Know about the foundation of Delhi sultanate and the kings of Delhi sultanate also know about such as tughlaq dynasty, Sikandar Lodi, founder of slave dynasty, Sultan Iltutmish and iltutmish dynasty, Mohd bin tughlaq etc.

Delhi sultanate

History of Islam

Islam stands for peace; the second meaning is surrender before Allah/God. Derived from word “slim”; peace. Complete meaning is “peacefully surrender before Allah”.

Important points

  • Founder of Islam is Prophet Mohammed was born in 570 A.D. at Mecca. He died in 632 in Medina.
  • Fundamentals of Islam According to Islam there are two important books; Quran and Hadith.
  • Quran was revealed by God to Prophet Mohammed and recorded during his lifetime.
  • Hadith records sayings, doings and approvals of Prophet Mohammed

The first principle of Islam :

In Islam, it is believed that there were a series of Messengers starting from the first man on earth i.e. Adam and the last messenger was Prophet Mohammed.  It is believed in Islam that all previous books before Quran were lost either partially completely.

Important points

  • Quran is a book for all mankind irrespective of place or origin and will last till Qayamat.  Belief in Qayamat (day of judgement) when a person’s deeds would be judged. Similar to Moksha, Parinam Nirvana.
  • In Islam concept of rebirth is rejected, they believe in the resurrection. It is believed that a person will be reawakened on “Day of Judgment” as the same person to send them to Heaven or Hell (Jannat or Jahannum).
  • Followers would get Heaven (eternal life) and non-followers will get hell.  Those who accepted the principals would be Muslims and have to adhere to certain conditions:  He has to perform Namaz – 5 times a day. Zakat (Alms/tax) – He has to give alms of the value of 2.5% of his wealth provided his total annual income in a lunar year is more than equivalent of 7.5% tolas of the value of gold. One tola is 10 grams. Roza in the month of Ramzan – He has to undertake fasting in entire 9th calendar month of the lunar calendar. Muharram is the first month of this calendar.
  • Women are exempted under some conditions. Hajj – A Muslim has to undertake a pilgrimage to Mecca in last Islamic month Zi-ul-Hajj (12th month) out of his legal income at least once in a lifetime provided he has the financial ability.
  • Shia and Sunni Muslims After the death of Prophet Mohammed, issue arose for the post of next Khalifa (religious-cum political head of the Islamic Community. There was a struggle for power between various sects. The first three caliphs were elected/chosen.  The first four Caliphs were Abu-Bakr, Omar, Usman, Ali. The followers of fourth Caliph, Shian-e-Ali were known as Shias. The advent of Islam in India. Islam didn’t come through invaders. It came through Arab traders in south India.  The first group of Muslims who came to India was of traders
  • First recorded attacks of Arabs in India 711-712 by Muhammad Bin Qasim, he invaded Sindh because Arabs believed that Muslim traders were being persecuted by Indians.  The ruler at that time was Dahir (king of Sindh) of Chacha Dynasty. Chachnama – History of Sindh later written by Ali Kufi. Arabs established rule in Sindh after the attacks and ruled for almost 300 yrs.  They could not invade other parts of India mainly because of strong kings (Gurjar Pratiharas). Turks were a group of tribes of central Asia. They were not one homogenous group.
  • The initial group of Turks who invaded India were:  Mahmood of Ghazni, Shabuddin Mohammed Ghori

Mahmood of Ghazni

Delhi sultanate - Mahmood of Ghazni
Mahmood of Ghazni
  • Mahmood of Ghazni was king of Afghanistan (998-1030 AD).
  • He invaded India 17 times, the first attack was in 1000 AD.
  • The most famous attack was 1025 A.D. at Somnath Temple. Purpose of his attacks was simply to plunder wealth since temples were very rich they wanted to exploit wealth.
  • He earned the title of ‘Butt Shikan’ destroyer of idols.
  • Al Beruni, a great scientist came to India along with him (11th century A.D.) but settled in Varanasi and learnt Sanskrit. He wrote a book Tahqiq –I – Hind or Kitab-ul-Hind. In this book, he explained about culture, society, a prevalent system of untouchability. This book is known as “Mirror of 11th century of India”.


Shahbuddin Mohammed Ghauri; also known as Muhammed bin Sam or Muizzuddin was the ruler of Afghanistan for period 1173-1206.

Five dynasties ruled during this period Dynasty and period Founder

  1. the Ilbari 1206-90 Qutub-ud-din Aibak (Turkish descent)
  2. the Khalji 1290-1320 Jalaluddin Khalji (Turkish descent)
  3. the Tughlaq 1320-1413 Ghiyas-ud-din Tuglaq (Turkish descent)
  4. the Saiyid 1414-51 Khizr Khan (Descent disputed)
  5. the Lodis 1451-1526. Bahlul Lodi (Afghan)

Qutb al-Din Aibak – 

Delhi sultanate - Qutb al-Din Aibak
Qutb al-Din Aibak
  • Qutb al-Din Aibak was only King who was not from Ilbari tribe.
  • He Aibak ruled only for 4 years from Lahore (1206-10).
  • Expanded empire from Sindh to Bengal and Himalayas to Vindhyas.
  • He gave a sound administrative setup & followed modified Turkish administration.
  • He was famous for his generosity and earned the sobriquet of lakh-Baksh (giver of lakhs).
  • One of few kings who died accidentally, fell from a horse while playing Polo (Chaugan)

Contributions in Architecture:-

  • He constructed Quwwat-ul-Islam, earliest mosque in India, at Mehrauli.
  • This mosque was earlier a Vishnu temple and a Jain temple before that.
  • Generally, symbols were destroyed by the new rulers to establish and prove the superiority of culture, religion and dynasty. Adhai-din-ka-Jhompra at Ajmer

Qutub Minar

Delhi sultanate

  • Qutab Minar is the tallest minaret in India and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
  • It is named after Sufi Saint Qutb-ud-Din Bakhtiyar Kaki .
  • It was completed by Iltutmish, who constructed 4th and 5th floor.

Iltutmish dynasty (1210-36)

Sultan Iltutmish

Delhi sultanate - Sultan Iltutmish
Sultan Iltutmish

After Qutub-ud-Din Aibak’s death governor of Badayun, Iltutmish annexed throne in 1210. Shamsuddin Iltutmish was the real founder of the Delhi Sultanate. He shifted the capital from Lahore to Mehrauli (Delhi). It was he who gave the country capital, a sovereign state, a monarchical form of government and a governing class or nobility, known as Turkan-i-chahalgani or Chalisa (a group of 40).

Contributions – 

  • Iltutmish constructed 2nd, 3rd and 4th floor of Qutub Minar.
  • Built Hauz e Shamsi water tank, Gandhak ki Baoli stepwell in Delhi.
  • He issued coins; Tanka in Silver, Jital in copper 1 tanka: 48 Jital. Coins were in Arabic script  Coins issued by Ghauri and Aibak were in Devanagiri script. In some of the coins carried images of Ghauri along with images of the Hindu goddess Lakshmi.
  • Kings from Balban onwards started claiming that they had divine powers, also known as “Divine Theory of Kingship”  They called themselves as Naib-e-Khudai, i.e. Deputy of God and Zille Illahi meaning Shadow of God.
  • The basic aim was to strengthen power, prestige to avoid treachery from contemporaries as well as relatives, in fact, slaves were trusted more than relatives.
  • Iltuttmish had maintained a corpus of 40 slaves who were known Turkan-i-Chahalgani holding important departments.

Provincial and Local Administration –

  • Iltutmish brought major changes in provincial and local administration.
  • He divided his empire into various Iqtas – Territories. Iqta was divided into Shiqq, Shiqq into Pargana under which villages would lie They were regularly transferred, removed or changed, so that could not establish local rapport or followings. Each iqta was sub-divided into Shaq.
  • At this level, there were two kind of officials having equal rank but different job profiles. Shiqdar I Shiqdaran Incharge of law and order.
  • Munsif I Munsifan Revenue and Civil Justice. Below Shaq was Pargana, here the official were Shiqdar; Incharge of law and order. Munsif; Incharge of revenue.
  • All the Shiqdars were headed by Shiqdar-i-Shiqdaran.


  • Alau-ud-Din Khalji was the first to maintain a regular army. Initially, there was no regular army; recruitment was done during the war and for the period of war.
  • Soldiers were peasants only.
  • Soldiers were mainly Hindus.
  • Officials were Muslims who spoke Turkish, Persian or Arabic.
  • The first poet of Urdu was Amir Khusro. He created a new style of Persian called sabaq-i-Hindi or the Indian style. His important literary writings are mutla-ul-anwar, shirin khusrau, laila majnun, ayina-i-sikandari and hasht-bihisht.

Ruknuddin Firoz Shah

Delhi sultanate - Ruknuddin Firoz Shah
Ruknuddin Firoz Shah

He was the son of Iltutmish and was crowned by her mother, shah Turkan after the death of Iltutmish. He was deposed by Razia when he was out of the capital to curb a rebellion in Avadh against him.

Raziya Sultan

Delhi sultanate
Raziya Sultan
  • After the death of Iltutmish in 1236, his son, Rukknuddin Feroz Shah became the ruler with help of Umara but he was not a capable ruler So his sister Raziya got help from people of Delhi and some of the Umara and became the ruler.
  • She became the first woman ruler of India. Contemporary writer Minhau us Siraj wrote about Sultan in his book Tabaqat-i-Nasiri .
  • He described Raziya as a beautiful, intelligent and courageous woman who had all the qualities to become a successful ruler.
  • Jamaluddin Yaqut an Abyssinian slave was given the post of Amir-i-Akhtur by Raziya.
  • Raziya actually married Altunia, who was the Governor of Bathinda. Raziya was followed by Bahram Shah (1240 C.E. – 1242 C.E.) his rule witnessed the first sack and plunder of Lahore by Mongols.
  • He also created the post of Naib-e-Mamlakat (the regent) for the first time, who was the de-facto ruler and sultan was the de-jure ruler.
  • Later Bahram Shah was put to death by the Chalgani nobles.   Sultans who came after Razia Sultan

Bahram Shah (1240-42) 

Delhi sultanate
Bahram Shah

After Razia, Iltutmish’s third son Bahram Shah was put on the throne by the powerful Turkish council Chalisa. Bahram Shah lost his life after his failed attempt to assert his authority once on the throne.

Alauddin Shah (1242-46):

He was the son of Ruknuddin but was deposed after Balban and Nasiruddin Mahamud’s mother , Malika-e-jahan, conspired against him and established Nasiruddin Mahamud as the new sultan.

Nasiruddin Mahmud (1246-1266):

He was the son of Iltutmish and was known as the Darvesi King as he was very pious and noble. He died in 1266.

Most important king in this period was Balban:

 Ghiyasuddin  Balban (1266-1287 A.D.) – 

Delhi sultanate - Ghiyasuddin  Balban
Ghiyasuddin  Balban
  • He was one of the greatest Sultans of Delhi. He proposed “Divine Theory of Kingship”.
  • He proclaimed himself to be; Naib-e-Khudai.
  • Ghiyasuddin  Balban also claimed to be descendent of Iranian dynasty “Afrasia”.
  • He named his grandsons after Afrasia dynasty: Kaikobad, Kai Khusro, and Keimur.
  • Made strict rules and maintained a high level of discipline in court. Everybody had to remain standing and serious conduct had to be maintained in the court.
  • He introduced “Sajda and Paibos”.

Administration :

  • He ruled with “Blood and Iron Policy”.
  • He mercilessly suppressed all revolts very severely so that no group including Umra and a local ruler could dare stand against him.
  • Balban was the first king in India who realized the importance of protecting borders especially fragile areas of North-Western boundaries.
  • In Balban’s period, the greatest threat was from the Mongols (In Mughal India threat was from Afghans and Uzbeks).
  • Balban was also rumoured to have killed the previous emperor.
  • Another reason was that he wanted to restore the power, position and grandeur of Iltutmish.
  • For this very reason, Balban could rule without any major rebellions in his 20 years of rule.
  • The second building of this style was Alai Darwaza constructed by Alauddin Khalji.
  • He was succeeded by his grandson Kaiqubad.


Delhi sultanate - KAIQUBAD

A grandson of Balban was seated on the throne by Fakruddin, the Kotwal of Delhi who assumed high political authority during the last days of Balban. But Kaiqubad was killed by the Khiliji family, which was the end of Slave Dynasty and beginning of Khiliji Dynasty.

KHILJI DYNASTY (1290-1320) :


Delhi sultanate

Jalaluddin Khilji founded the Khilji dynasty. Ilari dynasty was overthrown by Jalaluddin Khalji, (Khalji is the name of Turkish Tribe.) He ended Mamluk or Ilbari dynasty and the event is known as “Khalji Revolution”.

He was the first Sultan who went beyond Vindhyas (low range hills in M.P.) up to Devagiri in Maharashtra. Allaudin Khalji led this campaign. He also defeated Raja Ramchandra Dev and looted the palace. Allaudin killed Jalaluddin after he came back to the capital and captured the power.



The most famous sultan was Allauddin Khalji. He was a nephew and sons-in-law of Jalaluddin khilji. He proclaimed “kingship knows no kinship”.  Important areas of his era: Conquests, military reforms, revenue reforms, market control policy, “TurnCoat-Policy”, Cultural development in this period (art and literature, sculptures were notably absent as sculptures are banned is Islam)

Military Reforms 

  • Military conquests  Gujarat was conquered by his commanders in 1299 A.D. Local king  (Raja Karan of Bhagela dynasty) was defeated and his wife was brought to court.
  • He attacked Ranthambore in 1301 A.D. it was the strongest fort in this period in India. Forts were conquered by the method of Qilabandi (Seizure of fort, cutting off supplies and wait for months for the defenders to wear out and run out of supplies).
  • King of Ranthambore was Hammir Dev and his queen committed Johar (Sati) . In 1303 A.D. he attacked Chittor  (King was Rana Ratan Singh).
  • Chittor was described by Amir Khusro as Seventh Heaven Chittor conquest was also described in romanticized and poetic form in “Padmavati”, a Hindi drama by Malik Muhammed Jayasi.
  • His commander Malik Kafur attacked south India in 1308 A.D. The Yadav dynasty (Devagiri), earlier defeated by Alauddin was again defeated by Malik Kafur.
  • Malik also defeated Kakatiyas of Warangal, Hoysalas of Dwarasamudra & Pandyas of Madurai . Policy of Alauddin Khalji was not to annex.
  • He didn’t rule the kingdom but allowed the defeated rulers to rule, but they had to pay him some compensation This was a major difference between Tughlaq and Khalji

Revenue Administration: 

  • The land was measured to ascertain ownership. Revenue assessment was done on the basis of land which was sown. Half of the assessed produce (not the actual product) was collected as revenue (Kharaj). Perhaps for the first time, such high rates were imposed. He set up a new department of Diwan-e-Mustakhraj to collect details about the areas of revenue.
  • He crushed the powers of intermediaries like Kuth, Muqaddam and Chaudhary who were reduced to penury. There are no records for earlier emperors for revenue collection. Hence Allauddin is credited for changes in revenue administration.

Market Control Policy  :

This was a very unique policy which was enacted to maintain a large army. Three markets were set up in Delhi:

  • Grains
  • Clothes
  • Manufactured items and for sale of animals and slaves.

Amir Khusro (1251-1325 A.D.) 

Amir Khusro
Amir Khusro

Amir Khusro was a disciple of Nizamuddin Auliya. He served 5 Sultans of Delhi. He was a historian and wrote a book known as Tughlaq Nama (Ghiyas-ud-din-Tughlaq). Another important book was on Indian culture “Noh-e- Sepehr”.

Important points

  • He was a pioneer of Qawwali singing in India. (Qawwali is the chorus in praise of Sufi saint in the shrines).
  • Credited with the invention of Sitar (three-stringed instrument).
  • He was also credited with 3 Ragas (Yaman, Sanam and Ghora).
  • Khusro was believed to be the first Urdu poet.
  • He was popularly known as Tootai-e-Hind (Parrot of India)
  • The rulers after Allauddin Khalji were not powerful. The first Indian origin Muslim King was Naseeruddin (1321 A.D.) who came in power for a few months during this dynasty. He was a Hindu Convert.

TUGHLAQ DYNASTY  (1320-1414):

Ghiyas-ud-din-Tughlaq (1320-1325 A.D.) – 


Ghiyas-ud-din was founder of dynasty and his real name was Ghazi Malik . He reversed policies of Allauddin Khalji’s policies of Kharaj.

He collected revenue which was 1/3 or ¼ of the produce on basis of actual production. A famous fort of Tughlaqabad Fort, near Delhi is credited to him. First marble built tomb was built by him opposite this fort.

According to legend, the Chishti saints disliked sultans because of their opulent lifestyle of the elite.  Relations between Nizamuddin Auliya and Ghiyas-ud-din were not good.

Mohd bin tughlaq (1325-1351 A.D.)

Mohd bin tughlaq
Mohd bin tughlaq

His real name was Jauna Khan. He was most educated and also, the most controversial Sultan of Delhi.

His court patronized scholars from different backgrounds like Jin Prabha Suri ( a Jain Scholar) A traveller from Murakhpur, Ibn-e-Batuta (book Kitab-ul-Rihla) was made Qazi of Delhi and was also sent to China on behalf of the king.

He was the first Sultan who celebrated Hindu festivals. He was a very secular person, he appointed people on the basis of merit instead of religion or ethnicity.

Impact of transfer of capital :

  • Many people of North settled in Deccan bringing about influences of culture and language.
  • Locals were called Deccani and Afaqis were people who settled from the north.
  • This linguistic group led to the creation of the Bahmani Kingdom.

Token currency :

  • He introduced coins in copper, brass and bronze. Brass coins were introduced for the first time in India. Value of brass coin was kept equivalent to one silver tanka, earlier it was 48 brass coins to 1 silver coin.
  • Thus he gave value for money instead of just the metallic value of coin.
  • People started minting coins locally as brass was much cheaper than their face value.
  • It resulted in large currency flow in market causing huge inflation and hampering trade. So he had to withdraw this currency.

Expedition to Khurasan :

  • He raised an army of 3 lac soldiers exclusively for this expedition but later on abandoned the idea. This caused huge financial loss and soldiers became unemployed.
  • These soldiers were armed and trained and started indulging in looting etc. which created problems in civil administration

Expedition to Karachi :

  • There was a rebellion in Kangra, Mohd Tughlaq sent an army of 10,000 soldiers to suppress this rebellion.
  • The soldiers were not trained for fighting in hilly terrain but opposition were fighting guerrilla war.
  • Cold weather and injuries along with diseases caused huge loss of lives of soldiers which created unrest.

Taxation in Doab –         

Doab was most fertile land in Indian Sub-continent. He ordered the collection of revenue through land assessment at 50% of produce in this area.There was a huge unrest in Doab region due to this heavy taxation.

  • Situation was compounded by serious drought in this region; hence people were in no position to pay taxes.
  • This led to violence in region, tax officials were attacked and crops were burnt.
  • He setup a separate department of agriculture, Diwan-e-Kohi, to rectify this situation and also provided loans named Takvi and Saundhar to the peasants. Collected sample of the land tried to experiment with them making the barren lands fertile, spending a lot of finances on these experiments. He tried to change cropping patterns and encouraged farmers to grow cash crops

Firoz Shah Tughlaq (1351 a.d. – 1388 a.d.) 

Firoz Shah Tughlaq
Firoz Shah Tughlaq
  • He is known in Medieval History as the “Welfare King” .
  • He set up 3 departments for public welfare and better administration.
    • Diwan-e-Khairat
    • Diwan-e-Imarat
    • Diwan-e-Risalath .
  • Built maximum number of irrigation canals on river Yamuna and Sutlej (Some more than 100km Long) .
  • Collected tax, Haq-e-Shirb (10%) from peasants who were using water from irrigation canals.
  • Built many hospitals .He built many orphanages and widow homes.
  • He also started marriage bureaus to help poor people in marriages and employment bureaus to help youth in employment. There was large no. of slaves in his empire.
  • He trained the slaves and helped them in providing self-employment

Orthodox Religious Policies:

  • He separated Jazia from Kharaj (Earlier it was collected along with Kharaj, the revenue on agriculture).
  • He collected Jazia even from Hindu theologists (pundits). This created anger among hindus.He attacked Hindu temples – Jwala Temple in H.P. and Puri in Orissa .
  • He banned female entry into shrines of Sufi saints.
  • He tried to ban some Muslim festivals because he declared it un-Islamic e.g. Shab-e-barat. His most serious crime was to burning alive a Brahmin for converting Muslims to Hinduism.


Firoz Shah Kotla in Delhi. He repaired Hauz-e-Allai. He repaired and constructed one floor of Qutub Minar . Qala Masjid in old Delhi


KHIZR KHAN (1414-21): Khizr Khan is the founder of sayyid Dynasty

MUBARAK SHAH (1421-34):He succeeded Khizr at the throne after his successful expeditions against Mewatis,Katehars and the Gangetic Doab area.

MUHAMMAD SHAH (1434-43):

  • The nobles put Muhammad Shah on the throne ,but he could not survive the in- fighting among the nobles in the court.
  • He was authorized to rule only a meager area around 30 miles , and rest of the sultanate was ruled by nobles.

ALAM SHAH (1443-51):

  • The last Sayyid king descended in favour of Bahlol Lodhi and retried . thus began the Lodhi dynasty which was confined to Delhi and a few surrounding area.


Lodhis (1451-1526)  Three important kings were

  • Bahlol Lodhi,
  • Sikandar Lodhi
  • Ibrahim Lodhi

Literary evidence of this period

  • Tariqh e Firoz Shahi by Ziauddin Barni
  • Tarikh e Firozshahi by Shams Siraj Afif
  • Fatawa-e-Jahandari by Ziauddin Barni
  • Futuhat-e-Firozshahi by Firoz Shah


  • Lodhis were the first Afghan rulers in India .
  • They introduced a new currency “Pehloyi”.
  • Bahlol Lodhi was the first Sultan of Delhi to capture Kashmir .
  • He established himself in Punjab after invasion of timur.



  • Sikander Lodhi was the son of  Bahlol Lodhi who conquered Bihar and  Western Bengal.
  • Lodhi built Agra in 1504 A.D. and shifted capital from Delhi to Agra in 1506 A.D.
  • He was a fanatical Muslim and broke the scared images of the Jwalamuki Temple at Nagar Kot  and ordered the temple of Mathura to be destroyed.
  • He was a poet and composed poems in Persian with the pen-name ‘Gulrukhi’


  • Ibrahim Lodhi was last king . He was the son of Sikandar lodhi.
  • He faced attack from Babur .Babur invaded India five times .
  • First Battle of Panipat was in 1526 AD.
  • In his period famous Lodhi gardens of Delhi was built .
  • Another important monument is Tomb of Sikander Lodhi which has the first evidence of Double dome in India inside Lodhi gardens in Delhi


  • Despotic and military type of government.
  • Degeneration of Delhi Sultans .
  • War of succession as there was no fixed law for succession.
  • Defective military organization.
  • Vastness of empire and poor means of communication.
  • Financial instability.
  • Number of slaves increased .
  • Invasion of Timur.

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