Amir Krorr Jahan Pahlawan


Abdul Hai Habibi


Amir Krorr Jahan Pahlawan, son of Amir Polad Suri, is the oldest Pashto poet whom we know. Suri is a famous tribe in Ghor, remnants of whom are found in Badghis and Zorabad, north of Herat by the name of Zuri. The region of Zurabad exists until the present time under the mentioned name. The root of this word is found in Sur, which in Veda is the god of sun. Hsuan Tsang, the Chinese traveler in 630 CE, has mentioned this name as Shuna, and saw a temple by this name in the Dawar area of Ghor.[1] According to Al-Belazari, Abdul Rahman bin Samara, besieged Jabal-al-Zur in 651 CE and destroyed the golden idol, famous by the name of Zur, which was embedded with. ruby pupils.[2]

From Yaqut’s account it is also evident that Zur was the name of an idol in the environs of Dawar.[3] However before Yaqut, Astakhari in Al-Masalek wa al-Mamalek, and Abu Zaid Ahmad bin Sahal Balkhi in Suwar-al-Aqalem have also mentioned this temple.[4]

To summarize we can say that the name Sur can be traced back to the Zur of pre-Islamic era and this tribe was present during the Islamic period in the Sarkhas and Badghis areas, north of Herat, and the city of Zur, was named after this tribe. We know several scholastic and political figures from this tribe such as Abu Bakr Atiq bin Mohammad al-Sur Abadi, the famous translator, around 1068 CE, Suri bin al-Mua’taz, a dignitary during the time of Sultan Masud,[5] and Mahu-e Suri, whom Firdawsi considers to be from the Suri lineage and the governor of Balkh, Hari and Bukhara,[6] who killed Yazdgard, the last Sassani king, in Merv and was recognized as the king of Merv by Hazrat Ali.[7] Hence Sur was the ancestor of the Shansab lineage from Ghor, which was the famous family of the kings of Ghor, and the brother of Saam, who ruled over the regions of Ghor.[8]

It is this Suri tribe which has been considered to be an Afghan tribe related to the Ludi family and the Suris of India trace their lineage from this tribe. Sher Shah Suri was a king from this tribe.[9] Remnants of this tribe are known up to this day in Badghis as Zuri, who live in the area of the old Zurabad along the border of Afghanistan and Iran. From the pre-Islamic period, members of the Shansab bin Kharnak family, have been rulers in Ghor.

Amir Krorr Suri Jahan Pahlavan, is a king, whose poem appears in Pata Khazana (The Hidden Treasure), which has been copied from Largoni Pashtana (Ancient Pashtuns), authored by Sheikh Kata Matizai Khalil, which Sheikh Kata extracted from Tarekh-e Suri (History of Suri) of Mohammad bin Ali Albasti. He writes: “Amir Krorr son of Amir Polad, was king in Mandesh of Ghor in the year 757 CE, with the title of Jahan Pahlavan. He managed to conquer the Tamran, Kheisar and Bargoshak fortresses of Ghor and aided the Al-Abas family of the Islamic Caliphate. He was a strong warrior who could fight against one hundred men. It was for this reason he was called Krorr, meaning firm and strong. He spent the winter months in his palace in Zamindawar. He is from the Sahak (Zuhak) Suri lineage and ruled over Ghor, Balishtan and Bost. Upon the request of Abu-al-Abas Safah he aided Abu Muslim against the Bani Umaya. Amir Krorr died in the battle of Fushanj in the year 771 CE and his son took control of his domain in Ghor, Sur, Bost and Zamindawar.”

It is said he was a just administrator and a good orator. Since he made many conquests for the Al-Abas, he wrote epic poems, in which he praises his conquests. In his poem he states I am a valiant king and there is no brave like me in India, Sind, Takhar, Kabul or Zabul. Herat, Jurm, Merv, Haryaw-al-Rud, Gharj, Bamian and Takhar are under the domain of my sword. I am known in Rome. The enemy is afraid of my name and I have made the Suri people proud. My orders are obeyed in the high mountain country, Eulogists have scribed my name on pulpits. While I am kind to my subjects I strike the foe with ferocity.[10] 

This poem was recited in Pashto language during the eighth century CE and it contains words which are not in use now. It is a testament of the existence and fluency of the language in ancient times. It is the oldest Pashto poem we know which was recited around 767 CE. It shows us that the language of the old Suri family in Ghor was Pashto.[11]


Amir Krorr’s poem:

            I am a lion, in this world there is none more powerful,

            In India, Sind, Takhar or Kabul,

            Nor is there any in the plains of Zabul.

            There is none mightier than me.


            The arrows of my strong will, like lightning fall

            On the fleeing enemy I boldly recall:

            Defeated in battle they have been all.

            There is none mightier than me.


            The skies above, around my victories revolve

            Under the thunder of my horse's hooves mountains dissolve,

            Conquer will I countless lands as battles evolve.

            There is none mightier than me.


            Under the lightening of my sword Jurm and Herat lie

            Gharj, Bamiyan and Takhar recant my battle cry;

            My name is known under the Roman sky,

            There is none mightier than me.


            My arrows fall on Merv, the enemy fears me

            On the banks of Haryaw-al-Rud infantrymen quickly flee;

            Brave warriors tremble when my presence they see.

            There is none mightier than me.

            Conquer did I Zaranj and respect to my sword accord,

            And the house of Sur the honor of kingship award

            But my kin I do reward.

            There is none mightier than me.


            To my subjects I show grace and remain kind

            To their happiness and welfare I am not blind,

            For their prosperity, time I find.

            There is none mightier than me.


            In the mighty mountains, respected is my command,

            The world is mine, my name is famous through the land

            For days, nights, months and years; understand

            There is none mightier than me.




[1] Tarekh-e Afghanistan, Vo. 2, p. 577. Geography of Eastern Capiphate, p. 346.

[2] Futuh-al-Baladan, p. 402.

[3] Marasid-al-Etala’, p. 204.

[4] Ma’jam-al-Baladan, Vol. 4, p. 28.

[5] Marasid of Yaqut, p. 204; Tarekh-e Baihaqi, p. 179.

[6] Shahnama, Vol. 5, p. 311. 

[7] Futuh-al-Baladan, Al-Yaqubi. Vol. 2, p. 214.

[8] Tabaqat-e Naseri, Vol. 1, pp. 176-177.

[9] Makhzan-e Afghani, p. 181; Sulat-e Aflghani, p. 325.

[10]Pata Khazana, pp. 33-36.

[11]Remembering Amir Krorr, 1986, Afghanistan Science Academy, pp. 55-58.