Muhammad bin Tughluq
18th Sultan of the Delhi Sultanate and 2nd from the Tughluq dynasty
- Sultan Muhammad bin Tughlak acquired the throne by murdering his father, became a great scholar and an elegant writer, dabbled in mathematics, physics and Greek philosophy, surpassed his predecessors in bloodshed and brutality, fed the flesh of a rebel nephew to the rebel’s wife and children, ruined the country with reckless inflation, and laid it waste with pillage and murder till the inhabitants fled to the jungle. He killed so many Hindus that, in the words of a Moslem historian, “there was constantly in front of his royal pavilion and his Civil Court a mound of dead bodies and a heap of corpses, while the sweepers and executioners were wearied out by their work of dragging” the victims “and putting them to death in crowds.”76 In order to found a new capital at Daulatabad he drove every inhabitant from Delhi and left it a desert; and hearing that a blind man had stayed behind in Delhi, he ordered him to be dragged from the old to the new capital, so that only a leg remained of the wretch when his last journey was finished. The Sultan complained that the people did not love him, or recognize his undeviating justice. He ruled India for a quarter of a century, and died in bed.
- The Sultan is not slack in jihad. He never lets go of his spear or bridle in pursuing jihad by land and sea routes. This is his main occupation which engages his eyes and ears. He has spent vast sums for the establishment of the faith and the spread of Islam in these lands, as a result of which the light of Islam has reached the inhabitants and the flash of the true faith brightened among them. Fire temples have been destroyed and the images and idols of Budd have been broken, and the lands have been freed from those who were not included in the darul Islam, that is, those who had refused to become zimmis. Islam has been spread by him in the far east and has reached the point of sunrise. In the words of Abu Nasr al-Aini, he has carried the flags of the followers of Islam where they had never reached before and where no chapter or verse (of the Quran) had ever been recited. Thereafter he got mosques and places of worship erected, and music replaced by call to prayers (azan), and the incantations of fire-worshippers stopped by recitations of the Quran. He directed the people of Islam towards the citadels of the infidels and, by the grace of Allah, made them (the believers) inheritors of wealth and land and that country which they (the believers) had never trodden upon.
- Tughlaq Kalina Bharata, Persian texts translated into Hindi by S.A.A. Rizvi, 2 Volumes, Aligarh, 1956-57. p. 325 ff. Vol I. (Shihabuddin Al Umari.) Also quoted (using a different translation) in Jain, Meenakshi (2011). The India they saw: Foreign accounts. 8th to 15th Centuries, p. 274.
- The Sultan who is ruling at present has achieved that which had not been achieved so far by any king. He has achieved victory, supremacy, conquest of countries, destruction of the forts of the infidels, and exposure of magicians. He has destroyed idols by which the people of Hindustan were deceived in vain.
- Tughlaq Kalina Bharata, Persian texts translated into Hindi by S.A.A. Rizvi, 2 Volumes, Aligarh, 1956-57. p. 327 ff. Vol I.
- I am not at all perturbed by these revolts.
- Barani, Zia-uddin, "Tarikh-e-Firoz Shahi", p.509
- Muhammad ibn Tughlaq “led forth his army to ravage Hindostan. He laid the country waste from Kanauj to Dalmau [on the Ganges, in the Rai Baréli District, Oudh], and every person that fell into his hands he slew. Many of the inhabitants fled and took refuge in the jungles, but the Sultan had the jungles surrounded, and every individual that was captured was killed.”
- Vincent Arthur Smith, The Oxford History of India: From the Earliest Times to the End of 1911 (Clarendon Press, 1920), 241-2. as quoted in Spencer, Robert (2018). The history of Jihad: From Muhammad to ISIS.
- Muhammad Tughlaq confined Shaikhzada Jami in an iron cage leading to his death. Under him punishments laid down by the Shariat were scrupulously awarded. The mother of prince Masud was ordered by the Sultan to be stoned to death for adultery, the verdict having been pronounced by Qazi Kamaluddin. Ibn Battutah relates that on one occasion he himself as Qazi gave eighty stripes to one Razi of Multan for making himself drunk and stealing five hundred dinars. He also says that during Muhammad Tughlaq's reign people used to admit uncommitted crimes and courted death to escape torture. When the royal order was issued for the execution of any person, he was executed at the gate of the palace where his corpse remained for three days. The Diwan-i-Siyasat worked vigorously and every day hundreds of culprits were brought for punishments.
- Lal, K. S. (1999). Theory and practice of Muslim state in India. New Delhi: Aditya Prakashan. Chapter 3
- During Muslim rule in India, foreign and Indian Muslims were freely bestowed jobs and gifts. Foreign Muslims were most welcome here. They came in large numbers and were well provided for. Muhammad Tughlaq was specially kind to them, as averred by Ibn Battutah. He writes that "the countries contiguous to India like Yemen, Khurasan and Fars are filled with anecdotes about... his generosity to the foreigners in so far as he prefers them to the Indians, honours them, confers on them great favours and makes them rich presents and appoints them to high offices and awards them great benefits". He calls them aziz or dear ones and has instructed his courtiers not to address them as foreigners. 'The sultan ordered for me," writes Ibn Battutah, "a sum of six thousand tankahs, and ordered a sum of ten thousand for Ibn Qazi Misr. Similarly, he ordered sums to be given to all foreigners (a'izza) who were to stay at Delhi, but nothing was given to the metropolitans."... There are scores of instances of Muhammad Tughlaq's generosity to foreigners.... The point to note here is that under Sultan Muhammad so much wealth was awarded to so many deserving and undeserving foreign Muslims that at the close of his reign the Delhi treasury had become bankrupt. There was also the loss of popularity because "the people of India hate the foreigners (Persians, Turks, Khurasanis) because of the favour the sultan shows them."
- Ibn Battutah, trs. Mahdi Husain, p. 105-140. quoted from Lal, K. S. (1999). Theory and practice of Muslim state in India. New Delhi: Aditya Prakashan. Chapter 5
- "So great was the faith of the Sultan in the Abbasid Khalifas," says he, "that he would have sent all his treasures in Delhi to Egypt, had it not been for the fear of robbers."
- Ziyauddin Barani, quoted from Lal, K. S. (1999). Theory and practice of Muslim state in India. New Delhi: Aditya Prakashan. Chapter 5. Also quoted in Robert Spencer, The history of Jihad, 2018.
- All sultans were keen on making slaves, but Muhammad Tughlaq became notorious for enslaving people. He appears to have outstripped even Alauddin Khalji and his reputation in this regard spread far and wide. Shihabuddin Ahmad Abbas writes about him thus:
“The Sultan never ceases to show the greatest zeal in making war upon infidels… Everyday thousands of slaves are sold at a very low price, so great is the number of prisoners”. Muhammad Tughlaq did not only enslave people during campaigns, he was also very fond of purchasing and collecting foreign and Indian slaves. According to Ibn Battuta one of the reasons of estrangement between Muhammad Tughlaq and his father Ghiyasuddin Tughlaq, when Muhammad was still a prince, was his extravagance in purchasing slaves. Even as Sultan, he made extensive conquests. He subjugated the country as far as Dwarsamudra, Malabar, Kampil, Warangal, Lakhnauti, Satgaon, Sonargaon, Nagarkot and Sambhal to give only few prominent place-names. There were sixteen major rebellions in his reign which were ruthlessly suppressed. In all these conquests and rebellions, slaves were taken with great gusto. For example, in the year 1342 Halajun rose in rebellion in Lahore. He was aided by the Khokhar chief Kulchand. They were defeated. “About three hundred women of the rebels were taken captive, and sent to the fort of Gwalior where they were seen by Ibn Battutah.” Such was their influx that Ibn Battutah writes: “At (one) time there arrived in Delhi some female infidel captives, ten of whom the Vazir sent to me. I gave one of them to the man who had brought them to me, but he was not satisfied. My companion took three young girls, and I do not know what happened to the rest.” Iltutmish, Muhammad Tughlaq and Firoz Tughlaq sent gifts of slaves to Khalifas outside India. .... Ibn Battutah’s eye-witness account of the Sultan’s gifting captured slave girls to nobles or arranging their marriages with Muslims on a large scale on the occasion of the two Ids, corroborates the statement of Abbas. Ibn Battutah writes that during the celebrations in connection with the two Ids in the court of Muhammad bin Tughlaq, daughters of Hindu Rajas and those of commoners, captured during the course of the year were distributed among nobles, officers and important foreign slaves. “On the fourth day men slaves are married and on the fifth slave-girls. On the sixth day men and women slaves are married off.” This was all in accordance with the Islamic law. According to it, slaves cannot many on their own without the consent of their proprietors. The marriage of an infidel couple is not dissolved by their jointly embracing the faith. In the present case the slaves were probably already converted and their marriages performed with the initiative and permission the Sultan himself were valid. Thousands of non-Muslim women were captured by the Muslims in the yearly campaigns of Firoz Tughlaq, and under him the id celebrations were held on lines similar to those of his predecessor. In short, under the Tughlaqs the inflow of women captives never ceased.
- Lal, K. S. (1994). Muslim slave system in medieval India. New Delhi: Aditya Prakashan. Chapter 5 (quoting Masalik-ul-Absar, E.D., III, 580., Battutah)
- Writing about the days of Sultan Muhammad bin Tughlaq (1325-51), Shihabuddin Al-Umari writes:
“The Sultan never ceases to show the greatest zeal in making war upon the infidels… Every day thousands of slaves are sold at a very low price, so great is the number of prisoners… (that) the value at Delhi of a young slave girl, for domestic service, does not exceed eight tankahs. Those who are deemed fit to fill the parts of domestic and concubine sell for about fifteen tankahs. In other cities prices are still lower…” Probably it was so because Ibn Battuta while in Bengal says that a pretty Kaniz (slave girl) could be had there for one gold dinar (or 10 silver tankahs). “I purchased at this price a very beautiful slave girl whose name was Ashura. A friend of mine also bought a young slave named Lulu for two gold coins.”32...Umari continues, “but still, in spite of low price of slaves, 20000 tankahs, and even more, are paid for young Indian girls. I inquired the reason… and was told that these young girls are remarkable for their beauty, and the grace of their manners.”
- Battuta, Mahdi Husain, 235; Quaunah Turks, 155 n. ; Masalik-ul-Absar, E.D., III, 580-81. (Shihabuddin al-Umri, Masalik-ul-Absar fi Mumalik-ul-Amar) quoted from Lal, K. S. (1994). Muslim slave system in medieval India. New Delhi: Aditya Prakashan. Chapter 10
- Muhammad bin Tughlaq became notorious for enslaving captives, and his reputation in this regard spread far and wide... Ibn Battuta’s eye-witness account of the Sultan’s arranging marriages of enslaved girls with Muslims on a large scale on the two Ids confirms the statement of Al Umri. “First of all,” writes he, “daughters of Kafir (Hindu) Rajas captured during the course of the year, come, sing and dance. Thereafter they are bestowed upon Amirs and important foreigners. After this the daughters of other Kafirs dance and sing… the Sultan gives them to his brothers, relatives sons of Maliks etc. On the sixth day male and female slaves are married.” It was a general practice for Hindu girls of good families to learn the art of dancing. It was a sort of religious rite. They used to dance during weddings, festivals and Pujas at home and in temples. This art was turned ravenous under their Muslim captors or buyers.
- Masalik-ul-Absar, E and D, III, p. 580. Ibn Battuta, p. 63, Hindi version by S.A.A. Rizvi in Tughlaq Kalin Bharat, Part I, Aligarh, p. 189. quoted from Lal, K. S. (1992). The legacy of Muslim rule in India. New Delhi: Aditya Prakashan. Chapter 7
- Muhammad bin Tughlaq became notorious for enslaving women and his reputation in this regard spread far and wide. Ibn Battuta who visited India during his reign and stayed at the Court for a long time writes:
“At (one) time there arrived in Delhi some female infidel captives, ten of whom the Vazir sent to me. I gave one of them to the man who had brought them to me… My companion took three girls, and - I do not know what happened to the rest.” On the large scale distribution of girl slaves on the occasion of Muslim festivals like Id, he writes: “First of all, daughters of Kafir (Hindu) Rajas captured during the course of the year, come and sing and dance. Thereafter they are bestowed upon Amirs and important foreigners. After this daughters of other Kafirs dance and sing… The Sultan gives them to his brothers, relatives, sons of Maliks etc. On the second day the durbar is held in a similar fashion after Asr. Female singers are brought out… the Sultan distributes them among the Mameluke Amirs…” Thousands of non-Muslim women were distributed in the above manner in later years.
- Ibn Battuta, 123. quoted from Lal, K. S. (1994). Muslim slave system in medieval India. New Delhi: Aditya Prakashan. Chapter 12
- Muhammad Tughlaq always preferred foreign Muslims to Indians for appointment as officers. The rebellion of Ain-ul-mulk Multani (1339) during his reign was a symptom of the resentment felt by the India-born nobles against this policy of prejudice.... Foreign nobles looked down upon Indian Muslim nobles, and considered them as ‘lowborn’, although not all foreign Muslims were of high lineage.
- Lal, K. S. (1992). The legacy of Muslim rule in India. New Delhi: Aditya Prakashan. Chapter 5
- Under Muhammad Tughlaq, wars and rebellions knew no end. Even an enhancement of land-tax ended in massacres in the Doab. Many more perished on the way when the capital was shifted to Daulatabad. His Qarachal expedition cost him a whole army. His expeditions to Bengal, Sind and the Deccan, as well as ruthless suppression of twenty-two rebellions, meant only depopulation.15 From all accounts it is certain that in the thirteenth and first half of the fourteenth century the loss of population was immense.
- Lal, K. S. (1990). Indian Muslims, who are they.
- “…It is said that the star-shaped Jaina Temple built in the Chalukya style at Bodhan in the 9th or 10th century was, also, transformed into a Mosque during the reign of Muhammad Tughlaq (AH 726-52/AD 1325-51).”
- Bodhan (Maharashtra).Syed Mahmudul Hasan, Mosque Architecture of Pre-Mughal Bengal, Dacca (Bangladesh), 1979, p. 50