Baranī, Żiyāʾ al-Dīn d. ca. 758/1357

Historian Żiyāʾ al-Dīn Baranī was a historian who lived under the Delhi Sultanate during the early to mid 8th/14th century. For much of his professional life, Baranī was attached to Sulṭān Muḥammad Tuğluq (r. 725/1325 to 752/1351) as a nadīm (boon companion). However, following the accession of Firūz Šāh Tuğluq (r. 752/1351 to 790/1388, see author 70) Baranī fell out of favor. For a short while he was imprisoned, following which he spent the final years of his life retired and exiled from his earlier association with politics. He died ca. 758/1357.

Four of Baranī’s works are extant with Tārīḫ-i Fīrūz Šāhī and Fatāvā-yi Jahāndārī the most well-regarded among them. While the Tārīḫ-i Fīrūz Šāhī is written as a chronological history and the Fatāvā-yi Jahāndārī as a work on political theory, both can be taken together as an expression of Baranī’s conception of rule, fusing the traditions of Islamic rule with some of those from pre-Islamic Iranian monarchies. Both works seem to be part of an overall effort by Baranī to “educate the de facto rulers of the day, the sultans, in the their duty towards Islam in a corrupt age”.


Tārīḫ-i Fīrūz Šāhī     The History of Fīrūz Šāh

Extends to 758/1357.

Tārīḫ-i Fīrūz Šāhī is a history of the Sulṭān of Delhi from ca. 662/1263-64 to the sixth year of Fīrūz Šāh’s reign (758/1357). Baranī assesses the performance of each Sultan’s rule one at a time, treating each “as a parable in which success or failure is explicable in terms of the sultan’s adherence to or deviation from Baranī’s politico-religious theories”.

Fatāvā-yi Jahāndārī     The Legal Decrees for World-Ruling