Muhammad bin Tughluq
Muhammad bin Tughluq (also Prince Fakhr Malik, Jauna Khan, Ulugh Khan;
died 20 March 1351) was the Sultan of
Delhi from 1325 to 1351. He was
the eldest son of Ghiyath al-Din Tughluq, the Turko-Indian founder
of the Tughluq dynasty. He was born in Kotla Tolay Khan in Multan.His
wife was the daughter of the
Raja of Dipalpur. Ghiyas-ud-din sent
the young Muhammad to the Deccan to campaign against king Prataparudra
Kakatiya dynasty whose capital was at
Warangal in 1321 and
1323. Muhammad ascended to the
Delhi throne upon his father's death
in 1325. He was interested in medicine and was skilled in several
languages — Persian, Arabic, Turkish and Sanskrit Ibn Battuta,
the famous traveler and jurist from Morocco, was a guest at his court
and wrote about his suzerainty in his book. From his accession to
the throne in 1325 until his death in 1351, Muhammad contended with 22
rebellions, pursuing his policies, consistently and ruthlessly.
1 Early life
2.2 Shifting of capital
2.2.1 Impact of the Change of Capital
2.3 Failed expeditions
3 Collapse of the empire
5 Religious policy
7 In popular culture
11 External links
Muhammad bin Tughluq
Muhammad bin Tughluq was born to Ghiyas-ud-din Tughlaq, who was in
turn the son of a Turkic slave father and a
Hindu Indian concubine
mother, and was the founder of the
Tughluq dynasty after taking
control of the
Delhi Sultanate. His mother was known by the title
Makhduma-i-Jahan, who was known for being a philanthropist, having
founded many hospitals.
Muhammad Bin Tughlaq (Jauna Khan) came to throne after death of his
father Ghiyasuddin Tughlaq. While he had good intentions of inviting
learned men to his court and implementing new policies, he remained
largely unsuccessful and failed in most of his enterprises. He had
been a man of controversies and crisis. He faced attacks of Mongols,
dissension within his own support group, and rebellions from a very
large and diverse population. In an effort to adapt to his growing
empire, he attempted to shift his capital from
Delhi to Daulatabad,
which was supposed to be a more central location, but it was a
disastrous decision and was costly.
After the death of his father Ghiyasuddin Tughlaq, Muhammad bin
Tughlaq ascended the throne of
Tughluq dynasty of
Delhi in February,
1325 A.D. Unlike the Khaljis who did not annex stable kingdoms,
Tughluq would annex kingdoms around his sultanate. In his reign, he
Warangal (in present-day Telangana, India) Malabar and
Madurai, (Tamil Nadu, India), and areas up to the modern day southern
tip of the Indian state of Karnataka. In the conquered territories,
Tughluq created a new set of revenue officials to assess the financial
aspects of the area. Their accounts helped the audit in the office of
Shifting of capital
In 1327, Tughluq passed an order to shift the capital from
Daulatabad (in present-day Maharashtra) in the Deccan region of south
India. Tughluq said that it would help him to establish control over
the fertile land of the
Deccan plateau and to create a more accessible
capital since his empire had grown more in the south.  He also felt
that it would make him safe from the Mongol invasions which were
mainly aimed at
Delhi and regions in north India. It was not always
possible to operate an army from
Delhi for the occupation of Southern
states. Muhammad-bin-Tughlaq himself had spent a number of years as a
prince on campaign in the southern states during the reign of his
father. Daulatabad was also situated at a central place so the
administration of both the north and the south could be
All facilities were provided for those who were required to migrate to
Daulatabad. It is believed that the general public of
Delhi was not in
favour of shifting the base to Daulatabad. This seems to have annoyed
Tughluq, for he ordered all people of
Delhi to proceed to Daulatabad
with their belongings. Ibn Batuta cites that the force was applied
without any leniency.
Ziauddin Barani observes: "Without consultation
or weighting the pros and cons, he brought ruin on
Delhi which for 170
to 180 years had grown in prosperity and rivaled Baghdad and Cairo.
The city with its Sarais and suburbs and villages spread over four or
five leagues, all was destroyed (i.e., deserted). Not a cat or a dog
was left."[unreliable source?]
A broad road was constructed for convenience. Shady trees were planted
on both sides of the road; he set up halting stations at an interval
of two miles. Provisions for food and water were also made available
at the stations. Tughluq established a khanqah at each of the station
where at least one sufi saint was stationed. A regular postal service
was established between
Delhi and Daulatabad. In 1329, his mother also
went to Daulatabad, accompanied by the nobles. By around the same
year, Tughluq summoned all the slaves, nobles, servants, ulema, sufis
to the new capital. The new capital was divided into wards called
mohalla with separate quarters for different people like soldiers,
poets, judges, nobles. Grants were also given by Tughluq to the
immigrants. Even though the citizens migrated, they showed dissent. In
the process, many died on the road due to hunger and exhaustion.
Moreover, coins minted in Daulatabad around 1333, showed that
Daulatabad was "the second capital".
However, in 1334 there was a rebellion in Mabar. While on his way to
suppress the rebellion, there was an outbreak of bubonic plague at
Bidar due to which Tughluq himself became ill, and many of his
soldiers died. While he retreated back to Daulatabad, Mabar and
Dwarsamudra broke away from Tughluq control. This was followed by a
revolt in Bengal. Fearing that the sultanate's northern borders were
exposed to attacks, in 1335, he decided to shift the capital back to
Delhi, allowing the citizens to return to their previous city.
Impact of the Change of Capital
While most of the Medieval historians, including Barani and Ibn
Battuta, tend to have implied that
Delhi was entirely emptied (as is
famously mentioned by Barani that not a dog or cat was left), it is
generally believed that this is just an exaggeration. Such exaggerated
accounts simply imply that
Delhi suffered a downfall in its stature
and trade. Besides, it is believed that only the powerful and nobility
suffered hardships, if any. Two Sanskrit inscriptions dated 1327 and
1328 A.D. confirm this view and establish the prosperity of the Hindus
Delhi and its vicinity at that time.
There is more to the transfer of capital than what is generally
written. It is believed that Tughluq wanted to make Daulatabad an
Islamic cultural centre, thereby helping him to have better control
over the region, reducing the number of "Hindu" rebellions. His
efforts to bring
Ulema and Shaikhs from provincial towns and make them
settle down in that city give a clue to his true intentions. The view
of Muhammad Tughluq was that something like the above had to be done
in the Deccan to strengthen the Muslim position in that area.[citation
The Deccan experiment did however succeed in breaking down barriers.
The boundaries which had separated the North from the South broke
down. It is true that the extension of the administrative power of the
Delhi Sultanate into the Deccan failed, but so far as the extension of
the cultural institutions was concerned, it was
After the death of Genghis Khan, one line of his descendants, the
Chagatai Khanate, ruled over
Transoxiana and another
Hulagu Khan conquered present day
Iran and Iraq. [note 1]
However, at the time of Tughluq, both of the dynasties were on the
downfall, with conditions in
Transoxiana unstable after the death of
Tarmashirin. He was ambitious of annexing these kingdoms. He
invited nobles and leaders from these regions and gave them grants.
Partly with their help and partly from his own kingdom, Tughluq raised
an army of possibly up to three million and seven hundred thousand
soldiers in 1329. Barani has written that Tughluq took no step to
check the ability of the soldiers or the brand of horses. They were
paid in one year advance, and after being kept idle for one year,
Tughluq found it difficult to pay them. Therefore, he decided to
disperse and dissolve the soldiers in 1329.
In 1333, Tughluq led the Qarachil expedition to the Kullu-Kangra
region of modern-day
Himachal Pradesh in India. Historians like
Ferishtah wrote that Tughluq originally wanted to cross
Himalayas and invade China. However, he faced local resistance in
Himachal. His army was not able to fight in the hills and was defeated
Katoch kingdom of Kangra, nearly all his 10,000 soldiers
perished and he was forced to retreat.
Collapse of the empire
Tughluq died in 1351 on his way to Thatta,
Sindh in order to intervene
in a war between members of the
Gujjar tribe. He had lived to see his
empire fall apart. It was during his reign that Turkish empire of
Delhi collapsed by two fold resistance. One was from Rana Hammir Singh
Sisodia of Mewar and other from Harihara and Bukka of South India. All
these three warriors were able to inflict humiliating defeats on the
Sultanate army and crush the empire. While Rana
Hammir Singh liberated
the strategic Rajputana, Harihara Raya and Bukka Raya established a
new empire called Vijayanagara that revived the prosperity of Sangam
era in South India. Several other south Indian rulers like Musunuri
Kaapaaneedu, etc. also contributed to the downfall of the Delhi
sultanate. To add to Tughluq's woes, his own generals rebelled against
him. He is also called the man of knowledge. One of his generals would
go on to form the Bahmani kingdom in the Deccan.
Forced token currency coin
Ishwari Prasad writes that different coins of different
shapes and sizes were produced by his mints which lacked the artistic
perfection of design and finish. In 1330, after his failed expedition
to Deogiri, he issued token currency; that is coins of brass and
copper were minted whose value was equal to that of gold and silver
Ziauddin Barani felt that this step was taken by
Tughluq as he wanted to annex all the inhabited areas of the world for
which a treasury was required to pay the army. Barani had also written
that the sultan's treasury had been exhausted by his action of giving
rewards and gifts in gold. This experiment failed, because, as said by
Barani, "the house of every
Hindu became a mint". During his time,
most of the
Hindu citizens were goldsmiths and hence they knew how to
make coins. In the rural areas, officials like the muqaddams paid the
revenue in brass and copper coins and also used the same coins to
purchase arms and horses. As a result, the value of coins
decreased and, as said by Satish Chandra, the coins became "as
worthless as stones". This also disrupted the trade and commerce. The
token currency had inscriptions marking the use of new coins instead
of the royal seal and so the citizens could not distinguish between
the official and the forged coins. Records show that the use of token
currency has stopped in 1333 as
Ibn Battuta who came to
Delhi in 1334
and wrote a journal made no mention of this currency.
Ibn Battuta mentions that the king of China (the Yuan Emperor) had
sent an embassy to Muhammad for reconstruction of a sacked temple at
Sambhal. The envoys were however denied with the statement that only
those living in a Muslim territory who paid the jizya could be
permitted to restore a temple.
Firuz Shah Tughlaq
Firuz Shah Tughlaq had claimed that
before his rule, idol-temples had been permitted to be rebuilt
contrary to the Sharia.
Tughluq was a strict Muslim, maintaining his five prayers during a
day, used to fast in Ramadan. According to 19th Century CE British
historian Stanley Lane-Poole, apparently courtesans had hailed Tughluq
as a "man of knowledge" and had interest in subjects like philosophy,
medicine, mathematics, religion, Persian and Urdu/Hindustani poetry.
In his "Medieval India", "He was perfect in the humanities of his day,
a keen student of Persian poetry.........a master of style, supremely
eloquent in an age of rhetoric, a philosopher trained in Logic and
Greek metaphysics, with whom scholars feared to argue, a mathematician
and lover of science." Barani has written that Tughluq wanted the
traditions of the nubuwwah to be followed in his kingdom. Even
though he did not believe in mysticism, Chandra states that he
Sufi saints, which is evident from the fact of his
building of the mausoleum of the saint
Nizamuddin Auliya at Nizamuddin
Dargah.[additional citation(s) needed] Critics have called him hasty
in nature, owing to most of his experiments failing due to lack of
Ibn Battuta has also written that he depended on his own
judgement and rarely took advice from others and has also criticized
him for his giving of excessive gifts and "harsh punishments". He
was famous because whenever a gift was bestowed upon him, he would
give gifts worth three times the value to show his stature.
In popular culture
A play was made on him by Girish Karnad.
Muhammad bin Tughluq
Muhammad bin Tughluq (1971) is the title of a satirical film in Tamil
based on a play of the same name by Cho Ramaswamy.
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Encyclopædia Britannica – Muhammad ibn Tughluq
Ghiyath al-Din Tughluq
Sultan of Delhi