Qutb Shah

medieval Islamic preacher

Qutb Shah or Qutub Shah was a fictitious person, a Folk hero who never existed in history but according to many stories and legends, he ruled in Herat Afghanistan sometime around 960 AD[1] and then shifted to India.

The actual story of a legendary ruler of Herat, in Afghanistan, was started much later in the 18th or 19th century by some Punjabi tribes, like the Awan tribe, Khokhar, Khattar and others.[2] All these tribes were inter-linked and were of indigenous (native) Indian Hindu origins but they wanted to impress the colonial rulers of British India by claiming to be descended from an Arab who came and settled in India, after ruling in Afghanistan,[3] so they made up a fictitious ancestor who was a 'hero' and won many battles and then left Afghanistan and came to India[4] and married local Hindu women, and had several children who founded these tribes.[5]

In 1860s to 1940s, a number of British rulers came to believe this story too and mentioned it in their books, but more recent historical research by Prof Ahmad Hasan Dani and others[6] has confirmed that there never existed any person in recorded history by that name, at any time, either in Afghanistan or Northern India.


  1. Pandey, 'Early Medieval India' 1970
  2. Saunders, JP 'Various Historical Accounts of the Tribes of the Northern Punjab', Lahore, 1922
  3. Saunders
  4. Saunders
  5. Punjab Gazetteer
  6. Paulson, C 'A History of the Potohar Region of Pakistan' Karachi, 1966 and Naqvi, Syed FH, 'History and Fiction: Tribal Origin stories in the Punjab and their provenance, a study' Lahore, 1989, and others