The Cultural and Historical links between Turks and Afghans in the First Era of Islam

الصلات الثقافية والتاريخية بين الأتراك والأفغان في صدر الإسلام

  • Mir Akbar Shah Assistan Professor, Faculty of Islamic Studies, International Islamic University, Islamabad
Keywords: Cultural, Historical, Turks and Afghans,Islam, First Era


Though Turks and Afghans are located far off geographically yet it may not be perceived as a marker of friction between the two nations. The Islamic history in the middle Ages reveal that Islam has spread in the Turkish and Afghan regions amongst the indigenous tribes heralded a marked cultural and linguistic influence in the cited regions.

 The Turks' contact with the Islamic world started in the era of four Caliphs and the Umayyad dynasty reaching out to the western regions of the "Bab" region adjacent to Turkish territory in 22 AH. This contact resulted in the spread of Islam amongst the Turks and their men took part as part of Muslim army leading to propagation of Islam. Moreover, In the Abbasid era, the number of Turks assuming leadership positions had increased in the Muslim state. This contact sustained in the Islamic world to the East in the Turkish areas after the Muslims crossed the JIHUN River (Amu Darya) in 31 AH under the leadership of QUTAYBA Ibn Muslim. Thus Islam spread among the Turk Tribes under the rule of the SAMANI Governors where they spearheaded the extension of Muslim influence to Tirmiz, Bukhara, Samarkand and other Central Asian countries due to the simplicity of Islam.

 As for the Afghans' contact with Islam in the West, it began in the era of four Caliphs and the Umayyads eversince Herat was conquered in the year 23 AH; Jawzjan, Balkh and Takhar in the year 32 AH by Al-Ahnaf bin Qais from northern Afghanistan; Zabul in the year 43 AH and Kabul in 44 AH by Abd al-Rahman bin Samra. However the eastern areas of Afghanistan and the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa in Pakistan, although Islam reached there in the first century, did not enter the Islamic rule. They remained either under the tribal control or were ruled by the Indian kings until the Ghaznavids took over through Prince Subuktagin in Ghazni in the last decade of the 4th century.

There has remained direct contact between the Turks and Afghans after the displacement of the Turkish tribes to the Gazani state in the south of the Jihun River.The state sovereignty of the Turkish majority was due to their leadership positions and a large part of the military formation included the Turks and Afghans. Hence the two nations lived with a clear linguistic and cultural influence with hundreds of basic words in common as for instance the Turkish names for Afghan men and women and dozens of Turkish names for villages and cities. There are even common tribal traditions and customs between the two peoples.

This research addresses the historically direct contact between the Turkish and Afghan tribes with cultural and social impact between the Turks and Afghans

How to Cite
Mir Akbar Shah 2023. The Cultural and Historical links between Turks and Afghans in the First Era of Islam. Al-Idah . 41, - 2 (Dec. 2023), 192 - 212. DOI: