Delhi Sultanate

A. Muslim Invasions of India

  1. Arab Conquest of Sind
    • Muhammad bin Qasim (a deputy of the Arab governor of Iraq, Hajjaj) invaded and occupied Sind in 712 AD from its Hindu ruler, Dahir. 
    • Henceforth Sind continued to be under Muslim occupation. 
    • Though the Arabs failed to penetrate further into India, they initiated a new element in Islamic polity, i.e. granting the status of ‘zimmis’ to the local Hindu subjects by collecting the toll-tax of ‘jizya’ from them.


  1. Invsions of Mahumd of Ghazni
    • Totally seventeen, first raid in 1001; seventeenth raid in 1025 to plunder the Somanatha (Siva) temple in Gujrat; 
    • Main purpose of his raids was to plunder India.


  1. Invasions of Muhammad of Ghur
    • His full name-Muizuddin Muhammad bin Sam; main purpose of his invasions- to acquire territories in India; 
    • First invasion occupations of Multan (1175), failure of his attempt to overcome Gujarat (1178); 
    • Failure of his defeat by its Solanki ruler (Mularaja II, the first Indian ruler to defeat Muhammad of Ghur); 
    • First battle of Tarain (1191)- his defeat by Prithviraja Chauhan III (ruler of Ajmer);  Second battle of Tarain (1192)- he defeated Prithiviraja. 
    • Battle of Chandwar (1194)- his defeat of Jayachandra (the Gahadvala ruler of Kanauj); 
    • His last campaign in India (1206) was to suppress a rebellion of the Khokkars in Punja and his murder by a Khokkar fanatic.



    • Qutb-ud-din Aibek was the founder of first independent Turkish kingdom in Northern India. For his generosity, he was given the title of ‘Lakh Baksh’ (giver of lakhs).
    • He constructed two mosques - Quwat-ul-lslam at Delhi and Adhi-Din-ka-Jhopra at Ajmer.  
    • He also began the construction of Qutub Minar, in the honour of famous Sufi saint khwaja Qutub-ud-din Bakhtiyar Kaki.
    • Aibak was great patron of learing and patronised writers like Hasan-un-Nizami, author of Taj-ut-Massir and Fakrudin, author of Tarikh-i-Mubarak Shahi.     Founded the Slave Dynasty.
    • Died while playing Chaugan (Polo) from a fall from horse.


    • Iltumish was the real founder of Delhi Sultanate. He made Delhi the capital in place of Lahore.
    • He saved Delhi Sultanate from the wrath of Chengiz Khan, the Mongol leader by refusing shelter to Khwarizm Shah, who Chengiz was chasing.
    • He completed the construction of Qutum Minar.             He issued the silver tanka for the first time.  
    • He organized the lqta system and introduced reforms in civil administration and army, which was now centrally paid and recruited.
    • He set up an official nobility of slaves known as Chalagani (group of forty) He partronised Minaj-us-Siraj of Tabaquot-j-Nasiri



    • Though lltumish had nominated his daughter Razia as the successor, the nobles placed Rukn-ud-din-Firoz on the throne.  
    • Razia get rid of Rukn-ud-din and ascended the throne.  
    • Razia was popular among the people belt, she was not acceptable to the nobles and theologians.  
    • She further, offended the nobles by her preference for an Abyssinian slave Yakut.  



    • Balban ascended the throne in 1265 AD.
    • He broke the power of Chahlagni and restored the prestige of the crown. That was his greatest contribution towards the stability of the sultanate.
    • To keep himself well informed he appointed spices.
    • He created a strong centralized army to deal with internal disturbance and to check Mongols, who were posing a serious danger to Delhi Sultanate.
    • He established the military department Diwan-Arz.
    • The Persian court model influenced Balban’s conception of kingship. He took up the title of ‘Zil-i-lahi’ (shadow of God)
    • He introduced Sijda (prostration before the monarch) and Paibos (kissing the feet of monarch) as the normal forms of salutation.
    • He destroyed Mewati Rajput brigade in the Doab.
    • Effected a radical change in his dress, social behavior and manners.
    • Destroyed the ‘group of fourty’.
    • Belonged to the Ilbari tribe.
    • Adopted the policy of ‘Blood and iron’ in governance.
    • Claimed himself the descendant of Persian ruler Afrsiyab.





    • Alauddin khalji ascended the throne after getting his uncle Jalal-ud-din murdered.  
    • He was the first Turkish Sultan of Delhi, who separated religion from politics.  
    • He proclaimed, “Kingship knows”.


Alauddin’s imperialism 

    • Alauddin annexed Gujarat (1298 AD), Ranthambhor (1301 ad), Mewar (1303 AD), Malwa (1305 AD), Jalor (1311 AD), in Deccan.  
    • Alauddin’s army led by Malik Dafur defeated Yadawas of Devagiri, Kakatiyas of Dwarsamundra and Pandays of Madurai.


Administrative Reforms

    • In order to avoid the problems created by the nobles, Alauddin issued four important ordinances.  
    • The first ordinance aimed at seizure of the religions endowments and free grants of lands.
    • He introduced the system of Dagh or the branding of horse and Chehra or prepration of the descriptive role.
    • Alauddin ordered that all land was to be measured and then the share of state was to be fixed.  
    • The post of special officer called Mustakhraj was created for the purpose of collection of revenue.




    • He laid the foundation of a big palace fort, which is known as Tughluqabad.
    • He was on bad terms with the famous Sufi saint Nizamudin Auliya.  
    • The Statement Hunz Dilli dur ast , (Delhi is yet far off) was made by the saint for the     Sultan when he was returning from Bengal to punish the saint.


    • He tried to introduce many administrative reforms. He had five ambitious projects for which he has become particularly debatable.
  1. Taxation in the Doad: 
    • The Sultan made an ill-advised financial experiment in the Doad between the Ganges and Jamuna.  
    • He not only increased the rate of taxation but also revived and created some additional Abwabs or cessess.  
    • Although the share of the state remained half as in time of Aladdin, it was fixed arbitrarily not because of actual produce.  
    • Prices were also fixed artistically for converting the produce into money.  
    • It is said that the increase was twenty fold and to this were added Ghari or house tax and the Charahi or pasture tax.
  1. Transfer of Capital: 
    • The most controversial step, which Muhammed Tughlaq undertook soon after his accession, was the so-called transfer of capital from Delhi to Deogir.  
    • Deogir had been a base for the expansion of Turkish rule in South India; it appears that the Sultan wanted to make Deogir second capital so that he might be able to control South India better.  
    • Deogir was thus named Daultabad largely because he soon found that as he could not control South India from Delhi, he could not control north from Daultabad.
  1. Introduction of Token Currency: 
    • Muhammad Tuglaq decided to introduce bronze coins, which were to have same value as the silver ones. Muhammad Tughlaq might have been successful, if he could prevent people from forging the new coins.  
    • He was not able to do so and soon the new coins began to greatly devalued in markets. Finally, Muhammed Tuglaq decided to withdraw the token currency. He promised to exchange silver pieces for bronze coins.
  1. Proposed Khurasan Exedition: 
    • The sultan had a vision of universal conquest. He decided to conquest khurasan and Iraq and mobilised a huge army for the purpose.  
    • He was encouraged to do so by Khurasani nobles who had taken shelter in his court. Moreover, there was instability in khurasan because of the unpopular role of Abu Sayid.
  1. Quarachil Expedition:  
    • This expedition was launched in Kumaon hills in Himalayas allegedly to counter Chinese incursions.  
    • It also appears that the expedition was directed against some refractory tribes in Kumaon Garhawal region to bringing them under Delhi Sultanate. The first attack was a success but when the rainy season set in, the invaders suffered terribly.
    • His five projects had led to revolts all around his empire. His last days were spent in checking the revolts in Thatta in Sindh (altogether 36 revolts in 25 years)


Miscellaneous Facts about Md. Bin Tughlaq

    • Formulated ‘famine-code’ to provide relief of famine-affected people. 
    • Well-versed in various branches of leaning viz. astronomy, mathematics, medicine etc.          Created the department of agriculture (Diwan-i-Amirkohi) to improve agriculture            Known as “Mixture of opposites” or a “mad king”.
    • Enhanced tax of doab to one-half of the produce. 
    • Introduced token currency of copper and brass (1329-30).
    • First sultan to advance loans known as sondhar to peasants for digging wells to extend cultivation. 
    • Muhammad had cordial relations with some of the Asian countries, particularly China.

The Chinese emperor, Toghan Timur, sent an envoy to Delhi in 1341 seeking Muhammad’s permission to rebuild Buddhist temples in the Himalayan region. 

    • Muhammad’s soldiers demolished Himalayan temples during his Qarajal expedition. 
    • The Sultan sent Ibn Battuta as an envoy to the court of the Mongol emperor of China.

Ibn Battuta stated in July 1342, and returned in 1347.

    • Created a heterogenous nobility-incorporated land owning class viz artisan class into nobility.
    • The Wizarat witnessed its heyday during his reign.


    • After his accession, Firoz Tuglaq faced the problem of preventing the imminent break up of Delhi Sultanate.
    • The new system of taxation was according to Quran. Four kinds of taxes sanctioned by the Quran were Kharaj, Zakat, Zajiya and Khams.
    • In order to encourage agriculture, the Sultan paid a lot of attention to irrigation.  
    • Firoz repaired a number of canals. The first canal was from Sultej to Ghaggar. The second canal carried the waters of Jamuna to the city of Hissar. The third canal started from neighborhood of Mandhavi and Sirmor hills and connected with Hansi.
    • A new department of Diwan-i-Khairat was set up to make provision for marriage of poor girls.
    • Made ‘Iqta system’ hereditary.
    • Founded several cities like Firozabad, Fatehabad, Hissar, Janupur, Firozpur etc.
    • Wrote his autobiography “Futuhat-i-Firozshahi’.
    • The department Diwan-i-Bandgan was also a new creation of Firuz, which administered the affairs of the slaves. 
    • He made systematic assessment of land. 
    • Firoz Shah imposed Jizya upon the Brahmanas. The step caused resentment in the community and they assembled before the royal palace and prayed for the restoration of the status quo. 
    • The Sultan also opened a large number of hospitals called ‘Darush shafa’ where medicines used to be distributed free to the people. Experienced physicians, surgeon, eye specialists were appointed to attend the patients with great care. 
    • Firoz repaired the upper storeys of the Qutub Minar, which were struck by lightning in 770 A.H./1368 A.D. These repairs were confined to the fourth and fifth storeys. 
    • He built Kushk Firoz or Kotla Firoz Shah- It was a palace fortress; Situated on the bank of the river Jumna. Another interesting object in the Kotla of Firoz Shah was the Asokan pillar.
    • Established an Employment Bureaus to provide work to unemployed. 
    • Started practice of granting old-age pension.        Started charitable kitchen.




    • Introduced a new gaz known as gaz-i-sikandari of 32 digit
    • He was fond of literatue and poetry and wrote verses in Persian under the name of Gul    


    • The main achievement of the Sultan was the conquest and annexation of Bihar. IBRAHIM LODHI
    • The Afghan nobility was brave and freedom loving but it was because of its individualistic tendencies that the Afghan monarchy was weakened.  
    • Moreover, Ibrahim Lodhi asserted the absolute power of the Sultan. As a result, some of the nobles turned against him.  
    • At last, Daulat Khan Lodhi, the governor of Punjab invited Babur to overthrow Ibrahim.  
    • Babur accepted the offer and inflicted a crushing defeat on Ibrahim in the first Battle of Panipat in 1526 AD.  
    • Ibrahim was killed in the battle and with him ended the Delhi Sultanate.



    • Harihar-I and Bukka-I (sons of Sangama) who was feudatories of kakatiyas and later became ministers in the court of Kampilli, founded Vijaynagar kingdom.
    • Harihar and Bukka were brought to the centre by Mohammed bin Tuglaq; converted to Islam and were sent to South again to control rebellion but on the instance of Vidyaranya they established Vijaynagar kingdom in 1336 AD.


    • The Vijaynagar rulers produced a new style of architecture called as dravida style. 
    • The large number and prominence of pillars and piers are some of the distinct features. 
    • Horse was the most common animal on the pillars. Another important feature was the Mandapa or open pavilion with a raised platform, meant for seating deities.
    • Important temples were Vithalswami and Hazara temples at Hampi, Tadapatri and Parvati temples at Chidambaram and Varadaraja and Ekambarnatha temples at Kanchipuram.





    • The head of the department was wazir
    • Excercised general supervision over all departments  In particular the department was associated with the finance  Associated with collection of revenue.


    • The head of the department was Ariz-i-Mumalik
    • This was the military department of the sultanate.


    • The head of the departement was Dabir-i-Mumalik
    • Looked after state correspondence
    • Associated with issuing of farmans.


    • The head of the department was Sadr-us-Sudur.
    • Looked after elesiastical affairs 



Head of city administration. He maintained law & order, enforced 


Economic regulations, correct use of weight and measures and kept Vigil on the visitors.


News reporter intelligence agents


Provincial governor/holder of iqta


Head of Shiqs (equivalent to districts)


Expounder of law  


keeping accounts and sending information of sultan


A select body of Turkish nobility (originally slaves of IItumtish) which came into existence during the period of IItutmish. 


Revenue officer


Minister in-charge of the army of the whole country


Governor, a person in whose charge an iqta has been placed.


An officer appointed to maintain law and order in a municipality.



    • Fawazil          Excess amounts or surplus of revenue appropriated from Iqta after       defraying salary (of the iqta-holder) and meeting expenditure of                      troops. This amount was to be deposited with the state exchequer. 

                        However this trend ceased to exist from the time of Firoz Shah Tughlaq.            Abwabs        Various imposts like ghari, charal etc.

    • Ushr   A land tax, charged on the land held by a Muslim and watered by natural 

      means. Usually, it was one-tenth of the produce. But on land dependent for irrigation with buckets or wheels only one-twentieth of the produce was paid as levy. These lands were known as ushri

    • Khams/Ghanima  Booty captured in war. According to Islamic one-fifth of the amount went                           to the state and four-fifths were distributed among the army.
    • Zakat A religious tax, paid by Muslims as a charity for the welfare of their                  co-religionsists. It was an obligatory duty for Muslims. As a rule the                        property assessable for Zakat should have been in the owner’s possession                       for at least one year. Zakat in fact was not a source of revenue for the                     Sultans. Firoz Shah Tuglaq included Zakat on his list of regular state                    demands and established a separate treasury for it. It was charged at the         rate 2.5 per cent of the actual income or property. Zakat on Muslim traders’ imports and exports was also levied under the Sultanate 
    • Jizya   A poll tax levied on non-muslims in their capacity as protected subjects. The Tax was to be paid in proportion to the income. The tax rate was 48 dirhams for the rich class, 24 dirhams for the middle class and 12 dirhams for the poor class. Brahmisn, women, children, hermits, beggars, lunatics, slaves were exempted. Firoz Shah brought the Brahmins into this tax network but as a concession, he reduced the prevalent rate their case.
    • Ghari House tax
    • Charai            Cattle tax levied on grazing.
    • Kharaj            Land revenue realized from non-muslims. Such lands were known as 

                                Kharaji, Also known as Kharaj-l-Jiziya or mal

    • Masahat       Measurement
    • Biswa             A common measure of area in northern India, equivalent to 1/20 of a


    • Khalisa          The area whose revenue was reserved for the Sultan’s treasury. It was not given in iqtas. Sutan’s officicals, amils collected taxes directly for the royal treasury. It was not given Loans givne to the peasants.
    • Sondhar        Loans given to the Peasants.



    • Vijayanagara architecture is a vibrant combination of the Chalukya, Hoysala, Pandya and Chola styles, idioms that prospered in previous centuries.
    • The first architectural construction erected by Qutb-ud-din Aibak was the well-known Quwat-ul-islam mosque at Delhi, which was begun in 1195 and finished in 1199. It was built on the Plinth of a Hindu, temple and out of the materials of twenty-seven Hindu and Jain shrines.
    • The only Islamic features of the building are the presence of a screen in front, with Muslim designs and oraments, and a calligraphic reproduction of the Quranic text. The next Turkish building erected at Ajmer is also a mosque. It is known as Dhai Din ka Jhopra. Qutb-ud-din Aibak too built this. The building was originally a Sanskrit college and temple built by the great Chauhan emperor Vigraharaja Visaldeva.
    • The third important Turkish architecture is the Qutb Minar, which was planned by Aibak a little before 1199 and completed by IItutmish. It was originally intended to serve as a place for the mazzin to call the faithful to prayer, but later on became famous as a tower of victory. This building is essentially Islamic in forms and design.
    • Iltumish, besides completing the Qutb Minar, added some buildings of his own, the most prominent among them being a tomb built on the grave his eldest son, known as Sultan Garhi.
    • From the time of Iltutmish the buildings of the Sultanate began to show a marked increase in Islamic elements. The monarch extended the Quwat-ul-lslam mosque and put up a screen in the building. He made some additions to the Dhal Din Ka Jhopra also.
    • Balban built his palace, known as the Red-Palace. His tomb in Delhi is purely Muslim in execution. 
    • The Khalji monarch, Ala-ud-din, was a great builder and erected many buildings. Two of his buildings are notable. They are a mosque called. Jamait Khana Masjid at the shrine of Nizam-ud-din Auliya and the famous Alai Darwaza at the Qutb Minar. Both these show a preponderance of Muslim architectural ideas. He also built Siri fort & fort Hazar Sutun.
    • The buildings of the Tughluq period do not possess that splendour which characterized those of the so-called Slave and the Khalji dynasties. They are simple, formal, prosaic and even austere. The change seems to be due to two reasons. The Tughluq Sultan was hard pressed for money and could not afford to spend huge sums on buildings. Moreover, they were puritanical in their taste and people of religious outlook. Their buildings are characterized by sloping walls use of greystone and heavy and dark appearance. 
    • The best of the Pathan buildings is the Moth ki Masjid built by the prime minister of Sikandar Lodi.


    • Alauddin Khalji constructed Siri fort in 1303 AD.
    • Ghasisuddin Tuglaq built Tughalaqabad in 1321.
    • Md.Bin Tuglaq constructed Adilabad.
    • Md. Bin Tuglaq founded other city knows as Jahapanah in 1329. 
    • Firoz Shah Tughlaq built Firuzabad in 1354.
    • Humayun constructed Dinpanah in 1533.
    • Shershah built Purana Quila at the site of Jahapanah.     Shahjehan founded Shajehanabad in 1648.


    • His real name was Abul Hasan.
    • He created a new literary style in Persian, which came to be known as Sabaq-l-Hindi.
    • He composed verses in Hindavi as well, and paved the way for the development of Urdu.
    • He lived through the reigns of six sultans – patronized by Jalaluddin Khalji, Alauddin Khalji and Ghiyasuddin Tughalq.
    • He was a disciple of Nizammudin Auliya, the famous Sufi Saint of Chishi order.
    • He introduced numerous perso-arabic ragas – aiman, sanam, ghura etc.
    • His Five Literary Masterpieces – Dedicated to Alauddin Khalji, Mutla–ul-Anwar, Shirin Khusrau, Laila Majnun, Ayina–l-Sikandari, Hasht Bihist. 
    • His Five Diwans (Collection of Ghazals) - Tuhafat-Us-Sighar, Wast-Ul-Hayat, Ghurrat-UlKamal, Baquya Naquya, Nihayat-Ul-kamal.
    • His Historical Masnavis (Narrative Poems)
    • Tughlaq Nama – Ghiyasuddin Tuglaq’s rise to power.
    • Nuh Siphr – Qutubuddin Aibak reign and religious & social conditions.
    • Qiran-Us-Sadin- Quarrel and reconciliation between Sultan Kaiqabad and his father Bughra


    • Miftah-Ul-Furuh – Military success of Sultan Jalauddin Khalji.
    • Ashiqa or Dewal Rani, daughter of Rai Karan of Gujarat.
    • Khazain-Ul-Futuh or Tarikh-l-iliahi – A historiographical composition in prose which  describes the conquests and other achievements of Alauddin Khalji.