|Sultanate of Delhi
Delhi Sultanate under various dynasties.
|-||1206–1210||Qutb-ud-din Aibak (first)|
|-||1517–1526||Ibrahim Lodi (last)|
|Historical era||Middle Ages|
|-||Independence||12 June 1206|
|-||Battle of Amroha||20 December 1305|
|-||Battle of Panipat||21 April 1526|
History of the Turkic peoples
|Turkic Khaganate 552–744|
|Avar Khaganate 564–804|
|Khazar Khaganate 618–1048|
|Old Great Bulgaria 632–668|
|Turgesh Khaganate 699–766|
|Uyghur Khaganate 744–840|
|Kara-Khanid Khanate 840–1212|
|Oghuz Yabgu State
|Shatuo dynasties 923–979|
|Later Han (Northern Han)|
|Ghaznavid Empire 963–1186|
|Seljuq Empire 1037–1194|
|Khwarazmian Empire 1077–1231|
|Seljuq Sultanate of Rum 1092–1307|
|Delhi Sultanate 1206–1526|
|Cairo Sultanate 1250–1517|
The Delhi Sultanate (Urdu: سلطنت دہلی) was a Delhi-based Muslim kingdom that ruled over large parts of India for 320 years (1206 – 1526). Five dynasties ruled over Delhi Sultanate sequentially, the first four of which were of Turkic origin and the last was the Afghan Lodi. The Lodi dynasty was replaced by the Mughal dynasty. The five dynasties were the Mamluk dynasty (1206–90); the Khilji dynasty (1290–1320); the Tughlaq dynasty (1320–1414); the Sayyid dynasty (1414–51); and the Afghan Lodi dynasty (1451–1526).
Qutb-ud-din Aibak, a former slave of Muhammad Ghori, was the first sultan of Delhi and his dynasty conquered large areas of northern India. Afterwards the Khilji dynasty was also able to conquer most of central India, but both failed to unite the Indian subcontinent. Delhi sultanate is also noted for being one of the few states to repel an attack from the Mongol Empire.
The Sultanate caused destruction and desecration of ancient temples of South Asia, as well as led to the emergence of "Indo-Muslim" architecture. The Delhi Sultanate is the era that enthroned one of the few female rulers in Islamic history, Razia Sultana from 1236 to 1240. In 1526 the Delhi Sultanate fell, and it was replaced by the Mughal Empire.
By the turn of second millennium, north India was under a wave of raids from Muslim armies from Central Asia and Persia. Among them was Mahmud of Ghazni who raided and plundered kingdoms in north India, from east of the Indus river to west of Yamuna river, 17 times between 997 AD to 1030 AD. Mahmud of Ghazni raided the treasuries but retracted each time, only extending Islamic rule into western Punjab.
A wave of raids on north Indian and western Indian kingdoms by Muslim warlords continued after Mahmud of Ghazni, but these did not establish or extend permanent boundaries of their Islamic kingdoms. The Ghurid Sultan Mu'izz al-Din Muhammad, from 1173 AD began a systematic war of expansion into north India. He sought to carve out a principality for himself by expanding the Islamic world, a tradition common among the warring orthodox (Sunni) and heterodox (Shia) warlords in West and Central Asia since the 9th century onwards. Mu’izz sought a Sunni Islamic kingdom of his own, that extended west of Indus river, and he thus laid the foundation for Muslim kingdom called Delhi Sultanate.
Mu'izz al-Din was assassinated in 1206, by Ismāʿīlī Shia Muslims by some accounts or by Hindu Khokhars by other accounts. After the assassination, it was one of Mu’izz slaves (or Mamluk, Arabic: مملوك), the Turkic Qutbu l-Din Aibak, who assumed power, becoming the first Sultan of Delhi.
Qutub-ud-din Aibak was a slave of Mu'izz al-Din, whose reign started Delhi Sultanate. He was of Cuman-Kipchak origin. On account of his lineage, his dynasty is known as the Mamluk (Slave) Dynasty (not to be confused with Mamluk dynasty of Iraq or Mamluk dynasty of Egypt).
Aybak reign as the Sultan of Delhi lasted 4 years. After his death, Aram Shah assumed power in 1210, but he was assassinated by Iltutmish in 1211. Iltutmish's power was precarious, and a number of Muslim amirs challenged his authority. Some Qutbi amirs supported him. After a series of conquests and executions, he consolidated his power. His rule was challenged a number of times, such as by Qubacha, and this led to a series of wars. Iltumish conquered Multan and Bengal from contesting Muslim rulers, as well as Ranathambhore and Siwalik from the Hindu rulers. He also attacked, defeated and executed Taj al-Din Yildiz, who asserted his rights as heir to Mu'izz al-Din Muhammad. Iltutmish's rule lasted till 1236. Following the death of Iltutmish, Delhi Sultanate saw a succession of weak rulers, disputing Muslim nobility, assassinations and short lived tenures. Power shifted from Rukn ud din Firuz to Razia Sultana and others, until Ghiyas ud din Balban came to power and ruled from 1266 to 1287. He was succeeded by 17-year old Muiz ud din Qaiqabad, who ordered poisoning of Nizam-ud-Din and appointed Jalal-ud-din Firoz Shah Khilji as the commander of Delhi Sultanate army. Khilji assassinated Muiz ud din Qaiqabad and assumed power, thus ending the Mamluk dynasty.
During the Mamluk dynasty, Qutbu'd-Din Aibak initiated the construction of Qutub Minar and Quwwatu'l-Islam (literally, Might of Islam) mosque, now a UNESCO world heritage site. It was built from materials reused from 20 demolished Hindu temples, and completed by Muhammad-bin-Sam. The Qutub Minar complex was expanded by Iltutmish, later by Alauld-Din Khalji in early 14th century. During the Mamluk dynasty, many amirs (nobles) of Afghan and Persia migrated and settled in India, as West Asia came under Mongol seize.
The first ruler of Khilji dynasty was Jalal-ud-din Firoz Shah Khilji. He came to power in 1290, after ending the life of Mamluk dynasty's last ruler Muiz ud din Qaiqabad, at the behest of Turkic, Afghan and Persian amirs.
Jalal-ud-din Firoz Shah Khilji was of Turko-Afghan origin, and ruled for 6 years before he was murdered in 1296 by his nephew Juna Khan, who was also his son-in-law. Juna Khan later came to known as Ala al-din Khilji. Ala al-din began his military career as governor of Kara province, from where he led two raids on Malwa (1292) and Devagiri (1294) for plunder. His military campaign returned to these lands as well other South Indian kingdoms after he assumed power. He conquered Gujarat, Ranthambor, Chitor and Malwa. However, these victories were cut short because of Mongol attacks and plunder raids from northwest. The Mongols withdrew after plundering, and stopped raiding northwest parts of Delhi Sultanate.
After Mongols withdrew, Ala al-din Khilji continued expanding Delhi Sultanate into South India, with the help of generals such as Malik Kafur and Khusraw Khan, collecting large war booty (Anwatan) from those they defeated. His commanders collected war spoils, paid Ghanima (الْغَنيمَة, tax on spoils of war) which helped strengthen the Khalji rule. Among these loots was the Warangal loot that included one of the largest known diamond in human history, the Koh-i-noor.
Ala al-din Khilji also changed tax policies, raising agriculture taxes from 20% to 50% - payable in grain and agricultural produce, eliminating payments and commissions on taxes collected by local chiefs, banned socialization among his officials as well as inter-marriage between noble families to help prevent any opposition forming against him; he cut salaries of officials, poets and scholars in his kingdom. These tax policies and spending controls strengthened his treasury to pay the keep of his growing army; he also introduced price controls on all agriculture produce and goods in kingdom, as well as controls on where, how and by whom these goods could be sold. Taxes collected in form of grain were stored in kingdom's storage. During famines that followed, these granaries ensured sufficient food for the army. Ala al-din is also known for his cruelty against attacked kingdoms after wars. Historians note him as a tyrant and that anyone Ala al-din Khilji suspected of being a threat to this power was killed along with the women and children of that family. In 1297-1298, between 15,000 to 30,000 people near Delhi, who had recently converted to Islam, were slaughtered in a single day, upon fears of an uprising.
After Ala-ud-din's death in 1316, Malik Kafur tried to assume power, but lacked the support of Persian and Afghan nobility. Malik Kafur was killed. The last Khilji ruler was Ala-ud-din's 18-year old son Qutb-ud-din Mubarak Shah Khilji, who ruled for 4 years before he was killed by Khusraw Khan. Khusraw Khan reign lasted few months, when Ghazi Malik later to be called Ghiasuddin Tughlaq killed him and assumed power in 1320 AD, thus beginning the Tughluq dynasty of Delhi Sultanate.
The Tughlaq dynasty lasted from 1320 to nearly the end of 14th century. The first ruler Ghazi Malik rechristened himself as Ghiyasuddin Tughlaq and is also referred in scholarly works as Tughlak Shah. He was of Turko-Indian origins, with a Turkic father and a Hindu mother. Ghiyasuddin Tughlaq ruled for 5 years and launched a town near Delhi named Tughlakabad. According to some historians such as Vincent Smith, he was killed by his son Juna Khan, who then assumed power in 1325 AD. Juna Khan rechristened himself as Muhammad bin Tughlaq, and ruled for 26 years. During his rule, Delhi Sultanate reached its peak in terms of geographical reach, covering most of Indian subcontinent.
Muhammad bin Tughlaq was an intellectual, with extensive knowledge of Quran, Fiqh, poetry and other fields. He was also deeply suspicious of his wazirs (ministers), extremely severe with his opponents, and took decisions that caused economic upheaval. For example, he ordered minting of coins from base metals with face value of silver coins - a decision that failed because ordinary people minted counterfeit coins from base metal they had in their houses, and used them to pay taxes and jizya.
On another occasion, Muhammad bin Tughlaq after becoming upset, ordered the transfer of his capital from Delhi to Deogir in Maharashtra (renaming it to Daulatabad), by forcing mass migration of Delhi's population. Those who refused were killed. One blind person who failed to move to Deogir, was dragged for the entire journey of 40 days - the man died, his body fell apart, and only his tied leg reached Daulatabad. The capital move failed because Daulatabad was arid and did not have enough drinking water to support the new capital. The capital then returned to Delhi. Nevertheless, Muhammad bin Tughlaq orders affected history as large number of Delhi Muslims who came to Deccan area, did not return to Delhi to live near Muhammad bin Tughlaq. This influx of the then Delhi residents into Deccan region led to a growth of Muslim population in central and southern India. Muhammad bin Tughlaq adventures in the Deccan region also marked campaigns of destruction and desecration of Hindu and Jain temples; for example of the Svayambhu Shiva Temple and the Thousand Pillar Temple.
Revolts against Muhammad bin Tughlaq began in 1327, continued over his reign, and over time the geographical reach of the Sultanate shrunk. In 1337, Muhammad bin Tughlaq ordered an attack on China by sending part of his forces through Nepal over the Himalayas. Few survived that journey. The few who returned were executed for failing. During his reign, state revenues collapsed from his policies such as the base metal coins from 1329-1332 AD. To cover state expenses, he sharply raised taxes. Those who failed to pay taxes were hunted and executed. Famines, widespread poverty and rebellion grew across the kingdom. By 1339, the eastern regions under local Muslim governors and southern parts led by Hindu kings had revolted and declared independence from Delhi Sultanate. Muhammad bin Tughlaq did not have the resources or support to respond to the shrinking kingdom.
Muhammad bin Tughlaq died in 1351 while trying to punish people in Gujarat rebelling against Delhi Sultanate. He was succeeded by Firoz Shah Tughlaq (1351–1388), who tried to regain the old kingdom boundary by waging a war with Bengal for 11 months in 1359. However, Bengal did not fall, and remained outside of Delhi Sultanate. Firoz Tughlaq ruled for 37 years. His death created anarchy and disintegration of kingdom. The last rulers of this dynasty were two, both calling themselves Sultans from 1394 to 1397 - Mahmud Tughlaq, the grandson of Firoz Shah Tughlaq who ruled from Delhi, and Nusrat Shah, another relative of Firoz Shah Tughlaq who ruled from Firozabad which was few miles from Delhi. The battle between the two relatives continued till the invasion by Timur in 1398.
The Sayyid dynasty was a Turkic dyanasty that ruled Delhi Sultanate in India from 1414 to 1451. They succeeded the Tughlaq dynasty and ruled the Sultanate until they were displaced by the Lodi dynasty.
The Lodi Dynasty was an Afghan dynasty that was the last Delhi Sultanate. Sikandar Lodi who ruled from 1489-1517 was one of the better known rulers of this dynasty. The dynasty founded by Bahlul Khan Lodi ruled from 1451 to 1526. The last ruler of this dynasty, Ibrahim Lodi was defeated and killed by Babur in the first Battle of Panipat on April 20, 1526.
Destruction and desecration
Delhi Sultanate marked an era of temple destruction and desecration. Richard Eaton states a campaign of destruction of idols and temples by Sultans, intermixed with instances of years where the temples were protected from desecration to pay for expenses or treasury of the Sultanate. The first historic record of a campaign of temples destruction are from 1193 through early 13th century in Rajasthan, Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh under the command of Ghuri. Under Khalaji, the campaign of temple desecration expanded to Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat and Maharashtra, and continued through late 13th century. The campaign extended to Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu under Malik Kafur and Ulugh Khan in 14th century, and by Bahmani in 15th century. Orissa temples were destroyed in 14th century under Tughlaq. Temples in Kashmir were destroyed by Sikandar. Lodi, the last ruler, commanded destruction of temples in Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh.
Mongol invasion and the fall of the Sultanate
The last Lodi ruler, Ibrahim Lodi, was greatly disliked by his court and subjects. Upon the death of his father Sikander Lodi, he quashed a brief rebellion led by some of his nobles who wanted his younger brother Jalal Khan to be the Sultan. After seizing the throne, by having Jalal Khan murdered, he never really did succeed in pacifying his nobles. Subsequently Daulat Khan, the governor of Punjab and Alam Khan, his uncle, sent an invitation to Babur, the ruler of Kabul to invade Delhi.
Babur won the first Battle of Panipat (April 1526), in which Ibrahim Lodi was killed on the battlefield. This marked the end of Delhi Sultanate. Babur subsequently occupied Agra and Delhi and the new Mughal dynasty ruled Delhi until the arrival of colonial era in South Asia.
|Outline of South Asian history
History of Indian subcontinent
- Qutb-ud-din Aibak (1206–1210), appointed Naib us Sultanat by Muhammad of Ghori, first Muslim Sultan of India, ruled with Delhi as capital
- Aram Shah (1210–1211)
- Shams ud din Iltutmish (1211–1236), son-in-law of Qut-bud-din Aibak
- Rukn ud din Firuz (1236), son of Iltutmish
- Raziyyat-ud-din Sultana (1236–1240), daughter of Iltutmish
- Muiz ud din Bahram (1240–1242), son of Iltutmish
- Ala ud din Masud (1242–1246), son of Ruk-nud-din
- Nasir ud din Mahmud (1246–1266), son of Iltutmish
- Ghiyas ud din Balban (1266–1286), ex-slave, son-in-law of Sultan Nasir ud din Mahmud
- Muiz ud din Qaiqabad (1286–1290), grandson of Balban and Nasir-ud-din
- Jalal ud din Firuz Khalji (1290–1296)
- Alauddin Khalji (1296–1316)
- Umar Khan Khilji (1316)
- Qutb ud din Mubarak Shah (1316–1320)
- Khusro Khan (1320)
- Ghiyath al-Din Tughluq (1320–1325)
- Muhammad bin Tughluq (1325–1351)
- Mahmud Ibn Muhammad (March 1351)
- Firuz Shah Tughluq (1351–1388)
- Ghiyath al-Din Tughluq II (1388–1389)
- Abu Bakr Shah (1389–1390)
- Nasir ud din Muhammad Shah III (1390–1393)
- Sikander Shah I (March - April 1393)
- Nasir-ud-Din Mahmud Shah Tughluq (Sultan Mahmud II) at Delhi (1393–1413), son of Nasir uddin Muhammad, controlled the east from Delhi
- Nasir uddin Nusrat Shah (1394–1414), grandson of Firuz Shah Tughluq, controlled the west from Firozabad
- Khizr Khan (1414–1421)
- Mubarak Shah (1421–1434)
- Muhammad Shah (1434–1445)
- Alam Shah (1445–1451)
- Bahlul Lodi (1451–1489)
- Sikandar Lodi (1489–1517)
- Ibrahim Lodi (1517–1526), defeated by Babur in the First Battle of Panipat on April 20, 1526
- "Arabic and Persian Epigraphical Studies - Archaeological Survey of India". Asi.nic.in. Retrieved 2010-11-14.
- Peter Jackson, The Delhi Sultanate: A Political and Military History, (2003), Cambridge University Press. p.28. ISBN 0521543290
- Delhi Sultanate, Encyclopedia Britannica
- A. Schimmel, Islam in the Indian Subcontinent, Leiden, 1980
- Pradeep Barua The State at War in South Asia, ISBN 978-0803213449, p. 29-30
- Richard Eaton(2000), Temple Desecration and Indo-Muslim States, Journal of Islamic Studies, 11(3), pp 283-319
- A. Welch, “Architectural Patronage and the Past: The Tughluq Sultans of India,” Muqarnas 10, 1993, Brill Publishers, pp 311-322
- J. A. Page, Guide to the Qutb, Delhi, Calcutta, 1927, page 2-7
- Bowering et al., The Princeton Encyclopedia of Islamic Political Thought, ISBN 978-0691134840, Princeton University Press
- Peter Jackson (2003), The Delhi Sultanate: A Political and Military History, Cambridge University Press, ISBN 978-0521543293, pp 3-30
- T. A. Heathcote, The Military in British India: The Development of British Forces in South Asia:1600-1947, (Manchester University Press, 1995), pp 5-7
- Barnett, Lionel (1999), Antiquities of India: An Account of the History and Culture of Ancient Hindustan at Google Books, Atlantic pp. 73–79
- MUHAMMAD B. SAM Mu'izz AL-DIN, T.W. Haig, Encyclopaedia of Islam, Vol. VII, ed. C.E.Bosworth, E.van Donzel, W.P. Heinrichs and C. Pellat, (Brill, 1993)
- C.E. Bosworth, The Cambridge History of Iran, Vol. 5, ed. J. A. Boyle, John Andrew Boyle, (Cambridge University Press, 1968), pp 161-170
- Muʿizz al-Dīn Muḥammad ibn Sām Encyclopedia Britannica (2011)
- Bruce R. Gordon. "Nomads of the Steppe". My.raex.com. Retrieved 2012-01-20.
- C.E. Bosworth, The New Islamic Dynasties, Columbia University Press (1996)
- Peter Jackson (2003), The Delhi Sultanate: A Political and Military History, Cambridge University Press, ISBN 978-0521543293, pp 29-48
- Anzalone, Christopher (2008), "Delhi Sultanate", in Ackermann, M. E. etc. (Editors), Encyclopedia of World History 2, ISBN 978-0-8160-6386-4
- Qutb Minar and its Monuments, Delhi UNESCO
- Welch and Crane note that the Quwwatu'l-Islam was built with the remains of demolished Hindu and Jain temples; See: Anthony Welch and Howard Crane, The Tughluqs: Master Builders of the Delhi Sultanate, Muqarnas, Vol. 1, (1983), pp. 123-166
- Anthony Welch and Howard Crane, The Tughluqs: Master Builders of the Delhi Sultanate, Muqarnas, Vol. 1, (1983), pp. 123-166
- Holt et al., The Cambridge History of Islam - The Indian sub-continent, south-east Asia, Africa and the Muslim west, ISBN 978-0521291378, pp 9-13
- Alexander Mikaberidze, Conflict and Conquest in the Islamic World: A Historical Encyclopedia, ISBN 978-1598843361, pp 62-63
- Rene Grousset - Empire of steppes, Chagatai Khanate; Rutgers Univ Pr,New Jersey, U.S.A, 1988 ISBN 0-8135-1304-9
- Hermann Kulke and Dietmar Rothermund, A History of India, 3rd Edition, Routledge, 1998, ISBN 0-415-15482-0
- Vincent A Smith, The Oxford History of India: From the Earliest Times to the End of 1911 at Google Books, Chapter 2, pp 231-235, Oxford University Press
- Vincent A Smith, The Oxford History of India: From the Earliest Times to the End of 1911 at Google Books, Chapter 2, pp 236-242, Oxford University Press
- Elliot and Dowson, Táríkh-i Fíroz Sháhí of Ziauddin Barani, The History of India as Told by Its Own Historians. The Muhammadan Period (Vol 3), London, Trübner & Co
- Muḥammad ibn Tughluq Encyclopedia Britannica
- Richard Eaton, Temple Desecration and Muslim States in Medieval India at Google Books, (2004)
- Vincent A Smith, The Oxford History of India: From the Earliest Times to the End of 1911 at Google Books, Chapter 2, pp 242-248, Oxford University Press
- Vincent A Smith, The Oxford History of India: From the Earliest Times to the End of 1911 at Google Books, Chapter 2, pp 248-254, Oxford University Press
- John Briggs (translator) (1829–1981 Reprint). Tãrîkh-i-Firishta (History of the Rise of the Mahomedan Power in India). New Delhi; Quote: Hindu temples were felled to the ground and for one year a large establishment was maintained for the demolition of the Grand Martand temple. But when the massive masonry resisted all efforts, fire was applied and the noble buildings cruelly defaced.- Firishta;
- India: A History. Revised and Updated at Google Books, John Keay
- Richard Eaton, Temple desecration and Indo-Muslim states, Frontline (January 5 2001), pp 70-77
- Tughlaq Shahi Kings of Delhi: Chart The Imperial Gazetteer of India, 1909, v. 2, p. 369..
- Elliot, H. M. (Henry Miers), Sir; John Dowson. "15. Táríkh-i Fíroz Sháhí, of Ziauddin Barani". The History of India, as Told by Its Own Historians. The Muhammadan Period (Vol 3.). London: Trübner & Co.
- Srivastava, Ashirvadi Lal (1929). The Sultanate Of Delhi 711-1526 A D. Shiva Lal Agarwala & Company.
- Khan, Mohd. Adul Wali (1974). Gold and Silver Coins of Sultans of Delhi. Government of Andhra Pradesh.