“Siraj al-Tavarikh,” or History of Afghanistan


Siraj al-Tavarikh (literally, Histories of light) is a work on the modern history of Afghanistan by Faiz Muhammad Katib Hazarah (1862 or 1863−1931), one of the earliest historians in Afghanistan. The book was commissioned by Emir Habibullah Khan, ruler of Afghanistan in the early 20th century. Siraj al-Tavarikh is generally agreed to be a four-volume text covering the period between 1747, when Afghanistan under Ahmad Shah Durrani, the founder of the modern state, emerged as an independent polity in Khorasan, and 1919, when Amanullah Khan, Habibullah Khan’s son, came to power. It is also claimed, however, that there is also a fifth volume, covering 1919−29. This copy contains only volumes one and two, published as a single tome by the royal printing press of Matba-e Hurufi Dar al-Saltana-e Kabul in 1912−13. In this copy, volume one has a detailed preface on pages 1−2; the maps on pages 3−4 show the topography and “ancient geography of Afghanistan,” known as Bakhtar, Kabulistan, and Zabulistan. (When this region converted to Islam in the seventh and eight centuries, it was divided into the eastern part, from Qandahar and Kabul to Sindh, and the western part, which included Khorasan.) Pages 4−9 cover famous cities of Afghanistan and eastern Persia, including Kabul, Qandahar, Herat, Ghaznin, and Balkh. The main content of volume one, on pages 10−194, covers the reigns of the 18th-century dynasties of Ahmad Shah Durrani and his Sadozai Pashton (Pashtun) lineage, who ruled modern Afghanistan and parts of northwestern India until the early 19th century, when Emir Dost Muhammad Khan and the Afghan Barakzai lineage replaced the Sadozais as the dominant political line. Volume two of the original work, pages 195−377 in this edition, discusses the reigns of Dost Muhammad Khan and other Barakzai rulers until 1880, when Emir ʻAbd al-Rahman Khan, also a Barakzai, came to power. Page 196 has a half-page preface in which the author writes of finishing volume one and its approval by Emir Habibullah Khan. On page 197 is a family tree of the Barkazais. A short epilogue appears on page 377. Subheadings appear throughout, in both the main text and at the tops of pages. The pages are numbered with Indo-Arabic numerals.

Publication Information

Matba-e Hurufi Dar al-Saltana-e, Kabul


Title in Original Language

کتاب مسطتاب سراج التواریخ که بتوجه ذات اقدس همایونی شان تسوید وقایع گردیده بود

Type of Item

Physical Description

2 volumes in 1 book ; 34 centimeters

Last updated: September 30, 2016