Shah Shujah Durrani

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Shuja Shah Durrani
Emir of Afghanistan
An old sketch work showing Shah-Shuja-ul-Mulk
Reign 1803–1809
Coronation July 13, 1803
Full name Shuja Shah Durrani
Born November 4, 1785
Died April 5, 1842
Predecessor Mahmud Shah Durrani
Successor Dost Mohammad Khan
Wives Daughter of Fath Khan Tokhi
Wafa Begum
Daughter of Sayyid Amir Haidar Khan
Daughter of Khan Bahadur Khan Malikdin Khel
Daughter of Sardar Haji Rahmatu'llah Khan Sardozai
Sarwar Begum
Bibi Mastan
Dynasty Durrani dynasty
Father Timur Shah Durrani

Shuja Shah Durrani (also known as Shāh Shujāʻ, Shah Shujah, Shoja Shah, Shujah al-Mulk) (c. November 4, 1785 – April 5, 1842) was ruler of the Durrani Empire from 1803 to 1809. He then ruled from 1839 until his death in 1842. Shuja Shah was of the Sadozai line of the Abdali group of Pashtuns. He became the fifth Emir of Afghanistan.[1]


Shuja Shah was the son of Timur Shah Durrani of the Durrani Empire. He ousted his brother, Mahmud Shah, from power, and ruled Afghanistan from 1803 to 1809.


  1. A daughter of Fath Khan Tokhi
  2. Wafa Begum
  3. A daughter of Sayyid Amir Haidar Khan; Amir of Bokhara
  4. A daughter of Khan Bahadur Khan Malikdin Khel
  5. A daughter of Sardar Haji Rahmatu'llah Khan Sardozai; Wazir
  6. Sarwar Begum
  7. Bibi Mastan; of Indian origin


Depositions, imprisonments and alliances[edit]

Shuja Shah was the governor of Herat and Peshawar from 1798 to 1801. He proclaimed himself as King of Afghanistan in October 1801 (after the deposition of his brother Zaman Shah), but only properly ascended to the throne on July 13, 1803.

Shuja allied Afghanistan with the United Kingdom in 1809, as a means of defending against a combined invasion of India by Napoleon and Russia.

Order of the Durrani Empire, founded by Shuja Shah in 1839. It was awarded to a number of officers of the Bengal Army. Musée national de la Légion d'Honneur et des Ordres de Chevalerie.

On May 3, 1809, he was overthrown by his predecessor Mahmud Shah and went into exile in India, where he was captured by Jahandad Khan Bamizai and imprisoned at Attock (1811–2) and then taken to by Atta Muhammad Khan Kashmir (1812–3). When Mahmud Shah's vizier Fateh Khan invaded Kashmir alongside Maharaja Ranjit Singh's army, he chose to leave with the Sikh army. He stayed in Lahore from 1813 to 1814. In return for his freedom, he handed the Koh-i-Nor diamond to Maharaja Ranjit Singh and gained his freedom. He stayed first in Punjab and later in Ludhiana with Shah Zaman. The place where he stayed in Ludhiana is presently occupied by Main Post Office near Mata Rani Chowk and a white marble stone inside the building marking his stay there can be seen.

In 1833 he struck a deal with Maharaja Ranjit Singh of the Punjab: He was allowed to march his troops through Punjab, and in return he would cede Peshawar to the Sikhs if they could manage to take it. In a concerted campaign the following year, Shuja marched on Kandahar while the Sikhs, commanded by General Hari Singh Nalwa attacked Peshawar. In July, Shuja Shah was narrowly defeated at Kandahar by the Afghans under Dost Mohammad Khan and fled. The Sikhs on their part reclaimed Peshawar.

In 1838 he had gained the support of the British and the Sikh Maharaja Ranjit Singh for wresting power from Dost Mohammad Khan Barakzai. This triggered the First Anglo-Afghan War (1838–1842). Shuja was restored to the throne by the British on August 7, 1839,[2] almost 30 years after his deposition, but did not remain in power when the British left. He was assassinated by Shuja ud-Daula, on April 5, 1842.[3]


  1. ^ Encyclopædia BritannicaShah Shoja
  2. ^ Moon, P. (1989). The British Conquest and Dominion of India, London: Duckworth, ISBN 0-7156-2169-6, p.515
  3. ^ Moon, P. (1989). The British Conquest and Dominion of India, London: Duckworth, ISBN 0-7156-2169-6, p.552

Further reading[edit]

  • Divan-i-Shuja (1825)
  • Memoirs of Shuja ul-Mulk Shah, King of Afghanistan (1826)
  • Dalrymple, William (2013). Return of a King: The Battle for Afghanistan. Bloomsbury. ISBN 978-1-408-82287-6. 

External links[edit]

Regnal titles
Preceded by
Mahmud Shah
Emir of Afghanistan
Succeeded by
Mahmud Shah
Preceded by
Dost Mohammad Khan
Emir of Afghanistan
Succeeded by
Akbar Khan