Saturday, October 29, 2016

The word Afghanistan existed before the reign of Ahmad Shah Abdali

By Khan Barmazid

The Afghanistan is not a strange word which came into being in the reign of Ahmad Shah Abdali. The Tarikh-nama-e Herat authored by Saifi Herawi (written in 1318 or 1320 AD) is the earliest known source which calls the western lands, as far as the Indus, by the name of Afghanistan [1]. In Tarikh-i-nama Herat, the word Afghanistan is mentioned 35 times while as "Awghanistan" it is mentioned two times. [2]

Ibn-i-Batuta also mentions the word Afghanistan in 1331 AD , that Kashlu Khan gathered soldiers 'from Turkestan, Afghanistan and Khurasan'. [3]

Zia-ud-din Barni wrote Tarikh-i-Feroz Shahi in 1357 AD. Region by name of Afghanistan is mentioned in Tarikh-i-Feroz Shahi in connection with rebellion of Shahu Lodi Afghan in Multan '
    "Whilst the Sultan (Muhammad Shah Tughlaq) was thus engaged in endeavouring to restore cultivation, the news was brought that Shdhu Afghan had rebelled in Multan, and had killed Bihzad, the naib. Malik Nawa fled from Multan to Dehli. Shahu had collected a party ofAfghans, and had taken possession of the city. The Sultan prepared his forces and marched towards Multan, but he had made only a few marches when Makhduma-i Jahan, his mother, died in Dehli.  The Sultan was much grieved. He pursued his march, and when he was only a few marches from Multan, Shahu submitted, and sent to say that he repented of what he had done. He fled with his Afghans to Afghanistan, and the Sultan proceeded to Sannam. [4]

In Timurid history  "Matla'u-s Sadain wa Majma'ul Bahrain" (written in 1467 AD) , region by name of Afghanistan is mentioned, as part of Timurid empire under the charge of Mirza Pir Muhammad bin Mirza Jehangir and its geography is described to be same as Saifi of Tarikh-nama-i-Herat. [5]

Afghanistan name is mentioned at many places in the book "Rozat-ul-Jinat" written in 1486 AD by Zamchi Asafzari. At one place it says  "Malik Shamsuddin laid siege to the Bhakkar fort of Afghanistan..... [6]

The word Afghanistan also appears in Baburnama ;
    "...the year i took Kabul and Ghazni, overran Kohat, the plain of Bannu, and Afghanistan , and went on to the Ghazni by way of Duki......."[7]

Tarikh-i-Sher Shahi (Tuhfa-i-Akbar Shahi), written in 1586 AD by Abbas Sarwani, is biography of Sher Shah which was compiled on the orders of Mughal Emperor Akbar. It mentions region of Afghanistan on two occasions. [8]

Abd-ul-Qadir Bada'uni mentions region by name of Afghanistan in his "Muntakhab-ut-Tawarikh" (written in 1595 AD). He says ;
    "The father of Hasan Sur, Ibrahim by name, in the time of Sultan Bahlul, came to Hindustan from Roh, by which is meant Afghanistan, entered the service of Sultan Bahlul and was stationed on the vicinity of Hissar Feroza and Narnaul" [9]

From the following inscription of 1626 A.D , it is evident that the region by name of Afghanistan was referred to as such in Mughal India

The word also appears in several other sources of 16th and 17th century, and of early 18th century before appearance of Durrani empire on the map of the world.


1- "Afghan and Afghanistan " by Abdul Hai Habibi

2-  Habibullah Tegay, "Pukhtana"

3-  Ibn-i-Batuta, Safarnama, Vol-I, p-557

4- Tarikh-i-Feroz Shahi, translation by Elliot in history of India , Vol-3, p-244-245

5- As cited by Habibullah tegay from the manuscript of Matla'u-s Sadain wa Majma'ul Bahrain , p-321

6-  Rozat-ul-Jinat, Vol-1, p-120, as cited by Habibullah tegay

7- Baburnama, Eng.trans by Beveridge, Vol-I and II, p-218

8- "Pakhtuna" , Habibullah Tegay

9- Muntakhab-ut-Tawarikh, English translation by George Ranking, Vol-1, p-486