Madr wa Moi


Abdul Hai Habibi


Menhaj Seraj Jouzjani in Tabaqat-e Nasiri states: Subuktageen died in the village of (Bermel Madwari, or Madar wa Moi, or Madawri, or Madraiwi, or Barmel Maderwi). The name of this village has been written with different spellings in old texts and Raverty has mentioned all these forms of the name in his translation and says in one text Termez has also been mentioned.

Ibn Asir in Al Kamel (Vol 9, p. 54) says: Subuktageen lived in Balkh and because of an illness left for Ghazni for a change of the weather and died on the road between Balkh and Ghazni. His body was taken to Ghazni and buried there. Ibn Khaldoun (Vol. 4, p. 633) and Bostani in his encyclopedia (Vol. 9, p. 462) quotes Ibn Khaldoun verbatim and none of them talk about the transportation of the body to Ghazni. Gardezi also mentions the decision of Subuktageen to travel from Balkh to Ghazni and his death but does not state the location where he died. Other historians of the time, such as Fereshta, and those who have referenced him state Subuktageen died in Termez.[i] Since historians such as Gardezi and Ibn Asir have not mentioned anything about the location of his death in Termez we can say that Fereshta may have used Tabakat-e Nasiri as a reference. As Raverty has also mentioned Termez therefore it is possible it is a reference to the writing of Fereshta who wrote about this place.

Dr. Mohammad Nazem, a contemporary historian who has written a book on the life of Sultan Mahmud,[ii] without conducting much research, writes that Madar wa Moi of Ravertyís translation is the location of Subuktageenís death.[iii] I do not consider this to be correct as Termez is not located on the road between Balkh and Ghazni and was a city along the banks of the Oxus river. Archeological remains of this town are still famous by this name. In the province of Balkh there is a small town by the same name which I visited in 1945 A.D. If we consider this town to be the place where Subuktageen died then the statement of past historians that he deceased between Balkh and Ghazni will be refuted. Hence we have to look for a place which is located between Balkh and Ghazni and after researching the matter I come to two conclusions:

1. South of the ancient city of Balkh, at a distance of about 30 miles, there is a place located 5000 feet above sea level which is known as Marmel or Marel. It is situated along the Balkh to Bamian and Kabul road. A street in the city of Mazar-e Sharif is named Marmel also. This street is located in a part of the city where the people of Marmel come to town. Yaqut also mentions this village and writes: Marel is a village in the mountains surrounding Balkh.[iv] In the hand written manuscripts of Tabaqat-e Nasiri the place where Subuktageen died has been written as Marmel and Mermel. So we can say that the place of death of this monarch was this village which until this day is called Mermel or Marmel. It is located on the shortest route between Balkh and Bamian and was travelled by people going between the two cities.

2. Another road that goes from Bamian toward Balkh  passes through difficult mountainous terrain. It branches toward Bamian from the present road which leads from Parwan through the Ghorband valley and over the Shibar pass and reaches Do Aab. Vehicles can be driven on this road as far as Bamian but after that one has to travel by horse or trek by foot. This path passes through the Hindu Kush mountains in a northeast direction toward Aibak. Between Bamian and Aibak one passes through the following places:

1. Bamian

2. Saighan

3. Kahmard

4. Madr

5. Royee

6. Kurm and Saarbagh

7. Aibak

Among these place if we conjoin the names of Madr and Royee it becomes Madrroyee. It is close to the name mentioned in Tabaqat-e Nasiri. We can thus say Subuktageen went from Balkh to Aibak and from there wanted to go to Bamian passing through the places named above but was not successful in his bid to travel to Ghazni and passed away. 


[i] Fereshta, p. 21 Hayat-e Afghani and others.

[ii] Son of Subuktageen.

[iii] Persian translation of the book Sultan Mahmud, p. 34.

[iv] Maíjam al-Baldan, p. 362.