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Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature

Mahmiud

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ABUL-KASIU YEMIN ED-DOWLAH, one of the most celebrated of the Mohammedan sovereigns, the founder of the Gaznevide dynasty, and the first who established a permanent Moslem empire in India, was born at Gazna (or Ghizni) in A.D. 967. His father was originally a Turkish slave, but having become governor, under the sovereign of Persia, of the province of Kandahar, he finally secured for his own possession the whole of the Punjab (q.v.), besides the Afghan dominions. Mahmid came to the throne A.D. 997. Already, during the reign of his father, Mahmiud had distinguished himself by superior warlike qualities. Ill treated by Mansir, the Samanide sovereign of Persia, he made war against him, resulting in the overthrow of the Samanide dynasty, and the establishment of Mahmud himself as the most powerful monarch in Asia. A devout Mussulman, he aspired to the character of an apostle of his religion. "His chief ambition was to extend his religion throughout the rich provinces of India, a task to which he was stimulated by a belief, cherished from his early boyhood, that he was intrusted with a divine mission to extirpate idolatry from the land of the Hindus."

In twelve successive expeditions into India, during a reign of thirty-five years, he carried fire and sword among the idolaters, dethroned and slew several princes, plundered and burned their cities, stormed the forts, massacred the garrisons, ravaged the fielas, and carried away so many natives into captivity, that the price of a slave was reduced at (Gazna to a couple of rupees; and all this notwithstanding that all India regarded the contest with Mahms id in the light of a holy war, and that no sacrifice of money or men was spared to defend the religion of their forefathers (compare Moore's poem Paradise and the Peri). Mahmuid extended his conquests not only over the whole of the Punjab, but penetrated as far as Bundelcund on the east, and Guzerat on the south. It has frequently been charged that these incursions to India were made. by Mahmid rather for the sake of spoil than to extend the Mussulman faith (comp. Trevor, India, p. 72), but there is every evidence, both in the fact that his arms were constantly directed against the religion rather than the people, and in his lavish expenditure at Gazna of the treasures brought from India, and in the encouragement he gave to learning, that Mahmud believed in his divine mission. He founded a university in Gazna, with a vast collection of curious books, in various languages, and a museum of natural curiosities. He appropriated a large sum for the maintenance of this establishment. He also set aside 10,000 a year for pensions to learned men. He died in 1030. The great Mussulman poet Firdfisi flourished at this time. See Ferishta, History of the Rise of the Mohamnmedan Power in India (translated by general Briggs); Wilken, Historia Ghatsnevidarum; History of British India, vol. 1 (Harper's Family Library); Von Hammer, Gemahdesaal grosse ioslemischer Herrscher Trevor, India, p. 69 sq.; India, Pictorial, Descript. and Hist. (London, Bohn, 1854, 12mo), p. 54 sq.; D'Herbelot, Biblioth. Orientale, p. 544 sq.; and the excellent article in Thomas, Dict. of Biog. and AMythol s.v. (J. H. W.)


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Bibliography Information
McClintock, John. Strong, James. Entry for 'Mahmiud'. Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature. https://www.studylight.org/encyclopedias/tce/m/mahmiud.html. Harper & Brothers. New York. 1870.

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