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Mahmud of Ghazni
(2 November 971 - 30 April 1030) Afghanistan

Mahmud of Ghazni



Yamîn-ud-Dawla Abul-Qasm Mahmud ibn Sebüktegin, more commonly known as Mahmud of Ghazni, also known as Mahmud-i Zabuli, was the most prominent ruler of the Ghaznavid Empire. He conquered the eastern Iranian lands and the northwestern Indian subcontinent (modern Afghanistan and Pakistan) from 997 to his death in 1030.

Mahmud turned the former provincial city of Ghazna into the wealthy capital of an extensive empire which covered most of today's Afghanistan, eastern Iran, and Pakistan, by looting the riches and wealth from the then Indian subcontinent.

He was the first ruler to carry the title Sultan ("authority"), signifying the extent of his power, though preserving the ideological link to the suzerainty of the Abbasid Caliphate. During his rule, he invaded and plundered parts of Hindustan (east of the Indus River) 17 times. Mahmud's companion was a Georgian slave Malik Ayaz and his love for him inspired poems and stories. His mausoleum is located in Ghazni, Afghanistan.

Ayaz kneeling before Sultan Mahmud of Ghazna
From Six poems by Farid al-Din 'Attar; Southern Iran, 1472;
British Library, London

Mahmud of Ghazni fell in love with Malik Ayaz, a Turkish slave, and their relationship became widely regarded as the epitome of idealized love in Islamic legend and Sufi literature. As the story goes, Ayaz asked Mahmud who the most powerful man in the kingdom was. When the Sultan replied that it was himself, Ayaz corrected him, claiming that in fact Ayaz was the most powerful, since Mahmud was his slave. the "slave to a slave&" became a favorite trope in Persian literature.

Mahmud of Ghazni
Mahmud and Ayaz
The Sultan is to the right, shaking the hand of the sheykh, with Ayaz standing behind him. The figure to his right is Shah Abbas I who reigned about 600 years later.
Iran - Tehran - Museum of Contemporary Art


Source: Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia - et alii

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