Sur (Pashtun tribe)

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Sur (Pashto: سور‎, literally the color "red"), also known as Suri, Zur and Zuri (Pashto: زوري‎), are a historical Pashtun tribe living primarily in Afghanistan, Pakistan and India.[1][2] They trace their descent to the Ghorids, an Islamic dynasty originating from the Ghor Province of modern-day central Afghanistan. The founder of the Sur Empire in India, Sher Shah Suri, belonged to the Sur tribe. They ruled the Suri Empire from 1540 until they were removed from power in 1556-57 by the Mughal Empire.

Today, Sur is part of the Pashtun tribal system and belongs to the sub-groups of the Ghilzais.

It was at the time of this bounty of Sultán Bahlol, that the grandfather of Sher Sháh, by name Ibráhím Khán Súr,*[The Súr represent themselves as descendants of Muhammad Súr, one of the princes of the house of the Ghorian, who left his native country, and married a daughter of one of the Afghán chiefs of Roh.] with his son Hasan Khán, the father of Sher Sháh, came to Hindu-stán from Afghánistán, from a place which is called in the Afghán tongue "Shargarí,"* but in the Multán tongue "Rohrí." It is a ridge, a spur of the Sulaimán Mountains, about six or seven kos in length, situated on the banks of the Gumal. They entered into the service of Muhabbat Khán Súr, Dáúd Sáhú-khail, to whom Sultán Bahlol had given in jágír the parganas of Hariána and Bahkála, etc., in the Panjáb, and they settled in the pargana of Bajwára.[3]


The Suri tribe of the Afghans inhabited the mountains of Ghor east of Furrah and their principal cities were Ghore, Feruzi and Bamian.[4]

Amir Ibn-i Suri[edit]

Amir Suri was a non-Muslim, Hindu king in the region of Ghor from an ancient dynasty and he was defeated by Mahmud of Ghazni. According to Minhaju-S Siraj, Amir Suri was captured by Mahmud of Ghazni, made prisoner along with his son and taken to Ghazni, where Amir Suri died by poisoning himself.[5]

It was also the last stronghold of an ancient religion professed by the inhabitants when all their neighbors had become Muslim. In the 11th century AD Mahmud of Ghazni defeated the prince of Ghor Ibn –I-Suri, and made him prisoner in a severely-contested engagement in the valley of Ahingaran. Ibn-I-Suri is called a Hindu by the author, who has recorded his overthrow; it does not follow that he was one by religion or by race, but merely that he was not Muhammadan[6]

Conversion to Islam[edit]

According to recorded tradition, Surs are descended from the Ghori tribe. Several books by Islamic historians including Tarikh-I-Guzida of Hamdu-lla-Mustaufi, Towareekh Yumny, as well as Ferishta record that besides Muslim Surs there were also Non-Muslim Hindu and Buddhist Surs, who were attacked by Mahmud of Ghazni and converted to Islam by him.

Sultan Mahumud now went to fight with the Ghorians, who were infidels at that time. Suri, their chief, was killed in this war, and his son was taken prisoner; but he killed himself by sucking poison which he had kept under the stone of his ring. The country of Ghor was annexed to that of the Sultan, and the population thereof converted to Islam. He now attacked the fort of Bhim, where was a temple of the Hindus.[7]
'In the following year AH 401 (AD 1010), Mahmood led his army towards Ghoor. The native prince of the country, Mahomed, of the Pashtun tribe of Soor (the same race which gave birth to the dynasty that eventually succeeded in subverting the family of Sebüktigin), occupied an entrinched camp with 10,000 men. Mahmood was repulsed in repeated assaults which he made from morning till noon. Finding that the troops of Ghoor defended their entrenchments with such obstinacy, he caused his army to retreat in apparent confusion, in order to allure the enemy out of his fortified position. The Ghoorians, deceived by the stratagem, pursued the army of Ghizny; when the king, facing about, attacked and defeated them with great slaughter. Mahommed Soor, being made prisoner was brought to the king, but having taken poison, which he always kept under his ring, he died in a few hours; his country was annexed to the dominions of Ghizny. The author of the Towareekh Yumny affirms, that neither the sovereigns of Ghoor nor its inhabitants were Mahomedans till after this victory; whilst the author of the Tubkat-Nasiry, and Fukhr-ood-Deen Moobarik Shah Lody, the latter of whom wrote a history of the Kings of Ghoor in verse, both affirm, that they were converted many years before, even so early as the time of Ally[8]

Hindu and Sikh Kukhran Suri[edit]

Suri is the name of a predominantly Hindu,[9] Muslim and Sikh clain now living in India and Pakistan, which forms one of the Kukhran clan that originates from Ghor and Khurasan but is now found in Punjab.

The oral history of the Khokharan traditionally trace their ancient origins to Khurasan in Iran.[10]
Shah Hussain was descended from the younger branch of the Ghorian race, while Muhammad-i-Suri, said to be the great-great-grandfather of the Sultans Ghiyas-ud-Din and Muizz-ud-Din (Muhammad of Ghor) was descended from the elder branch, with whom sovereignty lay. Shah Hussain by one of his Afghan(Pashtun) wives, had three sons, Ghalzi, Ibrahim surnamed Lodi, and Sarwani. The Afghan tribe of Sur was founded by Sur, son of Ismail, grandson of Lodi[11]

Mahuy Suri[edit]

In some historical texts, Mahuy Suri is said to have been appointed king of Khorasan by Caliph Hazrat Ali after having murdered the Iranian Sassanian king Yazdegerd III.[12] According to the historian in Shahnameh Lord of Khorasan, Mahuy Suri treacherously asked one of his millers to kill Yazdgerd III, the last Persian king, after his defeat in Iraq.

Mahui sends the miller to cut off his head on pain of losing his own, and having none of his race left alive. His chiefs hear this and cry out against him, and a Mobed of the name of Radui tells him that to kill a king or prophet will bring evil upon him and his son, and is supported in what he says by a holy m,an of the name of Hormuzd Kharad Shehran, and Mehronush.[12]
The miller most unwillingly goes in and stabs him with a dagger in the middle. Mahui s horsemen all go and see him and take off his clothing and ornaments, leaving him on the ground. All the nobles curse Mahui and wish him the same fate.[12]

Another Suri king, Banji Baharan, was appointed by Khalifah Harun al-Rashid as the king of Ghor after he signed a peace treaty.

Subsequently, after their arrival in present Afghanistan, Islamic rulers ended an era of peaceful policies and began a struggle against Pashtunwali and Pashtun nationalism. The Pashtun kingdoms were crushed during this Islamic expansion.[clarification needed]

The Suri clan originates from the Pashtun belt of Afghanistan and Pakistan and have migrated and settled in Punjab province where Pashtun communities exist today. There is also a sizable community of Suri Pathans in Bihar in especially around Rohtas and Sasaram.

The most famous Suri in the history was the Pashtun Emperor Sher Shah Suri of Sasaram,.[13] who ruled over India from Sasaram, Bihar.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Firishta (1560-16-20). "History of the Mohammedan Power in India". Packard Humanities Institute. Retrieved 2010-09-04. 
  2. ^ Firishta (1560-16-20). "The History of the Rise of Mohammedan Power in India, Volume 2, chpt. 21". Packard Humanities Institute. Retrieved 2010-09-04. 
  3. ^ Abbas Khan Sarwani (1580). "Táríkh-i Sher Sháhí; or, Tuhfat-i Akbar Sháhí, of 'Abbás Khán Sarwání. CHAPTER I. Account of the reign of Sher Sháh Súr.". Packard Humanities Institute. Retrieved 2010-09-04. 
  4. ^ Gazetteer of the world or dictionary of geographical knowledge. Vol 5. London: A Fullerton and Company. p. 61. 
  5. ^ The History of India as told by its own Historians by Eliot and Dowson, Volume 2 page 286
  6. ^ The Kingdom of Afghanistan: a historical sketch By George Passman Tate Edition: illustrated Published by Asian Educational Services, 2001 Page 12 ISBN 81-206-1586-7, ISBN 978-81-206-1586-1
  7. ^ Tarikh -I-Guzida of Hamdu-lla-Mustaufi. Page 65 from The History of India told by its own Historians H M Eliot and Dowson Volume 3
  8. ^ Ferishta-Translation John Briggs, p. 28 vol 1
  9. ^ An inquiry into the ethnography of Afghanistan By Henry Walter Bellew page 17
  10. ^ From Jhelum to Tana By Neera Kapur-Dromson Page 144 Published by Penguin Books,2007
  11. ^ "Glossary of the Tribes and Castes of the Punjab and North West Frontier Province" H.A. Rose, Ibetson 1990, P210
  12. ^ a b c The Shah-Namah of Fardusi translation by Alexander Rogers LPP Publication Page 547
  13. ^ Moslem nationalism in India and Pakistan By Hafeez Malik ,Washington DC Public Affairs Press (1963) p. 38