ud-din was succeeded by his son Mallik Saif-ud-din, who upon his accession, released his cousins Ghias-ud-din and Muiz-ud-din from confinement. Mallik Saif-ud-din was succeeded by his eldest cousin Ghias-ud-din Muhammad Bin Sam.

When Ghias-ud-din ascended the throne of Ghor, he appointed his younger brother Muiz-ud-din as the governor of Tiginabad, in Garmsir. In 1173, the Ghoris conquered Ghazni from the Ghuzz Turks, and Ghias-ud-din placed Muiz-ud-din on its throne. This marked the beginning of the journey of Shahab-ud-din Muhammad Ghori, also known as Muiz-ud-din Muhammad Bin Sam (1173-1206). Ghori officially succeeded his brother on his death in 1203.

Muhammad Ghori's Expeditions to India:


Muhammad Ghori was a remarkably ambitious and enterprising leader, driven by an insatiable desire to expand his empire. Prior to the second battle of Tarain, Ghori had led eight expeditions to India, and had emerged victorious in all but two of them.

1. In 1175, Ghori led his troops to Multan, where he successfully captured the region from the Ismaili heretics known as the Qarmatians. After this victory, he advanced towards Uch, which was under the possession of the Bhati tribes. After the conquest, Ghori assigned the territories of Multan and Uch to Ali Kirmaj.

An interesting anecdote surrounds Ghori's conquest of Uch. Ghori laid siege to the fort, but found it difficult to overcome. He sent a message to the Raja's wife, was known to dominate his affairs. Ghori promised to make her his Queen if she would assist him in capturing the city. She replied that she was not suitable for him but she had a beautiful daughter whom she would be willing to offer in marriage. In exchange for leaving her in control of her property and wealth, she promised to assassinate the Raja. Ghori accepted the proposal, and the wife poisoned her husband and handed over the city to Ghori. Ghori took both the daughter and the mother to Ghazni. He married the daughter and converted her to Islam, providing her with substantial allowances and assigning individuals to educate her about the Quran. However, Ghori neglected his new wife. Her mother died and ten years later, she too died. He built a shrine for her, where she was laid to rest.

2. In 1178, Ghori launched another campaign into Hindustan, this time targeting the Chalukyas of Anhilwara, also known as the Solankis. (Anhilwara, also referred to as Nahrwala and Patan, served as the illustrious capital of Gujarat in ancient times.) Rai Bhim Dev, who served as the regent during the reign of the infant king Mularaja II, gave a crushing blow and the Mohammedans suffered many hardships in their retreat. 

3. In 1179, Ghori marched to Peshawar and captured it.

End of the Ghaznavid Empire

4. In 1180, Muhammad Ghori engaged in a war with Sultan Khusrau Malik in Lahore. However, the conflict was resolved through a peace agreement, with Ghori receiving Khusrau Malik's son Bahram Shah as a hostage.

5. In 1182, Ghori successfully conquered the entire region of Sind, extending his control down to Debal and the coastal areas.

6. In 1184, Ghori once again invaded Lahore and pillaged the country. Khusrau Malik retreated to the safety of the fort. Despite Ghori's efforts to besiege the fort, he eventually had to give up. During the expedition, Ghori repaired the fort of Sialkot and left a strong garrison under the charge of Husain Kharmil. After Ghori's departure, Khusrau Malik, aided by the Khokars, made an attempt to besiege Sialkot, but was ultimately unsuccessful and forced to retreat to Lahore.

7. In 1186, during his third expedition to Lahore, Ghori successfully captured the city. Through a clever stratagem, he managed to take Khusrau Malik and his family as prisoners. Khusrau Malik and his son Bahram Shah were later executed during the war with Khwarezm Shah in 1191, marking the end of the Ghaznavid empire. The empire of Mahmud of Ghazni then fell into the hands of the Sultans of Ghor. Lahore was placed under the charge of Ali Kirmaj.

The Historic Battles of Tarain

8. First Battle (1191) → Victory of Prithviraj Chauhan:


In 1191, Ghori marched to India and captured the fort of Sirhind. This stronghold, which was also referred to as Tabarhind and Bhatinda, was situated in the Punjab region. Prithviraj Chauhan, also known as Rai Pithora, the ruler of Ajmer (in Rajasthan) marched to oppose him. In the fierce battle took place at Tarain near Thanesar (in Haryana), Govind Rai, the Raja of Delhi, inflicted a severe wound on Ghori's arm. However, Ghori managed to escape just as he was about to be captured. Following Ghori's retreat, Prithviraj Chauhan recaptured Sirhind after a year-long siege.

Second Battle (1192) → Defeat of Prithviraj Chauhan:

In 1192, Prithviraj and Muhammad Ghori once again met at Tarain. Unfortunately, the Hindus were defeated, and Prithviraj Chauhan was taken captive and subsequently executed. Thus Ghori gained control of Ajmer, Hansi, Kohram, Samana and Sarsuti. 

This battle is significant in history as it marked the beginning of Muslim rule in India.


Tabakat-i-Nasiri of Abu-'Umar-i-'Usman (Minhaj al-Siraj Juzjani) Translated by H. G. Raverty