Mahmud I, Ghaznavid Sultan
971-1030/360-421 AH, r. 998-1030/ 388-421 AH

Mahmud ibn Sebüktigin (r. 388-421/998-1030) was the first independent ruler and “Sultan” of the Ghaznavid dynasty. After the death of his father, Sebüktigin, in 997, he eventually seized the territories of Ghazna and Balkh originally designated to his youngest brother Isma‘il by their father, given Mahmud’s superior military skill and prestige [1]. Although, his father had been a loyal vassal of the Samanids, Mahmud did not have the same approach and eventually became completely independent of them receiving recognition directly from the Caliph al-Qādir (d. 1031) [2].

Mahmud’s reign is especially known for his incessant military campaigning in India, which resulted in various loots and expeditions of the temples. The abundant loot and gold were brought to the city of Ghazna and utilized there. [3]. While literary sources depict him as an orthodox Sunni hero who plundered the infidels (such as Hindus) and targeted deviant sects of Islam (such as the Ismailis in Sindh and Multan), it is likely that his campaigns were motivated by financial and materialist desires. 

In terms of his architectural contributions, the ruined militarized city of Lashkar-i Bazar is associated with him. Mahmud died at the age of 59 on 23 Rabīʿ II 421/30 April 1030 [4]. His mausoleum is located in Ghazni, Afghanistan. 


  1. Bosworth, Ghaznavids, 45. 
  2. Bosworth, Ghaznavids, 45-46. 
  3. Bosworth, "Maḥmūd b. Sebüktigin," Encyclopædia Iranica
  4. Bosworth, "Maḥmūd b. Sebüktigin," EI2


Bosworth, C.E. The Ghaznavids: Their Empire in Afghanistan and Eastern Iran, 994-1040. University of Edinburgh. Edinburgh University Publications; History, Philosophy, and Economics; 17. Edinburgh: University Press, 1963. 

Bosworth, C.E. “Maḥmūd b. Sebüktigin”, in: Encyclopaedia of Islam, Second Edition. Edited by: P. Bearman, Th. Bianquis, C.E. Bosworth, E. van Donzel, W.P. Heinrichs. Available online at Consulted online on 14 April 2020.

Bosworth, C.E. “Maḥmūd b. Sebüktigin,” in: Encyclopædia Iranica, online edition, 2012, available at Consulted online on 17 April 2020. 

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Variant Names
ابو القاسم محمود بن سبکتگین
Abu'l-Qasim Mahmud