For faster navigation, this Iframe is preloading the Wikiwand page for Humayun.


This article includes a list of general references, but it lacks sufficient corresponding inline citations. Please help to improve this article by introducing more precise citations. (August 2017) (Learn how and when to remove this template message)

Al-Sultan Al-Azam
Humayun seated in a garden
2nd Mughal Emperor
First reign26 December 1530 – 17 May 1540
Coronation29 December 1530
SuccessorSher Shah Suri (Sur Empire)
Heir-apparentAl-aman Mirza
Second reign22 June 1555 – 27 January 1556
PredecessorAdil Shah Suri (Sur Empire)
SuccessorAkbar I
BornNasir al-Din Muhammad[1]
6 March 1508
Kabul (present-day Afghanistan)
Died27 January 1556(1556-01-27) (aged 47)
Delhi, Mughal Empire (present-day India)
  • (m. 1527)
  • (m. 1540)
Mirza Nasir-ud-Din Muhammad Humayun[1]
Posthumous name
Jannat-Ashyani (lit.'He who lives in heaven')
HouseHouse of Babur
DynastyTimurid dynasty
MotherMaham Begum
ReligionShia Islam[5]

Nasir al-Din Muhammad (6 March 1508[1] – 27 January 1556)) commonly know by his regnal name Humayun, (Persian pronunciation: [hu.mɑː.juːn]) was the second Mughal emperor, who ruled over territory in what is now Eastern Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Northern India, and Pakistan from 1530 to 1540 and again from 1555 to his death 1556. At the time of his death the Mughal Empire spanned almost one million square kilometres.

In December 1530, Humayun succeeded his father Babur to the throne of Delhi as ruler of the Mughal territories in the Indian subcontinent. Humayun was an inexperienced ruler when he came to power at the age of 22. His half-brother Kamran Mirza inherited Kabul and Kandahar, the northernmost parts of their father's empire; the two half-brothers became bitter rivals.

Early in his reign, Humayun lost his entire state to Sher Shah Suri but regained it 15 years later with Safavid aid. His return from Persia was accompanied by a large retinue of Persian noblemen, signalling an important change in Mughal court culture. The Central Asian origins of the dynasty were largely overshadowed by the influences of Persian art, architecture, language, and literature. To this day, stone carvings and thousands of Persian manuscripts in India dating from the time of Humayun remain in the subcontinent. Following his return to power, Humayun quickly expanded the Empire, leaving a substantial legacy for his son, Akbar.


Humayun was born as Nasir al-Din Muhammad to Babur's favorite wife Māham Begum on Tuesday 6 March 1508. According to Abul Fazl, Māham was related to the noble family of Sultan Husayn Bayqara, the Timurid ruler of Herat. She was also related to Sheikh Ahmad-e Jami.[6][7]

The decision of Babur to divide the territories of his empire between two of his sons was unusual in India, although it had been a common Central Asian practice since the time of Genghis Khan. Unlike most monarchies, which practiced primogeniture, the Timurids followed the example of Genghis and did not leave an entire kingdom to the eldest son. Although under that system only a Chingissid could claim sovereignty and Khanal authority, any male Chinggisid within a given sub-branch had an equal right to the throne (though the Timurids were not Chinggisid in their paternal ancestry).[8] While Genghis Khan's Empire had been peacefully divided between his sons upon his death, almost every Chinggisid succession since had resulted in fratricide.[9][page needed]

After Timur's death, his territories were divided among Pir Muhammad, Miran Shah, Khalil Sultan and Shah Rukh, which resulted in inter-family warfare.[10] Upon Babur's death, Humayun's territories were the least secure. He had ruled only four years, and not all umarah (nobles) viewed Humayun as the rightful ruler. Indeed, earlier, when Babur had become ill, some of the nobles had tried to install his Brother-in-law, Mahdi Khwaja, as ruler. Although this attempt failed, it was a sign of problems to come.[11][full citation needed][non-primary source needed]

Early reign

Babur celebrates the birth of Humayun in the Charbagh of Kabul.

When Humayun came to the throne of the Mughal Empire, several of his brothers revolted against him after he split the empire among them . Another brother Khalil Mirza (1509–1530) supported Humayun but was assassinated. The Emperor commenced construction of a tomb for his brother in 1538, but this was not yet finished when he was forced to flee to Persia. Sher Shah destroyed the structure and no further work was done on it after Humayun's restoration.[citation needed]

Humayun had two major rivals for his lands: Sultan Bahadur of Gujarat to the southwest and Sher Shah Suri (Sher Khan) settled along the river Ganges in Bihar to the east. Humayun's first campaign was to confront Sher Shah Suri. Halfway through this offensive Humayun had to abandon it and concentrate on Gujarat, where a threat from Ahmed Shah had to be met. Humayun was victorious annexing Gujarat, Malwa, Champaner and the great fort of Mandu.[12]

During the first five years of Humayun's reign, Bahadur and Sher Khan extended their rule, although Sultan Bahadur faced pressure in the east from sporadic conflicts with the Portuguese. While the Mughals had obtained firearms via the Ottoman Empire, Bahadur's Gujarat had acquired them through a series of contracts drawn up with the Portuguese, allowing the Portuguese to establish a strategic foothold in northwestern India.[13]

In 1535 Humayun was made aware that the Sultan of Gujarat was planning an assault on the Mughal territories in Bayana with Portuguese aid. Humayun gathered an army and marched on Bahadur. Within a month he had captured the forts of Mandu and Champaner. However, instead of pressing his attack, Humayun ceased the campaign and consolidated his newly conquered territory. Sultan Bahadur, meanwhile escaped and took up refuge with the Portuguese.[14] Like his father, Humayun was a frequent user of opium.[15] In a popular revolt Bahadur Shah recaptured all of Gujarat in 1536 and began an attack on Malwa.[16]

Sher Shah Suri

The Mughal Emperor Humayun, fights Bahadur Shah of Gujarat, in the year 1535.

Shortly after Humayun had marched on Gujarat, Sher Shah Suri saw an opportunity to wrest control of Agra from the Mughals. He began to gather his army together hoping for a rapid and decisive siege of the Mughal capital. Upon hearing this alarming news, Humayun quickly marched his troops back to Agra allowing Bahadur to easily regain control of the territories Humayun had recently taken. In February 1537, however, Bahadur was killed when a botched plan to kidnap the Portuguese viceroy ended in a fire-fight that the Sultan lost. Bahadur's passing caused a power vacuum in Gujarat, which ultimately paved the way for the Mughals to become the region's dominant force.[citation needed]

While Humayun succeeded in protecting Agra from Sher Shah, the second city of the Empire, Gaur the capital of the vilayat of Bengal, was sacked. Humayun's troops had been delayed while trying to take Chunar, a fort occupied by Sher Shah's son, in order to protect his troops from an attack from the rear. The stores of grain at Gauri, the largest in the empire, were emptied, and Humayun arrived to see corpses littering the roads.[17] The vast wealth of Bengal was depleted and brought East, giving Sher Shah a substantial war chest.[13]

Sher Shah withdrew to the east, but Humayun did not follow: instead he "shut himself up for a considerable time in his Harem, and indulged himself in every kind of luxury".[17][full citation needed][non-primary source needed] Hindal, Humayun's 19-year-old brother, had agreed to aid him in this battle and protect the rear from attack, but he abandoned his position and withdrew to Agra, where he decreed himself acting emperor. When Humayun sent the grand Mufti, Sheikh Buhlul, to reason with him; the Sheikh was killed. Further provoking the rebellion, Hindal ordered that the Khutba, or sermon, in the main mosque be surrounded.[18]

Raja Todar Mal, an ally of Sher Shah Suri, constructed the Rohtas Fort to check Humayun from Persia, and also halt the local Muslim tribes from joining the claimant emperor.[19][20]

Humayun's other brother, Kamran Mirza, marched from his territories in the Punjab, ostensibly to aid Humayun. However, his return home had treacherous motives as he intended to stake a claim for Humayun's apparently collapsing empire. He brokered a deal with Hindal providing that his brother would cease all acts of disloyalty[18] in return for a share in the new empire, which Kamran would create once Humayun was deposed.[citation needed]

In June 1539 Sher Shah met Humayun in the Battle of Chausa on the banks of the Ganges, near Buxar. This was to become an entrenched battle in which both sides spent a lot of time digging themselves into positions. The major part of the Mughal army, the artillery, was now immobile, and Humayun decided to engage in some diplomacy using Muhammad Aziz as ambassador. Humayun agreed to allow Sher Shah to rule over Bengal and Bihar, but only as provinces granted to him by his Emperor, Humayun, falling short of outright sovereignty. The two rulers also struck a bargain in order to save face: Humayun's troops would charge those of Sher Shah whose forces then retreat in feigned fear. Thus honour would, supposedly, be satisfied.[21][non-primary source needed]

Once the Army of Humayun had made its charge and Sher Shah's troops made their agreed-upon retreat, the Mughal troops relaxed their defensive preparations and returned to their entrenchments without posting a proper guard. Observing the Mughals' vulnerability, Sher Shah reneged on his earlier agreement. That very night, his army approached the Mughal camp and finding the Mughal troops unprepared with a majority asleep, they advanced and killed most of them. The Emperor survived by swimming across the Ganges using an air-filled "water skin", and quietly returned to Agra.[13][page needed][22] Humayun was assisted across the Ganges by Shams al-Din Muhammad.[23]

In Agra

Humayun, detail of miniature of the Baburnama

When Humayun returned to Agra, he found that all three of his brothers were present. Humayun once again not only pardoned his brothers for plotting against him, but even forgave Hindal for his outright betrayal. With his armies travelling at a leisurely pace, Sher Shah was gradually drawing closer and closer to Agra. This was a serious threat to the entire family, but Humayun and Kamran squabbled over how to proceed. Kamran withdrew after Humayun refused to make a quick attack on the approaching enemy, instead opting to build a larger army under his own name.[citation needed]

When Kamran returned to Lahore, Humayun, with his other brothers Askari and Hindal, marched to meet Sher Shah 200 kilometres (120 mi) east of Agra at the battle of Kannauj on 17 May 1540. Humayun was soundly defeated. He retreated to Agra, pursued by Sher Shah, and thence through Delhi to Lahore. Sher Shah's founding of the short-lived Sur Empire, with its capital at Delhi, resulted in Humayun's exile for 15 years in the court of Shah Tahmasp I.[24]

In Lahore

The four brothers were united in Lahore, but every day they were informed that Sher Shah was getting closer and closer. When he reached Sirhind, Humayun sent an ambassador carrying the message "I have left you the whole of Hindustan [i.e. the lands to the East of Punjab, comprising most of the Ganges Valley]. Leave Lahore alone, and let Sirhind be a boundary between you and me." Sher Shah, however, replied "I have left you Kabul. You should go there." Kabul was the capital of the empire of Humayun's brother Kamran, who was far from willing to hand over any of his territories to his brother. Instead, Kamran approached Sher Shah and proposed that he actually revolt against his brother and side with Sher Shah in return for most of the Punjab. Sher Shah dismissed his help, believing it not to be required, though word soon spread to Lahore about the treacherous proposal, and Humayun was urged to make an example of Kamran and kill him. Humayun refused, citing the last words of his father, Babur, "Do nothing against your brothers, even though they may deserve it."[25][non-primary source needed]

Meeting with the Sikh Guru – Guru Angad Sahib

Historical photograph of Gurdwara Sri Khadur Sahib, ca.1920's. Published in the 1930 first edition of Mahan Kosh by Kahn Singh Nabha.

Humayun visited Guru Angad at around 1540 after Humayun lost the Battle of Kannauj, and thereby the Mughal throne to Sher Shah Suri.[26] According to Sikh hagiographies, when Humayun arrived in Gurdwara Mal Akhara Sahib at Khadur Sahib, Guru Angad was sitting and teaching children.[27] The failure to greet the Emperor immediately angered Humayun. Humayun lashed out but the Guru reminded him that the time when you needed to fight when you lost your throne you ran away and did not fight and now you want to attack a person engaged in prayer.[28] In the Sikh texts written more than a century after the event, Guru Angad is said to have blessed the emperor, and reassured him that someday he will regain the throne.[26]

Withdrawing further

Humayun's Genealogical Order up to Timur

Humayun decided it would be wise to withdraw still further. He and his army rode out through and across the Thar Desert, when the Hindu ruler Rao Maldeo Rathore allied with Sher Shah Suri against the Mughal Empire. In many accounts Humayun mentions how he and his pregnant wife had to trace their steps through the desert at the hottest time of year. Their rations were low, and they had little to eat; even drinking water was a major problem in the desert. When Hamida Bano's horse died, no one would lend the Queen (who was now eight months pregnant) a horse, so Humayun did so himself, resulting in him riding a camel for six kilometres (four miles), although Khaled Beg then offered him his mount. Humayun was later to describe this incident as the lowest point in his life. Humayun asked that his brothers join him as he fell back into Sindh. While the previously rebellious Hindal Mirza remained loyal and was ordered to join his brothers in Kandahar. Kamran Mirza and Askari Mirza instead decided to head to the relative peace of Kabul. This was to be a definitive schism in the family. Humayun headed for Sindh because he expected aid from the Emir of Sindh, Hussein Umrani, whom he had appointed and who owed him his allegiance. Also, his wife Hamida hailed from Sindh; she was the daughter of a prestigious pir family (a pir is an Islamic religious guide) of Persian heritage long settled in Sindh. En route to the Emir's court, Humayun had to break journey because his pregnant wife Hamida was unable to travel further. Humayun sought refuge with the Hindu ruler of the oasis town of Amarkot (now part of Sindh province).[29]

Rana Prasad Rao of Amarkot duly welcomed Humayun into his home and sheltered the refugees for several months. Here, in the household of a Hindu Rajput nobleman, Humayun's wife Hamida Bano, daughter of a Sindhi family, gave birth to the future Emperor Akbar on 15 October 1542. The date of birth is well established because Humayun consulted his astronomer to utilise the astrolabe and check the location of the planets. The infant was the long-awaited heir-apparent to the 34-year-old Humayun and the answer of many prayers. Shortly after the birth, Humayun and his party left Amarkot for Sindh, leaving Akbar behind, who was not ready for the grueling journey ahead in his infancy. He was later adopted by Askari Mirza.

For a change, Humayun was not deceived in the character of the man on whom he has pinned his hopes. Emir Hussein Umrani, ruler of Sindh, welcomed Humayun's presence and was loyal to him, just as he had been loyal to Babur against the renegade Arghuns. While in Sindh, Humayun alongside Hussein Umrani, gathered horses and weapons and formed new alliances that helped regain lost territories. Until finally Humayun had gathered hundreds of Sindhi and Baloch tribesmen alongside his Mughals and then marched towards Kandahar and later Kabul, thousands more gathered by his side as Humayun continually declared himself the rightful Timurid heir of the first Mughal Emperor, Babur.

Retreat to Kabul

Humayun and his Mughal Army defeats Kamran Mirza in 1553.

After Humayun set out from his expedition in Sindh, along with 300 camels (mostly wild) and 2000 loads of grain, he set off to join his brothers in Kandahar after crossing the Indus River on 11 July 1543 along with the ambition to regain the Mughal Empire and overthrow the Suri dynasty. Among the tribes that had sworn allegiance to Humayun were the Leghari, Magsi, Rind and many others.[30]

In Kamran Mirza's territory, Hindal Mirza had been placed under house arrest in Kabul after refusing to have the Khutba recited in Kamran Mirza's name. His other brother, Askari Mirza, was now ordered to gather an army and march on Humayun. When Humayun received word of the approaching hostile army he decided against facing them, and instead sought refuge elsewhere. Akbar was left behind in camp close to Kandahar, as it was December, too cold and dangerous to include the 14-month-old toddler in the march through the mountains of the Hindu Kush. Askari Mirza took Akbar in, leaving the wives of Kamran and Askari Mirza to raise him. The Akbarnama specifies Kamran Mirza's wife, Sultan Begam.[31]

Once again Humayun turned toward Kandahar where his brother Kamran Mirza was in power, but he received no help and had to seek refuge with the Shah of Persia[32]

Refuge in Persia

Shah Tahmasp provided Humayun with 12,000 cavalry and 300 veterans of his personal guard along with provisions, so that his guests may recover their lost domains.[33]
Shah Tahmasp I and the Mughal Emperor Humayun in Isfahan.

Humayun fled to the refuge of the Safavid Empire in Persia, marching with 40 men, his wife Bega Begum,[34] and her companion through mountains and valleys. Among other trials the Imperial party were forced to live on horse meat boiled in the soldiers' helmets. These indignities continued during the month it took them to reach Herat, however after their arrival they were reintroduced to the finer things in life. Upon entering the city his army was greeted with an armed escort, and they were treated to lavish food and clothing. They were given fine accommodations and the roads were cleared and cleaned before them. The Shah, Tahmasp I, unlike Humayun's own family, actually welcomed the Mughal, and treated him as a royal visitor. Here Humayun went sightseeing and was amazed at the Persian artwork and architecture he saw: much of this was the work of the Timurid Sultan Husayn Bayqarah and his ancestor, princess Gauhar Shad, thus he was able to admire the work of his relatives and ancestors at first hand.[citation needed]

The Mughal monarch was introduced to the work of the Persian miniaturists, and Kamaleddin Behzad had two of his pupils join Humayun in his court. Humayun was amazed at their work and asked if they would work for him if he were to regain the sovereignty of Hindustan: they agreed. With so much going on Humayun did not even meet Tahmasp until July, some six months after the former's arrival in Persia. After a lengthy journey from Herat the two met in Qazvin where a large feast and parties were held for the event. The meeting of the two emperors is depicted in a famous wall-painting in the Chehel Sotoun (Forty Columns) palace in Esfahan.

Tahmasp urged that Humayun convert from Sunni to Shia Islam in order to keep himself and several hundred followers alive. Although the Mughals initially disagreed to their conversion they knew that with this outward acceptance of Shi'ism, Tahmasp was eventually prepared to offer Humayun more substantial support.[35] When Humayun's brother, Kamran Mirza, offered to cede Kandahar to the Persians in exchange for Humayun, dead or alive, Tahmasp refused. Instead he staged a celebration, with 300 tents, an imperial Persian carpet, 12 musical bands and "meat of all kinds". Here the Shah announced that all this, and 12,000 elite cavalry[citation needed] were Humayun's to lead an attack on Kamran. All that Tahmasp asked for was that, if Humayun's forces were victorious, Kandahar would be his.

Kandahar and onward

The infant Akbar presents a painting to his father Humayun.

With this Persian Safavid aid Humayun took Kandahar from Askari Mirza after a two-week siege. He noted how the nobles who had served Askari Mirza quickly flocked to serve him, "in very truth the greater part of the inhabitants of the world are like a flock of sheep, wherever one goes the others immediately follow". Kandahar was, as agreed, given to the Shah of Persia who sent his infant son, Murad, as the viceroy. However, the baby soon died and Humayun thought himself strong enough to assume power.[citation needed]

Humayun now prepared to take Kabul, ruled by his brother Kamran Mirza. In the end, there was no actual siege. Kamran Mirza was detested as a leader and as Humayun's Persian army approached the city hundreds of the former's troops changed sides, flocking to join Humayun and swelling his ranks. Kamran Mirza absconded and began building an army outside the city. In November 1545, Hamida and Humayun were reunited with their son Akbar, and held a huge feast. They also held another feast in the child's honour when he was circumcised.[citation needed]

Humayun is reunited with Akbar.

However, while Humayun had a larger army than Kamran Mirza and had the upper hand, on two occasions his poor military judgement allowed the latter to retake Kabul and Kandahar, forcing Humayun to mount further campaigns for their recapture. He might have been aided in this by his reputation for leniency towards the troops who had defended the cities against him, as opposed to Kamran Mirza, whose brief periods of possession were marked by atrocities against the inhabitants who, he supposed, had helped his brother.[citation needed]

His youngest brother, Hindal Mirza, formerly the most disloyal of his siblings, died fighting on his behalf. His brother Askari Mirza was shackled in chains at the behest of his nobles and aides. He was allowed go on Hajj, and died en route in the desert outside Damascus.[citation needed]

Humayun's other brother, Kamran Mirza, had repeatedly sought to have him killed. In 1552 Kamran Mirza attempted to make a pact with Islam Shah, Sher Shah's successor, but was apprehended by a Gakhar. The Gakhars were one of the minority of tribal groups who had consistently remained loyal to their oath to the Mughals. Sultan Adam of the Gakhars handed Kamran Mirza over to Humayun.[citation needed] Humayun, though inclined to forgive Kamran Mirza, was warned that allowing his brother's repeated acts of treachery to go unpunished could foment rebellion amongst his own supporters. So, instead of killing Kamran Mirza, Humayun had him blinded,[36] thereby ending any claim by the latter to the throne. He then sent Kamran Mirza on Hajj, as he hoped to see his brother thereby absolved of his offences. However Kamran Mirza died close to Mecca in the Arabian Peninsula in 1557.[citation needed]

Restoration of the Mughal Empire

Humayun receiving the head of his opponent, Qaracha Khan.
An image from an album commissioned by Shah Jahan shows Humayun sitting beneath a tree in his garden in India.

In 1535, When Humayun was Governor of Gujarat, he encamped near Cambay (Khambhat). Humayun and his army was robbed and plundered by Kolis of Gujarat.[37][38][39][40]

Sher Shah Suri had died in 1545; his son and successor Islam Shah died in 1554. These two deaths left the dynasty reeling and disintegrating. Three rivals for the throne all marched on Delhi, while in many cities leaders tried to stake a claim for independence. This was a perfect opportunity for the Mughals to march back to India.[citation needed]

The Mughal Emperor Humayun gathered a vast army and attempted the challenging task of retaking the throne in Delhi. Due to the Safavid role in Humayun's army, the vast majority of the army of the Shi'a faith, as one Shaikh Ahmad described to Humayun, "My king, I see the whole of your army are Rafizi...Everywhere the names of your soldiers are of this kind. I find they are all Yar Ali or Kashfi Ali or Haider Ali and I have, not found a single man bearing the names of the other Companions."[41] Humayun placed the army under the leadership of Bairam Khan, a wise move given Humayun's record of military ineptitude, and it turned out to be prescient as Bairam proved himself a great tactician.

Bairam Khan led the army through the Punjab virtually unopposed. The only major battle faced by Humayun's armies was against Sikandar Shah Suri in Sirhind, where Bairam Khan employed a tactic whereby he engaged his enemy in open battle but then retreated quickly in apparent fear. When the enemy followed after them, they were surprised by entrenched defensive positions and were easily annihilated.[42] At the Battle of Sirhind on 22 June 1555, the armies of Sikandar Shah Suri were decisively defeated and the Mughal Empire was reestablished.[43]

After Sirhind, most towns and villages chose to welcome the invading army as it made its way to the capital. On 23 July 1555, Humayun once again sat on Babur's throne in Delhi.[44]

Marriage relations with the Khanzadas

The Gazetteer of Ulwur states:

Soon after Babur's death, his successor, Humayun, was in AD 1540 supplanted by the Pathan Sher Shah, who, in AD 1545, was followed by Islam Shah. During the reign of the latter a battle was fought and lost by the Emperor's troops at Firozpur Jhirka, in Mewat, on which, however, Islam Shah did not loose his hold. Adil Shah, the third of the Pathan interlopers, who succeeded in AD 1552, had to contend for the Empire with the returned Humayun. In these struggles for the restoration of Babar's dynasty Khanzadas apparently do not figure at all. Humayun seems to have conciliated them by marrying the elder daughter of Jamal Khan, nephew of Babar's opponent, Hasan Khan and, by causing his great minister, Bairam Khan, to marry a younger daughter of the same Mewatti.[45]

Ruling Kashmir

Copper coin of Humayun

With all of Humayun's brothers now dead, there was no fear of another usurping his throne during his military campaigns. He was also now an established leader and could trust his generals. With this new-found strength Humayun embarked on a series of military campaigns aimed at extending his reign over areas in the east and west of the subcontinent. His sojourn in exile seems to have reduced his reliance, and his military leadership came to imitate the more effective methods that he had observed in Persia.[46]


Edward S. Holden writes; "He was uniformly kind and considerate to his dependents, devotedly attached to his son Akbar, to his friends, and to his turbulent brothers. The misfortunes of his reign arose in great part, from his failure to treat them with rigor." He further writes: "The very defects of his character, which render him less admirable as a successful ruler of nations, make us more fond of him as a man. His renown has suffered in that his reign came between the brilliant conquests of Babur and the beneficent statesmanship of Akbar; but he was not unworthy to be the son of the one and the father of the other."[47]

Stanley Lane-Poole writes in his book Medieval India: "His name meant the winner (Lucky/Conqueror), there is no king in the history to be named as wrong as Humayun", he was of a forgiving nature. He further writes, "He was in fact unfortunate ... Scarcely had he enjoyed his throne for six months in Delhi when he slipped down from the polished steps of his palace and died in his forty-ninth year (Jan. 24, 1556). If there was a possibility of falling, Humayun was not the man to miss it. He tumbled through his life and tumbled out of it."[48]

Humayun ordered the crushing by elephant of an imam he mistakenly believed to be critical of his reign.[49]

Death and legacy

Tomb entrance view
Humayun's Tomb in Delhi, India, was commissioned by his chief wife, Bega Begum

On 24 January 1556, Humayun, with his arms full of books, was descending the staircase from his library Sher Mandal when the muezzin announced the Azaan (the call to prayer). It was his habit, wherever and whenever he heard the summons, to bow his knee in holy reverence. Trying to kneel, he caught his foot in his robe, slipped down several steps and hit his temple on a rugged stone edge. He died three days later.[50] His body was laid to rest in Purana Quila initially, but, because of an attack by Hemu on Delhi and the capture of Purana Qila, Humayun's body was exhumed by the fleeing army and transferred to Kalanaur in Punjab where Akbar was crowned. After young Mughal emperor Akbar defeated and killed Hemu in the Second Battle of Panipat. Humayun's body was buried in Humayun's Tomb in Delhi the first very grand garden tomb in Mughal architecture, setting the precedent later followed by the Taj Mahal and many other Indian monuments. It was commissioned by his favorite and devoted chief wife, Bega Begum.[51][52][53][54][55][56]

Akbar later asked his paternal aunt, Gulbadan Begum, to write a biography of his father Humayun, the Humayun nameh (or Humayun-nama), and what she remembered of Babur.

The full title is Ahwal Humayun Padshah Jamah Kardom Gulbadan Begum bint Babur Padshah amma Akbar Padshah.[57] She was only eight when Babur died, and was married at 17, and her work is in simple Persian style.

Unlike other Mughal royal biographies (the Zafarnama of Timur, Baburnama, and his own Akbarnama) no richly illustrated copy has survived, and the work is only known from a single battered and slightly incomplete manuscript, now in the British Library, that emerged in the 1860s. Annette Beveridge published an English translation in 1901,[58] and editions in English and Bengali have been published since 2000.[59]

See also


  1. ^ a b c Mehta, Jaswant Lal (1981). Advanced Study in the History of Medieval India. Vol. II (1st ed.). Sterling Publishers. p. 108. OCLC 221798951.
  2. ^ Begum, Gulbadan (1902). The History of Humāyūn (Humāyūn-nāmah). Royal Asiatic Society. p. 260.
  3. ^ Lal, Muni (1980). Akbar. Vikas. p. 7. ISBN 978-0-7069-1076-6.
  4. ^ Mukhia 2004, p. 124.
  5. ^ Proceedings of the Indian History Congress, Vol. 1, Part II: Papers and Summaries (June 1935), pp. 46–61 (16 pages)
  6. ^ Prasad, Ishwari (1955). The Life and Times of Humayun. Orient Longmans. p. 1-Footnotes.
  7. ^ Fazl, Abul (1907). The Akbarnama of Abu'l Fazl. Vol. I. Translated by Henry Beveridge. The Asiatic Society. p. 285.
  8. ^ Sharaf Al-Din: "Zafar-nama".
  9. ^ Soucek, Svat (2000). A History of Inner Asia. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-0-521-65704-4.
  10. ^ William Bayne Fisher, Peter Jackson, Peter Avery, Lawrence Lockhart, John Andrew Boyle, Ilya Gershevitch, Richard Nelson Frye, Charles Melville, Gavin Hambly, The Cambridge History of Iran, Volume VI (1986), pp. 99–101
  11. ^ Tabakāt Akbarī, a translation from Volume V of The History of India, as Told by Its Own Historians, 1867
  12. ^ Keay, John (2000). India : A History. London: HarperCollins. p. 298. ISBN 0002557177.
  13. ^ a b c Rama Shankar Avasthy: "The Mughal Emperor Humayun".
  14. ^ Banerji 1938
  15. ^ Honchell, Stephanie (August 2010). Pursuing pleasure, attaining oblivion : the roles and uses of intoxicants at the Mughal court (M.A.). University of Louisville. doi:10.18297/etd/628. Retrieved 9 September 2020.
  16. ^ V. D. Mahajan (2007). History of Medieval India. S. Chand. p. 25. ISBN 9788121903646.
  17. ^ a b Jauhar: "Tadhkirat al-Waqiat".
  18. ^ a b Gascoigne 1971, p. 50: "Hindal ... had been stationed ... for the purpose of securing Humayun's rear, but he had deserted his post ... another brother, Kamran, ... was also converging on Delhi from his territories in the Punjap – ostensibly to help Humayun but in reality ... to stake his own claim to his brother's crumbling empire. [Kamran] dissuaded Hindal from further open disloyalty, but ... the two brothers now disregarded Humayun's urgent appeals for help on his dangerous journey back through the territory which had been relinquished by Hindal to Sher Khan."
  19. ^ The Life and Times of Humāyūn by Ishwari Prasad, Published by Orient Longmans, 1956, p. 36
  20. ^ Rehman, Abdur (1989). "Salt Range: History and Culture". In Kamil Khan Mumtaz; Siddiq-a-Akbar (eds.). Temples of Koh-e-Jud & Thar: Proceedings of the Seminar on Hindu Shahiya Temples of the Salt Range, Held in Lahore, Pakistan, June 1989. Anjuman Mimaran. p. 8. OCLC 622473045. Babar established good relations with them [the Ghakhars] and hereafter they always sided with the Mughals. Sher Shah Suri therefore determined to crush the Ghakhars and built a fort at Rohtas;
  21. ^ Badauni: "Muntakhab al-Tawarikh".
  22. ^ Gascoigne 1971, pp. 50–51: "Humayun's brief advance brought his army out of its prepared defensive position, and Sher Shah, having withdrawn a few miles, returned at night to find the Mogul camp asleep and unprepared. The emperor himself escaped only because one of his water-bearers inflated his water-skin with air for Humayun to hold in his arms and float [across the Ganges] ... Humayun crept back to Agra."
  23. ^ Ruby Lal (22 September 2005). Domesticity and Power in the Early Mughal World. Cambridge University Press. p. 64. ISBN 978-0-521-85022-3.
  24. ^ Sen, Sailendra Nath (2013). A Textbook of Medieval Indian History. Primus Books. p. 154. ISBN 978-93-80607-34-4. Kamran withdrew from Agra to Lahore. ... In the Battle of Kanauj (17 May 1540) ... Humayun was defeated. His two younger brothers, Askari and Hindal, also ... Humayun fled to Agra but was pursued by the Afghans, who drove him first to Delhi and then to Lahore. ... Finally ... he took shelter at the court of the Iranian king, Shah Tahmasp. Thus began a weary exile which lasted for nearly 15 years.
  25. ^ Abul-Fazel: "Akbar-nama".
  26. ^ a b Singh, Pashaura; Fenech, Louis (2014). The Oxford Handbook of Sikh Studies (First ed.). Oxford: Oxford University Press. p. 41. ISBN 9780191004124.
  27. ^ Singh, Ajit (2005). Suraj Prakash Granth part 5 ras 4. p. 177. ISBN 81-7601-685-3.
  28. ^ Singh, Gurpreet (2001). Ten Masters. New Delhi: Diamond Pocket Books (P) Ltd. p. 53. ISBN 9788171829460.
  29. ^ Sarwani, Abbas Khan (2006). Tareekh-i- Sher Shahi. Lahore, Pakistan: Sang-i-Meel Publishers. ISBN 978-9693518047.
  30. ^ Humayun, Mirza Nasir al-Din Muhammad (14 March 2024). "Humayun". britannica.
  31. ^ Abū al-Faz̤l ibn Mubārak, ch. 29, 194–95 in Henry Beveridge trans.; Henry Sullivan Jarrett and Jadunath Sarkar, eds., The Akbar Nāmā of Abu-l-Fazl, Volume 1 (London: Royal Asiatic Society, 1907), pp. 395–96. Jadunath's editorial footnote adds, "This lady went, after her husband's death, to Mecca in company with Gulbadan Begam and others in 1574." (396) Akbar himself remained between Kandahar and Kabul until 1551, the year of his first marriage and imperial appointment, in Ghazni; see Mehta, Jaswant Lal (1984) [First published 1981]. Advanced Study in the History of Medieval India. Vol. II (2nd ed.). Sterling Publishers. p. 189. ISBN 978-81-207-1015-3. OCLC 1008395679.
  32. ^ Ikram, S. M. (1964). "X. The Establishment of the Mughal Empire". Muslim Civilization in India. New York: Columbia University Press. He ... turned toward Qandahar where his brother Kamran was in power, but he received no help and had to seek refuge with the Shah of Persia.
  33. ^ Eraly, Abraham (2000). Emperors of the Peacock Throne: The Saga of the Great Mughals. Penguin Books India. ISBN 978-0-14-100143-2.
  34. ^ Rapson, Edward James; Haig, Sir Wolseley; Burn, Sir Richard (1968). The Cambridge History of India. Vol. 5. Cambridge University Press Archive. The tomb was built by Humayun's widow, Haji Begum, who shared his long exile at the court of the Safavids.
  35. ^ Richards 1993, p. 11: "At the Safavid court, Humayun, under extreme duress, accepted the Shia faith in order to keep himself and several hundred followers alive. After this initial test, Tahmasp grew more friendly and eventually agreed to underwrite Humayun's attempt to regain power."
  36. ^ Tripathi, Ram Prasad (1998). "The Turko-Mongol Theory of Kingship". In Alam, Muzaffar; Subrahmanyam, Sanjay (eds.). The Mughal State 1526–1750. Oxford University Press. p. 124. ISBN 0-19-563905-7.
  37. ^ Shah, Ghanshyam (1975). Caste Association and Political Process in Gujarat: A Study of Gujarat Kshatriya Sabha. New Delhi, India, Asia: Popular Prakashan. pp. 11: 1The Gazetteers and the Census describe Kolis as a tribe which entered Gujarat in the early 16th century. They came in groups and often looted villages and towns. In 1535, the camp of Mughal Emperor Humayun at Cambay was plundered by them. They attacked Mehmadabad, a town in Kheda district.
  38. ^ Shah, A. M. (2002). Exploring India's Rural Past: A Gujarat Village in the Early Nineteenth Century. New Delhi, India: Oxford University Press. pp. 22: Throughout the period of Muslim rule in Gujarat, the Kolis are frequently referred to as dacoits, robbers, marauders and pirates, and as having helped many political adventurers by joining their irregular armies. The Kolis plundered the camp of the Mughal emperor Humayun at Cambay, and gave considerable trouble to Aurangzeb when he was Governor of Gujarat (Commissariat 1938 : 356-7). It is clear from all this information that the Kolis. ISBN 978-0-19-565732-6.
  39. ^ Erskine, William (2012). A History of India Under the Two First Sovereigns of the House of Taimur, Báber and Humáyun. New Delhi, India: Cambridge University Press. p. 61. ISBN 978-1-108-04620-6.
  40. ^ Lobo, Lancy (1995). The Thakors of North Gujarat: A Caste in the Village and the Region. New Delhi, India: Hindustan Publishing Corporation. pp. The Kolis had even plundered the camp of the Moghul Emperor Humayun at Cambay ( Khambhat ) in 1535. ISBN 978-81-7075-035-2.
  41. ^ Afzal Husain and Afzal Husan (1981). "LIBERTY AND RESTRAINT—A STUDY OF SHIAISM IN THE MUGIAL NOBILITY". Proceedings of the Indian History Congress. 42: 276. JSTOR 44141140.
  42. ^ Sankaran, Sahaj. "22 June, 1555: Humayun Wins the Battle of Sirhind | Today in Indian History from Honesty Is Best". Retrieved 29 August 2023.
  43. ^ "Battles for India at Sirhind". Times of India Blog. 18 March 2018. Retrieved 25 October 2022.
  44. ^ Toler, Pamela D. (February 2011). "An Untimely Death". Calliope. 21 (5): 3 – via EBSCOhost.
  45. ^ Powlett, P. W. (1878). Gazetteer of Ulwur. London: Trübner & Co. pp. 7–8.
  46. ^ Prasad, Ishwari (1976). The Life and Times of Humayun. Central Book Depot.
  47. ^ Holden, Edward S. (2004) [1895]. Mughal Emperors of Hindustan (1398–1707). New Delhi, India: Asian Educational Service. pp. 123–127. ISBN 978-81-206-1883-1.
  48. ^ Lane-Poole, Stanley (1903). Medieval India under Mohammedan Rule (712–1764). New York, US: G. P. Putnam's Sons. pp. 230–237.
  49. ^ Eraly, Abraham. Mughal Throne: The Saga of India's Great Emperors, Phoenix House, 2005. ISBN 0-7538-1758-6, p. 45.
  50. ^ Smith, Vincent Arthur (1958) [First published 1917]. Akbar: The Great Mogul 1542–1605 (2nd ed.). S. Chand & Co. pp. 21–22.
  51. ^ Kamiya, Takeo. "Humayun's Tomb in Delhi". UNESCO. Retrieved 12 July 2013.
  52. ^ Banerji 1938, pp. 97, 232
  53. ^ Burke, S. M. (1989). Akbar, the Greatest Mogul. Munshiram Manoharlal Publishers. p. 191. OCLC 243709755. The mausoleum which Haji Begum built at Delhi to shelter her late husband's mortal remains ... Another pleasing feature is the laying out of a large garden round the building.
  54. ^ Eraly, Abraham (2007). The Mughal world: Life in India's Last Golden Age. Penguin Books. p. 369. ISBN 978-0-14-310262-5.
  55. ^ Henderson, Carol E. (2002). Culture and Customs of India. Greenwood Press. p. 90. ISBN 978-0-313-30513-9. After Mughal emperor Humayan's death in 1556, his wife, Hajji Begum, assembled a team of architects and builders to create a grand tomb in Delhi. She placed the tomb in a grid with a garden. This setting became a signature of Mughal architecture and is most perfectly realized in the Taj Mahal.
  56. ^ "Mausoleum that Humayun never built". The Hindu. 28 April 2003. Archived from the original on 8 July 2003. Retrieved 31 January 2013.
  57. ^ The Humayun Namah, by Gulbadan Begam, a study site by Deanna Ramsay
  58. ^ Begam, Gulbaden (1902). Beveridge, Annette Susannah (ed.). The history of Humāyūn (Humāyūn-nāma). London: Royal Asiatic Society. Retrieved 14 December 2017.
  59. ^ Bengali: trans by Pradosh Chattopadhyay, 2006, pub. Chirayata Prokashan, ISBN 81-85696-66-7



Humayun Timurid dynastyBorn: 17 March 1508 Died: 27 January 1556 Regnal titles Preceded byBabur Mughal Emperor 1530–1540 Succeeded bySher Shah Suri(as Shah of Delhi) Preceded byMuhammad Adil Shah(as Shah of Delhi) Mughal Emperor 1555–1556 Succeeded byAkbar
{{bottomLinkPreText}} {{bottomLinkText}}
Listen to this article

This browser is not supported by Wikiwand :(
Wikiwand requires a browser with modern capabilities in order to provide you with the best reading experience.
Please download and use one of the following browsers:

This article was just edited, click to reload
This article has been deleted on Wikipedia (Why?)

Back to homepage

Please click Add in the dialog above
Please click Allow in the top-left corner,
then click Install Now in the dialog
Please click Open in the download dialog,
then click Install
Please click the "Downloads" icon in the Safari toolbar, open the first download in the list,
then click Install

Install Wikiwand

Install on Chrome Install on Firefox
Don't forget to rate us

Tell your friends about Wikiwand!

Gmail Facebook Twitter Link

Enjoying Wikiwand?

Tell your friends and spread the love:
Share on Gmail Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Buffer

Our magic isn't perfect

You can help our automatic cover photo selection by reporting an unsuitable photo.

This photo is visually disturbing This photo is not a good choice

Thank you for helping!

Your input will affect cover photo selection, along with input from other users.


Get ready for Wikiwand 2.0 🎉! the new version arrives on September 1st! Don't want to wait?