Firuz Shah Tughlaq

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Sultan Firuz Shah Tughlaq (1309 – 20 September 1388) was a Turkic Muslim ruler of the Tughlaq Dynasty, who reigned over the Sultanate of Delhi from 1351 to 1388.

Quotes from the Futuhat-i-Firuz Shahi[edit]

  • The next matter which by God's help I accomplished, was the repetition of names and titles of former sovereigns which had been omitted from the prayers of Sabbaths and Feasts. The names of those sovereigns of Islam, under whose happy fortune and favour infidel countries had been conquered, whose banners had waved over many a land, under whom idol-temples had been demolished, and mosques and pulpits built and exalted, the fragrant creed had been extended, and the people of Islam had waxen strong and warlike, the names of these men had fallen into neglect and oblivion. So I decreed that according to established custom their names and titles should be rehearsed in the khutba and aspirations offered for the remission of their sins.'
  • 'The Hindus and idol-worshippers had agreed to pay the money for toleration (zar-i zimmiya) and had consented to the poll-tax (jizya) in return for which they and their families enjoyed security. These people now erected new idol-temples in the city and the environs in opposition to the Law of the Prophet which declares that such temples are not to be tolerated. Under divine guidance I destroyed these edifices and I killed those leaders of infidelity who seduced others into error, and the lower orders I subjected to stripes and chastisement, until this abuse was entirely abolished. The following is an instance:- In the village of Maluh there is a tank which they call kund (tank). Here they had built idol-temples and on certain days the Hindus were accustomed to proceed thither on horseback, and wearing arms. Their women and children also went out in palankins and carts. There they assembled in thousands and performed idol-worship' When intelligence of this came to my ears my religious feelings prompted me at once to put a stop to this scandal and offence to the religion of Islam. On the day of the assembly I went there in person and I ordered that the leaders of these people and the promoters of this abomination should be put to death. I forbade the infliction of any severe punishments on Hindus in general, but I destroyed their idol-temples, and instead thereof raised mosques. I founded two flourishing towns (kasba), one called Tughlikpur, the other Salarpur. Where infidels and idolaters worshipped idols, Musulmans now, by God's mercy, perform their devotions to the true God. Praises of God and the summons to prayer are now heard there, and that place which was formerly the home of infidels has become the habitation of the faithful, who there repeat their creed and offer up their praises to God.....'Information was brought to me that some Hindus had erected a new idol temple in the village of Salihpur, and were performing worship to their idols. I sent some persons there to destroy the idol temple, and put a stop to their pernicious incitements to error.'
  • 'Some Hindus had erected a new idol-temple in the village of Kohana, and the idolaters used to assemble there and perform their idolatrous rites. These people were seized and brought before me. I ordered that the perverse conduct of the leaders of this wickedness should be publicly proclaimed, and that they should be put to death before the gate of the palace. I also ordered that the infidel books, the idols, and the vessels used in their worship, which had been taken with them, should all be publicly burnt. The others were restrained by threats and punishments, as a warning to all men, that no zimmi could follow such wicked practices in a Musulman country.'
  • The Hindus thronged in clusters after clusters and groups after groups and were glorified by the glory of Islam. And likewise to this day of ours, they come from far and wide, embrace Islam, and Jizyah is off from them.
    • Firoz Shah Tughluq, FuthuHât-i Firozshâhi, ed. by Shaikh Abdur Rashid, Aligarh, 1954, pp. 16-17. Quoted from Harsh Narain, (1990). Jizyah and the spread of Islam.
  • I cut off the heads of the elders of this [Hindu] sect, and imprisoned and banished the rest, so that their abominable practices were put an end to.
    • Vincent Arthur Smith, The Oxford History of India: From the Earliest Times to the End of 1911 (Clarendon Press, 1920), as quoted in Spencer, Robert (2018). The history of Jihad: From Muhammad to ISIS.
  • I encouraged my infidel subjects to embrace the religion of the prophet, and I proclaimed that every one who repeated the creed and became a Musalman should be exempt from the jizya or poll-tax. Information of this came to the ears of the people at large, and great numbers of Hindus presented themselves, and were admitted to the honour of Islam. Thus they came forward day by day from every quarter, and, adopting the faith, were exonerated from the jizya, and were favoured with presents and honours.
    • Vincent Arthur Smith, The Oxford History of India: From the Earliest Times to the End of 1911 (Clarendon Press, 1920), as quoted in Spencer, Robert (2018). The history of Jihad: From Muhammad to ISIS.
  • The greatest and best of honours that I obtained through God’s mercy was, that by my obedience and piety, and friendliness and submission to the Khalifa, the representative of the holy Prophet, my authority was confirmed; for it is by his (Caliph’s) sanction that the power of the kings is assured, and no king is secure until he has submitted himself to the Khalifa, and has received a confirmation from the sacred throne.
    • Futuhat-i-Firoz Shahi quoted from Lal, K. S. (1992). The legacy of Muslim rule in India. New Delhi: Aditya Prakashan. Chapter 4

Quotes[edit]

  • Muslim and infidel women used to visit sepulchres and temples, which led to many evils. I stopped it. I got mosques built in place of temples.
    • Tughlaq Kalina Bharata, Persian texts translated into Hindi by S.A.A. Rizvi, 2 Volumes, Aligarh, 1956-57. p. 349 ff Vol II.
  • When Firuz Tughluq invaded Orissa in 1359 and learned that the region's most important temple was that of Jagannath located inside the raja's fortress in Puri, he carried off the stone image of the god and installed it in Delhi 'in an ignominious position'.
    • Richard Eaton: "Temple desecration and Indo-Muslim states, Essays on Islam and Indian History." And: "Temple desecration in pre-modern India"
  • The Sultan left Banarasi [Cuttack] with the intention of pursuing the Rai of Jajnagar, who had fled to an island in the river News was then brought that in the jangal were seven elephants, and one old she-elephant, which was very fierce. The Sultan resolved upon endeavouring to capture these elephants before continuing the pursuit of the Rai.... After the hunt was over, the Sultan directed his attention to the Rai of Jajnagar, and entering the palace where he dwelt he found many fine buildings. It is reported that inside the Rais fort, there was a stone idol which the infidels called Jagannath, and to which they paid their devotions. Sultan Firoz, in emulation of Mahmud Subuktigin, having rooted up the idol, carried it away to Delhi where he placed it in an ignominious position.
  • The idol, Jwalamukhi, much worshipped by the infidels, was situated on the road to Nagarkot Some of the infidels have reported that Sultan Firoz went specially to see this idol and held a golden umbrella over it. But the author was informed by his respected father, who was in the Sultans retinue, that the infidels slandered the Sultan, who was a religious, God-fearing man, who, during the whole forty years of his reign, paid strict obedience to the law, and that such an action was impossible. The fact is, that when he went to see the idol, all the rais, ranas and zamindars who accompanied him were summoned into his presence, when he addressed them, saying, O fools and weak-minded, how can ye pray to and worship this stone, for our holy law tells us that those who oppose the decrees of our religion, will go to hell? The Sultan held the idol in the deepest detestation, but the infidels, in the blindness of their delusion, have made this false statement against him. Other infidels have said that Sultan Muhammad Shah bin Tughlik Shah held an umbrella over the same idol, but this is also a lie; and good Muhammadans should pay no heed to such statements. These two Sultans were sovereigns especially chosen by the Almighty from among the faithful, and in the whole course of their reigns, wherever they took an idol temple they broke and destroyed it; how, then, can such assertions be true? The infidels must certainly have lied!
  • A report was brought to the Sultan that there was in Delhi an old Brahman (zunar dar) who persisted in publicly performing the worship of idols in his house; and that people of the city, both Musulmans and Hindus, used to resort to his house to worship the idol. The Brahman had constructed a wooden tablet (muhrak), which was covered within and without with paintings of demons and other objects. On days appointed, the infidels went to his house and worshipped the idol, without the fact becoming known to the public officers. The Sultan was informed that this Brahman had perverted Muhammadan women, and had led them to become infidels. An order was accordingly given that the Brahman, with his tablet, should be brought into the presence of the Sultan at Firozabad. The judges and doctors and elders and lawyers were summoned, and the case of the Brahman was submitted for their opinion. Their reply was that the provisions of the Law were clear: the Brahman must either become a Musulman or be burned. The true faith was declared to the Brahman, and the right course pointed out, but he refused to accept it. Orders were given for raising a pile of faggots before the door of the darbar. The Brahman was tied hand and foot and cast into it; the tablet was thrown on top and the pile was lighted. The writer of this book was present at the darbar and witnessed the execution. The tablet of the Brahman was lighted in two places, at his head and at his feet; the wood was dry, and the fire first reached his feet, and drew from him a cry, but the flames quickly enveloped his head and consumed him. Behold the Sultans strict adherence to law and rectitude, how he would not deviate in the least from its decrees!
    • Delhi. Tarikh-i-Firuz Shahi, Elliot and Dowson, History of India as told by its own Historians, 8 Volumes, Allahabad Reprint, 1964. Elliot and Dowson. Vol. III, p. 365 ff [1] Quoted in Shourie, Arun (2014). Eminent historians: Their technology, their line, their fraud. Noida, Uttar Pradesh, India : HarperCollins Publishers.
  • Why does the monstrous men of an Alauddin Khalji, a Firuz Shah Tughlaq, a Sikandar Lodi, and an Aurangzeb, to name only the most notorious, pop out so soon from the thickest coat of cosmetics?
    The answer is provided by the Muslim historians of medieval India. They painted their heroes in the indelible dyes of Islamic ideology. They did not anticipate the day when Islamic imperialism in India will become only a painful memory of the past. They did not visualise that the record of Islam in India will one day be weighed on the scales of human values.
    • Sita Ram Goel: The Story of Islamic Imperialism in India
  • From thence the King marched towards the mountains of Nagrakote, where he was overtaken by a storm of hail and snow. The Raja of Nagrakote, after sustaining some loss, submitted, but was restored to his dominions. The name of Nagrakote was, on this occasion, changed to that of Mahomedabad, in honour of the late king. Some historians state, that Feroze, on this occasion, broke the idols of Nagrakote, and mixing the fragments with pieces of cows flesh, filled bags with them, and caused them to be tied round the necks of Bramins, who were then paraded through the camp. It is said, also, that he sent the image of Nowshaba to Mecca, to be thrown on the road, that it might be trodden under foot by the pilgrims, and that he also remitted the sum of 100,000 tunkas, to be distributed among the devotees and servants of the temple.
    • Tarikh-i-Firishta, translated into English by John Briggs under the title History of the Rise of the Mahomedan Power in India, 4 Volumes, New Delhi Reprint, 1981. p. 263 Vol I.
  • 'The victorious standards set out from Jaunpur for the destruction of idols, slaughter of the enemies of Islam and hunt for elephants near Padamtalav' The Sultan saw Jajnagar which had been praised by all travellers'...'The troops which had been appointed for the destruction of places around Jajnagar, ended the conceit of the infidels by means of the sword and the spear. Wherever there were temples and idols in that area, they were trampled under the hoofs of the horses of Musalmans'...'After obtaining victory and sailing on the sea and destroying the temple of Jagannath and slaughtering the idolaters, the victorious standards started towards Delhi...
    • Jajnagar (Orissa) . Insha-i-Mahru by Ãinud-Din Abdullah bin Mahru, Translated from the Hindi version by S.A.A. Rizvi included in Tughlaq Kalina Bharata, Aligarh, 1957, Vol. II, p. 380-82. In Goel, S.R. Hindu Temples - What Happened to them
  • Allah, who is the only true God and has no other emanation, endowed the king of Islam with the strength to destroy this ancient shrine on the eastern sea-coast and to plunge it into the sea, and after its destruction, he ordered the nose of the image of Jagannath to be perforated and disgraced it by casting it down on the ground. They dug out other idols, which were worshipped by the polytheists in the kingdom of Jajnagar, and overthrew them as they did the image of Jagannath, for being laid in front of the mosques along the path of the Sunnis and way of the musallis (the multitude who offer prayers) and stretched them in front of the portals of every mosque, so that the body and sides of the images may be trampled at the time of ascent and descent, entrance and exit, by the shoes on the feet of the Muslims.
    • Puri (Orissa). Sirat-Firuz Shahi, quoted in R.C. Majumdar (ed.), Vol. VI, The Delhi Sultanate, Bombay, Majumdar, R.C. (ed.), The History and Culture of the Indian People: Volume VI: The Delhi Sultanate, Bombay, 1960.
  • Sultan Firuz Shah composed a book also in which he compiled an account of his reign and which he named Futuhat-i-Firuz Shahi'...He writes in its second chapter:Muslim and infidel women used to visit sepulchres and temples, which led to many evils. I stopped it. I got mosques built in place of temples.
    • Futuhat-i-Firuz Shahi, in Tabqat-i-Akhari, (also known as Tabqat-i-Akbar Shahi, Tabqat-i-Akbari, Tarikh-i-Nizami) by Khwajah Nizamud-Din Ahmad bin Muhammad Muqim al-Harbi, Translated from the Hindi version by S.A.A. Rizvi included in Tughlaq Kalina Bharata, Aligarh, 1957. Vol. II, p. 349., in Goel, S.R. Hindu Temples - What Happened to them
  • From thence the King marched towards the mountains of Nagrakote, where he was overtaken by a storm of hail and snow. The Raja of Nagrakote, after sustaining some loss, submitted, but was restored to his dominions. The name of Nagrakote was, on this occasion, changed to that of Mahomedabad, in honour of the late king Some historians state, that Feroze, on this occasion, broke the idols of Nagrakote, and mixing the fragments with pieces of cow's flesh, filled bags with them, and caused them to be tied round the necks of Bramins, who were then paraded through the camp. It is said, also, that he sent the image of Nowshaba to Mecca, to be thrown on the road, that it might be trodden under foot by the pilgrims, and that he also remitted the sum of 100,000 tunkas, to be distributed among the devotees and servants of the temple.
    • Tarikh-i-Firishta, translated by John Briggs under the title History of the Rise of the Mahomedan Power in India, first published in 1829, New Delhi Reprint 1981, Vol. I p. 263
  • Muslim power again suffered a setback after the death of Alauddin Khalji in 1316 AD. But it was soon revived by the Tughlaqs. By now most of the famous temples over the length and breadth of the Islamic empire in India had been demolished, except in Orissa and Rajasthan which had retained their independence. By now most of the rich treasuries had been plundered and shared between the Islamic state and its swordsmen. Firuz Shah Tughlaq led an expedition to Orissa in 1360 AD. He destroyed the temple of Jagannath at Puri, and desecrated many other Hindu shrines....
    After the sack of the temples in Orissa, Firuz Shah Tughlaq attacked an island on the sea-coast where 'nearly 100,000 men of Jajnagar had taken refuge with their women, children, kinsmen and relations'. The swordsmen of Islam turned 'the island into a basin of blood by the massacre of the unbelievers'. A worse fate overtook the Hindu women. Sirat-i-Firuz Shahi records: 'Women with babies and pregnant ladies were haltered, manacled, fettered and enchained, and pressed as slaves into service in the house of every soldier.' Still more horrible scenes were enacted by Firuz Shah Tughlaq at Nagarkot (Kangra) where he sacked the shrine of Jvalamukhi. Firishta records that the Sultan 'broke the idols of Jvalamukhi, mixed their fragments with the flesh of cows and hung them in nosebags round the necks of Brahmins. He sent the principal idol as trophy to Medina.'
    • S.R. Goel, The Story of Islamic Imperialism in India
  • Firuz Shah Tughlaq organised an industry out of catching slaves. Shams-i-Siraj Afif writes in his Tarikh-i-Firuz Shahi: “The Sultan commanded his great fief-holders and officers to capture slaves whenever they were at war (that is, suppressing Hindu rebellions), and to pick out and send the best for the service of the court. The chiefs and officers naturally exerted themselves in procuring more and more slaves and a great number of them were thus collected. When they were found to be in excess, the Sultan sent them to important cities… It has been estimated that in the city and in the various fiefs, there were 1,80,000 slaves… The Sultan created a separate department with a number of officers for administering the affairs of these slaves.”. Firuz Shah beat all previous records in his treatment of the Hindus... He records another instance in which Hindus who had built new temples were butchered before the gate of his palace, and their books, images, and vessels of Worship were publicly burnt. According to him “this was a warning to all men that no zimmi could follow such wicked practices in a Musulman country”. Afif reports yet another case in which a Brahmin of Delhi was accused of “publicly performing idol-worship in his house and perverting Mohammedan women leading them to become infidels”. The Brahmin “was tied hand and foot and cast into a burning pile of faggots”. The historian who witnessed this scene himself expresses his satisfaction by saying, “Behold the Sultan’s strict adherence to law and rectitude, how he would not deviate in the least from its decrees.”
    • Quoted from Goel, Sita Ram (2001). The story of Islamic imperialism in India. ISBN 9788185990231
  • Sultan Firoz Tughlaq writes in his Fatuhat that he appeased by means of gifts the heirs of those who had been deprived of a limb, nose, eye, hand or foot in the time of his late lord and patron Sultan Muhammad Shah. Firoz Tughlaq is known for his kind-heartedness but, according to Shams Siraj Afif, he killed one lakh 80 thousand Bengalis in war. Towers of skulls of the killed were erected. The chronicler adds, "Firoz Shah was near the mound of skulls with all magnificence; and glory and was inspecting the counting of the heads."
    • Shams Siraj Afif, quoted in Lal, K. S. (1999). Theory and practice of Muslim state in India. New Delhi: Aditya Prakashan. Chapter 3
  • [Sultan Firoz Tughlaq] convened a meeting of the learned Ulama and renowned Mashaikh and suggested to them that an error had been committed: the Jiziyah had never been levied from Brahmans: they had been held excused, in former reigns. The Brahmans were the very keys of the chamber of idolatry, and the infidels were dependent on them (kalid-i-hujra-i-kufr und va kafiran bar ishan muataqid und). They ought therefore to be taxed first. The learned lawyers gave it as their opinion that the Brahmans ought to be taxed. The Brahmans then assembled and went to the Sultan and represented that they had never before been called upon to pay the Jiziyah, and they wanted to know why they were now subjected to the indignity of having to pay it. They were determined to collect wood and to burn themselves under the walls of the palace rather than pay the tax. When these pleasant words (kalimat-i-pur naghmat) were reported to the Sultan, he replied that they might burn and destroy themselves at once for they would not escape from the payment. The Brahmans remained fasting for several days at the palace until they were on the point of death. The Hindus of the city then assembled and told the Brahmans that it was not right to kill themselves on account of the Jiziyah, and that they would undertake to pay it for them. In Delhi, the Jiziyah was of three kinds: Ist class, forty tankahs; 2nd class, twenty tankahs; 3rd class, ten tankahs. When the Brahmans found their case was hopeless, they went to the Sultan and begged him in his mercy to reduce the amount they would have to pay, and he accordingly assessed it at ten tankahs and fifty jitals for each individual.
    • Shams Siraj Afif, quoted from Lal, K. S. (1992). The legacy of Muslim rule in India. New Delhi: Aditya Prakashan. Chapter 6 [2]
  • Similar was the case with males, especially of tender and young age. Firoz Tughlaq acquired them by all kinds of methods and means, so that he collected 180,000 of them. Shams Siraj Afif, the contemporary historian, writes that under Firoz, “slaves became too numerous” and adds that “the institution took root in every centre of the land”. So that even after the Sultanate broke up into a number of kingdoms, slave-hunting continued in every “(Muslim) centre of the land.”
    • Shams Siraj Afif quoted in Lal, K. S. (1994). Muslim slave system in medieval India. New Delhi: Aditya Prakashan. Chapter 5
  • In places which are sacked and looted the captives are selected as per royal regulations. Those fit for royal service (alone) are sent to the court.
    • Shams Siraj Afif quoted in Lal, K. S. (1994). Muslim slave system in medieval India. New Delhi: Aditya Prakashan. Chapter 10
  • Forcible marriages, euphemistically called matrimonial alliances, were common throughout the medieval period. Only some of them find mention in Muslim chronicles with their bitter details. Here is one example given by Shams Siraj Afif (fourteenth century). The translation from the original in Persian may be summarised as follows. Firoz Shah was born in the year 709 H. (1309 C.E.). His father was named Sipahsalar Rajjab, who was a brother of Sultan Ghiyasuddin Tughlaq Ghazi. The three brothers, Tughlaq, Rajjab, and Abu Bakr, came from Khurasan to Delhi in the reign of Alauddin (Khalji), and that monarch took all the three in the service of the Court. The Sultan conferred upon Tughlaq the country of Dipalpur. Tughlaq was desirous that his brother Sipahsalar Rajjab should obtain in marriage the daughter of one of the Rais of Dipalpur. He was informed that the daughters of Ranamall Bhatti were very beautiful and accomplished. Tughlaq sent to Ranamall a proposal of marriage. Ranamall refused. Upon this Tughlaq proceeded to the villages (talwandi) belonging to Ranamall and demanded payment of the whole year’s revenue in a lump sum. The Muqaddams and Chaudharis were subjected to coercion. Ranamall’s people were helpless and could do nothing, for those were the days of Alauddin, and no one dared to make an outcry. One damsel was brought to Dipalpur. Before her marriage she was called Bibi Naila. On entering the house of Sipahsalar Rajjab she was styled Sultan Bibi Kadbanu. After the lapse of a few years she gave birth to Firoz shah. If this could be accomplished by force by a regional officer, there was nothing to stop the king.
    • Shams Siraj Afif cited in Lal, K. S. (1994). Muslim slave system in medieval India. New Delhi: Aditya Prakashan. Chapter 12
  • Firoz Tughlaq commanded his ‘fief-holders and officers to capture slaves whenever they were at war”. He had also instructed his Amils and Jagirdars to collect slave boys in place of revenue and tribute.
    • Shams Siraj Afif quoted in Lal, K. S. (1992). The legacy of Muslim rule in India. New Delhi: Aditya Prakashan. Chapter 4
  • Firoz Tughlaq had issued an order that whichever places were sacked, in them the captives should be sorted out and the best ones should be forwarded to the court. His acquisition of slaves was accomplished through various ways - capture in war, in lieu of revenue and as present from nobles.113 Soon he was enabled to collect 180,000 slaves.
    • Lal, K. S. (1992). The legacy of Muslim rule in India. New Delhi: Aditya Prakashan. Chapter 7
  • "The Hindus had accepted the zimmi status and the concomitant jizya tax in exchange for safety. But now they built idol temples in the city, in defiance of the Prophet's law which forbids such temples. Under divine leadership I destroyed these buildings, and killed the leaders of idolatry, and the common followers received physical chastisement, until this abomination had been banned completely." [When Firuz heard that a Pagan festival was going on, he reacted forcefully:] "My religious feelings exhorted me to finish off this scandal, this insult to Islam. On the day of the festival I went there myself, I ordered the execution of the leaders and practitioners of this abomination... I destroyed their idol temples and built mosques in their places."
    • Quoted from Elst, Koenraad (1992). Negationism in India: Concealing the record of Islam.
  • The pressure of new circumstances led initially to large-scale slave-trading and the emergence of slave labour during the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries. The numbers of slaves in the Sultans' establishments were very high (50,000 under Alauddin Khilji, and 180,000 under Firuz Tughluq). Barani judges the level of prices by referring to slave prices, and the presence of slaves was almost all-pervasive.
    • Irfan Habib: Essays in Indian History, quoted in Koenraad Elst, Decolonizing the Hindu Mind, Rupa 2001, p. 417
  • “Sultãn Fîrûz Shãh composed a book also in which he compiled an account of his reign and which he named Futuhãt-i-Fîrûz Shãhî…“He writes in its second chapter… ‘Muslim and infidel women used to visit sepulchres and temples, which led to many evils. I stopped it. I got mosques built in place of temples’…”
    • Sultãn Fîrûz Shãh Tughlaq (AD 1351-1388)
    • Tabqãt-i-Akharî by Nizamuddin Ahmad.

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