Zafar Khan aka Malik Dinar aka Malik Yusuf Hizbaruddin

The obscure Zafar Khan aka Malik Dinar aka Malik Yusuf Hizbaruddin !

A General of Khilji Dynasty- Delhi Sultanate – half-forgotten and at times referred to being a General in the Tughlaq Dynasty! This may be owing to the fact that his tomb, with its pillared corridors lies in the north-western bastion of the enclosure wall of Ghiyasudin Tughlaq’s Octagonal Tomb.

Zafar Khan’s tomb has a smaller marble dome and inscribed marble and sandstone slabs over its arched doors.

According to an inscription over its southern entrance this tomb houses the remains of Zafar Khan.


Grave of Zafar Khan (View 1) (Internet Photo)

Ghiyasudin  Tughlaq (whose Octagonal Tomb, also houses that of Zafar Khan), was himself a Governor of Punjab during the reign of Khilji Sultans’.

He was the Son of a Turki Slave of Balban and a Jat mother. Within four years of Alauddin’s death, the rule of the Khiljis came to an end.

Ala-ud-din’s younger son Shahabuddin was dethroned by his third son Mubarak Shah, who ruled from 1316 to 1320 A.D. He again was killed by a conspiracy by Nasir-ud-din aka Khusro Khan  (1320); finally Khusro Khan was dethroned and killed in a battle by one Ghazi Malik aka Ghiyasuddin Tughlaq , the Governor of Punjab !!!

According to Metacafe’s Memoirs- “The governor of the Punjab went into open rebellion and marching to Dehly with the veteran troops of the frontier, he gained a victory over the dissolute and ill commanded bands opposed to him and put an end to the reign and life of the usurper, to the universal joy of the people.”

“On entering Dehly Ghouse Khan made a declaration that his only object was to deliver the country from oppression, and that he was willing to place any of the Royal line on the throne.”

“No member of the Khiljee family was found to have survived and Toghluck was himself proclaimed under the title of Gheeasoodeen”.

Hence the move had been transitional and Zafar Khan of Khilji reign was not really  a foe to Ghiyasudin Tughlaq.

Zafar Khan’s grave had been at the site prior to the construction of the outpost and was consciously integrated into the design of the mausoleum by Ghiyasudin himself.


Tomb of Zafar Khan (Internet Photo)

Zafar Khan had been dead  for 26 years by the time Ghiyasudin Tughlaq was interred in his tomb.

Zafar Khan’s tomb is situated just opposite the main entrance of Tughlaqabad Fort in the octagonal fortress enclosing the majestic tomb of Ghiyath al-Din Tughluq, on the Mehrauli-Badarpur Roadwhich commonly known as “Badarpur Border” in New Delhi.


Tomb of Zafar Khan (Right) with the Mausoleum of Ghiyath al-Din Tughluq atTughluqabad (Left-Large) (Internet Photo)

Zafar Khan was originally known as Malik Hizbaruddin. His birth date is not known but it is known that he died in Kili plain, near Delhi, in 1299. His services were to Khilji dynasty,Ariz-i-Mumalik, Years of Service he had put in, is unknown

Zafar Khan aka Malik Dinar was an Indian slave who served as general in Khilji Dynasty of Delhi Sultanate. He served as subordinate officer to Malik Kafur and was also a Shihna-yi pil or intendant of elephantryand was sent by Kafur to suppress rebellion in Gujarat.

His daughter has been married the third Khilji dynasty sultan, Qutb ud din Mubarak Shah.

He was given the title ‘Zafar Khan‘ (literally chief of victory). Hence he became – Zafar Khan Malik Hizbaruddin.

Zafar Khan was one of the earliest followers of Alauddin Khilji who followed him even at the time of Alauddin’s Uncle Jalaluddin Khilji.

He successfully repelled several Chagatai Khanate Mongol’s invasions which secured Alauddin Khilji’s throne.

In 1296 Alauddin Khilji took the throne of Delhi after the death of his uncle. He was supported by Ulugh Khan (his brother) and his general Zafar Khan.


(Internet Photo)

Death in Mongol invasion:

In the battle of Kili, Alauddin brought his army to the outskirts of Kili (area of currentTughlakabad). Zafar Khan on the right mounted an attack against the Mongol left flank, which successfully drove them from the field. At first it appeared that the Mongol left had been routed, but since the main body of the Indian army had made only a token demonstration, the Mongol left was able to regroup and reinforce their forces.


Kili (area of current Tughlakabad).

Zafar’s forces were surrounded by the reinvigorated Mongols. Qutlugh offered Zafar an opportunity to surrender his forces, but he refused and was killed in the subsequent fighting.

Alauddin’s army was ultimately successful in defeating Chagatai Khanate, however.

(According to another School of thought -Zafar Khan was ordered to lead an expedition to Siwistan (Shivasthan) to wrest it back. Zafar Khan besieged and reduced the fort. The leaders of Mongols- Saldi and his brother, along with thousands of his soldiery, were sent to Delhi in chains, accompanied by their women and children. As invasion practice, the men were all maimed or murdered; the children were converted to Islam and retained as slaves. The women were raped and sold.

Zafar Khan won great renown in this engagement. Until then, Mongols were dreaded by the Muslims; but after this outstanding victory, Zafar Khan became a hero. There was also jealousy among the courtiers. Ulugh Khan, brother of Allauddin, irked by Zafar’s prowess, incited the sultan to down size Zafar and Allauddin thought of sending Zafar Khan to Lakhnauti on a campaign or to put him out of the way by poison or by blinding.

The biggest Mongol invasion took place in 1299. The Khiljis’ won that battle but after a heavy loss. This caused the Mongols to retreat. Fortunately for Allauddin, the Mogols’ retreat enhanced his reputation as a dragon-killer. And he got rid of Zafar Khan in the bargain.)

As is known the biggest Mongol invasion took place in 1299, when under the command of Qutlugh Khwaja, Mongols attacked India. This time the Mongols did not plunder the people on the way to Delhi. They did not want to waste their energy doing this.

This was considered a wise step and succeeded to reach near Delhi. The situation became very grave. The people of nearby areas entered into Delhi. There was no free space even in mosques.

As a result of this battle the Mongol forces were completely perished and even their commander was captured. This great victory was inspired awe in Zafar Khan’s name. So in effect he was given charge of Samana, an important military post in Punjab to defend the Sultanate from the Mongol invasion.

Alauddin Khilji ordered his army to attack under the command of Zafar Khan and Ulugh  Khan. His army attacked and fought bravely and manage to force the enemy army to retreat while he pursuing them.

Alauddin defeated the Mongols but Zafar Khan was killed in this battle by the Mongol commander Targhi Beg because he was recklessly pursue the retreating enemy without realizing he’s falling onto trap.

It is said before being slain Zafar Khan in reckless abandon shot his remaining arrows knowing his end was near and killed several enemy soldiers before he succumbed.


Grave of Zafar Khan (View 2)

It is due to his successful campaign against Chagatai Khanate that legend says that Zafar Khan created such great terror in the minds of the Mongols that whenever their horse refused to drink water, the Mongols would ask them if they had seen Zafar Khan.

Later after his death, Zafar Khan was bestowed by the title- Malik Dinar.


i) History of India: Mediaeval India from the Mohammedan Conquest to the Reign of Akbar the Great.

By Stanley Lane-Poole

ii) Medieval India under Mohammedan rule, 712-1764

Stanley Lane-Poole

iii) Advanced Study in the History of Medieval India, Volume 1 By Jaswant Lal Mehta

iv) The Delhi Sultanate: A Political and Military History (Cambridge Studies in Islamic Civilization) Paperback – October 16, 2003 by Peter Jackson |isbn=978-0521543293

v) The History of India, as Told by Its Own Historians: The Muhammadan Period

By Henry Miers Elliot, John Dowson

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