Abdul Hai Habibi


Mehnaj Seraj Jouzjani mentions Khumar to be the place where Sultan Abdul Rashid Ghaznavi sent his army, under the command of Tugril, to  ward off the attack of Alap Arsalan Shah Saljoqi, who was headed from Takharistan toward Ghazni. This historian writes: Alap Arsalan came from the direction of Takharistan with a large army and his father, Daud, went over to Bost by way of Seistan. Sultlan Abdul Rashid made preparations and sent Tugril, who was a commander of Mahmud, to face Alap Arsalan and killed the invader in Khumar valley.[i]

According the Menhaj Seraj the Saljoqi army came from Takharistan in the direction of Ghazni. This indicates the defending Ghaznavid army must have moved northeast to face off the enemy in Khumar. Hence the valley of Khumar is located northeast of Ghazni i.e. north of Kabul.

Abi al-Hassan Ali bin Zayd al-Baihaqi who died in 1169 A.D. in his books Tarekh-e Baihaqi and Tutma Suwan al-Hukma, while  discussing the life of Abu al-Khair, mentions Khumar around 1300 A.D. He writes: [ii] After praying Sultan Mahmud gifted the area of Khumar to Abu al-Khair and it is for this reason he has been named  as Abu al-Khair Khumar.[iii] Another historian of the land, Sharif Mohammad bin Mansur bin Sayed known as Mubarak Shah and famous as Fakhr Mudabir, whose book Adaab al-Harb wa al-Shuja’h, written around 1223 A.D. is considered to be a most beneficial historical document. He personally visited a great number of places in the country and presents interesting dictums on the life of the Ghaznavid period. He mentions Khumar as such: During the time of Sultan Reza Ibrahim, Sultan Malikshah Saljouqi marched in direction of Ghazni with a large army. Sulltan Reza sent Mehtar Rushd, whose seminary was close to the shrine of Sultan Mahmud, to Khorasan on a mission to Malikshah. After this Fakhr Mudabir talks about the sagacious prince and names places in Laghman and Ghazni which were transferred by the prince to Malikshah. Malikshah asked the prince if there was such a large area under the domain of Ghazni. The prince replied there are four areas in the province of Ghazni which are called Anwa’a (?), Khumar, Laghman and Shah Bahar.[iv] Among these four places Laghman is famous to this day and it is possible that the spelling of Anwa’a is incorrect. We also know Shah Bahar from the writings of Baihaqi, the historian of the Ghaznavid period. Khumar is the place which has been mentioned by Menhaj Seraj and Ali Baihaqi and Abu al-Khair Khumar was named after this place.

After studying these historical documents the question arises about the location of Khumar. According to Menhaj Seraj it was located in the direction of Kabul or to its north. On the road from Ghazni to Takharistan we pass through the industrial city of Pul-e Khumri. It is possible that Khumar is the present day Khumri. One could say because of the distance Khumar cannot be considered as part of the Ghaznavid domain. According to Fakhr Mudabir if Laghman was a part of the Ghaznavid empire then the present day Pul-e Khumri is not much further than Laghman from Ghazni.

Hence the valley of Khumari, where the Saljokids were defeated by the army of Mahmud and is located on the way to Takharistan, and the Khumari mentioned by the Ghaznavid prince in the presence of Malikshah, were located at the site of present day Pul-e Khumri. The root of that old word is still present in the present name of this area. It was this beautiful valley where Abu al-Khair Khumar lived under the patronage of the Ghaznavid monarch.





[i] Tabaqat-e Nasiri, handwritten manuscript, p. 128. Tier 11, On the life of Abdul Rashid son of Mahmud.

[ii] Tutma Suwan al-Khair, p. 13.

[iii] Durat al-Akhbar, p. 17.

[iv] Adaab al-Harb wa al-Shuja’h, p. 20.