Malik Kafur – Love story with Alauddin Khilji, betrayal and Death


Born in a Hindu family and later converted to Islam, not an African origin as claimed by some historians, Malik Kafur a.k.a. Taj al-Din Izz al-Dawla was a famous personality in history during the 13th century for being an eunuch slave, wise counsellor and military commander fallen madly in love with Kafur. Born in a Hindu family and later converted to Islam, not an African origin as claimed by some historians, Malik Kafur a.k.a. Taj al-Din Izz al-Dawla was a famous personality in history during the 13th century for being an eunuch slave, wise counsellor and military commander.

Alias Taj al-Din’Izz al-Dawla, Malik Na’ib, Hazar-Dinari, al-Alfi
Religion Hindu
Spouse Khatyapalli, widow of Alauddin
Profession Slave under Delhi Sultanate ruler Alauddin Khilji
Battles foughtMongol invasion in 1306, Battle of Amroha in 1305, Siege of Devagiri in 1308, Siege of Warangal in 1301, Siege of Dwarasamudra in 1311 and Pandya Kingdom raids in 1311

At the very youth age Kafur became a slave of Khwaja of Khambhat, a place in Gujarat known for being important trading center. He was bought for 1,000 dinars from his original master for having great physical beauty.

During the 1299 invasion of Alauddin’s general Nusrat Khan in Gujarat he was captured and presented to the Sultan in Delhi. Soon he became a favored one for his counsel that always turned perfect for occasions. He was promoted to an official position and by 1306 he became barbeg, a rank of a chamberlain, and served as a military commander. He reached to the rank of tax farming of Rapri by 1309-10.

Malik Kafur’s role in Delhi Sultanate military

HIs military career was first tested in 1306 when Alauddin Khilji sent under him an army to Punjab to stop expedition of Mongol invasion, which was defeated a year ago in the Battle of Amroha by force of Delhi Sultanate led by Malik Nayak.

He emerged victorious and thereafter was sent for several great military raids into the Deccan as commander in 1307 and by 1309 he was sent to the Kakatiya kingdom in South India with capital in Orugallu (now as Warangal).

Kafur organized a month-long siege and breached the outer fort. Ruler Prataparudra surrendered but was not removed from the throne. He was forced to pay annual tribute to Delhi.

Kafur thereafter returned to Delhi and brought with him good amount of wealth including 20,000 horses and 100 elephants, and among the loot was the famous Koh-i-Noor diamond, one of the largest cut diamonds in the world that later became part of the British Crown Jewels.

Finding southernmost regions to be very wealthy Kafur led an expedition in 1310 with the permission of Alauddin and reached extremity of peninsular India. In early 1311 he besieged Swarasamudra, capital city of Hoysala. Defending ruler Veera Ballala III surrendered and was offered two choices, whether to accept Islam or to pay annual tribute to the Delhi Sultanate. He chose to pay tribute.

From here kafur proceeded to an ancient Tamil dynasty called the Pandya kingdom, but he quit his plans to pursue the ruler and returned back to Delhi. However, he obtained a good number of treasures, elephants and horses.

In 1313 Kafur led an expedition to Devagiri to subdue Ramachandra’s successor Singhana and stayed as governor of the territory for about two years. He was called back to Delhi following deteriorating health of Alauddin. He handed over the charge of the region to military commander Ayn al-Mulk Multani.

During the last days of Alauddin he became the de facto ruler of Delhi Sultanate. He started distrusting other officers and reserved all the power in the hands of his family and slaves. He resuffled administrators, executed minister Sharaf Qa’ini and abolished office of wazir. Alauddin had greater trust on him comaperd to other officers as he had no family or followers.

Malik Kafur and Alauddin Khilji

The two had deep emotional bond. It is said Alauddin was in fact infatuated with Kafur and hence placed him at highest place in his regards.

Muslim political thinker of the Delhi Sultanate Ziauddin Barani once wrote, “In those four or five years when the Sultan was losing his memory and his senses, he had fallen madly in love with the Kafur. He entrusted on him all the official responsibilities as well as the controls on servants to this ungrateful, Useless, ingratiate, sodomite.”

Based on his description further studies reveal Alauddin and Kafur were in a homosexual relationship. Another historian however believes the closeness of the two was not sexual.

Gay Affair – Malik Kafur and Alauddin Khilji Relationship

Not much is known about Malik Kafur’s romance with Alauddin but historian Ziauddin Barani (1285 – 1357 CE) writes after Alauddin’s health deteriorated the control of Kingdom passed on Kafur. During those days the intimate relationship of the two was whispered in corridors of Delhi. However, there is no such evidence as he has written from he has heard from his uncle, who was a courtier in the Khilji court.

Chennai-based historian Abraham Eraly howevre writes Barani was biased against Kafur in his work and his version cannot be considered as credible.

Abalahabad based historian BP Saxena wrote in during the last few years Alauddin was infatuated with Kafur but no element of homosexuality could be found in his character. Alauddin had greater trust on Kafur compared to other officers as he had no family of followers.

The true nature of their relationship can never be known but it is true the closeness did not prevent Kafur from betraying Alauddin and taking the throne.

Malik Kafur and Alp Khan

Alauddin’s brother-in-law Alp Khan emerged as a threat to Kafur and so he had convinced the Delhi Sultanate for Khan’s murder in the royal palace.

Alp Khan’s two daughters were wedded to Alauddin’s sons Khizr Khan and Shadi Khan. Khizr was banished from court to Amroha and thereafter imprisoned in Gwalior. Shadi Khan too was put behind the bars.

Stories goes this way that Khizr Khan, his mother and Alp Khan conspired to poison the sultanate with the intention to make Khizr the new Sultan. All the three were executed by Alauddin.

Alauddin Khilji’s death

On 4 January 1316 Alauddin died and his body was taken from Siri Palace to the mausoleum, which was earlier built. His body was buried here. A day later he read out the will and named Shihabuddin as successor even though all the powers were held by him. A historian writes he had wedded Alauddin’s widow, Shihabuddin’s mother Jhatyapalli to legitimize his power.

Did malik kafur kill alauddin khilji ?

There are some versions that say Kafur murdered Alauddin Khilji and There are people which claim that his Sexuality led To His Brutal kiling!

Alauddin Khilji’s untold paedophile and bisexual story
In India people are not comfortable talking about sexuality freedom. Such things did exist in past and one of those is homosexual relationship of Alauddin Khilji’s with Indian-born general Malik Kafur.
Alauddin Khilji’s sexuality is much argued and many historians have written that he was paedophile and bisexual.
Folklore of Jayasi mentioned heterosexual personality of Alauddin Khilji while praising beauty of Queen Padmavati. He further described sexual passions of Alauddin Khilji that his harem had about 70,000 males, females and children. It is also learned 30,000 females in it were the widows of men whom he had killed in just single day.
Alauddin Khilji had a strategy to attack Chittor and get 7,000 women including Padmavati who can become his royal consort. All the women however committed Jauhar, custom of mass self-immolation to avoid capture.
Personal life of Malik Kafur has been guarded by historians until very lately. He was a slave and Alauddi Khilji purchased him from the famous slave market in Gujarat called Baccha Bazi. It is learned the sultanate was mesmerised by his beauty and acquired at a price of 1,000 dinar. This is the reason Malik Kafur is also addressed as Hazaar Dinari.
During the era the foreign invaders bought to India men dancers who were dressed like women. The purpose was just for entertainment and pleasure.
Historians write the jauhar of Queen Padmavati and all other women of Chittor impacted Alauddin’s mental health. Taking advantage of the situation Malik Kafur tried taking control of the palace, rulings and policies. Official advisors interfered saying Alauddin’s sons must take the throne.
As an aftermath Malik Kafur throned 3-year-old son Shihab-ud-Din Umar and silently worked as a ruler. He conspired Alauddin’s death.

Malik Kafur’s death

Kafur’s actions against the family of Alauddin were disapproved by former bodyguards of the sultanate. All the four decided to kill him. Becoming suspicious about their plan he summoned one of them to his room but unfortunately he was wounded with knife and other three associates entered the room, beheaded him.

Malik Kafur’s tomb

His grave is not known but in the autobiography of Firuz Shah the mausoleum existed and was repaired by Sultan Firuz Shah Tughlaq.