Sultan Satuq Bughra Khan

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Satuq Bughra Khan
Khagan of Karakhanids
Reign942-955 (or 958)
PredecessorOghulchak Khan
SuccessorMusa Baytash Khan
BornWinter, 920
DiedAH 344 (955/956)
Artux, Kara-Khanid Khanate
FatherBazir Arslan Khan
ReligionTengrism before 934
Islam after 934

Abdulkarim Satuq Bughra Khan (Uighur: سۇلتان سۇتۇق بۇغراخان; also spelled Satuk; died 955)[2] was a Kara-Khanid khan; in 934, he was one of the first Turkic rulers to convert to Islam,[3] which prompted his Kara-Khanid subjects to convert.[4]

There are different historical accounts of the Satuq's life with some variations. Sources include Mulhaqāt al-Surāh (Supplement to the "Surah") by Jamal Qarshi (b. 1230/31) who quoted an earlier 11th-century text, Tarikh-i Kashghar (History of Kashgar) by Abū-al-Futūh 'Abd al-Ghāfir ibn al-Husayn al-Alma'i, an account by an Ottoman historian, known as the Munajjimbashi, and a fragment of a manuscript in Chagatai, Tazkirah Bughra Khan (Memory of Bughra Khan).


Satuq was said to have come from Artux, identified in the 10th century book Hudud al-'alam (The Limits of the World) as a "populous village of the Yaghma", the Yaghma being one of the Turkish tribes that formed the Karakhanids.[5] He lost his father Bazir Arslan Khan when he was 6. His uncle, Oghulchak Khan, married his mother in levirate marriage, making Satuq his step-son.[6]

Conversion to Islam[edit]

Tomb of Sultan Satuk Bughra Khan, the first Muslim khan, in Artush, Xinjiang

According to an account by Munajjimbashi, based on a tradition ultimately stemming from a Karakhanid emissary in 1105 to the Abbasid court, he was the first of the khans to convert to Islam under the influence of a faqīh from Bukhara.[5] According to Tazkirah Bughra Khan, Satuq converted to Islam when he was twelve.[7] He was taught about Islam by a Samanid merchant, Abu an-Nasr from Bukhara. Nasr befriended the Khan of Kashgar, Satuq's step-father and uncle Oghulchak Khan and was granted special dispensation to build a mosque in the town of Artux just outside Kashgar. Here Satuq would often come to watch the caravans arrive.[8] When Satuq saw Nasr and other Muslims observing their daily prayers he became curious and was instructed by them in the Islamic religion.

Satuq kept his faith secret from the king, but convinced his friends to convert. However, when the king heard that Satuq had become a Muslim, he demanded that (under advice of Satuq's mother) Satuq build a temple to show that he hadn't converted. Nasr advised Satuq that he should pretend to build a temple but with the intention of building a mosque in his heart.[9] The king, after seeing Satuq starting to build the temple, then stopped him, believing that he had not converted. Afterwards, Satuq obtained a fatwa which permitted him in effect to commit patricide, and killed his step-father, after which he conquered Kashgar.[5]

Religious wars[edit]

Satuq was variously stated as twelve and a half or twenty-five when he became khan,[8][10] and he began to wage religious war against non-Muslims. According to Tazkirah Bughra Khan, "as far as the River Amu that is before Balkh on this side towards sun-rising as far as the place called 'Karak' on the north as far as the place called 'Qarà-qurdum' (the said) Sultan, having converted the infidels to Islam by his sword, established the laws and religion of the Holy Muhammad, the Messenger of God, and gave them currency."[11]


Satuq Boghra Khan died in 955 according to Jamal Qarshi, and was buried in a mazar that can still be visited in Artux today. It was restored in 1995 by Uyghur architect Abuduryim Ashan.[12]


He had at least 4 sons and 3 daughters:

  • Musa Baytash Khan
  • Suleyman Khan
  • Hasan Bughra
  • Husayn Bughra
  • Nasab Tarkan
  • Hadya Tarkan
  • Ala Nur

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Robert Shaw (1878). A Sketch of the Turki Language: As Spoken in Eastern Turkistan ... pp. 119–.
  2. ^ "Saudi Aramco World : Kashgar: China's Western Doorway". Archived from the original on 2004-04-06.
  3. ^ András Róna-Tas, Hungarians & Europe in the Early Middle Ages: An Introduction to Early Hungarian, (Central European University Press, 1999), 256.
  4. ^ Svat Soucek, A History of Inner Asia, (Cambridge University Press, 2002), 84.
  5. ^ a b c Golden, Peter. B. (1990), "The Karakhanids and Early Islam", in Sinor, Denis (ed.), The Cambridge History of Early Inner Asia, Cambridge University Press, p. 357, ISBN 0-521-24304-1
  6. ^ Report of a Mission to Yarkund in 1873 under command of Sir T.D. Forsyth, K.C.S.I., C.B., Bengal Civil Service, With historical and geographical information regarding the possessions of the Ameer of Yarkund, 1873, p. 123, doi:10.20676/00000196
  7. ^ Robert Shaw (1878). A Sketch of the Turki Language as Spoken in Eastern Turkistan (Kashghar and Tarkand). Baptist Mission Press.
  8. ^ a b Scott Cameron Levi, Ron Sela (2010). "Chapter 12 - Jamal Qarshi: The Conversion to Islam of Sultan Satuq Bughra Khan". Islamic Central Asia: An Anthology of Historical Sources. Indiana University Press. pp. 73–76. ISBN 978-0-253-35385-6.
  9. ^ Robert Shaw (1878). A Sketch of the Turki Language as Spoken in Eastern Turkistan (Kashghar and Tarkand). Baptist Mission Press. The Holy Kh'ajah said : "Oh child! In order to preserve themselves many people have held it lawful to do forbidden acts. If in laying out the wall you lay it out with the (mental) purpose, saying (I intend this as) a mosque, certainly in the presence of God you will obtain merit, (and) you will be delivered from the evil designs of the infidels. Be not over-much afflicted."
  10. ^ Robert Shaw (1878). A Sketch of the Turki Language as Spoken in Eastern Turkistan (Kashghar and Tarkand). Baptist Mission Press. The Holy Sultan Satuq Bughra Khan, at the age of twelve and a half, became occupied in wars of religion. During the summer he made war on the infidels. In winter-time he performed the service and worship of God the Exalted.
  11. ^ Robert Shaw (1878). A Sketch of the Turki Language as Spoken in Eastern Turkistan (Kashghar and Tarkand). Baptist Mission Press. pp. 95–96.
  12. ^ "Sultan Sutuk Buhrahan Tomb". Archnet. Retrieved 2019-10-22.