Timur

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Timur (9 April 1336 – 18 February 1405), historically known as Amir Timur and Tamerlane, was a Turco-Mongol conqueror. As the founder of the Timurid Empire in Persia and Central Asia he became the first ruler in the Timurid dynasty.

Quotes[edit]

  • 'About this time there arose in my heart the desire to lead an expedition against the infidels, and to become a ghAzi; for it had reached my ears that the slayer of infidels is a ghAzi, and if he is slain he becomes a martyr. It was on this account that I formed this resolution, but I was undetermined in my mind whether I should direct my expedition against the infidels of China or against the infidels and polytheists of India. In this matter I sought an omen from the Kuran, and the verse I opened upon was this, 'O Prophet, make war upon infidels and unbelievers, and treat them with severity.' My great officers told me that the inhabitants of Hindustan were infidels and unbelievers. In obedience to the order of Almighty Allah I ordered an expedition against them'....'Then the Prince Muhammad Sultan said: 'The whole country of India is full of gold and jewels, and in it there are seventeen mines of gold and silver, diamond and ruby and emerald and tin and steel and copper and quicksilver, etc., and of the plants which grow there are those fit for making wearing apparel, and aromatic plants, and the sugar-cane, and it is a country which is always green and verdant, and the whole aspect of the country is pleasant and delightful. Now, since the inhabitants are chiefly polytheists and infidels and idolators and worshippers of the sun, by the order of Allah and his prophet, it is right for us to conquer them.'
    • Elliot and Dowson, Vol. III : Elliot and Dowson, History of India as told by its own Historians, 8 Volumes, Allahabad Reprint, 1964. pp. 394-397
  • 'Some of the nobles said, 'By the favour of Almighty Allah we may conquer India, but if we establish ourselves permanently therein, our race will degenerate and our children will become like the natives of those regions, and in a few generations their strength and valour will diminish.' The amirs of regiments (kushunat) were disturbed at these words, but I said to them, 'My object in the invasion of Hindustan is to lead an expedition against the infidels that, according to the law of Muhammad (upon whom and his family be the blessing and peace of Allah), we may convert to the true faith the people of that country, purify the land itself from the filth of infidelity and polytheism; and that we may overthrow their temples and idols and become ghAzis and mujAhids before Allah.' They gave an unwilling consent, but I placed no reliance upon them. At this time the wise men of Islam came before me, and a conversation began about the propriety of a war against infidels and polytheists; they gave it as their opinion that it is the duty of the Sultan of Islam, and all the people who profess that 'there is no god but Allah, and Muhammad is the prophet of Allah,' for the sake of preserving their religion and strengthening their law, to exert their utmost endeavour for the suppression of the enemies of their faith. And it is the duty of every Muslim and true believer to use his utmost exertions in obedience to his ruler. When the edifying words of the wise men reached the ears of the nobles, all their hearts were set upon a holy war in Hindustan, and throwing themselves on their knees, they repeated the Chapter of Victory....'When I girded up my loins for the expedition, I wrote to Hazrat Shaikh Zainu-d-din52 to the effect that I had determined on a religious expedition to Hindustan. He wrote in the margin of my letter: 'Be it known to Abu-1-Ghazi Timur (whom may Allah assist) that great prosperity in this world and the next will result to you from this undertaking, and you will go and return in safety.' He also sent me a large sword which I made my scepter'
    • Elliot and Dowson, Vol. III : Elliot and Dowson, History of India as told by its own Historians, 8 Volumes, Allahabad Reprint, 1964. pp. 397-98
  • 'The ruler of Kator had a fort, on one side of which was a river, and beyond the river a lofty mountain reaching down to the water' When I advanced into the neighbourhood of the fort I did not perceive a trace of the infidels, and when I came to the place itself I saw that they had abandoned it and fled. I obtained a booty of many sheep and some other things here, and ordered that they should set fire to the houses and buildings of the city, in the midst of which the fort was built, and that they should level it with the ground. Then crossing the river in haste and pursuing the track of the enemy, I reached the skirts of the mountain on the top of which the infidels had taken up their position in defiles and other strong places. I immediately gave orders to my valiant and experienced troops to ascend. Raising their war-cry and shouting the takbIr, they rushed to the attack' They all proved their zeal for Islam on the unbelieving foe, and having overpowered the infidels they put many of them to death and took possession of their fastnesses. Only a few of the enemy succeeded in sheltering themselves, wounded and worn out with fatigue, in their caverns. I sent Ak Sultan to them with the message that if they would consent to submit unconditionally and would all become Musulmans and repeat the creed, I grant them quarter, but otherwise I would exterminate them to a man... They all proffered submission, and repeating the necessary formula, embraced the Muhammadan faith'
    • Elliot and Dowson, Vol. III : Elliot and Dowson, History of India as told by its own Historians, 8 Volumes, Allahabad Reprint, 1964. pp. 403-05
  • 'I was informed that the blessed tomb of Hazrat Shaikh Farid Ganj-shakar (whom may Allah bless) was in this city [Ajodhan], upon which I immediately set out on pilgrimage to it. I repeated the Fatiha, and the other prayers, for assistance, etc., and prayed for victory from his blessed spirit, and distributed large sums in alms and charity among the attendants on the holy shrine.56 I left Ajodhan on Wednesday, the 26th of the month on my march to Bhatnir.57The raja of that place was called Dul Chain. He had assembled a body of Rajputs, a class which supplies the most renowned soldiers of India, and with these he waited ready to do battle'
    • Elliot and Dowson, Vol. III : Elliot and Dowson, History of India as told by its own Historians, 8 Volumes, Allahabad Reprint, 1964. pp. 421-22
  • 'So in all directions the brave warriors of Islam attacked the infidels with lion-like fury, until at length by the grace of Allah, victory beamed upon the efforts of my soldiers. In a short space of time all the people in the fort were put to the sword, and in the course of one hour the heads of ten thousand infidels were cut off. The sword of Islam was washed in the blood of the infidels, and all the goods and effects, the treasure and the grain which for many a long year had been stored in the fort, became the spoil of my soldiers. They set fire to the houses and reduced them to ashes, and they razed the buildings and the fort to the ground. When this victory had been accomplished I returned to my tent. All the princes and amirs waited upon me to congratulate me upon the conquest and upon the enormous booty which had fallen into my hands. It was all brought out and I distributed it among my brave amirs and soldiers.
    • Elliot and Dowson, Vol. III : Elliot and Dowson, History of India as told by its own Historians, 8 Volumes, Allahabad Reprint, 1964. pp. 427
  • 'When I made inquiries about the city of Sarsuti,60 I was informed that the people of the place were strangers to the religion of Islam, and that they kept hogs in their houses and ate the flesh of those animals. When they heard of my arrival, they abandoned their city. I sent my cavalry in pursuit of them, and a great fight ensued. All these infidel Hindus were slain, their wives and children were made prisoners, and their property and goods became the spoil of the victors. The soldiers then returned, bringing with them several thousand Hindu women and children who became Muhammadans, and repeated the creed'
    • Elliot and Dowson, Vol. III : Elliot and Dowson, History of India as told by its own Historians, 8 Volumes, Allahabad Reprint, 1964. pp. 427-28
  • 'It was again brought to my knowledge that these turbulent Jats were as numerous as ants or locusts... They had now taken fright, and had gone into jungles and deserts hard to penetrate. My great object in invading Hindustan had been to wage a religious war against the infidel Hindus, and it now appeared to me that it was necessary for me to put down these Jats. On the 9th of the month I despatched the baggage from Tohana,62 and on the same day I marched into the jungles and wilds, and slew 2,000 demon-like Jats. I made their wives and children captives, and plundered their cattle and property' On the same day a party of saiyids, who dwelt in the vicinity, came with courtesy and humility to wait upon me and were very graciously received.63In my reverence for the race of the prophet, I treated their chiefs with great honour'
    • Elliot and Dowson, Vol. III : Elliot and Dowson, History of India as told by its own Historians, 8 Volumes, Allahabad Reprint, 1964. pp. 429
  • 'On the 29th I again marched and reached the river Jumna. On the other side of the river I descried a fort, and upon making inquiry about it, I was informed that it consisted of a town and fort, called Loni65' I determined to take that fort at once' Many of the Rajputs placed their wives and children in their houses and burned them, then they rushed to the battle and were killed. Other men of the garrison fought and were slain, and a great many were taken prisoners. Next day I gave orders that the Musalman prisoners should be separated and saved, but that the infidels should all be despatched to hell with the proselyting sword. I also ordered that the houses of the saiyids, shaikhs and learned Musulmans should be preserved but that all the other houses should be plundered and the fort destroyed. It was done as I directed and a great booty was obtained'
    • Elliot and Dowson, Vol. III : Elliot and Dowson, History of India as told by its own Historians, 8 Volumes, Allahabad Reprint, 1964. pp. 432-33
  • 'Next day, Friday the 3rd of the month. I left the fort of Loni and marched to a position opposite to Jahan-numa67 where I encamped' I now held a Court' At this Court Amir Jahan Shah and Amir Sulaiman Shah and other amirs of experience, brought to my notice that, from the time of entering Hindustan up to the present time, we had taken more than 100,000 infidels and Hindus prisoners, and that they were all in my camp. On the previous day, when the enemy's forces made the attack upon us, the prisoners made signs of rejoicing, uttered imprecations against us, and were ready, as soon as they heard of the enemy's success, to form themselves into a body, break their bonds, plunder our tents, and then to go and join the enemy, and so increase his numbers and strength. I asked their advice about the prisoners, and they said that on the great day of battle these 100,000 prisoners could not be left with the baggage, and that it would be entirely opposed to the [Islamic] rules of war to set these idolaters and foes of Islam at liberty. In fact, no other course remained but that of making them all food for the sword. When I heard these words I found them in accordance with the rules of war, and I directly gave my command for the tawAchis68 to proclaim throughout the camp that every man who had infidel prisoners was to put them to death and whoever neglected to do so should himself be executed and his property given to the informer. When this order became known to the ghAzis of Islam, they drew their swords and put their prisoners to death. 100,000 infidels, impious idolaters, were on that day slain. Maulana Nasiru-d-din 'Umar, a counsellor and man of learning, who, in all his life, had never killed a sparrow, now, in execution of my order, slew with his sword fifteen idolatrous Hindus,69 who were his captives'
    • Elliot and Dowson, Vol. III : Elliot and Dowson, History of India as told by its own Historians, 8 Volumes, Allahabad Reprint, 1964. pp. 435-36
  • 'On the 16th of the month some incidents occurred which led to the sack of the city of Delhi, and to the slaughter of many of the infidel inhabitants' The Hindus set fire to their houses with their own hands, burned their wives and children in them, and rushed into the fight and were killed' On that day, Thursday, and all the night of Friday, nearly 15,000 Turks were engaged in slaying, plundering, and destroying' The following day, Saturday, the 17th, all passed in the same way, and the spoil was so great that each man secured from fifty to a hundred prisoners - men, women, and children. There was no man who took less than twenty. The other booty was immense in rubies, diamonds, pearls and other gems; jewels of gold and silver, ashrafis, tankas of gold and silver of the celebrated 'Alai coinage; vessels of gold and silver; and brocades and silks of great value. Gold and silver ornaments of the Hindu71 women were obtained in such quantities as to exceed all account. Excepting the quarter of the saiyids, the 'ulama and the other Musulmans, the whole city was sacked'
    • Elliot and Dowson, Vol. III : Elliot and Dowson, History of India as told by its own Historians, 8 Volumes, Allahabad Reprint, 1964. pp. 445-46
  • 'I had been at Delhi fifteen days, which time I had passed in pleasure and enjoyment, holding royal Courts and giving great feasts. I then reflected that I had come to Hindustan to war against infidels, and my enterprise had been so blessed that wherever I had gone I had been victorious. I had triumphed over my adversaries. I had put to death some lacs of infidels and idolaters, and I had stained my proselyting sword with the blood of the enemies of the faith. Now this crowning victory had been won, and I felt that I ought not to indulge in ease but rather to exert myself in warring against the infidels of Hindustan'
    • Elliot and Dowson, Vol. III : Elliot and Dowson, History of India as told by its own Historians, 8 Volumes, Allahabad Reprint, 1964. pp. 448
  • 'On the 1st Jumada-l-awwal I placed the left wing of the army under the command of Amir Jahan Shah, with orders to march up the Jumna, to take every fort and town and village he came to, and to put all the infidels of the country to the sword. The amir led off his army to execute my commands' My brave fellows pursued and killed many of them, made their wives and children prisoners, plundered their property and goods, and secured a vast number of cows and buffalos. When by the favour of Allah, I had secured this victory, I got off my horse and prostrated myself on the ground to pay my thanks'...'Pressing on with all haste I passed the jungles and thickets, and arrived in front of the infidels [at Kutila].75 After a slight resistance the enemy took flight, but many of them fell under the swords of my soldiers. All the wives and children of the infidels were made prisoners, and their property and goods, gold, money and grain, horses, camels (shutur), cows and buffaloes in countless numbers, fell as spoil into the hands of my soldiers. Satisfied with this rout of the enemy, I said the afternoon prayers in public in that desert, and I returned thanks to Allah'
    • Elliot and Dowson, Vol. III : Elliot and Dowson, History of India as told by its own Historians, 8 Volumes, Allahabad Reprint, 1964. pp. 451-458
  • 'My brave men displayed great courage and daring; they made their swords their banners, and exerted themselves in slaying the foe (during a bathing festival on the bank of the Ganges). They slaughtered many of the infidels, and pursued those who fled to the mountains. So many of them were killed that their blood ran down the mountains and plain, and thus (nearly) all were sent to hell. The few who escaped, wounded, weary, and half dead, sought refuge in the defiles of the hills. Their property and goods, which exceeded all computation, and their countless cows and buffaloes, fell as spoil into the hands of my victorious soldiers.
    • Elliot and Dowson, Vol. III : Elliot and Dowson, History of India as told by its own Historians, 8 Volumes, Allahabad Reprint, 1964. pp. 459
  • 'When I was satisfied with the destruction I had dealt out to the infidels, and the land was cleansed from the pollution of their existence, I turned back victorious and triumphant, laden with spoil. On that same day I crossed the Ganges, and said my mid-day prayers in the congregation, on the banks of that river. I prostrated myself in humble thanks to Allah, and afterwards again mounting my horse, marched five miles down the river and then encamped. It now occurred to my mind that I had marched as a conqueror from the river Sind to Delhi, the capital of the kings of India. I had put the infidels to the edge of the sword on both sides of my route, and had scoured the land' I had crossed the rivers Ganges and Jumna, and I had sent many of the abominable infidels to hell, and had purified the land from their foul existence. I rendered thanks to Almighty Allah that I had accomplished my undertaking, and had waged against the infidels that holy war I had resolved upon; then I determined to turn my course towards Samarkand, my capital and paradise.
    • Elliot and Dowson, Vol. III : Elliot and Dowson, History of India as told by its own Historians, 8 Volumes, Allahabad Reprint, 1964. pp. 459-60
  • 'Amir Sulaiman Shah' and other amirs' said: 'So long as we your servants, are able to move hand and foot, we will execute your orders... and (you) should now order us to march against the infidels of the Siwalik, and to rout and destroy them.' I replied: 'My principal object in coming to Hindustan and in undergoing all this toil and hardship, has been to accomplish two things. The first was to war with the infidels, the enemies of the Muhammadan religion; and by this religious warfare to acquire some claim to reward in the life to come. The other was a worldly object; that the army of Islam might gain something by plundering the wealth and valuables of the infidels: plunder in war is as lawful as their mothers' milk to Musulmans who war for their faith, and the consuming of that which is lawful is a means of grace.
    • Elliot and Dowson, Vol. III : Elliot and Dowson, History of India as told by its own Historians, 8 Volumes, Allahabad Reprint, 1964. pp. 461
  • 'On the 10th Jumada-l-awwal I mounted my horse and drew my sword, determined on fighting the infidels of the Siwalik' The infidel gabrs81 were dismayed at the sight, and took to flight. The holy warriors pursued them, and made heaps of slain. A few Hindus, in a wretched plight, wounded and half dead, escaped, and hid themselves in holes and caves. An immense spoil beyond all compute, in money, goods and articles, cows and buffaloes, fell into the hands of my soldiers. All the Hindu women and children in the valley were made prisoners....'On the following day, the 14th Jumada-I-awwal, I crossed the river Jumna with the baggage, and encamped in another part of the Siwalik hills. Here I learned that in this part of the Siwalik there was a raja of great rank and power, by name Ratan Sen' In the front of this valley Raja Ratan Sen had drawn out his forces. At the first onset, the Hindus broke and fled, and my victorious soldiers pursued, slashing their swords killing many of the fugitives, and sending them to hell. Only a few of them escaped, wounded and dispirited, and hiding themselves like foxes in the woods, thus saved their lives. When the soldiers gave up killing the infidels, they secured great plunder in goods and valuables, prisoners and cattle. No one of them had less than one or two hundred cows, and ten or twenty slaves - the other plunder exceeded all calculation.83
    • Elliot and Dowson, Vol. III : Elliot and Dowson, History of India as told by its own Historians, 8 Volumes, Allahabad Reprint, 1964. pp. 462-64
  • 'When I entered the valley on that side of the Siwalik, information was brought to me about the town (shahr) of Nagarkot,84 which is a large and important town of Hindustan and situated in these mountains' I instantly ordered Amir Jahan Shah, whom I had sent to the front with the forces of the left wing and the army of Khurasan, to attack the enemy. The amir, in obedience to my order, advanced and charged the enemy. At the very first charge the infidels were defeated and put to flight. The holy warriors, sword in hand, dashed among the fugitives, and made heaps of corpses. Great numbers were slain, and a vast booty in goods and valuables, and prisoners and cattle in countless numbers, fell into the hands of the victors who returned triumphant and loaded with spoil.'
    • Elliot and Dowson, Vol. III : Elliot and Dowson, History of India as told by its own Historians, 8 Volumes, Allahabad Reprint, 1964. pp. 465-66
  • The Tughlaq army was defeated in the battle that ensued next day. Timur entered Delhi and learnt that a “great number of Hindus with their wives and children, and goods and valuables, had come into the city from all the country round”. He directed his soldiers to seize these Hindus and their property. Tuzk-i-Timûrî concludes: “Many of them (Hindus) drew their swords and resisted… The flames of strife were thus lighted and spread through the whole city from Jahãnpanah and Siri to Old Delhi, burning up all it reached. The Hindus set fire to their houses with their own hands, burned their wives and children in them and rushed into the fight and were killed… On that day, Thursday, and all the night of Friday, nearly 15,000 Turks were engaged in slaying, plundering and destroying. When morning broke on Friday, all my army… went off to the city and thought of nothing but killing, plundering and making prisoners… The following day, Saturday the 17th, all passed in the same way, and the spoil was so great that each man secured from fifty to a hundred prisoners, men, women, and children. There was no man who took less than twenty. The other booty was immense in rubies, diamonds, garnets, pearls, and other gems and jewels; ashrafis, tankas of gold and silver of the celebrated Alãi coinage: vessels of gold and silver; and brocades and silks of great value. Gold and silver ornaments of Hindu women were obtained in such quantities as to exceed all account. Excepting the quarter of the Saiyids, the ulama and the other Musulmãns, the whole city was sacked.”
    • Sita Ram Goel: The Story of Islamic Imperialism in India.
  • To start with he [Timur] stormed the fort of Kator on the border of Kashmir. He ordered his soldiers 'to kill all the men, to make prisoners of women and children, and to plunder and lay waste all their property'. Next, he 'directed towers to be built on the mountain of the skulls of those obstinate unbelievers'. Soon after, he laid siege to Bhatnir defended by Rajputs. They surrendered after some fight, and were pardoned. But Islam did not bind Timur to keep his word given to the 'unbelievers'. His Tuzk-i-Timûrî records: 'In a short space of time all the people in the fort were put to the sword, and in the course of one hour the heads of 10,000 infidels were cut off. The sword of Islam was washed in the blood of the infidels, and all the goods and effects, the treasure and the grain which for many a long year had been stored in the fort became the spoil of my soldiers. They set fire to the houses and reduced them to ashes, and they razed the buildings and the fort to the ground.'
    By now Timur had captured 100,000 Hindus. As he prepared for battle against the Tughlaq army after crossing the Yamuna, his Amirs advised him 'that on the great day of battle these 100,000 prisoners could not be left with the baggage, and that it would be entirely opposed to the rules of war to set these idolators and enemies of Islam at liberty'. Therefore, 'no other course remained but that of making them all food for the sword'. Tuzk-i-Timûrî continues: 'I proclaimed throughout the camp that every man who had infidel prisoners should put them to death, and whoever neglected to do so should himself be executed and his property given to the informer. When this order became known to the ghãzîs of Islam, they drew their swords and put their prisoners to death. One hundred thousand infidels, impious idolators, were on that day slain. Maulana Nasiruddin Umar, a counsellor and man of learning, who, in all his life, had never killed a sparrow, now, in execution of my order, slew with his sword fifteen idolatrous Hindus, who were his captives.'
    • Sita Ram Goel: The Story of Islamic Imperialism in India.

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