The area was inhabited at the time of Alexander but the present city of Jhang was built in 1288 by Rai Sial with the advice of Hazrat Shah Jalal Bukhari (his peer). Sial tribe ruled this city for 360 years. It was then destroyed by the river and re-founded during the reign of Aurangzeb. Under Central Asian Mughal rule, the city flourished and was notable for commerce and trade.

In the late 18th century, it became part of the Afghan Empire. With disarray and chaos falling internal strife in Western Afghanistan and the gradual decline of the Mughal Empire, the city was briefly taken by Ranjit Singh in 1805. Later in 1849, the British made inroads into the Punjab and added Jhang to their expanding South Asian Empire.

During British Rule the towns of Jhang and Maghiana, lying two miles apart, became a joint municipality, then known as Jhang-Maghiana.