Amir Kulal


Amir Kulal

Shams ud Din Kulal (شمس الدین کلال) was born in Bukhara to the well known scholar Saif ud Din Hamza (سیف الدین حمزہ) a direct descendant of Prophet Muhammad. During his teens Kulal became well known for his physical prowess and gained considerable fame as a wrestler. However, his status as son of a noble and scholarly family was never lost and soon he found himself as the teacher and mentor of Turghai (Trush) (d. 1356 AD) the head of Berlas tribe and his son Amir Timur (d. 807/1405). The influence which Amir Kulal had over the family is well documented in the autobiography of Amir Timur in which he recalls going to Amir Kulal before attacking the Uzbeks and getting his advice on the strategic maneuvers. This happened around the year 1357 AD. It was under his advice that Timur changed his attack plan [Timur: "Tuzk-i-Timur] .

As normal with the scholars of his times, Amir Kulal also took number of students under his wing. One of his most famous disciples was Baha-ud-Din Naqshband Bukhari who used to work as an executioner in Bukhara under the rule of Qazan Khan Qazan Khan ibn Yasaur. One day Baha ud-Din was ordered to execute a man who had angered the ruler of the state. However, right before his execution the accused called upon Amir Kulal, identifying him as his teacher. Amir Kulal intervened and the accused was set free on his intercession. This was Baha ud-Din’s first encounter with Amir Kulal. Impressed by him, Baha ud-Din became his student.

Amir Kulal died in 772/1370 and was buried in Shahrisabz (Kesh); the Green City. His tomb was completed by 1374 AD under the orders of Timur. Majority of Timur’s family is also buried at the same place.

Amir Kulal’s descendants moved to India with Mughals establishing an empire there and majority of them remained as teachers and mentors of Mughal Princes and Kings or their close friends ["The Venerated Amir Kulal and his Progeny"] .

Not a lot is known about the life and works of Amir Kulal except for one book Maqamat-i-Amir Kulal composed by his great grandson Shihab ul Din. The book consists of 70 tales about him.

References


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