Surprising Facts About Muhammad Bin Tughlaq and Firoz Shah, Sultans of Delhi

Muhammad Bin Tughlaq (r: 1325-1351) is a controversial figure in Indian history. He was the most significant ruler of the Tughlaq dynasty, under whose reign the Tughlaq Sultanate reached its zenith.

Muhammad had great love for his mother, Makhduma-i-Jahan. He was also generous and kind-hearted towards his uncle's son, Firoz, who would later become Sultan Firoz Shah.


Firoz was the son of Rajab, younger brother of Sultan Ghiyas-ud-din Tughlaq. Firoz was eighteen years old when Muhammad ascended the throne. On his accession Muhammad made him the Naib-Barbak (deputy of the Lord Chamberlain).

Shamsi-Siraj Afif, the author of Tarikh-i Firoz Shahi, notes that Muhammad always kept Firoz close to him and regularly briefed him on state affairs. Upon dividing Delhi's territories into four sections, Muhammad assigned Firoz to oversee one part, providing him with an opportunity to gain experience in statesmanship. The Sultan entrusted Firoz with various responsibilities constantly, not out of enmity, but to hone his understanding of the duties of sovereignty. Firoz Shah thus completed his forty-fifth year under the guidance of Sultan Muhammad.

Many historians claim that Muhammad nominated Firoz as his successor while on his deathbed. After Muhammad's death, the nobles placed Firoz on the throne.

Firoz Shah (r: 1351-1388) held Muhammad in high esteem. Authors such as Badauni and Ferishta accuse Barani of omitting Muhammad's plot to murder his father in his Tarikh-i-Firoz Shahi out of respect for Firoz Shah.


Barani mentions an incident where Muhammad once told him, "If I can settle the affairs of my kingdom according to my wish, I will consign my realm of Delhi to three persons: Firoz Shah, Malik Kabir and Ahmad Ayaz, and I will then proceed on the pilgrimage to the holy temple."

Despite the fact that Muhammad's sister, Khudawandzada, had plotted to assassinate him, Firoz refrained from imposing any severe punishment on her.

Firoz Shah writes in his Memoirs, Futuhat-i-Firoz Shahi, "God Almighty and Omnipotent enabled this sinful servant to obtain for the late king, Muhammad Shah Sultan, who was my patron and master, the forgiveness and pardon of the descendants of those who, by the will of God, had been killed and whose limbs, eyes, noses, hands or feet had been mutilated during his reign. May God forgive him, have mercy upon him, and make his grave fragrant."

Firoz Shah then explained that, after winning over each descendant with gifts, attested by witnesses, he placed them in a chest near the head of the Sultan's tomb in the Dar-ul-aman. He hoped that God's infinite mercy would pardon his master and patron, Sultan Muhammad, and render favourable those who had suffered under the Sultan, causing them to forgive his master.

The author of Sirat-i-Firuz Shahi adds that the chest containing the deeds was placed near the head of the grave so that all could see them and be satisfied that Muhammad Bin Tughlaq had been forgiven by the heirs of those who had been punished and tortured by him.

A City Honoring Sultan Muhammad:

The city of Jaunpur, situated on the banks of the Gomti river in Uttar Pradesh, was constructed by Firoz Shah as a tribute to his cousin, Sultan Muhammad, who was known as Fakhr-ud-din Jauna before ascending to the throne. Sultan Ghiyas-ud-din Tughlaq had conferred him the title of Ulugh Khan upon his accession.

Nagarkot to Muhammadabad:

On one occasion at Nagarkot, Muhammad, despite experiencing overwhelming thirst, declined a cold drink offered to him due to Firoz's absence. Later, during Firoz Shah's Nagarkot expedition, he received a cold drink that evoked memories of the aforementioned incident.

"When Sultan Muhammad Shah, who was my master, reached this place, and his attendants brought him some iced sharbat, but he had no inclination for that beverage because I was not with him."

In honor of Muhammad's memory, Firoz Shah ordered to make a special cold sharbat made from cane-sugar, which was distributed among the entire army. As a tribute to Muhammad, Nagarkot was renamed Muhammadabad.

Under Firoz Shah's reign, the Jahan Panah, originally constructed by Muhammad Bin Tughlaq, was restored to its former glory.