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 and Pakistan.[1] They trace their descent to the Ghorids, a formerly Hindu and later Islamic dynasty originating from Mandesh in the Ghor region 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, the Sur are part of the Pashtun tribal system, and identify with the Lodi Bettani confederacy. The Sur are also related to the Ghilji, another Bettani tribal confederacy.

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.[2]

— Abbas Khan Sarwani, 1580


Amir Suri[edit]

Amir Suri was a Hindu[citation needed] king from the ancient Ghorid dynasty in the 9th and 10th century. He was a descendant of the Ghorid king Amir Banji Baharan whose rule was legitimized by the Abbasid caliph Harun al-Rashid after a peace treaty. Amir Suri was defeated in war with the Saffarid ruler Ya'qub ibn al-Layth al-Saffar.

Amir Muhammad ibn Suri[edit]

Muhammad ibn Suri was also, despite his name, a Hindu king of the Ghorid dynasty from the 10th century to 1011. He fought against Mahmud of Ghazni. According to Minhaju-S Siraj, ibn Suri was defeated and captured by Mahmud of Ghazni, made prisoner along with his son Abu Ali and taken to Ghazni, where ibn Suri died by poisoning himself.[4]

Ibn Suri's son Abu Ali ibn Muhammad (reigning from 1011 to 1035) later converted to Islam, and constructed mosques and Islamic schools in Ghor.[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, pagan Surs, who were attacked by Mahmud of Ghazni and converted to Islam by him.

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.[9] 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.

Other famous Surs[edit]

Another Sur king, Amir Banji Baharan, was appointed by the Abbasid caliph Harun al-Rashid as the king of Ghor after he signed a peace treaty.

The most famous Sur in history was Sher Shah Suri of Sasaram, Bihar,[11] who ruled the Sur Empire which covered a large northern territory of the Indian subcontinent, with Delhi serving as its capital.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ 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.  Check date values in: |date= (help)
  2. ^ 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. 
  3. ^ Gazetteer of the world or dictionary of geographical knowledge. Vol 5. London: A Fullerton and Company. p. 61. 
  4. ^ The History of India as told by its own Historians by Eliot and Dowson, Volume 2 page 286
  5. ^ 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
  6. ^ History of Civilizations of Central Asia, C.E. Bosworth, M.S. Asimov, p. 185.
  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. ^ a b c The Shah-Namah of Fardusi translation by Alexander Rogers LPP Publication Page 547
  10. ^ "Glossary of the Tribes and Castes of the Punjab and North West Frontier Province" H.A. Rose, Ibetson 1990, P210
  11. ^ Moslem nationalism in India and Pakistan By Hafeez Malik, Washington DC Public Affairs Press (1963) p. 38