Administration Under Delhi Sultanate

By : Neha Dhyani

Updated : Apr 12, 2022, 8:24

India saw a new administration system under the rule of the Delhi Sultanate. The Delhi Sultans followed the laws of Sharia for administration. The Sultans or nobles of the kingdom held political, legal and military authority. The Administration Under Delhi Sultanate heavily followed the laws of Islam.

The Administration During Delhi Sultanate was instrumental in improvising the working of Indian provinces and laid the foundation of the coming Mughal administration system. The rule of Delhi Sultans started with the Turkish Ruler Mehmud Ghazni. The Sultans acted as representatives of the Caliph. Administration During Delhi Sultanate was comprised of Central, Provincial, and Local administrations.

Central Administration Under Delhi Sultanate

  • The Sultan was the head of the Empire. After the Sultan, all his children had equal rights for the throne, i.e. they didn't follow the hierarchical succession of the throne.
  • Several ministers handled different departments assigned to them. Some of the major titles in central administration during the Delhi Sultanate are:
  1. Wazir: Prime Minister of the State and in charge of Revenue and Finance (Diwan-i-Wizarat)
  2. Ariz-i-Mumalik: Head of Diwan-i-Ariz (Military Department)
  3. Qazi: Head of the Legal Office
  4. Sadr-us-Sudur: Head of Diwan-i-Risalat (Department of Religious Affairs)
  5. Qazi-ul-Quzar: Head of Diwan-i-Qaza-i-Mamalik (Justice Department)
  6. Amir-i-Majilis: Ministers of royal feasts and festivals.
  • The Naib was next to Sultan in the hierarchy of authority and virtually had the same powers. The post of Wazir was right beneath the Naib. The Ariz-i-Mumalik was in charge of recruiting and training the military personnel, but the Sultan himself acted as the army's Commander-in-chief.
  • Diwan-i-Risalat, another important department, granted funds for madrasas, tombs and mosques. It also patronised scholars. The head of the Diwan-i-Risalat, Chief Sadr, also worked as Chief Qazi, the head of the justice system.
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Provincial Administration Under Delhi Sultanate

  • During Sultanate rule, the kingdom was divided into smaller provinces called Iqtas. Each Iqta was looked after by an Iqtadar.
  • This unique system of land distribution evolved in the reign of Iltutmish.
  • Every Iqta was assigned nobles, officers, and soldiers for smooth administration.
  • Small Iqtas were held by individual troopers with no administrative responsibility.
  • The Iqtas were transferred, i.e. Iqtadars were assigned different Iqtas after 3-4 years.
  • Iqtas (provinces) were divided into Shiqs (districts), which were further divided into Pargana (sub-districts). The village was the smallest unit of land.
  • Provincial officers included:
    • Amir: Governor
    • Mukti/Wali: Tax collector, Law and Order In-charge.
    • Nazir/Wakuf: In charge of revenue collection.
    • Shiqdar: Officer in charge of Shiq

Local Administration Under Delhi Sultanate

  • Village administration or local Administration During Delhi Sultanate was handled by assigned officers and the village panchayat.
  • The local officers were responsible for the overall development of the villages.
  • Central Government did not interfere with the Village administration.
  • Some village officers include:
    • Amil: In charge of land revenue and taxes
    • Hazamdars: In charge of finance
    • Qazi: In charge of developmental records
    • Shiqdar: Criminal officials

Finance and Revenue Administration Under Delhi Sultanate

The Sultans collected the following taxes:

  1. Ushr: Land tax collected from Muslim peasants. It was 10% of the total produce on land watered by natural resources and 5% of irrigated land.
  2. Kharaj: ½ or 1/3 of total produce collected from non-Muslim peasants as land tax.
  3. Khams: 1/5 of the booty captured in war and 1/5 of mines or buried treasure found.
  4. Jizya: Religious tax taken from non-Muslims for living in the Muslim kingdom.
  5. Zakat: Religious tax imposed on rich Muslims.

Land Revenue was the major source of income for Sultans.

Administration During Delhi Sultanate was very articulated. The systematic approach adopted by the Sultans became the guiding light for future dynasties.

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FAQs on Administration Under Delhi Sultanate

Q.1. What was the Administration Under Delhi Sultanate like?

The Administration Under Delhi Sultanate was very systematic, headed by the Sultan, who appointed many ministers for different departments.

Q.2. Who established the Iqtadari system in Administration Under Delhi Sultanate?

Shamsuddin Iltutmish established the Iqtadari system in Administration Under Delhi Sultanate.

Q.3. Who was the Ariz-i-Mumalik in Administration Under Delhi Sultanate?

The Ariz-i-Mumalik was the head of the military department in the Administration Under Delhi Sultanate.

Q.4. What was the Diwan-i-Risalat under the Delhi Sultanate?

The Diwan-i-Risalat was the department of religious affairs headed by the Chief Sadr Administration Under Delhi Sultanate.