Yusuf Adil Shah

Yusuf Adil Shah
Adil Shahi
The House of Bijapur Album leaf, ca. 1680 Deccan, Bijapur. Metropolitan Museum of Art.jpg
Painting created c. 1680 in Bijapur. Yusuf Adil Shah, shown seated, is being handed the key of legitimacy by Shah Ismail I of Safavid Iran, symbolizing the unwavering allegiance of the Adil Shahi family to the Shia creed of Islam. All nine Adil Shahi sultans are depicted in the painting in a dynastic assembly probably inspired by Mughal paintings.
Reign 1490–1510[1]
Successor Ismail Adil Shah
Died 1510
Gogi, Shahpur, Karnataka
Burial 1510
Spouse Bubuji Khanum
Issue Ismail Adil Shah
Mariam Sultan
Khadija Sultan
Bibi Sati
Abul Muzaffar Yusuf Adil Shah Sawi
Dynasty Adil Shahi Empire
Religion Shia Islam

Yusuf Adil Shah (1450–1510[1]), referred as Adil Khan or Hidalcão by the Portuguese, was the founder of the Adil Shahi dynasty that ruled the Sultanate of Bijapur for nearly two centuries.[2] As the founder of the newly formed Bijapur dynasty (as the Adil Shahi dynasty is also known), Yusuf Adil Shah is credited with developing the town of Bijapur and elevating it to significant status.

Legend of origin

The founder of the dynasty, Yusuf Adil Shah, may have been a Georgian slave[3][4] who was purchased by Mahmud Gawan from Iran. Other historians mentioned him of Persian[5] or Turkmen[6][7] origin.

Some historians state Yusuf was a son of the Ottoman Sultan Murad II.[8][9] Ferishta states that Yusuf was a fugitive son of the Ottoman Sultan Murad II, a story which was related to him by Mirza Mohamed of Sava and Khwaja Nuzr, a member of the ruling Bahmani dynasty. Ferishta also stated that this origin was related by Shah Jamaluddin Hussain himself.[10] Rafiuddin Shirazi, author of Tazkirat ul Mulk, states Yusuf was the nephew of Governor Ahmed Baig of Sava.[10] Another theory states he was a Turkman of the Aq-Quyunlu.[11]


Yusuf's bravery and personality raised him rapidly in the Bahmani sultan's favor, and resulted in his being appointed Governor of Bijapur.

In 1489, Yusuf took advantage of the decline of the Bahmani power to establish himself as an independent sultan at Bijapur. He waged war against the Vijayanagar empire, as also against Bijapur's Muslim neighbours.

Adil Shah is personally responsible for building the imposing Citadel or Arkilla[12] and the palace named Faroukh Mahal. Yusuf was a man of culture and invited poets and artisans from Persia, Turkey and Rome to his court. He was also an accomplished musician and scholar with deep religious tolerance that was reflected in art and architecture from this time.

Adil Shah died in 1509-10 while engaged in an 'annual jihad', possibly a plundering expedition, against the Vijayanagara empire to the south. The practice was initiated by Sultan Mahmood Shah Bahmani II in 1501, in which all the Bahmani chieftains participated. However, in 1509, Krishnadevaraya ascended the throne of Vijayanagara. He countered the Bahmani expedition at a location called Dewani (unidenfied) and decisively defeated it. The Sultan was thrown off the horse and had to be carried away from the battlefield. Raya then pursued the retreating army of Bijapur. Adil Shah turned around to give him battle at Koilkonda, in which he was killed.[13][14][15]

His death occurred shortly after the loss of Goa to the Portuguese governor Afonso de Albuquerque.[citation needed] He was succeeded by his son Ismail Adil Shah, who being a minor, was aided in his rule by a certain Kamal Khan.[16]

Yusuf left behind a strong if small state, one which persisted through two relatively chaotic centuries in a region rife with political ferment. The Bijapur sultanate he founded was a formidable force for close to two centuries until it succumbed to Maratha power and finally resolved by Aurangzeb in 1686 in an ineffective bid to check Maratha power.[9]


Yusuf Adil Shah married Punji, the sister of a local landlord , later renamed Bubuji Khanum.[9] By this marriage he had a son and three daughters:[17][18]