A Slave to a Slave

MAHMUD OF GHAZNI & MALIK AYAZ (1021 ce)

Mahmud of Ghazni founded the Ghaznavid Empire and ruled as Sultan. He fell in love with Malik Ayaz, a Turkish slave, and their relationship became widely regarded as the epitome of idealized love in Islamic legend and Sufi literature. As the story goes, Ayaz asked Mahmud who the most powerful man in the kingdom was. When the Sultan replied that it was himself, Ayaz corrected him, claiming that in fact Ayaz was the most powerful, since Mahmud was his slave. the “slave to a slave” became a favorite trope in Persian literature.