FĀRŪQĪ DYNASTY OF KHANDESH (772-1009/1370-1601) “land of the khans” (< khan + Hindi dēš “land”), a small kingdom centered on the Tapti River valley on the northern border of the Deccan (q.v.), bounded on the north by Malwa and the Narmada River, in present-day Madhya Pradesh. The dynasty was established around 772/1370 by Malek Raja Fārūqī (see Table 1), a former vizier of the Bahmanid dynasty (q.v.) who had been granted a fief (jāgīr) in the Thalner region by Fīrūz Shah b. Toḡloq, sultan of Delhi (752-90/1351-88). He became independent around 784/1382 and proceeded to subdue local Rajput chieftains. Malek Raja claimed descent from the second caliph, ʿOmar Fārūq (13-23/634-44), a claim that figured large in dynastic propaganda. His immediate successors styled themselves “khan” and followed a policy of playing off more powerful neighboring kingdoms (Gujarat, Malwa, Bīdar, Ahmadnagar) against one another. The prosperity of Khandesh depended upon trade and the production of fine textiles.

Patronage of Češtī Sufism (see ČEŠTĪYA) was also an important element of Fārūqī state policy. Malek Raja regarded himself as a disciple of the Češtī shaikh Zayn-al-Dīn Šīrāzī (d. 771/1369), whose cloak (ḵerqa) was shown to Moḥammad-Qāsem Ferešta (q.v.) in 1013/1604-5, four years after the Mughal conquest of Khandesh, as a holy relic that had ensured the continuity of the dynasty (Ferešta, II, 277; tr. Briggs, IV, p. 171). The tombs of Zayn-al-Dīn and his master, Borhān-al-Dīn Ḡarīb (d. 738/1337), in Rawża (modern Khuldabad) were endowed by the Fārūqīs, and after the Mughal conquest of Khandesh in 1009/1601 this support was continued by Akbar (q.v.; 963-1014/1556-1605) and Jahāngīr (1014-37/1605-27). Although Malek Raja’s successor, Naṣīr Khan, founded the cities of Burhanpur (q.v.) and Zaynābād in honor of these two shaikhs in about 835/1431-32, recently discovered Sufi documents indicate that royal chroniclers considerably exaggerated the role of the early Češtīs in support of the Fārūqīs (Ernst, pp. 207-15). One such source, a 15th-century revenue document from Ḵoldābād (Ernst, pp. 264-72), indicates that shrine trustees, in order to secure additional endowment, also revised the early Češtī prohibition against seeking royal support. In another source, Fatḥ al-awlīāʾ (a hagiography written in Burhanpur by an anonymous author in 1030/1620, Khuldabad library, ms., pp. 80-82, 89, 110-18, 123-30), the emphasis is on the reverence of the later Fārūqīs for contemporary Sufis; ʿAynā ʿĀdel Khan (d. 907/1501) favored the Češtīs, especially Neẓām-al-Dīn Bhakkarī (d. 897/1492) and his son Šāh Jalāl, whereas Mīrān Moḥammad Shah II (d. 984/1576) and successors were drawn to the Šaṭṭārī order. These reports confirm similar remarks by ʿAbd-Allāh Moḥammad Ūlūḡḵānī (I, pp. 53-54, 65, 67; tr., I, pp. 50, 61-63) and Moḥammad Ḡawṯī (pp. 214, 263, 352, 359, 384, 413, 458, 469).

Naṣīr Khan’s capture of the massive fortress of Āsīr, which made possible the foundation of Burhanpur, encouraged the Fārūqīs to undertake military expeditions in Gujarat and Berar while initially forming marriage alliances with the Bahmanids; Gujarati forces, however, compelled Naṣīr Khan to accept vassal status, which continued until the reign of Mīrān Moḥammad I (d. 943/1537), who was granted the title “shah” and named heir to the throne of Gujarat by his uncle Bahādor Shah, though he did not live to inherit. Incursions by Mughal generals into Khandesh in 970/1562 and by Akbar in 972/1564 led Mobārak Shah II (d. 974/1566) to offer his daughter in marriage to Akbar and to acknowledge Mughal overlordship, though the Fārūqīs were still able to maneuver among Gujarat and the kingdoms of the Deccan. The last effective ruler of Khandesh, Raja ʿAlī Khan ʿĀdel Shah I (d. 1005/1597), avoided confrontation with the Mughals and was persuaded by Abu’l-Fayż Fayżī (pp. 78, 94, 102, 138) to assist them against Ahmadnagar; Raja ʿAlī Khan died in battle against the Deccanī armies. His successor, Bahādor Shah (d. Agra, 1033/1623-24), became alienated from Akbar and attempted to resist a Mughal siege of Āsīr but had to surrender the fortress on 22 Rajab 1009/27 January 1601. Although the Fārūqīs as a dynasty were thus extinguished in Khandesh, a member of the Fārūqī family was adopted by Anwār-al-Dīn Khan (d. 1162/1749), first nawwāb of Arcot in southern India, who thus claimed to continue the line of ʿOmar Fārūq (Ernst, pp. 214-15).

Burhanpur was a center of learning under the Fārūqīs, with flourishing religious schools (madrasas) and a considerable population of Sufis (Qāderī, Češtī, Šaṭṭārī) under royal patronage, as can be seen from such hagiographies as Moḥammad Ḡawṯī’s Golzār-e abrār (1022/1613) and modern compilations by Moʿīn-al-Dīn Nadvī and Rāšed Borhānpūrī; in particular, many scholars fleeing chaotic conditions in Sind caused by rivalries among members of the Arḡūn dyansty after 962/1554 found a haven in Burhanpur. The Fārūqīs’ library (later seized by Akbar) must have been considerable, for Fayżī hoped that Raja ʿAlī Khan could supply him with a complete copy of Amīr Ḵosrow Dehlavī’s Toḡloq-nāma (Fayżī, pp. 296-97). The repeated sacking of the city by invading armies despoiled it of many of its literary treasures, but a few isolated pre-Mughal texts survive, including a medical treatise on sex (Maṭlab al-mobaššerīn, by Moḥammad Ḥakīm Gīlānī, dedicated to Mīrān Moḥammad Shah; Patna, Oriental Public Library, ms. 980, H.L. 1006) and a lengthy political treatise composed for the coronation of Raja ʿAlī Khan (Nafāʾes al-kalām wa ʿarāʾes al-aqlām by ʿAbd-al-Laṭīf Monšī Nazīl-al-Ḥaramāyn, 984/1576; unique MS Patna, Oriental Public Library, no. 948, H.L. no. 946), in which are listed and described twenty scholars and Sufis who attended the coronation (fols. 66b-82a). Some Deccani-style paintings currently identified as products of Ahmadnagar or Awrangābād may have been produced at Burhanpur (Sherwani and Joshi, II, pp. 207-8). The architecture of the Fārūqīs, still unstudied, was distinctive, as can be seen from royal tombs and a fort at Burhanpur and large mosques at Āsīr and Burhanpur (Beacon, pp. 120-21, 132-35), the latter featuring a bilingual inscription in Arabic and Sanskrit.


Bibliography (for cited works not given in detail, see “Short References”):

J. Anṣārī, Āṯār-e fārūqīya Borhānpūr mēñ, Burhanpur, 1981.

T. Beacon, The Oriental Annual, London, 1840.

R. Borhānpūrī, Borhānpūr kē sendhī awlīāʾ, Hyderabad, 1957.

C. W. Ernst, Eternal Garden: Mysticism, History and Politics at a South Asian Sufi Center, Albany, N.Y., 1992.

Abu’l-Fayż Fayżī, Enšā-ye Fayżī, ed. A. D. Aršad, Lahore, 1973.

Ḥamīd-al-Dīn, Taḏkera-ye Ḥażrat-e Šāh Bhakkārī Borhānpūrī, Urdu tr. R. Borhānpūrī, Bombay, n.d., pp. 25-29.

Moḥammad Ḡawṯī Mandavī, Aḏkār-e abrār, ordū tarjoma-ye golzār-e abrār, Urdu tr. F. A. Jēvarī, Agra, 1326/1908; repr. Lahore, 1395/1975.

P. Hardy, “Fārūḳids,” in EI2 II, pp. 814-16.

T. T. Mahajan, Khandesh under the Mughals, New Delhi, 1991, pp. 1-22.

M. Nadvī, Borhānpūr gahvāra-ye ʿelm, dār al-sorūr, markaz-e rūḥānīyat, Burhanpur, 1978.

H. K. Sherwani and P. M. Joshi, ed., History of Medieval Deccan (1295-1724) I, Hyderabad, 1973, pp. 492-516.

ʿAbd-Allāh Moḥammad b. ʿOmar Makkī Āṣafī Ūlūḡ-ḵānī, Ẓafar al-wāleh be-Moẓaffar wa āleh, ed. E. D. Ross, 3 vols., London, 1919-28; tr. M. F. Lokhandwala, Baroda, 1970-74.

(Carl W. Ernst)

Originally Published: December 15, 1999

Last Updated: January 24, 2012

This article is available in print.
Vol. IX, Fasc. 4, pp. 378-379