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Muhammad Shaybani

Muhammad Shaybani
محمد شیبانی
Portrait by Kamāl ud-Dīn Behzād (c. 1507)
Khan of the Uzbek Khanate
PredecessorSheikh Haidar (as Uzbek Khan)
SuccessorJan Wafa Mirza
Central Asia
Died2 December 1510 (aged 58–59)
Merv, present-day Turkmenistan
SpouseMihr Nigar Khanum
Khanzada Begum
Aisha Sultan Khanum
Zuhra Begi Agha
Khanzada Khanum
IssueMuhammad Temur Sultan
Khurram Shah Sultan
Muhammad Rahim Sultan
Abu'I-Fath Muhammad Shaybani Khan bin Shahbudak Sultan
MotherAq Quzi Begum
ReligionSunni Islam

Muhammad Shaybani Khan (Uzbek: محمد شیبانی; c. 1451 – 2 December 1510)[a] was an Uzbek leader who consolidated various Uzbek tribes and laid the foundations for their ascendance in Transoxiana and the establishment of the Khanate of Bukhara. He was a Shaybanid or descendant of Shiban (or Shayban), the fifth son of Jochi, Genghis Khan's eldest son. He was the son of Shah-Budag, thus a grandson of the Uzbek conqueror Abu'l-Khayr Khan.[1]


The ruler of the Uzbek ulus Abu'l-Khayr Khan (1428-1468) had eleven sons, one of whom was Budaq Sultan, the father of Shaybani Khan. Shaybani Khan's mother's name was Aq Quzi Begum. Through his mother, Muhammad Shaybani was therefore the cousin of Janibek's son Kasym Khan, the latter of whom ultimately conquered most of Shaybani's territory to expand the Kazakh Khanate.[2]

According to the historian Kamal ad-Din Binai, Budaq Sultan named his eldest son as Sultan Muhammad Shaybani, and gave him the nickname Shibägh "Wormood".[3]

According to sources, the genealogy of Shaybani Khan is as follows: Abu'l-Fath Muhammad Khan Shaybani, known under the name of Shakhibek Khan, son of Sultan Budaq, son of Abu'l-Khayr Khan, son of Daulat Shaikh-oglan, son of Ibrahim-oglan, son of Fulad-oglan, son of Munk Timur Khan, son of Abdal-oglan, son of Jochi-Buk Khan, son of Yis-Buk, son of Baniyal-Bahadur, son of Shiban, son of Jochi Khan, son of Genghis Khan.[4]

IIn the Selected Chronicles from the "Book of Victories" (Chagatay: تواریخ گزیده نصرت‌نامه, romanized: Tavārīkh-i Guzīda-yi Nuṣratnāma[5]), it is noted that the wife of the ancestor of Shaybani Khan, Munk Timur, was the daughter of Jandibek, who was a descendant of Ismail Samani.[6]

Shaybani's father Budaq Sultan was an educated person on whose order extensive translations of Persian works into the Turkic languages were accomplished.[7] Shaybani himself was fluent in both Persian and Turkic.[8]

Rise to power

Shaybani was initially an Uzbek warrior leading a contingent of 3,000 men in the army of the Timurid ruler of Samarkand, Sultan Ahmed Mirza under the Amir, Abdul Ali Tarkhan. However, when Ahmed Mirza went to war against Sultan Mahmud Khan, the Khan of Moghulistan, to reclaim Tashkent from him, Shaybani secretly met the Moghul Khan and agreed to betray and plunder Ahmed's army. This happened in the Battle of the Chirciq River in 1488 CE, resulting in a decisive victory for Moghulistan. Sultan Mahmud Khan gave Turkistan[9] to Shaybani as a reward. Here, however, Shaybani oppressed the local Kazakhs, resulting in a war between Moghulistan and the Kazakh Khanate. Moghulistan was defeated in this war, but Shaybani gained power among the Uzbeks. He decided to conquer Samarkand and Bukhara from Ahmed Mirza. Sultan Mahmud's subordinate emirs convinced him to aid Shaybani in doing so, and together they marched on Samarkand.[10]

Foundation of Shaybanid Dynasty

Chor-Bakr memorial complex, built under Muhammad Shaybani circa 1510, Bukhara

Continuing the policies of his grandfather, Abu'l-Khayr Khan, Shaybani ousted the Timurids from their capital Samarkand in 1500. He fought successful campaigns against the Timurid leader Babur, founder of the Mogul Empire.[11] In 1501 he recaptured Samarkand and in 1507 also took Herat, the southern capital of the Timurids. Shaybani conquered Bukhara in 1501 and established the Shaybanid Dynasty of the Khanate of Bukhara. In 1508–09, he carried out many raids northward, pillaging the land of the Kazakh Khanate. However, his armies suffered a major defeat from Kazakhs under Kasym Khan in 1510.

One day Shaybani visited Sheikh Mansour and he (Mansour) said to him: "I look at you, Uzbek, and I see that you desire to become a sovereign!". And then he ordered food to be served. When everything was eaten and the tablecloth was removed, Sheikh Mansour said: "As a tablecloth is collected from the edges, so you should start from the periphery of the state (kingdom)." Shaybani took this very unambiguous advice from his new mentor into account and eventually conquered the Timurid state.

Sultanov T. I., Genghis Khan and Genghisids. - Moscow, 2006. p.139

Foreign policy

Shaybani Khan maintained ties with Ottoman Empire and Ming China. In 1503, his ambassadors arrived at the court of the Ming emperor.[12] Aligning with the Ottoman sultan Bayezid II (1481-1512), Shaybani Khan opposed the Shia Safavid Shah Ismail I.[13]

Religious policy

Shaybani Khan did not make any distinction between Iranians and Turks based on ethnicity, but followed the hadith of Muhammad: "All Muslims are brothers".[14]

One of the authoritative religious figures, a native of Yemen, Emir Sayyid Shams ad-Din Abdallah al-Arabi al-Yamani al Khadramauti (known as Mir-i Arab), enjoyed the patronage of Shaybani Khan, and constantly took part in the meetings of the divan (court) and accompanied the Khan in his campaigns.[15]

Shayibani Khan wrote a prose essay called the Risale-yi maarif-i Shayibani in the Chagatai language in 1507 shortly after his capture of Khorasan and is dedicated to his son, Muhammad Timur (the manuscript is kept in Istanbul).[16]

The manuscript of his philosophical and religious work: "Bahr ul-Khudo", written in the Central Asian Turkic literary language in 1508 is located in London.[17]

Later years

The last years of Shaybani Khan were not easy. In the spring of 1509, his mother died. After her funeral in Samarkand, he went to Qarshi, where he held a meeting with relatives and allowed them to disperse to their uluses (small countries). Ubaydullah's nephew went to Bukhara, Muhammad Temur to Samarkand, and Hamza Sultan to Gissar. Shaybani Khan went to Merv (now Mary, Turkmenistan) with a small detachment.[18]


The battle between Ismail I and Muhammad Shaybani in 1510.

In 1510, Shaybani Khan was in Herat. At this time, Ismail I, the Safavid emperor, having learned about the failures of Shaybani Khan and angered by his staunch support of Sunni Islam, moved against the Uzbeks and invaded western Khorasan, rapidly advancing towards Herat.

Shaybani Khan did not have a strong army at his disposal. During the military campaign against the Hazaras, he lost most of his cavalry.[19] The main army was stationed in Transoxiana, so he, having consulted with his emirs, hastened to hide behind the walls of Merv. Safavid troops captured Astrabad, Mashhad, and Sarakhs. All Shaybani's emirs who were in Khorasan, including Jan Wafa, fled from the Qizilbash soldiers of Safavid Iran and arrived to Merv. Shaybani Khan sent a messenger to Ubaydullah Khan of the Khanate of Bukhara and the Timurids for help. Meanwhile, Ismail surrounded Merv and besieged the city for a whole month, but to no avail. Therefore, to lure the khan out of the city, he resorted to a feigned retreat.

According to some sources, one of the wives of Muhammad Shaybani Khan, Aisha Sultan Khanum, better known as Moghul Khanum, enjoyed great influence on her husband and his court. The sources say that at the Kengesh (council of the Khan), the question arose whether or not to come out of Merv and fight the retreating troops of Shah Ismail. The emirs of Shaybani Khan suggested waiting two or three days until the auxiliary forces arrived from Transoxiana. Mogul Khanum, who took part in the military council, said to the Khan: “And you are afraid of the Qizilbash! If you are afraid, I will take the troops myself and lead them. Now is the right moment, there will be no such moment again." After these words of Mogul Khanum, everyone seemed to be ashamed, and the Khan's troops went into battle, which resulted in their complete defeat and the death of Shaybani Khan.[20]

In the Battle of Marv (1510), Muhammad Shaybani was defeated and killed when trying to escape. Shaybani Khan's army was surrounded by Ismail's 17,000-strong army and was defeated after fierce resistance. The remnants of the army ended up dying under enemy arrows.[21][22][23]

At the time of Shaybani's death, the Uzbeks controlled all of Transoxiana, the area between the Syr Darya and Amu Darya. After capturing Samarkand from Babur, Shaybani had married Babur's sister, Khanzada Begum. Babur's liberty to leave Samarkand was made contingent upon his assent to this alliance. After Shaybani's death, Ismail I gave liberty to Khanzada Begum with her son and, at Babur's request, sent them to his court. For this reason, Shaybani was succeeded not by a son but by an uncle, a cousin, and a brother whose descendants would rule Bukhara until 1598 and Khwarezm (later named Khiva) until 1687.

The accounts of Babur, i.e. the Baburnama, state that Emperor Ismail beheaded Shaybani and had his skull turned into a bejewelled skull cup[24] which was drunk from when entertaining;[11] he later sent the cup to Babur as a goodwill gesture. The rest of Shaybani's body parts were either sent to various areas of the empire for display[11] or put on a spike at the main gate of Samarkand.[25]


Shaybani Khan was fond of history in his youth. In 1475, he was specially presented with a book about the life of Alexander the Great imported from the Ottoman Empire: the 1194 Alexander Romance of Nizami Ganjavi.[26] The medieval author Nisari recognized Shaybani Khan as a scholar of the Quran.[27]

The manuscript of his philosophical and religious work Bahru’l-Huda, written in the Central Asian literary language Chaghatai in 1508, is in London.[28] Shaybani Khan used various works on theology when writing his essay. It contains his views on religious issues. The author presents his idea of the basics of Islam: repentance for sins, showing mercy, and others. Shaybani Khan shows excellent knowledge of the rituals and daily duties of devout Muslims.[29]



Shaybani had five consorts:


He had three sons:


  1. ^ Also known as Abul-Fath Shaybani Khan, Shayabak Khan, Shahi Beg Khan (originally named "Shibägh", which means "wormwood" or "obsidian").


  1. ^ Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland. Vol. 33. 1880. p. 365.
  2. ^ Kamal-ad-Din Binai, Shaybaninameh (in Russian)
  3. ^ Materials on the history of the Khazakh khans of XV—XVIII centuries. (Extracts from the Persian and Turkic writings). Almaty (Nur-Sultan); "Nauka" publishing house; 1969; p.97
  4. ^ Materials on the history of the Khazakh khans of XV—XVIII centuries. (Extracts from the Persian and Turkic writings). Almaty (Nur-Sultan); "Nauka" publishing house; 1969; p.390
  5. ^ Comstock-Skipp, J. K. (2022-10-18). Scions of Turan: Illustrated epic manuscripts of the 16th-century Abū'l-Khairid Uzbeks and their cross-dynastic exchanges. Leiden University Scholarly Publications.
  6. ^ Materials on the history of the Khazakh khans of XV—XVIII centuries. (Extracts from the Persian and Turkic writings). Almaty (Nur-Sultan); "Nauka" publishing house; 1969; p.35
  7. ^ History of Kazakhstan in Persian sources. T.5. Almaty: Dyke Press; 2007. p.376
  8. ^ Sela, Ron (2022). "The "Sultans of the Turks"". In Tasar, Eren; Frank, Allen J; Eden, Jeff (eds.). From the Khan's Oven. Leiden & Boston: Brill. p. 95.
  9. ^ This probably means Turkestan (city). Needs check and clarification.
  10. ^ Mirza Muhammad Haidar Dughlat. Tarikh-i-Rashidi, 1546.
  11. ^ a b c Holden, Edward S. (2004). The Mogul Emperors of Hindustan (1398-1707 A.D). New Delhi, India: Asian Educational Services. pp. 74–76. ISBN 81-206-1883-1.
  12. ^ Chinese documents and materials on the history of East Turkestan, Central Asia and Kazakhstan of the XIV-XIX centuries. Almaty, 1994, p. 52
  13. ^ Peter B. Golden. "Central Asia in World History", Oxford University Press, 2011. p.107
  14. ^ Semenov, A.A. On the Origin and Composition of the Uzbeks od Shaybani Khan; Materials on the History of the Tajiks and Uzbeks of Central Asia; 1st ed., 1954, p.70
  15. ^ Fazlallah ibn Ruzbihan Isfahani. Mikhman-nameyi Bukhoro ("Notes of a Bukhara's guest"). Translated by Jalilova, R.P. "Nauka"; 1976. pp.78-79
  16. ^ Bodrogligeti A.J.E. Muḥammad Shaybānī Khan’s Apology to the Muslim Clergy // Archivum Ottomanicum. 1994a. Vol. 13. (1993/1994), р.98
  17. ^ A.J.E.Bodrogligeti, «Muhammad Shaybanî’s Bahru’l-huda : An Early Sixteenth Century Didactic Qasida in Chagatay», Ural-Altaische Jahrbücher, vol.54 (1982), p. 1 and n.4
  18. ^ Ahmedov, B. Uzbek ulusi (The Uzbek ulus). Т.; 1992. p.144
  19. ^ Materials on the History of Turkmens and Turkmenia. Т. 2; М.; L., 1938. p.44
  20. ^ Turkmenistan and Turkmens in the late 15th-first half of the 16th century, according to "Alam Ara-i Safavi". Ashgabat. Ylym. 1981, pp.101-103
  21. ^ Mukminova R. G. The Shaybanids in History of civilizations of Central Asia. Volume V. / Editors Chahryar Adle and Irfan Habib. Co-editor Karl M. Baypakov. — UNESCO publishers, 2003. — P. 36.
  22. ^ The Cambridge history of Inner Asia. / Edited by Nicola di Cosmo, Allen J. Frank and Peter B. Golden. — Cambridge University Press, 2009. — P. 292.
  23. ^ Dani, Ahmad Hasan; Masson, Vadim Mikhaĭlovich (2003). History of Civilizations of Central Asia: Development in contrast from the sixteenth to the mid-nineteenth century. UNESCO. ISBN 978-92-3-103876-1.
  24. ^ Morgan, David (19 September 2014). Medieval Persia 1040-1797. Routledge. ISBN 9781317871392. Retrieved 1 January 2015.
  25. ^ Abraham Eraly (17 September 2007). Emperors Of The Peacock Throne: The Saga of the Great Moghuls. Penguin Books Limited. p. 25. ISBN 978-93-5118-093-7.
  26. ^ Allworth E., The modern Uzbeks. from the fourteenth century to the present. Stanford: Hoover Institution Press,1990,p.53-54
  27. ^ Allworth E., The modern Uzbeks. from the fourteenth century to the present. Stanford: Hoover Institution Press,1990,p.52
  28. ^ A.J.E.Bodrogligeti, «Muḥammad Shaybānī’s Bahru’l-huda: An Early Sixteenth Century Didactic Qasida in Chagatay», Ural-Altaische Jahrbücher, vol.54 (1982), p.1
  29. ^ Bodrogligeti A. J. E. Muhammed Shaybânî’s «Bahru’l- Hudâ»: An Early Sixteenth Century Didactic Qasida in Chagatay // Ural-Altaische Jahrbücher. 1982. Vol. 54. p.2
  30. ^ a b c d e f g h Begum, Gulbadan (1902). The History of Humayun (Humayun-Nama). Royal Asiatic Society. pp. 211–212, 223–24 250–251, 264, 289, 297.
  31. ^ Babur, Emperor; Beveridge, Annette Susannah (1922). The Baburnam in English (Memoirs of Babur) – Volume 1. Luzac & Co., London. pp. 329 n. 1.
  32. ^ Subtelny, Maria (August 30, 2007). Timurids in Transition: Turko-Persian Politics and Acculturation in Medieval Iran. BRILL. pp. 252. ISBN 978-9-047-42160-3.
  33. ^ Balabanlilar, Lisa (January 15, 2012). Imperial Identity in Mughal Empire: Memory and Dynastic politics in Early Modern Central Asia. I. B. Tauris. p. 24. ISBN 978-1-848-85726-1.
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Muhammad Shaybani
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