Malik Ayaz

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Mahmud and Ayaz
The Sultan is to the right, shaking the hand of the sheykh, with Ayaz standing behind him. The figure to his right is Shah Abbas I who reigned about 600 years later.
Tehran Museum of Contemporary Art, Tehran

Malik Ayaz, son of Aymāq Abu'n-Najm, was a slave from Georgia[1][2] who rose to the rank of officer and general in the army of Sultan Mahmud of Ghazni (also known as Mahmud Ghaznavi). Malik Ayaz's same-sex relationship with Mahmud inspired poems and stories.[3][4]

In 1021, the Sultan raised Ayaz to kingship, awarding him the throne of Lahore, which the Sultan had taken after a long siege and a fierce battle in which the city was torched and depopulated. As the first Muslim governor of Lahore, he rebuilt and repopulated the city. He also added many important features, such as a masonry fort, which he built in the period of 1037-1040 on the ruins of the previous one, demolished in the fighting, and city gates (as recorded by Munshi Sujan Rae Bhandari, author of the Khulasatut Tawarikh (1596 C.E.). The present Lahore Fort is built in the same location. Under his rulership the city became a cultural and academic center, renowned for poetry.[citation needed]

The tomb of Malik Ayaz can still be seen in the Rang Mahal commercial area of Lahore. The tomb and the garden was destroyed during the Sikh rule and tomb was rebuilt after the independence of Pakistan.

Ayaz kneeling before Sultan Mahmud of Ghazna
From Six poems by Farid al-Din 'Attar; Southern Iran, 1472;
British Library, London


  1. ^ Allsen, Thomas. The Royal Hunt in Eurasian History. p. 264. 
  2. ^ Pearson, Michael Naylor. Merchants and Rulers in Gujarat: The Response to the Portuguese in the Sixteenth Century. p. 67. 
  3. ^ Neill 2008, p. 308.
  4. ^ Ritter 2003, p. 309-310.