Malik Naib Kafur Hazar Dinari was a slave, seized by Nusrat Khan, the wazir of Ala-ud-din Muhammad Shah Khilji, from a merchant at Cambay, during the conquest of Gujarat in 1299. He was called Hazar Dinari (al-Alfi) since he was purchased by his owner for 1000 dinars.
Badauni referred to him as Malik Manik, while Amir Khusro called him Malik Naib Barbak Izz-ud-daula.
Historians say that Kafur was extremely handsome and Ala-ud-din was captivated by his beauty. 'Sultan Ala-ud-din, upon seeing Kamla Devi, the captive wife of the Raja of Gujarat, took her in marriage. But this did not satisfy his abominable lusts. Malik Kafur, a slave who had been taken on that expedition, engaged his unnatural passion, which he publicly indulged to the disgrace and debasement of human nature', notes Ferishta.
Despite his origins as a slave, Kafur rose to become one of the most trusted and influential generals of Ala-ud-din Khilji. He led several successful campaigns, expanding the empire's territory and securing victories in Devagiri (1308), Warangal (1309), Mabar (Madurai), and Dwarasamudra (1310).
Kafur was made Malik Naib during the conquest of Devagiri in 1307-08. Ferishta writes, 'The Sultan's affection for Kafur now exceeded all bounds of decency and prudence, and his wish now was to raise him to distinction among the nobles. He gave him the title of Malik Naib Kafur, and the nobles were directed to pay their respects to him daily, as to a sovereign. This created great disgust, but no one dared to complain'.
Last Days of Alau-d din Khilji:
Ala-ud-din Khilji (r: 1296-1316) came to the throne by treacherously murdering his uncle Sultan Jalal-ud-din Khilji, the founder of the Khilji dynasty. Despite being illiterate, Ala-ud-din was a powerful monarch who emerged victorious in all his conquests. He even considered himself the second Alexander. He was also known for his successful efforts in protecting India from continuous Mongol invasions.
Towards the end of his reign, Ala-ud-din was plagued by various disorders, including ill-temper and suspiciousness. He became infatuated with Malik Kafur, and made him wazir.
Barani, a historian of the time, had a strong dislike for Malik Kafur. 'In the heart of that eunuch and catamite, the desire of becoming the Head of the State was implanted', writes Barani.
It is worth noting that Muhammad Ghori had a number of loyal slaves, including Aibak and Iltumish. However, Kafur was not faithful to his master and was plotting to seize the kingdom for himself.
As time went on, Ala-ud-din fell ill. Malik Kafur informed him that Mahru, the Mallika Jahan (chief wife of Ala-ud-din and mother of Khizr Khan), her brother Alp Khan, the Governor of Gujarat, and Khizr Khan were plotting against his life.
Khizr Khan had vowed to make a pilgrimage to the saints of Hastinapur on foot as soon as his father regained his health. When he learned of the Sultan's recovery, he proceeded to Delhi before the order for his return was issued. Kafur used this as an opportunity to poison the Sultan's mind against Khizr Khan, claiming that the prince's disobedience was a sign of rebellion.
Kafur and Alp Khan were bitter enemies. Kafur acted craftily, and informed Ala-ud-din that Alp Khan wanted to install Khizr Khan on the throne and become Naib himself. Kafur thus induced the Sultan to have Alp Khan killed.
Kafur then convinced the Sultan that Khiẓr Khan was concerned about the murder of his uncle and that in order to restore order in the State, it was necessary for the Sultan to issue instructions for Khiẓr Khan to reside in Amroha until summoned back to court. During his stay in Amroha, Khiẓr Khan was allowed to engage in hunting activities, but was required to send back the royal insignia.
Khizr Khan arrived in Delhi in a state of deep distress to pay his respects to his father. The Sultan, moved by paternal affection, warmly embraced his son. Khizr Khan's tears convinced the Sultan of his sincerity, and he ordered him to visit his mother and sisters.
However, by a thousand wiles and artifices, Malik Kafur managed to persuade the Sultan to imprison both Khizr Khan and his brother Shadi Khan in the fort of Gwalior, as well as their mother in the old fort at Delhi.
Revolts broke out in many parts of the kingdom. Kamal-ud-din Garg, who was sent to quell the rebellion in Gujarat, was killed by the insurgents. The Rajputs of Chittor also rebelled and declared their independence. Harpaldeva, the son-in-law of Raja Ramadeva of Devagiri, initiated a rebellion in the Deccan. The Sultan's anger grew as he received these reports, exacerbating his illness.
Shortly after this, the Sultan passed away, and rumors circulated that Kafur had a hand in his death. Before his condition worsened, the Sultan had instructed Kafur to bring Khizr Khan to him so that he could proclaim him as his successor. However, Kafur delayed and made excuses, claiming that Khizr Khan would arrive soon. He continued to act thus until the Sultan died on January 4th, 1316.