Quli Qutb Shah

Sultan Quli Qutb-ul-Mulk,[3] more often though less correctly referred to in English as Quli Qutb Shah[a] (1485–1543), was the founder of the Qutb Shahi dynasty, which ruled the Sultanate of Golconda in southern India from 1518 to 1687.[7] Of Turkmen origin and born in Persia, he originally served the Bahmani sultan, and was awarded the title Qutb-ul-Mulk (Pillar of the Realm) as military chief;[8] he eventually took control of Golconda.

Sultan Quli
Qutb-ul-Mulk (Pillar of the Realm)
1st Sultan of the Qutb Shahi Sultanate of Golconda
SuccessorJamsheed Quli Qutb Shah
Hamadan, Persia
Died2 September 1543(1543-09-02) (aged 57–58)
Hyderabad, Sultanate of Golconda
Qutb Shahi tombs, Hyderabad
Abdul Khadir
Abdul Karim
HouseQutb Shahi dynasty
FatherUways Quli Beg
MotherMaryam Khanum
ReligionShia Islam


Originally named Sultan Quli, he was a Shi'i Turkmen from the city of Hamadan in Persia.[9][10] He was the son of Uways Quli Beg, of the Qara Qoyunlu dynasty, and Maryam Khanum, a daughter of the Hamadan noble Malik Saleh. Through his father, he was descended from the Turkmen ruler Qara Yusuf twice over; his grandparents, Pir Quli Beg and Khadija Begum, were grandchildren of Qara Yusuf's sons Qara Iskander and Jahan Shah respectively.[11][12]

Sultan Quli had come to South India for the horse trade, and mentioned in SM Kamal's he is belonging to Rowther Horse Traders from Persia.[13] He migrated to Delhi with some of his relatives and friends, including his uncle Allah Quli Beg, in the beginning of the 16th century. Later, he travelled south to Deccan and served the Bahmani sultan.[14] Due to his successful leadership in military conflicts, he received the title "Qutb-ul-Mulk".[15]

Establishing the Qutb Shahi SultanateEdit

Tomb of Sultan Quli Qutb Shah in Hyderabad

After the disintegration of the Bahmani Sultanate into the five Deccan sultanates, he declared independence and took the title of Qutb Shah, and established the Qutb Shahi dynasty of Golconda.[16] Even though there is ample evidence that he never proclaimed his kingship. The inscription on his grave itself names him as Sultan Quli Qutb-ul-Mulk:

His grave

انتقل صاحب هذه الروضة الرضية وهو الملك المغفور

السعيد الشهيد الغازي لوجه الله والمجاهد في سبيل الله الملك سلطان قلي

المخاطب به قطب الملك المشهور به بر ملك انار الله برهانه الى جوار رحمه الله في يوم الاثنين ثاني شهر جمادى الثانية سنة ٩٥٠

Many historians have misattributed the word 'Sultan' in his name but his whole name just meant 'Servant of the Sultan' just like his Uncle Allah Mulk which meant 'Servant of Allah'.[17]

Extension of the SultanateEdit

Sultan Quli Qutb Shah was a contemporary of Krishana Deva Raya and his younger brother Achyuta Deva Raya of the Vijayanagara Empire. Sultan Quli extended his rule by capturing forts at Warangal, Kondapalli, Eluru, and Rajamundry, while Krishnadevaraya was fighting the ruler of Odisha. He defeated Sitapati Raju (known as Shitab Khan), the ruler of Khammam, and captured the fort. He forced Jeypore's ruler Vishwanath Dev Gajapati to surrender all the territories between the mouths of Krishna and Godavari rivers.[18] He was able to occupy Eluru, Rajamundry and Machilipatnam extending his rule to Coastal Andhra. Sultan Quli's campaign against Krishnadevaraya continued until Timmarusu, the Prime Minister of Krishnadevaraya, defeated the Golconda army.

Death and successionEdit

In 1543, while he was offering his prayers, Sultan Quli Qutb Shah was assassinated by his second son, Jamsheed Quli Qutb Shah.[14] Jamsheed Quli also blinded Sultan Quli's eldest son and heir, Qutbuddin, and assumed the throne. His sixth son Ibrahim Quli Qutub Shah fled to Vijayanagara. Jamsheed Quli also killed his brother (the third son of Sultan Quli), Abdul Quadeer, who had revolted after their father's death.


  1. ^ "Sultan" was a part of his name, Sultan Quli (also spelled Sultan-Quli),[4] the whole of which meaning 'slave of the sultan' or 'slave of the ruler'[5] (see other male given names built from Quli at "Quli (Turkic)"); and he never proclaimed his kingship (the first of his successors to do so was Ibrahim Quli Qutb Shah).[6]


  1. ^ Eaton, Richard Maxwell (ed.), "From the early sultanate to Aurangzeb", A Social History of the Deccan,1300-1761, Cambridge university press
  2. ^ Bilgrami, Syed Ali Asghar, ed. (1927), "Dates of accession of Qutub Shahi Sultans", Landmarks of Deccan
  3. ^ Masʻūd Ḥusain K̲h̲ān̲ (1996). Mohammad Quli Qutb Shah. p. 1.
  4. ^ Haroon Khan Sherwani (1974). History of the Qutb Shāhī Dynasty. p. 52. Although the name Sultan-Quli might suggest royal dignity, the epithet 'Sultan' is only a part of his name
  5. ^ Scott Kugle (2016). When Sun Meets Moon: Gender, Eros, and Ecstasy in Urdu Poetry.
  6. ^ Haroon Khan Sherwani (1974). History of the Qutb Shāhī Dynasty. p. 62. Qutbu'lmulk never proclaimed his kingship, and in all probability the first ruler of Golkonda to do so was Ibrāhīm Qutb Shāh
  7. ^ Sen, Sailendra (2013). A Textbook of Medieval Indian History. Primus Books. p. 118. ISBN 978-9-38060-734-4.
  8. ^ Scott Kugle (2016). When Sun Meets Moon: Gender, Eros, and Ecstasy in Urdu Poetry.
  9. ^ Siddiqi, Abdul Majeed (1956). History of Golcunda. Literary Publications. p. 7.
  10. ^ Cole, Juan R.I. (2011). Nikki R. Keddie; Rudi Matthee (eds.). Iranian Culture and South Asia, 1500-1900. Iran and the Surrounding World: Interactions in Culture and Cultural Politics. Seattle and London: University of Washington Press. p. 25. ISBN 978-0-295-80024-0.
  11. ^ Minorsky, V. (1 January 1955). "The Qara-qoyunlu and the Qutb-shāhs (Turkmenica, 10)". Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London. 17 (1): 50–73. doi:10.1017/s0041977x00106342. JSTOR 609229.
  12. ^ Ramanand Vidya Bhawan, The Indian Historical Quarterly, Volume 16, Issues 1-4, 1985, p.711
  13. ^ Em., Kamāl, Es. (1990). Muslīmkaḷum Tamil̲akamum. Islāmiya Āyvu Paṇpāṭu Maiyam. p. 42. OCLC 27771376.
  14. ^ a b George Michell, Mark Zebrowski, The New Cambridge History of India: 1. The Portuguese in India, (Cambridge University Press, 1999), 17.
  15. ^ Nayeem, M. A. (2006). The Heritage of the Qutb Shahis of Golconda and Hyderabad. Hyderabad: Hyderabad Publishers. p. 3. ISBN 978-81-85492-23-0.
  16. ^ Rao, P. Raghunadha (1988). History of Modern Andhra Pradesh. Sterling Publishers. p. 18. ISBN 978-81-207-0878-5.
  17. ^ Sherwani, Haroon Khan, ed. (1967), "Qutub Ul Mulk", Mohammad Qutub Quli Shah,Founder of Hyderabad, Asian Publishing House, pp. 4–5
  18. ^ KSB Singh (1939). Nandapur A Forsaken Kingdom. Utkal Sahitya Press. p. 18. ISBN 978-81-86772-17-1.
Preceded by
Qutb Shahi dynasty
Succeeded by