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Muhammad bin Tughlaq

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Title: Muhammad bin Tughlaq  
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Subject: Delhi Sultanate, Aurangabad, Maharashtra, Bahmani Sultanate, Islam in India, Ziauddin Barani, Sinhagad, Sonargaon, Muslim conquest in the Indian subcontinent, Tughlaqabad Fort, Bukka
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Muhammad bin Tughlaq

This article is about the Sultan of Delhi. For 1971 film of the same name, see Muhammad bin Tughluq (film). For 1968 play of the same title, see Muhammad bin Tughluq (play).

Muhammd bin Tughluq (Arabic: محمد بن تغلق‎) (also Prince Fakhr Malik, Jauna Khan; died 20 March 1351) was the Turkic Sultan of Delhi from 1325 to 1351.[1] He was the eldest son of Ghiyas-ud-din Tughlaq. He was born in Kotla Tolay Khan in Multan. His wife was the daughter of the raja of Dipalpur.[2] Ghiyas-ud-din Tughlaq sent the young Muhammad to the Deccan to campaign against king Prataparudra of the Kakatiya dynasty whose capital was at Warangal. Muhammad succeeded to the Delhi throne upon his father's death in 1325. From his accession to the throne in 1325 until his death in 1351, Muḥammad contended with 22 rebellions, pursuing his policies consistently and ruthlessly.

As his reign began, Muḥammad attempted, without much success, to enlist the services of the ʿulamāʾ, the Muslim divines, and the Ṣūfīs, the ascetic mystics. Failing to win the ʿulamāʾ over, he tried to curtail their powers, as some of his predecessors had, by placing them on an equal footing with other citizens. The Sultan wanted to use the Ṣūfīs’ prestigious position to stabilize his authority as ruler. Yet they had always refused any association with government and would not accept any grants or offices except under duress. Muḥammad tried every measure, conciliatory or coercive, to yoke them to his political wagon. Although he humiliated them, he could not break their opposition and succeeded only in dispersing them from the towns of northern India.The transfer of the capital in 1327 to Deogir (now Daulatabad) was intended to consolidate the conquests in southern India by large-scale—in some cases forced—migration of the people of Delhi to Deogir. As an administrative measure it failed, but it had far-reaching cultural effects. The spread of the Urdu language in the Deccan may be traced to this extensive influx of Muslims.

Between 1328 and 1329 the Sultan increased the land tax in the Doab—the land between the Ganges (Ganga) and Yamuna rivers—but the taxpayers resisted it, especially because a severe drought coincided.

Muḥammad’s last expedition, against the rebel Ṭaghī, ended with his death at Sonda in Sindh in 1351.

Collapse of the empire

Tughluq died in 1351 on his way to Thatta, Sindh in order to intervene a war between members of the Soomro tribe. He had lived to see his empire fall apart. During his reign new kingdoms broke away in south India and the Deccan. Several south Indian rulers like Prolaya Vema Reddy of the Reddy dynasty, Musunuri Kaapaaneedu and Hakka and Bukka of the Vijayanagara Empire liberated whole south India from the Delhi Sultanate and the Bahmani kingdom was founded by Hasan Gangu.[3] The unpopularness and failures of this person also led to the collapse of the empire.


Muhammad bin Tughluq noticed foreign empires using coins. Muhammad decided to use the same policy himself. He memorialized himself and his activities through his coinage and produced more gold coins than had his predecessors. The coins boasted fine calligraphy. He issued a number of fractional denominations. These coins were called "tanka".His introduction of token currency, coins of baser metal with the face value of silver coins, however, failed dismally.

The large influx of gold from his south Indian campaign led him to increase coinage weights. He enlarged the gold dinar from 172 grains to 202 grains. He introduced a silver coin, the adlis, which was discontinued after seven years due to lack of popularity and acceptance among his subjects.

All his coins reflect a staunch religiosity, with such inscriptions as "The warrior in the cause of God", "The trustier in support of the four Khalifs – Abu Bakr, Umar, Usman and Ali". The kalimah appeared in most of his coinage. Both at Delhi and at Daulatabad coins were minted in memory of his late father. There were also mints at Lakhnauti, Salgaun, Darul-I-Islam, Sultanpur (Warrangal), Tughlaqpur (Tirhut), and Mulk-I-Tilang. More than thirty varieties of bullion coins are known so far, and the types show his numismatic interests. Following the Chinese example, of using brass or copper tokens, backed by the silver and gold kept in the treasury, Tughluq had two scalable versions, issued in Delhi and Daulatabad. The currency was issued in the two different standards, undoubtedly to follow the local standards which preexisted in the North and in the South respectively. He engraved "He who obeys the Sultan obeys the compassionate" to fascinate people in accepting the new coinage. However, very few people exchanged their gold or silver coins for the new copper ones. Moreover, the tokens were easy to forge, which led to heavy losses, as Tughluq subsequently withdrew the forged currency by exchanging it for bullion coins. This drained the treasury because he had to compensate the losers. But it is said that after the plan failed, there were heaps of copper coins lying around the royal offices for years.


Religious tolerance

Muhammad bin Tughluq was relatively liberal and permitted Hindus and Jains to settle in Delhi.[4] The policy was continued by his cousin Firuz Shah Tughluq, who patronized the Jain monk Mahendra Sūri, who composed the Yantra-rāja, the first Sanskrit text on the astrolabe.[5]

In popular culture

  • Muhammad bin Tughluq (Tamil: முகமது பின் துக்ளக்) is a socio-political satire written and first staged by Cho Ramaswamy in 1968.[6]
  • Thuglak (Tamil: துக்ளக்) is a weekly Tamil newsmagazine started by Cho Ramaswamy in 1970.[7]
  • Muhammad bin Tughlaq is the central character in Tughlaq: a play Kannada in thirteen scenes, by Girish Karnad published in 1964.[8]



External links

  • Encyclopædia Britannica – Muhammad ibn Tughluq
  • Encyclopædia fastinformativesearch – Muhammad bibn Tughluq

Preceded by
Ghiyath al-Din Tughluq
Sultan of Delhi
Succeeded by
Firuz Shah Tughluq

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