Minhaju-s Siraj

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Minhaju-s Siraj (1227-1259) was author of the book Tabahat-i Nasiri.

Sir H. M. Elliot Edited by John Dowson, 1867 The history of India : as told by its own historians. Volume II/VIII. Tabakat-i Nasiri of Minhaju-s Siraj provides following information:

[p.259]: [This is a general history from the earliest times up to 658 Hijra (A.D. 1259). The author was Abu 'Umar Minhaju-d din, 'Usman ibn Siraju-d din al Juzjani. In the course of his work he mentions many interesting facts concerning himself and his family. He tells us that his ancestor in the third degree, Imam 'Abdu-l Khalik, came from Juzjan1 to Ghazni to seek a wife, in compliance with a command which he several times received in dreams. Here he gained the good graces of the reigning monarch, Ibrahim, and received in marriage one of his forty daughters, all of whom were " married to illustrious nobles or learned men of repute." They had a son named Ibrahim, who was father of Maulana Minhaju-d din 'Usman, who was father of Maulana Siraju-d din, who was father of our author, Minhaju-s Siraj. Siraju-d din was a man of some distinction.

He was appointed Kazi of the army of Hindustan by Muhammad Ghori in A.H. 582 (1186 A.D.), and his son refers to him by his titles of " 'Ajubatu-z Zamán afsahu-l 'Ajam — the wonder of the time and the most eloquent man of Persia."

The author of this work, Minhaju-s Siráj, came from Ghor to Sind, Uch and Multan in 624 a.h. (A.D. 1227), and his character for learning must then have been already established, as he tells us that the Firozi College at Uch was placed under his charge.

In the year following, Sultan Shamsu-d din Altamsh led his armies from Dehli to suppress Nasiru-d din Kubacha, who

1 [The country between Merv and Balkh.]

[p. 260]: had succeeded in gaining sovereign authority in those quarters, and after the defeat and death of Kubacha, Minhaju-s Siraj was admitted to an interview with Altamsh, and returned in his train to Dehli, where he arrived in Ramazan, 625 (August, 1228).

In 629 a.h. he followed Altamsh to the siege of Gwalior, where he was appointed one of the court preachers, and soon afterwards was made " law-officer, and director of the preaching, and of all religious, moral, and judicial affairs."

He abandoned this position in 635, when the forces of Sultan Raziya marched there. After the death of this able but unfortunate queen, we find him at Dehli, writing congratulatory verses upon the accession of her successor, Bahram Shah, and when a panic fell upon the city at the threatened incursion of the Moghals, he was called upon to preach and conciliate the minds of the people.

Soon after this, in a.h. 639 (1241 A.D.) Bahram Shah made him Kazi of the capital and of all his territories. But he did not hold this office long. Bahram Shah was deposed, and slain at the end of 639 h., and Minhaju-s Siraj immediately afterwards tendered his resignation.

In Hijra 640, he started for Lakhnauti, and stayed there until the end of 642. This residence in the capital of Bengal afforded him opportunities for acquiring accurate information respecting that outlying Musulman territory, and makes all that he says upon that subject of especial value.

At the end of 642, he returned to Dehli and arrived there early in the following year. He was immediately appointed Principal of the Nasiriya College, and superintendent of its endowments. He was also made Kazi of Gwalior, and preacher in the metropolitan mosque.

At the beginning of 644 h. (1246 A.D.) Nasiru-d din Mahmud ascended the throne, and our author received a prize for his congratulatory ode on the occasion, specimens of which he inserts in his history. The full tide of prosperity had now set in upon him ; he received many honours from the Sultan Nasiru-d din, and from the distinguished noble whom he calls Ulugh Khan-i Mu'azzani, who succeeded Nasiru-d din

[p. 261]: on the throne, and is better known as Ghiyasu-d din Balban. The author records the grant of a village which he received in in'am, and mentions with great complacency the many favours of which he was the recipient. Finally he was honoured with the title of Sadr-i Jahan, and was again made Kazi of the state and magistrate of the capital.

In honour of his patron, Nasiru-d din, he named his work Tabahat-i Nasiri, and he breaks off his history rather abruptly in the fifteenth year of that monarch's reign, intending, as he said, to resume his pen if life and opportunity were afforded him. The date of his death is not known, but he probably survived Nasiru-d din, as the period of that monarch's reign is stated in this work as extending to twenty-two years, which, however, is an error, as it lasted only twenty years. The eulogistic way in which he always speaks of the successor of Nasiru-d din would induce the belief that the work appeared in the reign of that Sultan, and the fact is proved by his more than once offering up an ejaculatory prayer for the continuance of his reign.

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