Ghiyath al-Din Tughluq

17th Sultan of the Delhi Sultanate and 1st from the Tughluq dynasty

Ghiyath al-Din Tughluq, Ghiyas-ud-din Tughlaq or Ghazi Malik (Persian: غیاث الدین تغلق) (Ghazi means fighter for Islam) (died c.1325) was the Sultan of Delhi from 1320 to 1325. He was the first sultan of the Tughluq dynasty of the Delhi Sultanate. During his reign, Ghiyath al-Din Tughluq founded the city of Tughluqabad. His reign ending upon his death in 1325 when a pavilion built in his honour collapsed. The 14th century historian Ibn Battuta claimed that the death of the sultan was the result of a conspiracy against him.


  • At the close of the Khalji regime, Ghayasuddin Tughlaq declared himself as a champion of the faith, because the Ulema had been dissatisfied with Alauddin's policies and Ghayasuddin with the activities of Nasiruddin Khusrau. "The slogan of revenge for religion, so common yet so effective in the history of the Muslims, was started." And this to a great degree won Ghayasuddin Tughlaq the throne.
    • Lal, K. S. (2001). Historical essays. New Delhi: Radha.(II.58) quoting Tripathi.
  • [Ghiyasuddin Tughlaq issued an ordinance which proclaimed that] “there should be left only so much to the Hindus that neither on the one hand they should become intoxicated on account of their wealth, nor on the other should they become so destitute as to leave their lands and cultivation in despair”.
    • Barani p 430 quoted in Lal, K. S. (1995). Growth of scheduled tribes and castes in medieval India. 48 also quoted in Goel, Sita Ram (2001). The story of Islamic imperialism in India. ISBN 9788185990231
  • Tomb of Ghiyãsu’d-Dîn Tughlaq: Similarly, Sayyid Ahmad notices this tomb in some detail but does not describe its Hindu features.395 Khaleeq Anjum, however, says in his introduction that “corridors inside this tomb have been constructed in the style of Hindu architecture, and the pillars as well as the beams in the corridors are fully of Hindu fashion.” He repeats the same comments in his notes at the end.”
    • Ãsãru’s-Sanãdîd by Sayyid Ahmad Khãn, cited and quoted from Shourie, A., & Goel, S. R. (1993). Hindu temples: What happened to them.

South India and Her Muhammadan Invaders

Krishnaswami Aiyangar Sakkottai. 1921. South India and Her Muhammadan Invaders by S. Krishnaswami Aiyangar. Oxford: University Press.
  • Ibn Batuta gives some interesting details of Ghiyathu-d-din's doings which throw a lurid light upon the character of Muhammadan rule in the South. While Ibn Batuta accompanied him, when he moved from the camp towards the capital, he happened to fall in with a number of ' idolaters ' with their women and children in clearing a road through the forest. He made them carry a number of stakes sharpened at both ends, and when morning broke he divided these prisoners into four groups, and led one party to each gate of the four entrances to the camp. The stakes that they carried were then driven into the ground at one end and the unfortunate wretches were impaled alive there- on. Their wives and children had their throats cut and were left fastened to the posts. Ibn Batuta exclaims in horror ' it was for this reason that God hastened the death of Ghiyathu-d-din.' It is hardly necessary to add to this blood-curdling story others from Ibn Batuta.
    • 166
  • The country we had to traverse was a wood formed of trees and reeds, so overgrown, that nobody could penetrate it. The Sultan ordered every army man, great or small, to carry a hatchet and cut down these obstacles. When the camp had been arranged, he set out on horseback to the forest, accompanied by soldiers. They cut down trees from morning till midday. Then food was served for everybody ; after that they began hewing till evening. Every infidel found in the forest was taken prisoner. They sharpened stakes at both ends and made their captives carry them on their shoulders. Each was accompanied by his wife and children and they were thus led to the camp. It is the custom of these people to surround their camp with a palisade having four gates. They call it catcar round the habitation of the king. Outside the principal boundary, they erected a platform about a half brasse high and lighted a fire on it during the night. Slaves and sentinels spent the night there holding a fagot of very slender reeds in their hands. When infidels approached to attack the camp during the night, they lighted the fagots. The brightness of the flames converted night into day, and the horsemen set out in pursuit of the infidel.
  • The next morning, the Hindu prisoners were divided into four sections and taken to each of the four gates ... There, on the stakes they had carried, the prisoners were impaled, afterwards their wives were killed and tied by their hair to these pales. Little children were massacred on the bosoms of their mothers and their corpses left there. Then, the camp was raised, and they started cutting down the trees of another forest. In the same manner did they treat their later Hindu prisoners. This is shameful conduct such as I have not known any other sovereign guilty of. It is for this that God hastened the death of Ghiyath-eddin (Ghiyazu-d-din).
  • One day whilst the Kadhi (Kazi) and I were having our food with (Ghiyazu-d-din), the Kazi to his right and I to his left, an infidel was brought before him accompanied by his wife and son aged seven years. The Sultan made a sign with his hand to the executioners to cut off the head of this man ; then he said to them in Arabic : ' and the son and the wife. ' They cut off their heads and I turned my eyes away. When I looked again, I saw their heads lying on the ground.
  • I was another time with the Sultan Ghiyath-eddin (Ghiyazu- d-din) when a Hindu was brought into his presence. He uttered words I did not understand, and immediately several of his followers drew their daggers. I rose hurriedly, and he said to me ; ' Where are you going ' ? I replied : ' I am going to say my afternoon (4 o'clock) prayers. ' He understood my reason, smiled, and ordered the hands and feet of the idolater to be cut off. On my return I found the unfortunate swimming in his blood.
    • 236ff
  • In the neighbourhood of his territory was an infidel sovereign named Belal Deo (Ballala Deva), who was one of the principal Hindu Kings. His army exceeded hundred thousand men, and he had besides, twenty thousand Mussalmans formed of criminals and slaves. This monarch thought it expedient to go against the Coromandel Coast where the Mussalman army numbered but six thousand soldiers, the half of whom were excellent troops and the remainder were worth absolutely nothing. The Muhammadans fought a battle with him near the town of Cobban (Koppam) ; he routed them, and they retired to Moutrah (Madura) the capital of the country. The infidel sovereign encamped near Cobban (Koppam) which is one of the grandest and strongest places that the Mussalmans possess. He laid siege to it for ten months, and at the end of this time, the garrison had provisions only for fourteen days. Belal Ddo (Ballala Dava) sent a proposal to the besieged to retire with safe-conduct, and to abandon the town to him ; but they replied, ' we must refer this question to our Sultan. ' He then promised them a truce, which was to last for fourteen days, and they wrote to Sultan Ghiyath-eddin (Ghiyazu-d-din) telling him how they weie situated. The prince read their letter to the people the following Friday. The faithful wept and said : ' We will sacrifice our lives to God. If the idolater takes that town, he will next lay siege to us : we prefer to die by the sword.' They then undertook to expose themselves to death, and set out marching the next day, placing their turbans on the neck of their horses, which showed that they were seeking death. The bravest and most courageous of them, 300 in number were posted to the vanguard ; the right wing was under Seif-eddin Behadur (Seifu-d-din Bahadur), the hero, who was a pious and brave lawyer ; and the left wing was under, Almelic Mohamed 1 assilahdar ' (armiger). The Sultan remained in the centre with three thousand men, and the rear-guard was formed by the remaining 3,000 under the command of Assad-eddin Keikhosrew Alfaricy. In this order the Mussalmans set out, at the siesta hour, towards the infidel camp. Their horses were sent out to graze. They fell upon the encampment ; the infidels, imagining the assailants were but robbers, went in disorder to meet them and fought with them. In the midst of all this, the Sultan Ghiyath- eddin arrived, and the Hindus sustained the worst of all defeats. Their king tried to mount his horse although he was eighty years of age. Nasir-eddin (Nasiru-d-din) nephew and successor of the Sultan overtook the old man and wanted to kill him, for he did not know who he was. But one of his slaves said : ' He is the Hindu King. ' He then took him a prisoner to his uncle who treated him with apparent consideration and promised to release him. But when he had extorted from him his wealth, elephants and horses and all his property, he had him killed and flayed ; his skin was stuffed with straw and hung up on the wall of Moutrah (Madura) where I saw it suspended.
    • 238ff
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