Timur Shah Durrani

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Timur Shah Durrani
King of Greater Afghanistan
Sketch work of Timur Shah Durrani
Reign Durrani Empire: 1772 - 1793
Predecessor Ahmad Shah Durrani
Successor Zaman Shah Durrani
Born 1748
Died May 18, 1793
Burial Maqbara-i-Timur Shah, Kabul
Full name
Timur Shah Durrani
Dynasty Durrani dynasty
Father Ahmad Shah Durrani

Timur Shah Durrani, (Pashto, Persian, Urdu, Arabic: ‌ تیمور شاہ درانی ; 1748 – May 18, 1793) was the second ruler of the Durrani Empire, from October 16, 1772 until his death in 1793.[1] An ethnic Pashtun, he was the second and eldest son of Ahmad Shah Durrani.

Early life[edit]

Timur Shah was born in Mashhad[2][citation needed][page needed] in 1748 and had a quick rise to power by marrying the daughter of the Mughal Emperor Alamgir II. He received the city of Sirhind as a wedding gift and was later made the Governor of Punjab, Kashmir and the Sirhind district in 1757 (when he was only 9 years old), by his father Ahmad Shah Durrani. He ruled from Lahore under the regency of his Wazir, General Jahan Khan, who administered these territories for approximately one year, from May 1757 until April 1758.Timur Shah Durrani was defeated by the Sikhs in the Battle of Gohalwar (Amritsar,1757).

The Sikhs also assisted by Adina Beg Khan, Governor of the Julundur Doab, along with Raghunath Rao who was leading the Maratha Empire, forced Timur Shah and Jahan from Punjab and put in place their own government under Adina.


When Timur Shah succeeded his father in 1772, the regional chieftains only reluctantly accepted him, and most of his reign was spent reasserting his rule over the Durrani Empire. He was noted for his use of the Bala Hisar Fort in Peshawar, as the winter capital of his Empire.[2]

In 1776, Timur Shah compelled his uncle Abdul Qadir Khan Durrani to leave Afghanistan. Abdul left Afghanistan and sent his family including his: wife Zarnaab Bibi, sisters Azer Khela and Unaar Khela, brother Saifullah Khan Durrani, nephews Mohammad Umer Durrani, Basheer Ahmad Khan Durrani and Shams ur Rehman Durrani and two sons, Faizullah Khan Durrani and Abdullah Khan Durrani to Akora Khattak, in present day Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. He himself went to Damascus (Syria), where he (Abdul Qadir Khan Durrani) died in 1781.

Timur Shah himself left twenty-four sons,[3] and the succession that struggle that followed his death began the process of undermining the authority of the Durrani authority.[3] Under Timur Shah's eventual successor, Shah Zaman, the empire disintegrated.[3] In 1797 Shah Zaman, like his father and grandfather before him, decided to revive his fortunes and fill his treasuries by ordering a full-scale invasion of Hindustan, the time-honoured Afghan solution to cash crises.[3]

Changes in rule[edit]

During his reign, the Durrani Empire began to shrink. In an attempt to move away from disaffected Pashtun tribes, he shifted the capital from Kandahar to Kabul and chose Peshawar as the winter capital in 1776.[3] His court was remained influenced by Persian culture and he became reliant on the Qizilbash bodyguard for his personal protection.


Timur Shah prided himself on being a man of taste. He revived the formal gardens of the Bala Hisar Fort in Kabul, first constructed by Shah Jahan's Governor of Kabul.[4] In this endeavour, he was inspired by his senior wife, a Mughal princess who had grown up in the Delhi Red Fort with its remarkable courtyard.[3] Furthermore, like his Mughal in-laws, he had a talent for dazzling display, such as in the way he dressed and groomed himself.


Timur Shah died in 1793, and was then succeeded by his fifth son Zaman Shah Durrani. His tomb is located in Kabul.


  1. ^ Timur Shah, Ruler of Afghanistan.
  2. ^ a b Caroe, Olaf (1957) The Pathans.
  3. ^ a b c d e f William Dalrymple Return of a King: The Battle for Afghanistan pp 9 Bloomsbury Publishing, 4 feb. 2013 ISBN 140882843X
  4. ^ William Dalrymple Return of a King: The Battle for Afghanistan pp 10 Bloomsbury Publishing, 4 feb. 2013 ISBN 140882843X

External links[edit]

Preceded by
Ahmad Shah Durrani
Emir of Afghanistan
Succeeded by
Zaman Shah Durrani