Ziauddin Barani

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Ziyauddin Barani (1285–1357) was a Muslim political thinker of the Delhi Sultanate located in 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 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 promoted a racial hierarchy among Muslim communities in the Indian subcontinent

Life[edit]

Barani was born to a 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.[1] 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.[2]

His gravestone lies in the courtyard of Nizamuddin Auliya's dargah in Delhi, at the entrance of the dalan of Mirdha Ikram, and near the tomb of Amir Khusrau.

Tombstone of Barani

Works[edit]

Fatwa-i-Jahandari[edit]

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.[1]

His fatwa would condone segregation of the Muslim ashraf upper classes and ajlaf low classes, in addition to the azral underclasses or the converted Muslims who are regarded as "ritually polluted" by the ashraf.[3][4][5]

The work delves into aspects of religion and government and the meeting of those two, as well as political philosophy. He notes:

Barani's Fatwa-i-Jahandari provides an example of his extreme views on religion. He states that there is no difference between a Muslim king and a Hindu ruler, if the Muslim king is content in collecting jizya (poll-tax) and khiraj (tribute) from the Hindus. Instead, he recommends that a Muslim king should concentrate all his power on holy wars and completely uproot the "false creeds". According to him, a Muslim king could establish the supremacy of Islam in India only by slaughtering the Brahmins. He recommends that a Muslim king "should make a firm resolve to overpower, capture, enslave and degrade the infidels."[7]

At the same time, the book makes it clear that the kings of the Delhi Sultanate did not hold similar views. Barani rues that they honoured and favoured the Hindus, and had granted them the status of dhimmis (protected persons). The Muslim kings appointed Hindus to high posts, including governorships. Barani further laments that the Muslim kings were pleased with the prosperity of Hindus in their capital Delhi, even when poor Muslims worked for them and begged at their doors.[8]

Tarikh-i-Firuz Shahi[edit]

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.[2] Barani is an unfair narrator and generally considered a very unreliable source.[9]

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.[1]

Other works[edit]

  • Salvat-i-Kabir (The Great Prayer)
  • Sana-i-Muhammadi (Praises of Prophet Mohammad)
  • Hasratnama (Book of Regrets)
  • Tarikh-i-Barmaki
  • Inayat Nama-i-Ilahi (Book of Gods Gifts)
  • Maasìr Saadat (Good Deeds of the Sayyids)
  • Lubbatul Tarikh.

Work online[edit]

  • 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.

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Mahajan, V.D. (1991, reprint 2007). History of Medieval India, Part I, New Delhi: S. Chand, ISBN 81-219-0364-5, pp.174-6
  2. ^ a b c A. L. Basham 1958, p. 458.
  3. ^ Social Stratification Among Muslims in India Archived 18 July 2011 at the Wayback Machine. by Zarina Bhatty
  4. ^ Partap C. Aggarwal 1978.
  5. ^ Bhimrao Ambedkar 1945.
  6. ^ Barani, Fatawa-yi-Jahandari, folios 247b-248a
  7. ^ Banarsi Prasad Saksena 1992, p. 355.
  8. ^ Banarsi Prasad Saksena 1992, p. 355-356.
  9. ^ [url=https://archive.org/stream/cu31924073036737#page/n107/mode/2up Sir H. M. Elliot (Henry Miers) & John Dowson, "The History of India, as Told by Its Own Historians. The Muhammadan Period (Vol 3.)", "chapter 15. Táríkh-i Fíroz Sháhí, of Ziauddin Barani", Trübner & Co., London, pp95]

References[edit]