Jalal ad-Din Mingburnu

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Jalal ad-Din Mingburnu
Statue of Jalal ad-Din in Urgench
Khwarezm Shah
Reign1220 – 1231
PredecessorMuhammad II
Died1231 (aged 31–32)
SpouseMelika Khatun
Terken Khatun
Fulana Khatun
Laqab: Jalal ad-Din (shortly)
Kunya: Abul-Muzaffar
Given name: Manguberdi
FatherMuhammad II
ReligionSunni Islam

Jalal ad-Din Mingburnu (full name: Jalal ad-Dunya wa ad-Din Abul-Muzaffar Manguberdi ibn Muhammad), Manguberdi or Mangubarni (Turkic for "God-given"), also known as Jalâl ad-Dîn Khwârazmshâh (Persian: جلال ‌الدین خوارزمشاه‎), was the last ruler of the Turkic Khwarezmian Empire from the Anushtegin dynasty. He was the eldest son of Ala ad-Din Muhammad II by his Turkmen wife Aychichek.[1]

Mongol invasion[edit]

Dirham of Jalal ad-Din Jalal ad-Din, Citing Abbasid caliph al-Mustansir 623/4-628 AH/ 1226-1231 AD. Kufic legend: name of Jalal ad-Din Mingburnu above, Naskh legend Mangbr in two diagonal lines al-Mustansir billah, Commander of the faithful
Jalal al-Din Khwarazm-Shah crossing the rapid Indus River, escaping Genghis Khan and the Mongol army.

When it became known that Genghis Khan was marching towards Khwarazm, Jalal ad-din proposed to his father to meet the Mongols in one decisive battle near the Syr Darya. However, Muhammad II relied on his well-fortified fortresses and did not assemble troops, distributing them instead among the major towns of his empire. Meanwhile, the Mongols swiftly took one city after another. At the beginning of 1220, Bukhara fell, followed by Samarqand. Muhammad started to retreat west, and after a series of unsuccessful battles, was left with a handful of soldiers and his sons. The huge and undisciplined Khwarazmian army was unable to defeat the enemy, which was much inferior in number.

Legend has it that Muhammad, who fled to the Caspian Sea, being terminally ill, gathered his sons: Jalal ad-Din, Aqshah, and Uzlagh Khan and announced that he appointed Jalal ad-Din as heir to the throne, because only he could confront the enemy. Summoning the younger sons to obedience, he hung his sword on the belt of Jalal ad-Din. A few days later, Muhammad died and Jalal ad-Din was proclaimed a Khwarazmshah.[2]

Following the defeat of his father, Ala ad-Din Muhammad II by Genghis Khan in 1220, Jalal ad-Din Mingburnu came to power and retreated with the remaining Khwarazm forces, while pursued by a Mongol army and at the battle of Parwan, north of Kabul, defeated the Mongols.[3]

Due to the Mongol invasion, the sacking of Samarkand and being deserted by his Afghan allies, Jalal ad-Din was forced to flee to India.[4] At the Indus River, however, the Mongols caught up with him and slaughtered his forces, along with thousands of refugees, at the Battle of the Indus. He escaped and sought asylum in the Sultanate of Delhi but Iltutmish denied this to him in deference to the relationship with the Abbasid caliphs. The cities of Herat, Ghazni and Merv were destroyed and massacred by the Mongols, for his resistance or rebelliousness.

Re-establishment of the kingdom[edit]

Jalal ad-Din Mingburnu spent three years in exile in India. He entered into an alliance with the Khokhars, Lahore, and much of the Punjab was captured. At this stage he requested an alliance with Iltutmish, the Turkish Mamluk Sultan of Delhi against the Mongols. The Sultan of Delhi refused so he could avoid a conflict with Genghis Khan and marched towards Lahore at the head of a large army. Mingburnu retreated from Lahore and moved towards Uchch, inflicting a heavy defeat on its ruler Nasir-ud-Din Qabacha, and plundered Sindh, then northern Gujarat before returning to Persia in 1224.[5]

Having gathered an army and entered Persia, Jalal ad-Din sought to re-establish the Khwarazm kingdom, but he never fully consolidated his power. In 1224, he confirmed Burak Hadjib, ruler of the Qara Khitai, in Kerman, received the submission of his brother Ghiyath al-Din Pirshah, who had established himself in Hamadan and Isfahan, and the province of Fars, and clashed with the Caliph An Nasser in Khuzestan. In 1225, the sultan dethroned the Ildegizid Uzbek Muzaffar al-Din and set himself up in their capital of Tabriz on the 25 of July in 1225. In 1225, he attacked Georgia, defeating its forces in the battle of Garni, and conquered Tbilisi,[6] after which allegedly a hundred thousand citizens were put to death for not renouncing Christianity.


Jalal ad-Din spent the rest of his days struggling against the Mongols, pretenders to the throne and the Seljuqs of Rûm. His dominance in the region required year-after-year campaigning. In 1226, the governor of Kerman, Burak Hadjib, rebelled against him, but after the sultan marched against him he was again brought back into agreement. Jalal ad-Din then had a brief victory over the Seljuqs and captured the town of Akhlat in Turkey from the Ayyubids. In 1227, he battled against the Mongols on the approach to Isfahan and while he did not defeat the invaders following their great losses they were not able to utilise their victory and withdrew afterwards across the Oxus river. In 1228, his brother Ghiyath al-Din rebelled and was defeated by the Sultan. Ghiyath al-Din fled to Burak Hadjib in Kerman where he and his mother were murdered. The revived Khwarezmid Sultan by this time controlled Kerman, Tabriz, Isfahan and Fars. Jalal ad-Din moved against Akhlat again in 1229. However he was defeated in this campaign by Sultan Kayqubad I at Erzincan on the Upper Euphrates at the Battle of Yassıçemen in 1230, from whence he escaped to Diyarbakir.


Through the ruler of Alamut, the Mongols learned that Jalal ad-Din was weakened by a recent defeat. Ögedei Khan sent a new army of 30,000 men under the command of Chormagan[7] and the Khwarazmians were swept away by the new Mongol army. In the winter of 1231, in the ensuing confusion the Mongols arrived into Azerbaijan from the direction of Khorasan and Rayy. [8][9][10] The 30,000[11] strong Mongol army led by Chormagan easily defeated Jalal ad-Din and occupied northern Iran. Khwarazmshah retreated to Ganja, Azerbaijan. The Mongols followed him and captured Arran. Jalal ad-Din took refuge in the Mayyafarikin mountains and there in August of that year he was killed by an unknown Kurd, allegedly employed by the Seljuks.

In fiction[edit]

Jalal ad-Din has been portrayed by Emre Kıvılcım in the Turkish-Uzbek TV series Mendirman Jaloliddin, created by Mehmet Bozdağ in collaboration with the Uzbek Ministry of Culture and Sports.[12]


  1. ^ Gudogdyev, Ovez. "Historical and Cultural Heritage of Turkmenistan: Encyclopedic Dictionary". Istanbul. 2000. pages 381; ISBN 9789759725600
  2. ^ Gudogdyev, Ovez. "Historical and Cultural Heritage of Turkmenistan: Encyclopedic Dictionary". Istanbul. 2000. pages 381; ISBN 9789759725600
  3. ^ Man, John (2004). Genghis Khan: Life, Death, and Resurrection. St. Martin's Press. p. 181. ISBN 0-312-31444-2.
  4. ^ Dupuy, Trevor N.; Dupuy, R. Ernest (1993). The Harpers Encyclopedia of Military History. Harper Collins. p. 366. ISBN 0-06-270056-1.
  5. ^ Chandra, Satish (2004). Medieval India: From Sultanat to the Mughals-Delhi Sultanat (1206–1526). Part One. Har-Anand Publications. p. 40. ISBN 9788124110645.
  6. ^ Grousset, Rene (1991). The Empire of the Steppes. Rutgers University Press. p. 260. ISBN 0-8135-1304-9.
  7. ^ Pelliot, P. (1923). "Les Mongols et la Papauté" (PDF). Revue de l'Orient Chrétien. 23: 3–30.
  8. ^ Irwin, Robert (1999). "Islam and the Mediterranean: The rise of the Mamluks". In Abulafia, David (ed.). The New Cambridge Medieval History. Volume 5, c.1198–c.1300. Cambridge University Press. p. 611. |volume= has extra text (help)
  9. ^ "PHI, Persian Literature in Translation". Archived from the original on March 5, 2016.
  10. ^ "Jalāl-al-Din Ḵvārazmšāh (I) Mengübirni". Encyclopædia Iranica.
  11. ^ Jackson, Peter (December 15, 1993). Čormāgūn. Encyclopædia Iranica
  12. ^ "New Turkish series about Sultan Jalaluddin Khwarazmshah to release in Uzbekistan". The News International. Retrieved 2021-04-07.

Further reading[edit]

Preceded by
Muhammad II
Sultan of the Khwarezmian Empire
Succeeded by
Mongol conquest