Sultan Mas'ud Ghaznavi

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Sultan Mas'ud or Sultan Mas'ud Ghaznavi or Mas'ud I or Masud (Persian: مسعود‎), known as Amir-i shahid ("the martyr king"), was sultan of the Ghaznavid Empire from 1030 to 1040. He was son of Mahmud of Ghazni.

He rose to power

He rose to power by seizing the Ghaznavid throne from his younger twin Mohammad, who had been nominated as the heir upon the death of their father Mahmud of Ghazni. His twin was shortly blinded and imprisoned. However, when much of Mas'ud's western domains had been wrested from his control, his troops rebelled against him and reinstated Mohammad to the throne.

Early life

Mas'ud was born along with his younger twin brother Mohammad in 998 at the Ghaznavid capital of Ghazni.

In 1015, Mas'ud was appointed as heir of the Ghaznavid Empire by his father, and was also appointed as the governor of Herat.

Five years later, he led an expedition in Ghur, which was still a pagan enslave. Mas'ud later participated in the campaigns of his father in Jibal, where they managed to annex the Buyid amirate of Ray which was then under the rule of Majd al-Dawla.

After Mas'ud's father left the region, Mas'ud was in charge of the Ghaznavid operations in western Iran; he continued his campaigns further west, where he managed to defeat the Kakuyid ruler Muhammad ibn Rustam Dushmanziyar, who made a treaty where he agreed to recognize Ghaznavid authority.

However, Muhammad kept violating the treaty, and in 1030 wrested Ray from the Ghaznavids. During the same period, Mahmud, because of his bad relations with Mas'ud, changed his opinion, and appointed Mohammad as his heir, who was much more less experienced in government and military affairs than Mas'ud. Mahmud shortly died, and was succeeded by Mohammad.

However, his uncle Yusuf ibn Sabuktigin, and the Ghaznavid army including prominent officers such as Ali Daya, were in favor of Mas'ud, whose military campaigns had earned him a great reputation.[1] Mas'ud was also joined by his former assistant Abu Sahl Zawzani, who in the words of the historian Yusofi, "became a sort of vizier and rose in prestige and influence. He also became feared, since he exercised his bent toward vengefulness, spite, and intrigue".[2]


Mohammad then had Mas'ud imprisoned at Giri, where he was killed either on the orders of Mohammad or Mohammad's son Ahmed.[3] Mas'ud had a son named Maw'dud Ghaznavi, who later avenged his father by killing Mohammad, and then crowned himself as the new ruler of the Ghaznavid Empire. He also had other sons named Sa'id, Izad-yar, Mardan-shah, Majdud, Ibrahim, Ali, and Farrukh-Zad. The last three sons also managed to later become the ruler of the Ghaznavid Empire in different periods.


  1. Bosworth, C. E. (1975). "The early Ghaznavids". In Frye, R. N. The Cambridge History of Iran, Volume 4: From the Arab Invasion to the Saljuqs. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. pp. 187. ISBN 0-521-20093-8.
  2. Yusofi, G. H. (1983). "ABŪ SAHL ZŪZANĪ". Encyclopaedia Iranica, Vol. I, Fasc. 4. pp. 373–374.
  3. Bosworth, C. E (1995). The Later Ghaznavids: Splendour and Decay: The Dynasty in Afghanistan and Northern India 1040-1186. p.20.