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Chapter 5

Factors Contributing to the Growth of Muslim Population

A study of the preceding pages clearly shows that the rise in Muslim population was due mainly to conversions of Hindus to Islam. It also needs no reiteration that ‘it was part of the state policy to establish Islam as the religion of the whole land’.1 It would again be a truism to say that ‘Islam is essentially a missionary religion’ and every Muslim is a propagandist of his faith; and as they settled in India, they must have entered upon proselytizing efforts.2 Thus Muslim rulers, nobles, Mashaikh, Maulvis, traders and merchants were all in one way or the other Muslim missionaries.


Islam has spread in many parts of the world through wars and campaigns. In the medieval Indian chronicles the sovereign is always mentioned as ‘the king of Islam’, the territories of his empire are referred to as the ‘land of Islam’, its armies as ‘soldiers of Islam’, and its religious and Judicial head as ‘Shaikh-ul-Islam’. The monarch was committed to make Islam the true basis of private and public life through the enforcement of the Shariat and to convert the people to the ‘true faith’. In India the Muslim rulers’ keenness to obtain converts in war is vouched by many chroniclers. The Tarikh-i-Muhammadi gives a clear idea of the psychology of the rulers in this regard. Its author was a contemporary of Sultan Nasiruddin Mahmud, the son of Firoz Tughlaq. He says that while fighting Rai Subir (Sumer) in the vicinity of Iraj, the Sultan thought: ‘If I will give orders to the army to fight (outright), they will not leave even a trace of the Kafirs in the region, but if I shall advance slowly, then probably these people will agree to embrace Islam.’3 What professor Mohammad Habib writes concerning the Mongol applies equally to Turkish expeditions. ‘In 1330 the country was invaded by the Mongols who indulged in arson, rape and murder throughout the Valley (of Kashmir). The king and the Brahmans fled away but among the inhabitants who remained  Muslim ways of life were gradually adopted by the people as the only alternative ’4 Thus warfare brought captives, and captives were made Musalmans. Such was not the situation only in the North; in South also such methods of conversion prevailed, especially during wars between Bahmani and Vijayanagar kingdoms. Throughout the medieval period such wars were common, and forcible conversions helped in the rapid growth of Muslim population.

The rulers used force and persuasion in equal measure. Their resources were great. They could give jobs, honours, and titles and many other economic concessions and status benefits as inducements to conversion, and many people would have taken advantage of these facilities. We have referred to Mubarak Khalji’s encouragement to Hindus to accept Islam by presenting the convert with a robe and a gold ornament. People used to be converted in this fashion right up to the reign of Aurangzeb and perhaps even thereafter. There were other methods too. The Banshasmriti of Satya Krishna Biswas states that in Bengal the Rajas and Zamindars who could not deposit land revenue by a certain date had to convert to Muhammadanism. The Banshasmriti narrates an isolated incident, but as this regulation of the thirteenth century had been revived by Murshid Quli Khan, or had continued right up to his times, many local Rajas and Zamindars would have been converted in the course of four centuries, for full payment of land tax by due date was not always possible. Firoz Tughlaq (1351-88) instructed his revenue collectors to convert Hindus to Islam.5 He rescinded the Jiziyah to lure people to become Muhammadans, and this measure brought large additions to Muslim population. In his Fatuhat-i-Firoz Shahi, Sultan Firoz Tughlaq candidly writes: ‘I encouraged my infidel subjects to embrace the religion of the prophet and I proclaimed that everyone who repeated the Kalima of tauhid and became Musalman should be exempt from Jiziyah  Information of this came to the ears of the people at large, and great number of Hindus presented themselves, and were admitted to the honour of Islam. Thus they came forward day by day from every quarter, go on coming to this day, and adopting the faith, are exonerated from the Jiziyah, and are favoured with Khilats and presents.’6

Side by side the government’s efforts was the proselytizing activity of the Muslim Sufis. It is however not clear how far Sufi and other Mashaikh were interested in the work of conversion and what amount of success they achieved in this regard. Following in the footsteps of T.W. Amold,7 Titus, Aziz Ahmad and Mujeeb assert that conversions to Islam were mainly a result of the labours of the mystics.8 Perhaps the idea is to prove that the conversions were voluntary. On the other hand Mohammad Habib and S.A.A. Rizvi say that Sufi Mashaikh were not engaged in effecting conversions. Prof. Habib says, ‘The Musalmans have no missionary labours to record  We find no trace of any missionary movement for converting non-Muslims (italics by the author himself). Medieval Islam was a converting creed, but it failed to develop any missionary activity  So far as our country is concerned we have to confess frankly that no trace of a missionary movement for the conversion of non-Muslims has yet been discovered.’ In a footnote he adds: ‘Some cheap mystic books now current attribute conversions to Muslim mystics on the basis of miracles they performed. So in order to believe in the conversions one has to believe in the miracles also. But all such books will be found on examination to be latter-day fabrications.’9 Prof. Rizvi arrives at the same conclusion. He simply says that ‘the early mystic records (Malfuzat and Maktubat), contain no mention of conversion of the people to Islam by these Saints.’10

From the hagiological literature also it is evident that Sufi Mashaikh were not organized for propaganda work in any modern way.11 Sufi Shaikhs and scholars are not known to have preceded but always followed the armies of invasion.12 They mostly lived in metropolitan cities, in their respective Khanqahs or monasteries, basking in the sunshine of royal favour, and do not appear to have moved about in the countryside for propaganda work. The whole atmosphere in the Khanqah was Muslim: not many, if any, Hindus ever visited them, not to speak of their coming in large numbers for being converted.13 The two greatest Chishti Mashaikh of the medieval period were Muin-ud-din Chishti and Nizam-ud-din Auliya Rizvi rightly says that Shaikh Muin-ud-din Chishti ‘was neither a missionary nor a miracle monger. He did not work among the masses ’14 In the Fawaid-ul-Fuad, a biographical memoir on Shaikh Nizam-ud-din Auliya, there is mention of conversion of only two Hindu curd-sellers. Similarly during the reign of Iltutmish, Khwaja Qutubuddin Bakhtiyar Kaki and Qazi Hamid-ud-din Nagori were two prominent saints in Delhi but no proselytizing activity is attributed to them.15 Indeed the Mashaikh sometimes resented government’s appeals to do proselytizing work; and Muhammad bin Tughlaq, who wanted to employ this class on missionary work, met with lot of opposition from them.16

In brief, while it would not be safe to declare that hardly any conversions through peaceful methods were effected by the Sufi Mashaikh in India, it has also to be admitted that not many reliable references to their proselytizing activity are available in genuine hagiological works. They may have helped those who showed an inclination to become Muslim. Occasionally they restored to force also to convert people.17 But the Mashaikh were probably responsible only for stray and individual conversions and their contribution to the growth of Muslim population may not have been much. Saiyyad Muhammad bin Nasiruddin Jafar Makki al-Husaini , the Khalifa of Nasiruddin Chiragh-i-Delhi ‘held that there were five reasons which led the people to embrace Islam:

(1) Fear of death,

(2) fear of their families being enslaved,

(3) propagation (of Islam) on the part of Muslims,

(4) the lust for obtaining mawajib (pensions or rewards) ghanaim (booty), and

(5) Tassub (bigotry or superstition?).’18

Thus according to Saiyyad Muhammad, propagation of Islam by Muslims did not necessarily involve missionary activity of Sufi Mashaikh. Prior to its introduction in India, Islam had spread in many other countries like Arabia, Persia and Syria. No names of missionaries or Sufi saints have come down to us as having been instrumental in spreading Islam in those countries. It is only about India that such a theory is put forward.

Today many classes or groups of people who were originally Hindu are found to belong to the Muhammadan faith, and their conversion can be traced to medieval times. An oft-repeated reason for such conversions is said to be the tyranny of the Hindu caste system. Arnold, Titus and Aziz Ahmad give credit to ‘the democratic social system of Islam’19 for the conversion of low caste Hindus to ‘win a degree of social freedom’ because ‘for the lower Hindu castes acceptance of Islam meant an escape from the degraded status they had in the Hindu society.’20 Dr. Wise thinks that the Muhammadan Julaha (Jolha or Momin) weaver class of Bengal and Bihar belonged to a ‘despised Hindu caste who in a body became converts to Muhammedanism.’ Ruben Levy also talks of the ‘coarse rabble’ or Ajlaf in Bengal, who formed the functional groups such as weavers, cotton carders, oil pressers, barbers, tailors etc., as well as converts of originally humble castes in Bengal.21

However, contemporary writings of Persian chroniclers nowhere mention caste as a factor leading to conversions. Muslim historians of medieval India were surely aware of the existence of the caste system in Hindu society; Alberuni, Abul Fazl and emperor Jahangir, to mention a few. And yet no one mentions even once tyranny on the low caste people as cause for conversion. Their evidence shows beyond doubt that conversions in India were brought about by the same methods and processes as seen in Arabia, Persia, Central Asia, etc. India was not the first country where Islam was introduced in medieval times. It had spread in Persia, Central Asia, Afghanistan, and North Africa before it came to India. There was no caste system in these countries and yet there were large-scale conversions there.

Therefore, a little reflection off the beaten track would show that the reason behind the conversion of some groups en masse was not due to the assumed oppression of the caste system but to escape oppressive taxes and other disabilities. Conversion also provided new avenues of employment and economic advancement in the Muslim regime and society. Naturally large numbers of poor people were attracted to Islam as the following Table, prepared on the basis of U.P. Census Report of 1931, indicates.

Showing Some Muslim Low Castes of U.P.22

Per cent of caste Members adhering to Hindu Religion Per cent of each caste in Total Religious Membership
Julaha 95.5 14.7
Faqir 93.0 12.9
Dhunia 93.5 5.4
Teli 25.1 3.4
Nai (Hajjam) 26.9 3.3
Darzi 69.5 2.3
Qassab 100.0 2.2
Dhobi 14.0 1.5
Manihar 96.4 1.4

Like U.P. functional groups many occupational groups in other parts of the country, especially in northern India, too went over to Islam in large numbers in medieval times. Now, did the ancestors of the above Muslim castes convert in medieval times because of the tyranny of the caste system? Let us take the Faqirs first. In Hindu society there is no ‘caste’ of beggars. But any number of beggars would be ‘born’ if they could get free food without doing any work. It is stated in almost every chronicle that in medieval times food was very cheap, even then, many idlers would have avoided to do work if they could get free food just for a change of name - religion of the poor being the proverbial bread. Muslim regime provided it and Faqirs flocked to it and to Islam. The number of Faqirs had grown so large by the time of Ghayasuddin Tughlaq (1320-25) that the sultan wanted to put a stop to a free treat to them and wanted them to take up some work, but his attitude was resented and the sultan maligned.23 According to Ahmad Abbas 40, 000 beggars used to be fed by Ghayas’s successor Muhammad Tughlaq.24 Muhammad Tughlaq sometimes even attended the funeral of Faqirs.25 The Faqirs were so well paid under Firoz Tughlaq26 that some nobles, who used to recommend them to the liberality of the sultan, did not fail to take a ‘bribe’ out of their gains.27 Generosity of kings and nobles towards Faqirs never slackened even during the Mughal period. A good number of people would have converted in medieval times to become Muslim Faqirs to form a caste in the Muslim social order in modern times.

Similar was the position with regard to the Qassab. Arab geographers of the ninth to twelfth centuries found most Indians vegetarians. Some Hindus ate hunted game but not flesh of animals and animals were not slaughtered for providing meat.28 By many Hindus meat is still called ‘shikar’ (game). The Hindu Gorkhas call it only by this name. Therefore, while it could be difficult to categorically state that Hindus in the pre-Muslim period did not do the work of meat-selling, there does not seem to have been a caste of Hindu butchers which went over to Islam because of the oppression of caste system. The few Hindu butchers might have become Musalmans because their vocation found a flourishing and sympathetic clientele among Muhammadans but many others who were not butchers by profession would have found in cutting and selling of meat a new avenue of employment in a new society and joined it to form a Muslim caste of hundred per cent Qassab.

In the case of darzis or tailors, their employment chances lay more with the Muslim community. Muslims dressed elaborately,29 and the sartorial habits of Arabs and Turks would point to even some tailors having come from abroad, and converted Hindu tailors joining their ranks.

The requirements of the Sultan,30 the elite, and even the common Muslims would have needed the services of a whole tribe of tailors, who, passing the whole day in the palace workshops or catering to the needs of the patronizing Muslim society would have found it profitable and convenient to become Muslim. The interdependence of cotton-carders, weavers, (dhunia, julaha) and tailors would have induced the former to embrace Islam, and once some people of this class converted to Muhammadanism, others followed suit because of class affiliation and vocational compulsions. Cotton-carders, weavers, and tailors were there both in the urban and the rural areas; only in the urban they were more skilled and produced fine quality stuffs required by the Muslim nobility and elite, and conversions seem to have occurred mostly in the urban areas; and many village julahas have remained Hindu. A Hajjam does not enjoy a better status in Muslim society than a Nai in Hindu, but the Hajjam’s profession provided greater avenues of economic betterment in Muslim society; he did the work of circumcision and other minor surgical operations.

Such instances need not be multiplied, but some other cases not included in the above Table may also be mentioned in passing. Many elephant drivers (mahauts) are today Muslims. It is on record that Muslim rulers were extremely fond of elephants. Mahmud of Ghazni had an elephant corps of 2,500 all collected from India.31 Minhaj Siraj affirms that during Bakhtiyar’s Bengal campaign, many elephants were captured with their drivers.32 He also writes that Sultan Ruknuddin Firoz Shah (son of Iltutmish), ‘was very fond of  elephants, and all the elephant drivers were much benefited by his bounty (italics mine).’33 Ferishtah says that by the time of Bahram Shah (C.E. 1240), the sultans had monopolised the privilege of keeping elephants.34 Being in the employment of Muslim rulers and nobles, living in the palace or Sultans’ forts all the time, and benefiting from their bounty, it was but profitable for them to convert to a faith in which advantages of service and profession lay. On the contrary those professional groups, which had a mixed Hindu-Muslim clientele, but whose business would have been adversely affected by losing the Hindu customers if they had converted to Islam, like the panwaris (betel sellers), halwais (sweetmeat sellers), banias, goldsmiths etc., did not convert and have remained Hindu through the ages.

Besides, not all low-caste Muslims have converted from low caste Hindus. Many foreign Muslims also would have been relegated to low caste on marrying low-caste women. The sultans and Amirs usually married in the families of the Rajas and Zamindars they defeated. But the common soldiers or common Musalmans would have married either in their own religious group, that is among the newly converted, or among the low-caste Hindus.35 And as class distinctions crystallized in medieval Indian Muslim society, these people would have been given only a low caste status, having obtained it through their wives.36 Needless to say that such Muslims, originally of foreign extraction, would have swelled the ranks of low-caste Muhammadans.

Thus the few low-caste groups which converted to Islam did so not ‘to escape from the tyranny of the caste system’ because they have remained at as lower a rung in Muslim society as they were in Hindu, but because of new professional and vocational opportunities in a changed society. Such conversions took place mostly in urban areas. Artisans, mechanics, handicraftsmen were loyal to their guilds and their castes. Where guilds were loosely knit or contained many occupational groups, chances of conversions were more. There was a greater possibility of such a situation in the urban areas and port-towns where there was concentration of Muslim clientele and influences of Muslim religious, political and economic leadership. In the conversions at port-towns, for example, foreign Muslim merchants played a great part. From what we know of their contribution in the conversion of South-East Asia,37 it stands to reason that their propagandism for Islam in India too would have been very effective. The Zamorin of Calicut, for instance, encouraged the fishermen of Malabar to become Musalmans in order to man his warships; and to this end ordered ‘that, in every family of fishermen in his dominions, one or more of the male members should be brought up as Muhammadans’.38 Either in deference to the wishes or specific condition of his Arab or other Muslim captains and crew, or to see that the men working on the ships under Muslims should have no caste inhibitions, the Zamorin may have issued such orders. But the fact is that today many boatmen and fishermen in Bengal and other parts of the Indian seacoast are Muhammadans. Similarly some mercantile groups like Khojas and Bohras also converted to Islam under the influence of foreign merchants, although legendary accounts attribute their conversion to saints.


It was thus mainly conversions that were responsible for the rise and growth of Muslim population in medieval India. This component of growth went on extending with Muslim territorial expansion. Immigration of foreign Muslims too helped in its growth. As has been seen at many places earlier, from the inception of Muslim rule right up to the eighteenth century foreign Muslims, especially from Persia, Central Asia and Abyssinia used to arrive in India and settle down here. Hindustan was a paradise for Muslim merchants, scholars and adventures. Muslim regime of Hindustan promised and provided excellent jobs to all and sundry foreign Muslims. No wonder that the latter came here in large numbers to settle down and make fortunes. Hazards of journey were there no doubt,39 but these were reduced with passing of time and minimised by migrant adventurers and merchants travelling in groups. Throughout the medieval period they came in droves, ‘like ants and locusts’,40 and were given here important and influential positions. It was naturally a one way traffic; Muslims only came, nobody migrated from here. By the seventeenth century they formed many pressure groups - like Irani and Turani - in the Mughal empire’s politics and society. Many Muslims even today take pride in asserting their extra-territorial identity by adding suffixes like Iraqi and Bukhari to their names.


The most efficacious generator of the quick growth of Muslim population was their practice of polygamy. Marriage is enjoined on every Muslim. It is related in the Traditions that Muhammad said: ‘When the servant of God marries, he perfects half his religion  Consequently in Islam, even the ascetic orders are rather married than single’.41 In Islam there is provision for temporary marriages (Mutas), multi-marriages, divorce, remarriage of widows, concubinage - in short there is freedom from all inhibitions and reservations in matters of matrimony. The insistence is on everybody marrying. Naturally celibacy is frowned upon. One of Muhammad’s companions wanted to live in celibacy Muhammad ‘forbade him to do so’.42 According to a tradition derived from Ibn Abbas and quoted by Ibn Sa’d, popularly known as Katib al-Waqidi, the prophet’s biographer, Muhammad said: ‘In my ummah, he is the best who has the largest number of wives’.43

Practice excelled the precept. Muslim kings and commoners, nobles and soldiers, merchants and Ulema, Sufis and Qazis were all known for maintaining large or small harems according to finances and circumstances. There used to be four regular wives, and numberless concubines.44 The result was prodigious progeny. And so the scriptures desired. Muhammad said: ‘Marry women who will love their husbands and be very prolific, for I wish you to be more numerous than any other people’.45 (italics ours). It is not surprising therefore that all Muslims ever desire to be more numerous than any other people. Polygamy, multi-marriages, etc. sometimes reached ridiculous limits so ‘that often the mothers of the sultan’s sons could not be identified46,’ nor perhaps even the children as shown by the frantic enquiries made after the death of Alauddin, Mubarak Khalji and Muhammad bin Tughlaq whether any of their sons were alive so that the throne could be offered to them. And what is true of the sultans is also true of the elite. Among Muhammadans the widows, even widows of sultans, remarried.47 But a Hindu widow, even if she did not immolate herself, did not remarry. Sati and jauhar had a noble motivation and yet had a demographic aspect; these decimated Hindu numbers. Above all in India, as elsewhere, the growth of population is regulated to a large extent by the material condition of the people. In the medieval period the Muslims - but for the very poor sections - had better lands, more nutritious diet, and, as ruling classes everywhere, were in happier circumstances.

Higher Fecundity

In the Hindu-Muslim mixed marriages the couple and the progeny invariably became Muslim. This practice formed another important component of growth of Muslim population in India. There is also higher fecundity among Muslims. Kingsley Davis rightly remarks that ‘in six decades (1881-1941)  at no census have the Muslims failed to improve their percentage and the Hindus failed to lose ’ It is due not only to the ‘proportion of Muslim women married, but those who are married also have a higher fertility.’48 Today every seventh man in the world is a Muslim,49 and in this great rise of Muslim population their high fertility should have contributed its share. Dudley Kirk, after a detailed study of fertility among various nationalities and religious groups, too, has arrived at the conclusion that birth rate among Muslims is the highest.50

Lesser Losses

While Muslim population rose through conversion, immigration, and polygamy, and possibly high rate of fertility, its losses in wars and famines were lesser than those of the Hindus, and its natural growth was high.

We have referred at many places to the losses of Muslims in war. But a major portion of Muslim armies consisted of Hindus. Even Mahmud of Gazni’s forces had Hindu contingents. During the Sultanate period Muslims, especially foreign Muslims, belonged to the officer cadre and were mostly cavalrymen; Hindus are often mentioned as Paiks or footsoldiers. The Paiks formed the rank and file and probably the bulk of the Muslim armies. There were large armies in India, both in the North and the South, of Bahmani, Vijayanagar, Mughal. The second volume of Abul Fazl’s Ain-i-Akbari gives lists of the large number of Hindu contingents that could be called to duty under Akbar. Naturally it is these who were killed in large numbers in wars being placed, as infantry was then placed, in a vulnerable position.51 The Hindus thus died not only for defending their kings and kingdoms during the unending process of Muslims territorial expansion; they also died in large numbers for their Muslim masters as soldiers in the latter’s armies.52 Compared with theirs, the loss of the Muslim numbers was small. Muslim population at least was not affected by these wars, because any loss in battles was more than made up by the number of captives, who used to be converted and also by replenishment through immigration.

Whenever famines occurred Muslim rulers took necessary steps to provide relief to the people. But from the narrative of the chroniclers it is evident that these relief measures were mostly confined to urban areas. And Muslims were mostly concentrated in urban areas. Even in the cities sometimes the mission of mercy was marred by bigotry. ‘Between 1387 and 1395 the Deccan was visited by a severe famine, and Muhammad’s53 measures for the relief of his subjects displayed a combination of administrative ability, enlightened compassion, and religious bigotry. A thousand bullocks belonging to the transport establishment maintained for the court were placed at the disposal of. those in charge of relief measures, and travelled incessantly to and fro between his dominions and Gujarat and Malwa, which had escaped the visitation bringing thence grain which was sold at low rates in the Deccan, but to Muslims only.’54 And Muhammad Bahmani was not the only orthodox sultan in medieval India. It may not be proper to generalize, but probably in famines and such like calamities the Muslims suffered less loss than the Hindus.


  1. . ‘Islamic countries uniformly have high birth rates.


  2. . These are supported by distinctive Islamic attitudes and practices in family life rather than by political or religious doctrine.


  3. . The ‘normal’ diffusion of birth control to and within Muslim countries on the European pattern has been inhibited by the cultural discontinuity between Muslim peoples and their neighbours.


  4. . The continuing high birth rates in Muslim countries, matched with increasing progress in reducing deaths, now lead to rapid population growth and its especially high visibility as a handicap to economic and social progress.’

    Dudley Kirk ‘Factors Affecting Moslem Natality’ in Olivia Schieffelin (Ed.) Muslim Attitudes Towards Family Planning, Demographic Division, The Population Council, Inc. (New York, 1967), p.79. 

  5. Afif, op. cit., pp.268-269.

    Also Ishwari Prasad, Qaraunah Turks, op. cit., p.331. 

  6. Fatuhat-i-Firoz Shahi, trs. in E and D, III, p.368. Also Hindi trs. Rizvi, Tughlaq Kalin Bharat, II, (Aligarh, 1957), p.337. 

  7. T.W. Arnold, The Preaching of Islam, op. cit., pp.264 ff. 

  8. Titus, op. cit., Chapter III entitled ‘Peaceful Penetration’, pp.36-53. Aziz Ahmad, Studies in Islamic Culture, pp.81-84. Mujeeb, op. cit., p.22. 

  9. K.M. Ashraf Memorial Lecture, op. cit., pp.18-19. Also P.M. Currie, Cult of Muin-al-din Chishti of Ajmer (Oxford, Delhi, 1989) 

  10. S.A.A. Rizvi, Muslim Revivalist Movements in Northern India in the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries (Agra University, 1965), p.18. 

  11. Titus, op. cit., p.42. 

  12. Ibid., p.44. 

  13. Rizvi, op. cit., p.20., P.M. Currie, The Shrine and Cult of Muin-d-din-Chishti of Ajmer (OUP, 1989), pp.20-96, esp. pp.29-30. 

  14. Rizvi, op. cit., p.15. 

  15. Ferishtah, I, pp.66-67. 

  16. Mahdi Husain, Tughlaq Dynasty, pp.149-50, 160 and also p. 174 and n.2-3 Also see Kirmani, Siyar-ul-Auliya, p.228. 

  17. As for instance the efforts of Raju Qattal to convert Nahawan, the Darogha of Ucch. Jamali, Siyar-ul-Arifin (Delhi, 1311H), pp.159-60. Also Ferishtah, op. cit., II, pp.417-18. Eaton, Sufis of Bijapur, esp. Chapter entitled ‘Sufi Warriors’. Also see their militant proselytizing activity in Bengal in Chapter 3. 

  18. Rizvi, op. cit., p.46 citing Sijzi, Akhbar-ul-Akhiyar, p.136. 

  19. Titus, op. cit., p.36. 

  20. Aziz Ahmad, op. cit., p.82. 

  21. Ruben Levy, The Social Structure of Islam (Cambridge, 1957), p.73. 

  22. Compiled from the Census Report of India, 1931, Vol. 18 (United Provinces), Part 2. 

  23. Barani, op. cit., pp.436-37. 

  24. Rizvi, Tughlaq Kalin Bharat, I, op. cit., p.322. Also Ishwari Prasad, Qaraunah Turks, p. 309. 

  25. Masalik-ul-Absar, E and D, III, p.580. 

  26. Barani, pp, 558-59. Afif, pp.448-49, 512. 

  27. Afif, p.449. 

  28. Al Masudi, op. cit., p.19. Al Idrisi, op. cit., p.88.
    Qazwini, op. cit., p.96. 

  29. Barani, pp.273-74. Afif, p.263.
    Also Lal, Twilight of the Sultanate, pp.271. 

  30. Ahmad Abbas says that in the royal workshops of Muhammad bin Tughlaq 200, 000 robes of honour were prepared every year for presentation to the nobles alone. In the Sultan’s manufactory there were 400 silk-weavers and 500 manufacturers of golden tissues, besides others. Masalik, op. cit., p.578. 

  31. Minhaj, op. cit., p.83. Bosworth, The Ghaznavids, p.166
    S.H. Hodivala, Studies in Indo-Muslim History (Bombay, 1939), pp.139-40, 146. 

  32. Tabqat-i-Nasiri, trs. in E and D, II, p.315. 

  33. Ibid., p.332. 

  34. Ferishtah, I, p.69. 

  35. Barbosa, op. cit., I, p.74 tells how the Moplahs inter-married with low-caste natives. 

  36. Such was not the case only with the Muslims. All foreigners who married low-caste persons in this country were counted among low-castes. The case of the early Portuguese in India is an instance in point.

    ‘After capturing Goa, (it became the policy of the Dominican head of the Church, and Albuquerque) at Cochin and Goa of encouraging and subsidizing marriages between native women and the Portuguese. Since most of the marriages contracted were between common Portuguese and low-caste natives  it had the effect of lowering all Christians in the eyes of the higher castes ’

    D.F. Lach, Asia in the Making of Europe, I, pp.230-34.

    Also cf. Manucci, op. cit., III, p.323 for the seventeenth century. 

  37. D.C.E. Hall, op. cit., pp.176-85. 

  38. Arnold, cited in Titus, p.39. 

  39. Hasan Nizami, the author of Taj-ul-Maasir (Crown of Victories) who had come to India during the reign of Qutbuddin Aibak graphically describes in his inimitable poetical style the dangers of the journey to Hindustan. He set out from Ghazni for Delhi which to him was the ‘country of mercy and the altar of wealth  (but there were) the heat of the fiery blast  the wild beasts  the boughs of the jungle were so closely interlaced  A tiger was seen in every forest. In every ravine and plain poisonous serpents were met with. It came into his thoughts, will the boat of his life ever reach the shores of safety? The crow-like-Hindus had intercepted the roads  You may say they were demons in human from.’ E and D, II, p.208. 

  40. For example Lal, Twilight of the Sultanate, p.126 for references from original sources. 

  41. Hughes, T.P., Dictionary of Islam, pp. 313-314. 

  42. Ram Swarup, Understanding Islam through Hadis (New Delhi, 1983), p.57. 

  43. Ibid., p.57 n. 

  44. Lal, K.S., The Mughal Harem (New Delhi, 1988), pp.160-175. 

  45. Cited in Hughes; Dictionary of Islam, p.314. 

  46. M. Mujeeb, The Indian Muslims, p.207. 

  47. ‘The Sultan’s (Bahram Shah, son of Iltutmish) sister had been married to Kazi Nasiruddin, but being widowed, the deputy took her to wife.’ Sultan Nasiruddin’s widowed mother was married to Katlagh Khan, Minhaj, E and D, II, pp.338, 354 respectively. 

  48. Davis, op. cit., p.193. 

  49. H. W. Hazard, Atlas of Islamic History (Princeton,1954), p.5. 

  50. Kirk needs to be quoted at length:


  51. al-Qalqashindi, describing the battle array of Muhammad bin Tughlaq clearly brings this point home. He says, ‘according to Sirajuddin-al-Hindi  the Sultan stands in the centre (of the army)  the archers stand before and behind him  In front of him are the elephants. In front of the elephants march the slaves in light dress wearing shields and weapons. They hold the ropes of the elephants while the horsemen are to their right and left  so that not one of them can run away‘ (Italics mine). Subh-ul-Asha, p.76. 

  52. An interesting incident during the Battle of Haldighati bears out this statement. Akbar sent Raja Man Sing and Asaf Khan against Rana Pratap of Mewar in 1576. There were Rajput soldiers on both sides; those under Rana Pratap were fighting the ones under Raja Man Singh. At one stage in the fierce struggle, Badaoni asked Asaf Khan how he could distinguish between the friendly and the enemy Rajputs. Asaf Khan replied: ‘Shoot at whomsoever you like, on whichever side they may be killed, it will be a gain to Islam.’

    Smith, Akbar the Great Mogul, pp.108-109.

    Lal, Studies in Medieval Indian History, pp.171-172. 

  53. Ferishtah, I, p.302 says that the correct name of the sultan is Muhammad and not Mahmud. He also writes that relief measures were undertaken in ‘large cities and qasbas‘ like Gulbarga, Bidar, Khandahar, Ellichpur etc. 

  54. C.H.I., III, p.385.