Ruhainah, the Maid of Herat: A Story of Afghan Life


Ruhainah, the Maid of Herat: A Story of Afghan Life is an historical novel, closely based on events in Afghanistan during the First Anglo-Afghan War (1839–42). The heroine of the book, Ruhainah, is a former slave girl from Kashmir in the harem of a powerful Afghan chieftain who after the chieftain’s death marries Bertrand Bernard, a fictional British officer modeled on a real person. The author, Thomas Patrick Hughes (1838–1911), was an Anglican deacon, originally from Shropshire, England, who spent nearly 20 years at the Church Missionary Society (CMS) mission at Peshawar (in present-day Pakistan), Northwest Frontier Province, British India. Hughes mastered Persian, Pushto, Arabic, and Urdu and became deeply interested in the language and culture of the villagers in the region of Peshawar. His accomplishments included building an Anglican church in Peshawar, establishing a library, and gathering a collection of Pushto manuscripts that he bequeathed to the British Museum. Hughes departed India for England in March 1884 and, unable to find a suitable position in the Church of England, immigrated with his wife and family to the United States in May of the following year. He published Ruhainah, the Maid of Herat during his first year in the United States, originally under the pen name Evan Stanton. Although it was hardly an accomplished work of literature, the book was popular and went through several editions. Presented here is an edition of 1896, published under Hughes’s own name. Hughes also produced a major scholarly work, The Dictionary of Islam: Being a Cyclopedia of the Doctrines, Rites, Ceremonies and Customs, Together with the Technical and Theological Terms of the Muslim Religion, which was first published in 1885 and appeared in numerous later editions in many countries around the world.

Date Created

Subject Date

Publication Information

T. Whittaker, New York


Title in Original Language

Ruhainah, the maid of Herat: a story of Afghan life

Type of Item

Physical Description

272 pages ; 20 centimeters


  1. Elizabeth Hughes Clark, “Thomas Patrick Hughes, Missionary to British India: The Class Ceiling” (, 2002).

Last updated: August 26, 2016