Essay on the Liberal Administration of Muhammad Bin Tughluq

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Muhammad Tughluq was a learned man and he refused to accept the dictates of the Ulemas in all matters. The four legal taxes were Khiraj, Zakat, Jazya and Khamsa but Muhammad Tughluq levied many taxes in addition to them. Muhammad Tughluq was not a religious bigot and consequently he showed greater respect for the sentiments of the’ Hindus than was done by his predecessor or his successor.

He tried to stop the practice of Sati. Independent Rajput states were left undisturbed and this was not liked by the clerical party. He deprived the clerical party of its monopoly of the administration of justice. He made himself the highest court of appeal and whenever he differed from the Muftis, he over-ruled them and acted according to his own view, judicial powers were given to some of the distinguished officers of the state although they were not Qazis or Muftis. Mubaraq Khan, the brother of Muhammad Tughluq, sat along with the Qazi in the Diwan-i-Khana to help him in disposing of cases.

Some of the members of the clerical party were severely punished by the Sultan as they were found guilty of rebellion, open sedition or embezzlement of funds. The clerical party could not be expected to be like a ruler who was prepared to punish even the Shaikhs and Saiyyads who were considered to be sacred by the Muslim rulers.

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Muhammad Tughluq believed that he was the shadow of God. Some of the inscriptions on his coins read as “Sovereignty is not conferred upon every man, but is placed on the elect.” “He who obeys the Sultan truly obeys God.” “The Sultan is the shadow of God” and “God is the supporter of the Sultan.” He dropped all references to the Khalifa.

However, when he became very unpopular, he changed his attitude towards the Khalifa and requested the Khalifa of Egypt to confirm him as the Sultan of Delhi. He substituted the name of the Khalifa on his coins in place of his own name. All royal orders were issued in the name of the Khalifa.

In 1344, Muhammad Tughluq received Haji Said Sarsari, the envoy sent by the Khalifa of Egypt. The envoy was received with the highest honours.

The Sultan all the great officers of the state the Sayyids, holy and learned men and all who could pretend to any importance, went out of Delhi to meet the envoy. The Sultan walked barefooted as the envoy approached and kissed his feet several times. Triumphal arches were erected in the city and alms were lavishly distributed.

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The utterances of the envoy were recorded and repeated as though they had been inspired. To quote Barani, “Without the Caliph’s command, the king scarcely ventured to drink a draught of water.” In spite of this, Muhammad Tughluq did not regain the loyalty and confidence of his people. He remained as unpopular as ever.

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