SHĀH SHUJĀ' (1780-1842) or Shujā' ul-Mulk, the King of Kābul, was the youngest son of Taimūr Shāh and grandson of Ahmad Shāh Durrānī. Shāh Zamān, his elder brother, appointed him governor of Peshāwar. In 1800, Shāh Zamān was defeated and dethroned by his half-brother, Shāh Mahmūd, but Shāh Shujā' defeated Shāh Mahmūd in 1803 and occupied the throne of Kābul. In 1809, Shāh Mahmūd again rose to power and defeated Shāh Shujā'. In February 1810, Shāh Shujā' escaped towards the Punjab. Mahārājā Raṇjīt Siṅgh received him with honour at Sāhīvāl and provided him with a residence at Rāwalpiṇḍī. The Shāh seized Peshāwar in March 1810, only to be expelled within six months by Muhammad 'Azīm Khān Bārakzaī. He captured Peshāwar a second time, but as he tried to take Attock in 1812, he was apprehended by Jahāṅdād Khān and sent to Srīnagar where he remained in the custody of 'Atā Muhammad Khān, the governor of Kashmīr. Soon afterwards, Fateh Khān, the wazīr of Afghanistan, jointly with the Sikh forces invaded Kashmīr. At Srīnagar, the Sikh commander, Dīwān Muhkam Chand, had Shāh Shujā' released from captivity and brought him to Lahore in March 1813. Here he was forced to surrender to Raṇjīt Siṅgh the celebrated diamond Koh-i-Nūr which his wife, Wafā Begam, had promised to give the Mahārājā if he would have him rescued from the clutches of 'Atā Muhammad Khān. In April 1815 disguised as a Muslim faquir, the Shāh escaped from Lahore and, after wandering around for many months, reached Ludhiāṇā in September 1815. The British government settled upon Shāh Shujā' an allowance of 50,000 rupees per annum. From Ludhiāṇā, Shāh Shujā' made a few attempts to recover his throne at Kābul, but in vain. Ultimately, he was restored to his throne on 7 August 1839 as a result of the tripartite treaty entered into by him, the British government and Mahārājā Raṇjīt Siṅgh. But he failed to establish himself in power. He was killed at the instance of Muhammad Akbar Khān on 5 April 1842, his family returnig to their old asylum in Ludhiāṇā.


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Harī Rām Gupta