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.

Quotes[edit]

  • Barani mourned: “Should the king consider the payment of a few tankas by way of jiziya as sufficient justification for their allowing all possible freedom to the infidels to observe and demonstrate all orders and detail of infidelity, to read the misleading literature of their faith, and to propagate their teachings, how could the true religion get the upper hand over other religions, and how could the emblems of Islam be held high? How will the true faith prevail if rulers allow the infidels to keep their temples, adorn their idols, and to make merry during their festivals with beating of drums and dhols, singing and dancing?”
    • Quoted from Goel, Sita Ram (2001). The story of Islamic imperialism in India. ISBN 9788185990231

Fatawa-i-Jahandari[edit]

  • Teachers of every kind are to be sternly ordered not to thrust precious stones down the throats of dogs… that is, to the mean, the ignoble, the worthless. To shopkeepers and the low born they are to teach nothing more than the rules about prayer, fasting, religious charity and the Hajj pilgrimage along with some chapters of the Quran and some doctrines of the faith without which their religion cannot be correct and valid prayers are not possible. They are to be instructed in nothing more. They are not to be taught reading and writing for plenty of disorders arise owing to the skill of the low-born in knowledge…”
    • Quoted from Lal, K. S. (1990). Indian muslims: Who are they. Chapter 2.
  • “The low-born, who have been enrolled for practising the baser arts and the meaner professions, are capable only of vices…”
    • Quoted from Lal, K. S. (1990). Indian muslims: Who are they. Chapter 2.
  • [the foreign Muslims (or Turks)] “alone are capable of virtue, kindness, generosity, valour, good deed, good works, truthfulness, keeping of promises… loyalty, clarity of vision, justice, equity, recognition of rights, gratitude for favours and fear of God. They are, consequently, said to be noble, free born, virtuous, religious, of high pedigree and pure birth. These groups, alone are worthy of offices and posts in the government… Owing to their actions the government of the king is strengthened and adorned.” [On the other hand the] “low-born” (Indian) Muslims are capable only of vices - immodesty, falsehood, miserliness, misappropriation, wrongfulness, lies, evil-speaking ingratitude,…shamelessness, impundence… [So they are called] low-born, bazaar people, base, mean, worthless, plebian, shameless and of dirty birth”.
    • Quoted from Lal, K. S. (1990). Indian muslims: Who are they. Chapter 2.
  • [What worried him most was that the Indian Muslims were appointed to] “high offices and are successful in their work… they will make people of their own kind their helpers, supporters, colleagues. They will not allow (Turkish) nobles and free-born men and men of merits to come anywhere near the affairs of the government.”
    • Quoted from Lal, K. S. (1990). Indian muslims: Who are they. Chapter 2.
  • Ziyauddin Barani voiced his opinion against the Hanafi school when he wrote as follows in his Fatwa-i-Jahandari: “If Mahmud… had gone to India once more, he would have brought under his sword all the Brahmans of Hind who, in that vast land, are the cause of the continuance of the laws of infidelity and of the strength of idolators; he would have cut off the heads of two or three hundred thousand Hindu chiefs. He would not have returned his Hindu-slaughtering sword to its scabbard until the whole of Hind had accepted Islam. For Mahmud was a Shafiite, and according to Imam Shafii the decree for Hindus is Islam or death, that is to say, they should either be put to death or accept Islam. It is not lawful to accept jiziya from Hindus who have neither a prophet nor a revealed book.”
    • Fatwa-i-Jahandari, quoted from Goel, Sita Ram (2001). The story of Islamic imperialism in India. ISBN 9788185990231
  • “It is the duty of a king to enforce, if he can, those royal laws which have become proverbial owing to their principles of justice and mercy. But if owing to change of time and circumstances he is unable to enforce the laws of the ancients (i.e. ancient Muslim rulers), he should, with the counsel of wise men… frame laws suited to his time and circumstances and proceed to enforce them. Much reflection is necessary in order that laws, suited to his reign, are properly framed.”
    • Fatawa-i-Jahandari, p.64. quoted from Lal, K. S. (1992). The legacy of Muslim rule in India. New Delhi: Aditya Prakashan. Chapter 4
  • “Consequently, it became necessary for the rulers of Islam (the Caliphs) to follow the policy of Iranian Emperors in order to ensure the greatness of True Word, the supremacy of the Muslim religion… overthrow of the enemies of the Faith… and maintenance of their own authority.”
    • Fatawa-i-Jahandari, p.39. quoted from Lal, K. S. (1992). The legacy of Muslim rule in India. New Delhi: Aditya Prakashan. Chapter 4
  • [Slaves, for instance, made good soldiers but] “they are of one group and one mind and there can be no permanent security against their revolt.”
    • Barani, Fatawa-i-Jahandari, pp.25-26. quoted from Lal, K. S. (1992). The legacy of Muslim rule in India. New Delhi: Aditya Prakashan. Chapter 4

Tarikh-i-Firuz Shahi[edit]

  • “In the year AH 689 (AD 1290), the Sultan led an army to Rantambhor… He took… Jhain, destroyed the idol temples, and broke and burned the idols…”
    • About Sultan Jalalu’d-Din Khalji (AD 1290-1296) conquests in Jhain (Rajasthan) Elliot and Dowson, History of India as told by its own historians, Vol. III, p. 146
  • “ ’Alau’d-din at this time held the territory of Karra, and with the permission of the Sultan he marched to Bhailsan (Bhilsa). He captured some bronze idols which the Hindus worshipped and sent them on carts with a variety of rich booty as presents to the Sultan. The idols were laid before the Badaun gate for true believers to tread upon…”
    • About Sultan Jalalu’d-Din Khalji (AD 1290-1296) conquests in Vidisha (Madhya Pradesh) Elliot and Dowson, History of India as told by its own historians, Vol. III, p. 148
  • “At the beginning of the third year of the reign, Ulugh Khan and Nusrat Khan, with their amirs and generals, and a large army marched against Gujarat… All Gujarat became a prey to the invaders, and the idol, which after the victory of Sultan Mahmud and his destruction of (the idol) of Manat, the Brahmans had set up under the name of Somanat, for the worship of the Hindus, was carried to Delhi where it was laid for the people to tread upon…”
    • About Sultan ‘Alau’d-Din Khalji (AD 1296-1316) conquests in Somnath (Gujarat) Elliot and Dowson, History of India as told by its own historians, Vol. III, p. 163
  • The Sultan then asked, "How are Hindus designated in the law, as payers of tributes or givers of tribute? The Kazi replied, "They are called payers of tribute, and when the revenue officer demands silver from them, they should tender gold. If the officer throws dirt into their mouths, they must without reluctance open their mouths to receive it. The due subordination of the zimmi is exhibited in this humble payment and by this throwing of dirt in their mouths. The glorification of Islam is a duty. God holds them in contempt, for he says, "keep them under in subjection". To keep the Hindus in abasement is especially a religious duty, because they are the most inveterate enemies of the Prophet, and because the Prophet has commanded us to slay them, plunder them, enslave them and spoil their wealth and property. No doctor but the great doctor (Hanafi), to whose school we belong, has assented to the imposition of the jizya (poll tax) on Hindus. Doctors of other schools allow no other alternative but Death or Islam.
    • Tárikh-i Firoz Sháhi, of Ziauddin Barani in Elliot and Dowson, Vol. III : Elliot and Dowson, History of India as told by its own Historians, 8 Volumes, Allahabad Reprint, 1964. pp. 184, chapter 15. Tárikh-i Firoz Sháhi, of Ziauddin Barani [1]
  • “……Malik Naib Kafur marched on to Ma’bar, which he also took. He destroyed the golden idol temple (but-khanah i-zarin) of Ma’bar, and the golden idols which for ages had been worshipped by the Hindus of that country. The fragments of the golden temple, and of the broken idols of gold and gilt became the rich spoil of the army…”
    • About Sultan ‘Alau’d-Din Khalji (AD 1296-1316) conquests in Ma‘bar (Tamil Nadu) Elliot and Dowson, History of India as told by its own historians, Vol. III, p. 204
  • Shykh Nuruddin Mubarak Ghaznavi was the most important disciple of Shykh Shihabuddin Suhrawardi, founder of the second most important sufi silsila after the Chishtiyya, who died in Baghdad in 1235 AD. Ghaznavi had come and settled down in India where he passed away in 1234-35 AD. He served as Shykh-ul-Islam in the reign of Shamsuddin Iltutmish (AD 1210-1236), and propounded the doctrine of Din Panahi. Barani quotes the first principle of this doctrine as follows in his Tarikh-i-Firuzshahi. “The kings should protect the religion of Islam with sincere faith… And kings will not be able to perform the duty of protecting the Faith unless, for the sake of God and the Prophet’s creed, they overthrow and uproot kufr and kafiri (infidelity), shirk (setting partners to God) and the worship of idols. But if the total uprooting of idolatry is not possible owing to the firm roots of kufr and the large number of kafirs and mushriks (infidels and idolaters), the kings should at least strive to insult, disgrace, dishonour and defame the mushrik and idol-worshipping Hindus, who are the worst enemies of God and the Prophet. The symptom of the kings being the protectors of religion is this:- When they see a Hindu, their eyes grow red and they wish to bury him alive; they also desire to completely uproot the Brahmans, who are the leaders of kufr and shirk and owning to whom kufr and shirk are spread and the commandments of kufr are enforced… Owing to the fear and terror of the kings of Islam, not a single enemy of God and the Prophet can drink water that is sweet or stretch his legs on his bed and go to sleep in peace.”
    • Quoted from Goel, Sita Ram (2001). The story of Islamic imperialism in India. ISBN 9788185990231
  • “What is our defence of the faith,” cried Sultan Jalaluddin Khalji, “that we suffer these Hindus, who are the greatest enemies of God and of the religion of Mustafa, to live in comfort and do not flow streams of their blood.”

About Barani[edit]

  • Even after his conversion to Islam, the Hindu remained an object of abhorrence... Barani is so maliciously vituperative against Hindus that even many modem Muslim scholars feel embarrassed at his language and find it difficult to defend him. It must, however, be remembered that Barani belonged to the common run of Muslim theologians and chroniclers. He was a personal friend of men like Amir Khusrau and Ala Hasan Sijzi and was a disciple of no less a Sufi than Shaikh Nizamuddin Auliya. He possessed charming manners and was known for his wit and humour. But in the case of Hindus, his wit turned into rage. He is copiously quoted by future chroniclers like Nizamuddin Ahmad, Badaoni and Farishtah, who all praise him highly. Most of medieval Muslim chroniclers wrote in the idiom of Barani; only he excelled them all. All medieval chroniclers were scholars of Islamic scriptures and law. They often quote from these to defend or justify the actions of their kings in relation to their non-Muslim subjects.
    • Lal, K. S. (1992). The legacy of Muslim rule in India. New Delhi: Aditya Prakashan. Chapter 3
  • The Indian Muslim nobles, who were local converts, also rose to be officers in the upper cadres, but foreigners were always preferred. The fourteenth century Persian chronicler Ziyauddin Barani, who was born in India but traced his ancestry to a Turki Noble, credits the foreigner Turks with all possible virtues and the Indian Muslims with all kinds of imperfections. The invectives he hurls on the converted Sultan Nasiruddin Khusrau Shah (C.E. 1320), are too well known to need repetition.
    • Lal, K. S. (1992). The legacy of Muslim rule in India. New Delhi: Aditya Prakashan. Chapter 4
  • They were known by the generic term Turks and they insisted on monopolizing all key posts and important positions, and maintaining their racial and exotic identity. This attitude was also shared by their children and children’s children, who though born in India, psychologically felt that they were Turks of foreign stock. On the other hand the foreign Muslims treated the Indian Muslim converts with contempt. They were so class conscious that Ziyauddin Barani, who was born in India but belonged to a family of nobles, credits the Turks, both in his Tarikh-i-Firoz Shahi as well as Fatawa-i-Jahandari, with all possible virtues and the Indian Muslims with all kinds of vices. ... Conversion to Islam did not change their status, and foreign Muslims looked down upon them. The foreigners especially were not prepared to treat them on equal terms at all. To add insult to injury, the chronicler Ziya Barani, a confirmed believer in the racial superiority of the so-called Turks and baseness of the Indian Muslims, recommends: “Teachers of every kind are to be sternly ordered not to thrust precious stones down the throats of dogs… that is, to the mean, the ignoble, the worthless. To shopkeepers and the low born they are to teach nothing more than the rules about prayer... without which their religion cannot be correct and valid prayers are not possible. They are to be instructed in nothing more. They are not to be taught reading and writing for plenty of disorders arise owing to the skill of the low-born in knowledge…” … Indeed all neo-Muslims were called by the generic but contemptuous term julaha. Surely all the converts could not have come from the weaver caste, but the word julaha became synonymous with the despised low-born Indian Muslim convert. On the other hand the foreign Muslims (or Turks) “alone are capable of virtue, … . They are, consequently, said to be noble, free born, virtuous, religious, of high pedigree and pure birth. These groups, alone are worthy of offices and posts in the government… Owing to their actions the government of the king is strengthened and adorned.” On the other hand the “low-born” (Indian) Muslims are capable only of vices - immodesty, falsehood, miserliness, misappropriation, wrongfulness, lies, evil-speaking ingratitude,…shamelessness, impundence… So they are called low-born, bazaar people, base, mean, worthless, plebian, shameless and of dirty birth”. Now neither the one could be so good nor the other that bad, but Ziyauddin Barani rightly depicts the prevailing attitudes and consequent tensions. What worried him most was that the Indian Muslims were appointed to “high offices and are successful in their work… they will make people of their own kind their helpers, supporters, colleagues. They will not allow (Turkish) nobles and free-born men and men of merits to come anywhere near the affairs of the government.”....In short, there was a constant and bitter struggle of wit and influence for power going on between the “foreign” Turks and Indian Muslims - Indian Muslims both high and low. Although the claim of nobility of birth by purchased slaves makes little sense, the Turks felt that they belonged to blue blood and as founders of Muslim rule in India, they deserved special consideration. It was their right to keep to themselves all high offices, for they possessed merit and were superior to the julahas.... In this strife, the foreign Muslims had an edge. They were closer to the sultan and wielded influence with him. They were ever doing research on the ancestry of Indian Muslim officers, and informing the king about their origins and genealogy with a view to denigrating them and attempting at the removal of those who had ‘infiltrated’ into it. Ziyauddin Barani derives a cynical pleasure in writing about the exclusion and expulsion of low-born Muslims from state employment.
    • Lal, K. S. (1990). Indian muslims: Who are they.
  • There is no denying the fact that Ziyauddin had his prejudices, his weaknesses and his handicaps.... But after all these decuctions have been made, the Tarikh-i-Firoz Shahi remains the greatest book that has survived to us from the Sultanate period. Its eminence in this respect is unchallengable; and so long as the history of India is studied, Barani cannot be ignored...
    • K.S. Lal, Studies in Medieval Indian History, 1966
  • Ziyauddin's sarcasm is incisive. Occasionally his sardonic humour helps him to sum up his ideas in a few words. His remark that in Alauddin's days " a camel could be had for a dang," but wherefrom the dang?" - shows at once how the reforms of Alauddin had made articles cheap and people poor.
    • K.S. Lal, Studies in Medieval Indian History, 1966

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