History of the Afghans


The History of the Afghans, published in English in 1829, is the first history of the Afghan people translated from a non-Western language to appear in a European language. The original work was composed in Persian, in 1609-11, by Neamet Ullah (active 1613-30) in the court of the Mughal emperor Jahangir (1569-1627). Ullah based his work on material compiled by Hybet Khan, an attendant of the Afghan General Khan Jahan Lodi. The translation is by the German philologist and Orientalist Bernhard Dorn (1805-81), who worked from a copy of the history made by Fut’h Khan in 1718. The book covers the history of Yacoob Israel, to whom the work attributes the origin of the Afghans; the life of Yacoob’s grandson, King Talut (Saul), and the migration of his descendants to Ghor (in present-day Afghanistan); and the spread of Islam and the influence of Khaled ben Valeed, a celebrated army officer who converted to Islam and used his military skill to spread Islam in central and south Asia. The work then chronicles the reigns of rulers of two dynasties that gave way to the rise of the Mughal Empire, namely the sultans Behlol, Sekander, and Ibrahim of the Lodi family, and Sher Shah of the Suri family. The last section recounts the lives of Afghan dervishes-turned-saints, and the book concludes with accounts of the genealogy of the Afghan tribes that descend from Sarbanni, Batni, and Ghurghust, the three sons of the forefather Abd Ulrashid (also known as Pathan, a variation of the term “pashtun”), a descendent of King Talut.

Last updated: September 30, 2016