as tantamount to election by the people. This
Theory of Kingship The doctrine of farr or farrah (supernatural
effulgence or radiance) was first enunciated in the Shah Namah by Firdausi,
according to whom the God endows the rulers with farr, which symbolises
the divine favour. Among the Delhi Sultans, Balban was the first to exhibit
his awareness of the doctrine when he remarked that ‘the king’s heart is the
mirror of the divine attributes’. Later Amir Khusrau observed that Kaiqubad
was endowed with the farr.
Limits to Sultan’s Authority In the framing of new rules and regulations
the authority of the Sultan was circumscribed and every ruler could not
govern the kingdom in complete disregard of the advice of the ulema or
theologians as Ala-ud-din Khalji and Muhammad Tughluq had been able to
do. The power of the nobility also blunted their authority to some extent.
When there was a weak ruler on the throne, the nobles, and the ulema
particularly, dominated him. But during the reign of Balban, Ala-ud-din
Khalji or Muhammad Tughluq, these checks proved ineffective. The Sultans
were not powerful enough to rule the land in complete disregard of the
sentiments of the Hindus. And, the numerical inferiority of the Muslims gave
them little or no opportunity to interfere with local government.
Sultan He dominated the central government. He was the legal head of the
state and acted as the chief executive and the highest court of appeal. In the
last capacity, he sat in a secular court known as mazalim (complaints).
According to Barani, Muhammad bin Tughluq founded a special court, called
diwan-i-siyasat. He was the chief of the armed forces and made appointments
to all the higher civil and military posts. The entire bureaucracy acted under
his control and supervision. He was assisted by a number of officials, chief
among whom were the following:
Naib Sultan Appointment to this post was generally made only when a
ruler was weak or a minor. But sometimes powerful rulers like Ala-ud-din
offered this high office to a nobleman as a mark of special favour. The naib
enjoyed practically all the powers of the Sultan on his behalf and exercised
general control over the various departments of the government.