April 26

Khizr Khan – Founder of the Sayyid Dynasty

Khizr Khan – Founder of the Sayyid Dynasty

Khizr Khan – The Vassal of Timur

Khizr Khan

Beginning with Turkish and Afghan conquests and extending up to the Mughals' conquest of Delhi's throne, the history of foreign invasion attempts to control the Indian subcontinent can be easily noticed in History. One of the numerous kings that governed India for a short period of seven years was Sayyid Khizr Khan. Soon following Timur's invasion and the collapse of the Tughlaq dynasty in northern India, Khizr Khan founded the Sayyid dynasty, which later became the governing lineage of the Delhi Sultanate. Firuz Shah Tughlaq appointed Khizr Khan as governor of Multan, and he was a renowned administrator.

Coins bearing the names of former Tughlaq kings were still minted throughout his tenure. His heir Mubarak Khan, who adopted the name Muizz-ud-Din Mubarak Shah, succeeded him after his death on May 20, 1421.

Who was Khizr Khan?

Takhrikh-i-Mubarak Shahi mentions that Khizr Khan was a descendant of Prophet Muhammad. Members of the dynasty claimed to be descended from the Islamic prophet Muhammad through his daughter Fatima, which is how they got the name Sayyid, or the bloodline of Muhammad. However, this claim of Takhrikh-i-Mubarak Shahi is not accepted widely by the histories as this was based on unreliable evidence: Sultan's noble character, which marked him as a Prophet's descendent, and the famed saint Sayyid Jalaluddin Bukhari's casual acknowledgment of the Sayyid pedigree of Uch Sharif.

Arabs who arrived in Multan under the Tughluq dynasty are most likely the forefathers of Khizr Khan. Richard M. Eaton, however, asserts that Khizr Khan had been a Punjabi ruler of the Khokhar clan who journeyed to Samarkand and benefited from his encounters with the Timurid civilization.

Reign of Khizr Khan:

When Khizr Khan was crowned king, the capital's different rulers fought for control. In response to the situation, they quickly adjusted their posture. The Doab was in a lot of difficulty. It is understandable why several expeditions had to be launched against the Zamindars of Etawah, Katehar Kanauj, and Badaon since they did not hesitate to contest the Central Government's authority and did not care to pay their tribute. Gujarat, Malwa, and Jaunpur had separated from Delhi and were at war with one another. The Mewatis refused to pay tribute because they did not respect the government at large. The Khokhars were a powerful family that continued to plunder Multan and Lahore. At Sarhind, the Turk-Bacchas organized schemes to expand their power. The Muslim governors of the several provinces engaged in conflict with one another and showed little regard for the central government. There were many military explorers and self-centered politicians, which exacerbated the situation.

After he acceded to the throne, Khizr Khan re-arranged the various important offices. The office of Wazir was given to Malik-us-Sharq Malik Tuhfa and he was given the title of Taj-ul-Mulk. The Muslim governors of the several provinces engaged in conflict with one another and showed little regard for the central government. There were many military explorers and self-centered politicians, which exacerbated the situation. He remained Wazir till his demise in 1421. Sayyid Salim was handed the fief of Saharanpur. Abdur Rahim was awarded Multan and Fatehpur fiefs. Ikhtiyar Khan received the Doab, and Malik Sarwar was named Shahna of the capital with the power to represent the monarch in his absence. Malik Kalu was named the elephant keeper, and Malik Daub was promoted to secretary of state. The Ariz-i-Mamalik was appointed to be Malik Khair-ud-Din. The previous Jagir verified the existence of numerous other nobles.

Expeditions of Khizr Khan:

Due to the non-payment of tribute by the Hindus of the Doab and Katehar, an army led by Taj-ul-Mulk was dispatched in 1414 to subdue Har Singh, the disobedient Raja of Katehar. The Raja attempted to flee into the jungles but was finally forced to submit and promise to continue paying tribute. The lower Doab's Hindu leaders and fief holders were compelled to recognize Khizr Khan as their lord. It is correctly noted that the Sayyid dynasty's chronicles are mostly a history of voyages of this kind. Khizr Khan was the most influential head of a house whose prestige and authority were rapidly eroding.

Military force remained the standard method of tax collection even during his reign. Recalcitrants were not considered rebels and were simply punished by being made aware of the money owed to them and by promising to make future payments on time. Taj-ul-Mulk was dispatched to Bayana and Gwalior in July 1416, but he wasn't there to conquer; rather, he was there to collect the equivalent of the tribute that should have been given otherwise, which he did by randomly pillaging the unlucky farmers. Har Singh of Katchar staged another uprising in 1418. Taj-ul-Mulk thoroughly outclassed him. He was pursued throughout the Kumaon hills. Taj-ul-Mulk was unable to arrest Har Singh, so he instead pillaged the people Har Singh had sought refuge with.

Taj-ul-Mulk marched from Katehar to Etawah and surrounded Raja Sarwar, who had once more rebelled. Taj-ul-Mulk failed to take the castle, but he was able to pillage the locals before leaving for Delhi. It is emphasized that Taj-ul-Mulk's behavior was not an expedition to establish law and order permanently but rather resembled a brigand chief's raid. As a result, people once more revolted because they were so irate. Badaon was under Khizr Khan's siege for six months, but he was unable to take it. He discovered a plot that Mahabat Khan was a part of in June 1416. Ikhtiyar Khan and Qavam-ul-Mulk, the two main conspirators, were executed. Taj-ul-Mulk was dispatched to Koil and Etawah in 1420.

Raja Sarwar's stronghold was under siege, but it failed. As usual, the nation's citizens were looted. Sarwar achieved peace by promising to continue making monthly tribute payments in the future. Additionally, Taj-ul-Mulk pillaged Chandwar and attacked Katehar, where he collected tribute.

Malik Tughan rose in rebellion and proceeded from Jullundur to Sarhind, where he besieged the citadel after robbing the nation. Malik Tughan mounted the siege of Sarhind and fled when armies were deployed against him. He was being hunted and was compelled to take refuge with the Khokhar Jasrat. Khizr Khan invaded Mewat in 1421 to impose his rule there. The majority of the population submitted to him as he took control of and demolished the erstwhile bastion of Bahadur Nahir. By making the customary hollow pledge to make monthly tribute payments, the Raja of Gwalior was able to buy peace. In addition, Khizr Khan filed legal action against the Etawah king.

Administration of Khizr Khan:

According to the estimation of Khizr Khan, he was known as a true Sayyid. Without much need, he held back from bleeding. He did not exact revenge on his adversaries. He spent his whole life putting down uprisings in various sections of his kingdom, therefore he was unable to implement any changes. Khizr Khan is remembered by Ferishta in the following way: "Khizr Khan was a great and wise king, kind and true to his words; his subjects loved him with a gratefulness affection so that great and small, master and servant sat and mourned for him in black raiment till the third day when they laid aside their mourning garments and raised his son Mubarak Shah to the throne."


The Sayyid dynasty was ruled by Mubarak Shah, Muhammad Shah, and Alam Shah in that order. Alam Shah, the final Sayyid emperor, was vanquished by Bahlul Khan Lodi. The Sayyid dynasty was thereafter succeeded by the Lodi dynasty in 1451.


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