Qutb al-Din Aibak

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Quṭb u-Dīn Aibak
Founder of Mamluk Dynasty in Delhi
Reign25 June 1206 – 1210/1211[1]
Coronation25 June 1206[citation needed]
PredecessorMuhammad of Ghor
SuccessorShams-ud-din Iltutmish
Born1150[citation needed]
Died1210 (aged 60)
Delhi Sultanate
DynastyMamluk Dynasty

Quṭb al-Dīn Aibak[2] also spelt Quṭb ud-Dīn Aibak or Qutub ud-Din Aybak (Persian: قُطْبُ ٱلْدِّين أَيْبَك), (1150–1210), was the founder of the Mamluk dynasty and the first sultan of the Delhi Sultanate.


Death of the slave king, Kutbuddin Aibak of Delhi, A.D. 1210
Tomb of Qutb al-Din Aibak in Anarkali Bazaar

Quṭb al-Din Aibak was born to Turkic parents in Turkistan. In his childhood, Aibak was sold as a slave and raised at Nishapur, Persia, where he was purchased by the local Qazi.[1] After the death of his master, he was sold by his master's son and eventually became a slave of Muhammad of Ghor who made him the Amir-i-Akhur, the Master of Slave.[1]

Eventually, Aibak was appointed to military command and became an able general of Muhammad of Ghor. In 1193 and after conquering Delhi,[1] his master returned to Khorāsān and left the consolidation of the Ghūrid conquests in northwest India to him. With his headquarters at Delhi, Aibak subjugated areas between the Ganges (Ganga) and Yamuna (Jamuna) rivers. He then turned his attention to the Rajputs who were still resisting Ghūrid domination. In 1195–1203, he mounted campaigns against their strongholds, while Ghuri's other lieutenant Muhammad bin Bakhtiyar Khalji conquered Bihar and Bengal.

When Muhammad of Ghor was assassinated in 1206, Aibak was his logical successor. He was still technically a slave, but he quickly obtained manumission. He married the daughter of Taj al-Din Yildiz of Ghazna, one of the other principal claimants to succeed Muhammad of Ghor, and, by other judiciously arranged marriages, consolidated his rule.[citation needed]He could only rule for 4 years.


He rebuilt the Quwwat-ul-Islam Mosque in Delhi over the jain and Hindu temple and the Adhai Din Ka Jhonpra in Ajmer. He started the construction of Qutb Minar over a Hindu temple (Still the signs and remains of Hindu temple are visible) in memory of sufi saint Qutbuddin Bakhtiar Kaki,[1] which was completed by his successor, Iltutmish after Aibak's death.

Surviving inscriptions describe Aibak as Malik ("King"), and the Quṭb Mīnār in Delhi still stands to commemorate his victories.

Qutb al-Din Aibak is also celebrated for ordering the first destruction of the holy city of Varanasi, in 1194. Qutb-ud-din Aibak defeated the Gahadavala king Jayachandra in 1194. His army sacked and looted the city, destroying nearly one thousand temples in Varanasi alone and raised mosques on their foundation using the debris of the temples.

Death and successor[edit]

Aibak died of injuries received during an accidental fall from a horse while playing polo in 1210 AD. He was buried in Lahore near Anarkali Bazaar. His successor, Shams ud-Din Iltutmish (r. 1211–36),[1] basing his power on the conquests of Aibak, was able to establish the independence of the Delhi Sultanate under the Mamluk dynasty.[2]


  1. ^ a b c d e f Kutb al-Din Aybek, P. Jackson, The Encyclopaedia of Islam, Vol. V, ed. C.E. Bosworth, E. van Donzel, B. Lewis, and C. Pellat, (Brill, 1986), 546.
  2. ^ a b Encyclopædia Britannica
Grave of Sultan Qutb ud-Din Aybak
Preceded by
Mamluk Dynasty (Delhi) (1206–1290)
Succeeded by
Aram Shah
Preceded by
Sultan of Delhi
Succeeded by
Aram Shah