Ziauddin Barani (1285–1357) was a Muslim historian and political thinker who lived in Delhi Sultanate (present day North India) during Muhammad bin Tughlaq and Firuz Shah's reign. He was best known for composing the Tarikh-i-Firuz Shahi, a major historical work on medieval India, which covers the period from the reign of Ghiyas ud din Balban to the first six years of reign of Firuz Shah Tughluq and the Fatwa-i-Jahandari which details the Muslim Caste System in South Asia.
He was born in aristocratic Muslim family in 1285 in which his father, uncle, and grandfather all working in high government posts under the Sultan of Delhi. His family were natives of Meerut and Bulandsahar. His maternal grandfather Husam-ud-Din, was an important officer of Ghiyas ud din Balban and his father Muwayyid-ul-Mulk held the post of naib of Arkali Khan, the son of Jalaluddin Firuz Khalji. His uncle Qazi Ala-ul-Mulk was the Kotwal (police chief) of Delhi during the reign of Ala-ud-Din Khalji. Barani never held a post, but was a nadim (companion) of Muhammad bin Tughlaq for seventeen years. During this period he was very close to Amir Khusro. After Tughlaq was deposed, he fell out of favor. In "Exile" he wrote two pieces dealing with government, religion, and history, which he hoped would endear him to the new sultan, Firuz Shah Tughluq. He was not rewarded for his works and died poor in 1357.
The Fatwa-i-Jahandari is a work containing the political ideals to be pursued by a Muslim ruler in order to earn religious merit and the gratitude of his subjects.
His fatwa would condone segregation of the Muslim ashraf upper castes and ajlaf low castes, in addition to the azral undercastes or the Dalit Muslims who are regarded as "ritually polluted" by the ashraf.
The work delves into aspects of religion and government and the meeting of those two, as well as political philosophy. He notes:
|“||Religion and temporal government are twins; that is, head of religion and the head of government are twin brothers.||”|
The Tarikh-i-Firuz Shahi (Firuz Shah's History) (1357) was an interpretation of the history of the Delhi Sultanate up to the then-present Firuz Shah Tughlaq. Then interpretation noted that the sultans who followed the rules of Barani had succeeded in their endeavors while those that did not, or those who had sinned, met the Nemesis.
In the Tarikh-i-Firuz Shahi, Barani claims that whatever he has written is true and his account is considered as trustworthy by the modern scholars. But, though Barani refers many times to the sources of information, he did not consult his contemporary works. This resulted in the sketchy description of Ala-ud-Din Khalji’s wars in Chittor, Ranthambhor and Malwa and the Deccan campaigns of Malik Kafur. The later medieval historians, Nizam-ud-Din Ahmad, Badaoni, Ferishta and Haji-ud-Dabir depended upon the Tarikh-i-Firuz Shahi for their account of history of the period covered in this work. Abdul Haq Dehlvi in his Akhbar-ul-Akhyar depended upon the work for the biographical sketches of Nizam-ud-Din Auliya and the other Sufi saints.
- 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.
- Mahajan, V.D. (1991, reprint 2007). History of Medieval India, Part I, New Delhi: S. Chand, ISBN 81-219-0364-5, pp.174-6
- Basham p.458
- Social Stratification Among Muslims in India by Zarina Bhatty
- Aggarwal, Patrap (1978). Caste and Social Stratification Among Muslims in India. Manohar.
- Ambedkar, Bhimrao. Pakistan or the Partition of India. Thackers Publishers.
- Web resource for Pakistan or the Partition of India
- Barani, Fatawa-yi-Jahandari, folios 247b-248a
- Basham, A.L. Sources of Indian Tradition Volume 1. Columbia University Press 1958. ISBN 0-231-08600-8