Fall of Malik Kafur: The 1000 Dinar Slave

Malik Naib Kafur Hazar Dinari was a slave who was forcibly taken from a merchant in Cambay by Nusrat Khan, the wazir of Ala-ud-din Muhammad Shah Khilji, during the conquest of Gujarat in 1299. He was called Hazar Dinari (al-Alfi) because he was originally purchased for 1000 dinars.

Ala-ud-din raised Kafur from dust to power. Kafur's striking beauty captivated the Sultan, and under his strategic leadership, the Sultan's armies achieved numerous victories, including the conquests of Devagiri, Warangal, Mabar, and Dwarasamudra. These successes ultimately led to Kafur's appointment as the wazir. 


However, Kafur had his own agenda. He was cunning and had his sights set on the throne. While Ala-ud-din fell ill, Kafur convinced him to imprison his own son and heir, Khizr Khan. 

Ala-ud-din Khilji passed away in 1316, and Kafur had even denied him the opportunity to see his beloved son Khizr Khan one last time before his passing.

Short Reign of Shihab-ud-din Omar (r: Jan-April 1316):

On the second day following the death of Ala-ud-din Khilji, Kafur gathered the nobles and presented a forged will of the late king. This will stated that Ala-ud-din had appointed Shihab-ud-din Omar, a mere child of 5-6 years, as his successor instead of Khizr Khan. 

Shihab-ud-din's mother was the daughter of Raja Ramadeva of Devagiri, but unfortunately, he was nothing more than a puppet in the hands of Kafur, who became the regent. Ferishta states that Kafur, despite being a eunuch, even married the mother of Shihab-ud-din. 

Kafur's first act was to send a slave named Malik Sumbul to Gwalior to blind the princes Khizr Khan and Shadi Khan. The Mallika Jahan, Khizr Khan's mother, was put into closer confinement, and all her wealth was seized. Kafur then appointed his confidants into various offices, ensuring his control over the kingdom. 

Every day, Kafur would ceremoniously place the infant Sultan on the throne at the Hazar Sutun (the palace of thousand pillars), and direct the nobles to pay their respects as usual. Once the levee was over, the infant Sultan would be sent back to his mother inside the haram. Kafur would then retire to a pavilion on the terrace of the palace, where he would often engage in a game of dice (something like backgammon, Kaudi or pachisi), with others eunuchs, and often plot how to destroy Sultan Ala-ud-din's progeny, behind closed doors.

Kafur had confined prince Mubarak, who would later become Sultan Qutb-ud-din Mubarak, in his room with the intention of blinding him. 

Fall of Malik Kafur:

One fateful night, Kafur dispatched some paiks (foot-guards) to blind prince Mubarak. Ferishta provides a vivid account of this event, describing how the prince pleaded with the assassins to remember his father, whose loyal servants they once were. In a desperate attempt to save his own life, Mubarak even offered them a string of precious jewels from around his neck. Miraculously, the paiks were moved by the prince's words and spared his life. 

However, as they left Mubarak's apartment, they began to quarrel over the division of the jewels. Eventually, they agreed to take the jewels to the chief of the foot-guards and inform him of the prince's words and their instructions from Malik Kafur. 

The loyal Alai slaves Mubashshir and Bashir, who served as commander and lieutenant of the paiks, were shocked by Kafur's villainous actions and conspired against him. Just a few hours later, they entered Kafur's apartment and assassinated him and his companions, putting an end to the traitor's life 35 days after the death of Ala-ud-din Khilji.

In contrast to Barni, Amir Khusro and others, Sultan Firoz Shah Tughlaq, in his Futuhat-i Firoz Shahi, speaks of Kafur in a more positive light: "The tomb of Malik Tajul Mulk Kafuri, the chief vizier of Sultan Ala-ud-din, renowned for his wisdom and intelligence, who had conquered many territories where the horses of previous rulers had not reached before, and who had the Khutba recited in the name of Sultan Ala-ud-din and commanded fifty two thousand cavalry, had fallen to the ground and had become level with the earth. It was rebuilt anew because he was a well-wisher and a faithful servant."