Who were Tipu Sultan ancestors?

Who were Tipu Sultan ancestors?. According to Haider-nama (completed in 1784 and commissioned by Tipu Sultan himself), Haider Ali’s ancestors were “Navayats”. The term Navayat (نویات) referred to the descendants of Arab settlers in the coastal regions of South India. Thus Haider-nama alludes to the Arab origin of the family. The author of Haider-nama, a Hindu, was a courtier of Haider Ali and Tipu Sultan. [1]

Another courtier of Tipu Sultan, Mir Hussain Ali Khan Kirmani, in his book ‘Nishan i Haideri’ (written in circa 1798-1802) also asserts that ancestors of Tipu Sultan and Haider Ali were Arabs from the Quresh tribe. He writes:

“In the reign of Muhammad Adil Shah, king of Bijapur….a certain Shaikh Wali Muhammad, of the tribe of Quresh, a man devoted to religion, compelled by accidental circumstances arrived from the neighborhood of Delhi at the noble city of Gulberga.”

In an Arabic and Persian inscription on the north wall of the mosque that Tipu Sultan commissioned in the center of Shrirangapattana, the Mysore king’s eulogy includes the line that “[All] Muslims are dependent on the Muslims of the Quresh”, alluding to the Arab-Quresh origin of Tipu Sultan. [3]


1- “Devotional Sovereignty Kingship and Religion in India”, by Caleb Simmons, p-35
2- The History of Hydur Naik (English translation of Nishan i Haideri), by Mir Hussain Ali Khan Kirmani, p-
3- “Devotional Sovereignty Kingship and Religion in India”, by Caleb Simmons, p-36

Who were Tipu Sultan ancestors?
Portrait of Tipu Sultan
Tipu ancestors
Tipu himself stood firing cooly at his advancing foes. By Arthur David McCormick.
Who were Tipu Sultan ancestors?
Tipu Sultan charging the British lines at the head of Haider Ali’s cavalry.
Drawn by Richard Caton Woodville in 1897, published in London Illustrated News. 

Tipu Sultan's photo

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1 thought on “Who were Tipu Sultan ancestors?”

  1. Isn’t it probable that this was flattery on part of the courtiers, or at least pragmatic politics due to the importance placed on lineage at that time? I have not come across a clear genealogical record that traces Tipu Sultan to any Arab tribe, let alone the prestigious Qurayshis.

    I have likewise heard theories that he might have been descended from Pashtuns, or from Sipra Gill Jatts. But the problem is, there aren’t any surviving records that I have come across that can make me definitively say any one thing over the other. Except for the fact that his phenotypes probably point to him being a native (or at least so heavily mixed with natives, that foreign ancestry is meaningless).

    I’m sure you know that it’s normal for Muslims around the world, and it seems especially in Indo-Pak, to claim foreign ancestry to gain some advantage or legitimacy. The Sayyid (probably Punjabi) dynasty named themselves as such because of a supposed link to the Qurayshis, but again, I haven’t seen a clear record like you would find from actual Arabs and their descendants.


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