Firuz Shah Tughlaq

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Firoz Shah Tughlaq
Malik Feioz ibn Malik Rajab
Sultan of Delhi
Reign 1351–1388 AD
Predecessor Muhammad bin Tughlaq
Successor Ghiyas-ud-Din Tughlaq II
Dynasty Tughlaq Dynasty
Father Malik Rajab
Mother Bibi Nala
Born 1309
Died September 20, 1388
Burial Hauz Khas Complex, Delhi
Religion Islam

Sultan Firoz Shah Tughlaq (Nastaliq: فیروز شاہ تغلق, Devanagari: फ़िरोज़ शाह तुग़लक़) (1309 – September 20, 1388) was a Turkic Muslim ruler of the Tughlaq Dynasty, who reigned over the Sultanate of Delhi from 1351 to 1388.[1] He was the son of a Hindu princess of Dipalpur.[2] His father's name was Rajab (the younger brother of Ghazi Malik) who had the title Sipahsalar.[3] Sultan Feroze Shah Tughlaq succeeded his cousin Muhammad bin Tughlaq following the latter's death from a fatal illness, but due to widespread unrest Sultan Feroze Shah Tughlaq's realm was much smaller than Muhammad's. Sultan Feroze Shah Tughlaq was forced by rebellions to concede virtual independence to Bengal and other provinces.


Sultan Firoz Shah Tughlaq was the Sultan of Delhi from 1351 to 1388. At his succession after the death of Muhammad Tughlaq, he faced many rebellions, including in Bengal, Gujarat and Warangal. Nonetheless he worked to improve the infrastructure of the empire building canals, rest-houses and hospitals, creating and refurbishing reservoirs and digging wells. He founded several cities, including Jaunpur, Firozpur and Hissar-Firoza. In the mid 1350s he developed the city near Delhi, calling it Firozabad. Most of that city was destroyed as subsequent rulers dismantled its buildings and reused the spolia as building materials,[4] and the rest was subsumed as New Delhi grew.


Sultan Firoz Shah Tughlaq took to heart the mistakes made during his cousin Muhammad's rule. He decided not to reconquer areas that had broken away, nor to keep further areas from taking their independence. He was indiscriminately benevolent and lenient as a sultan.[5] He decided to keep nobles and the Ulema happy so that they would allow him to rule his kingdom peacefully. In fact, almost all the rebellions during his rule were inherited from Muhammad bin Tughlaq. We come to know about him from a 32-page brochure he wrote.[6] Rather than awarding position based on merit, Sultan Firoz Shah Tughlaq allowed a noble's son to succeed to his father's position and jagir after his death.[7] The same was done in the army, where an old soldier could send his son, son-in-law or even his slave in his place. He increased the salary of the nobles. He stopped all kinds of harsh punishments such as cutting off hands. Firoz also lowered the land taxes that Muhammad had raised. Sultan Firoz Shah Tughlaq's reign has been described as the greatest age of corruption in medieval India. It can be imagined from the fact that Sultan Feroze Shah Tughlaq once gave a golden tanka to a distraught soldier so that he could bribe the clerk to pass his sub standard horse.[8] The case of Imadulmulk Bashir,[9] the minister of war who began his career as an inherited slave of Sultan Firoz Shah Tughlaq, in the course of his service is said to have accumulated wealth to the tune of thirteen crores, when the state's yearly income was six crores and seventy-five lakh.[citation needed] In one area was Sultan Firoz intolerant, and that was over religious issues. He was a fervent Muslim, and had Hindu temples destroyed, as well as their books, idols and ceremonial vessels.[10] However, he still drank alcohol, even to excess.[10]

Infrastructure and education[edit]

When the top two stories of the Qutb Minar were damaged by lightning, Sultan Firoz Shah Tughlaq restored them in 1368 AD. Sultan Firoz Shah Tughlaq instituted economic policies to increase material welfare of his people. Many rest houses (sarai), gardens and tombs were built. A number of Madrasas were opened to encourage literacy. He set up hospitals for the free treatment of the poor and encouraged physicians in the development of Unani medicine.[11] He provided money for the marriage of girls belonging to poor families. He commissioned many public buildings in Delhi. He built over 300 villages and dug 5 major canals for irrigation bringing more land under cultivation for growing grain and fruit. For day-to-day administration, Sultan Firoz Shah Tughlaq heavily depended on Malik Maqbul, previously commander of Warangal fort, who was captured and had accepted Islam.[12] When Firoz Shah was away on a Campaign to Sind and Gujarat for six months and no news was available about his whereabouts Maqbul ably protected Delhi.[13] He was the most highly favoured among the significant number of the nobles in Sultan Firoz Shah Tughlaq's court and retained the trust of the sultan.[14] Sultan Feroze Shah Tughlaq used to call Maqbul as 'brother'. The sultan even remarked that Khan-i-Jahan (Malik Maqbul) was the real ruler of Delhi.[15] he wrote his autobiography by the name Futuhat-e-firozshahi.

Hindu religious works were translated from Sanskrit to Persian. He had a large personal library of manuscripts in Persian, Arabic and other languages. He brought 2 Ashokan Pillars from Topara in Ambala district, and Meerut, carefully wrapped in silk, to Delhi. He re-erected one of them in his palace at Feroz Shah Kotla.

Remains of buildings at Firoz Shah Kotla, Delhi, 1795.

He had about 70,000 slaves, who had been brought from all over the country, trained in various arts and crafts. They however turned out to be undependable.[citation needed] Transfer of capital was the highlight of his reign. When the Qutb Minar struck by lightning in 1368 AD, knocking off its top storey, he replaced them with the existing two floors, faced with red sandstone and white marble. One of his hunting lodges, Shikargah, also known as Kushak Mahal, is situated within the Teen Murti Bhavan complex, Delhi. The nearby Kushak Road is named after it, as is the Tughlaq Road further on.[16][17]

Establishment of Islamic Law[edit]

He won over the Ulemas by giving them grants of revenue, which gave him political power, but also ensured their participation in politics. Under his rule, Hindu Brahmins were not exempted from paying mandatory tax Jizya levied on Hindus on the ground that it was not mentioned in Sharia.[citation needed]


Sultan Firoz Shah Tughlaq's death led to a war of succession coupled with nobles rebelling to set up independent states. His lenient attitude had strengthened the nobles, thus weakening the Sultan's position. His successor Ghiyas-ud-Din Tughlaq II could not control the slaves or the nobles. The army had become weak. Slowly the empire shrank in size. Ten years after his death, Timur's invasion devastated Delhi.

Preceded by
Muhammad bin Tughlaq
Sultan of Delhi
Succeeded by
Ghiyas-ud-Din Tughlaq II

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Tughlaq Shahi Kings of Delhi: Chart The Imperial Gazetteer of India, 1909, v. 2, p. 369..
  2. ^ Douie, James McCrone, Sir (1916). The Panjab North-West Frontier Province and Kashmir. Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press. p. 171. 
  3. ^ Elliot, Henry Miers, Sir; Dowson, John (1871). "Chapter XVI, Táríkh-i Fíroz Sháhí of Shams-i Siráj 'Afíf". The history of India, as told by its own historians: The Muhammadan period. London: Trübner and Company. p. 273. 
  4. ^ "West Gate of Firoz Shah Kotla". British Library. 
  5. ^ Chaurasia, Radhey Shyam (2002). "Chapter 6: Firoz Shah Tughlaq (1351–1388 A.D.)". History of Medieval India: From 1000 A.D. to 1707 A.D. New Delhi: Atlantic Publishers. pp. 67–76. ISBN 978-81-269-0123-4. 
  6. ^ Tughlaq, Firoz Shah. Futūḥāt-i Fīrūz Shāhī.  1949 reprint by Muslim University, Aligarh, Uttar Pradesh, OCLC 45078860 See Nizami, Khaliq Ahmad (1974). "The Futuhat-i-Firuz Shahi as a medieval inscription". Proceedings of the Seminar on Medieval Inscriptions (6–8th Feb. 1970). Aligarh, Uttar Pradesh: Centre of Advanced Study, Department of History, Aligarh Muslim University. pp. 28–33. OCLC 3870911.  and Nizami, Khaliq Ahmad (1983). On History and Historians of Medieval India. New Delhi: Munshiram Manoharlal,. pp. 205–210. OCLC 10349790. 
  7. ^ Jackson, Peter (1999). The Delhi Sultanate: A Political and Military History. Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press. p. 304. ISBN 978-0-521-40477-8. 
  8. ^ Chaurasia 2002, p. 75
  9. ^ Not to be confused with the "king-makers": the earlier Imad-al-Mulk, grandfather of Amir Khusraw (Jackson 1999, p. 77), or the later Imad-ul-Mulk who was the wazir and later assassin of Alamgir II (Chaurasia 2002, p. 316).
  10. ^ a b Chaurasia 2002, p. 74
  11. ^ Tibb Firoz Shahi (1990) by Hakim Syed Zillur Rahman, Department of History of Medicine and Science, Jamia Hamdard, New Delhi, 79pp
  12. ^ Ahmend, Manazir (1978). Sultan Firoz Shah Tughlaq, 1351–1388 A.D. Allahabad: Chugh Publications. pp. 46 and 95. OCLC 5220076. 
  13. ^ A History of India, H. Kulke and D. Rothermund, 1998, Routledge, p.167, ISBN 0-415-15482-0
  14. ^ The Delhi Sultanate: A Political and Military History, P. Jackson, 1999, Cambridge University Press, p. 186, ISBN 0-521-54329-0
  15. ^ Medieval India; From Sultanat to the Mughals, S. Chandra, 2007, Har Anand Publications, p.122, ISBN 81-241-1064-6
  16. ^ "Indian cavalry’s victorious trysts with India’s history". Asian Age. Dec 6, 2011. 
  17. ^ "King’s resort in the wild". Hindustan Times, New Delhi,. August 4, 2012. 

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