Futuh-us-Salatin is a versified history of the Muslim rulers, beginning from Sultan Mahmud down to 1350 AD ie just before the end of the rule of Sultan muhammad bin tughlaq of Delhi. The writer was Isami, some say his full name was Abdul Malik Isami. He belonged to a noble family, probably of Arab origin, and they came to India in the reign of Sultan Shamsuddin iltutmish (1210-1236 AD). His forefathers held high government posts under the sultans of Delhi. He probably lost his father at an early age and was brought up by his grandfather Izzuddin Isami. At the age of 16 he accompanied his old grandfather to Deogir (Devgiri = Daulatabad), who, unfortunately, died on the way before reaching the destination. Probably he had completed his education before leaving Delhi. The Futuh-us-Salatin shows his knowledge in history and his command over Persian language and literature. He began writing the Futuh-us-Salatin in December 1349 and completed it in May 1350 AD. He dedicated his book to Sultan Alauddin Hasan Bahman Shah, founder of the Bahmani dynasty.
Isami's Futuh-us-Salatin stands in between two great historical works on India, the tabaqat-i-nasiri of minhaj-i-siraj written in 1259 AD and Ziauddin Barani's tarikh-i-firuzxahi written in 1356 AD. Isami has given some information which are not found in the Tabaqat-i-Nasiri, similarly some information given by him are not found also in the Tarikh-i-Firuzxahi. Isami's evidence that Sultan ghiyasuddin balban poisoned Sultan Nasiruddin Mahmud, his son-in-law and benefactor, to death, is not found elsewhere.
Like most of the historians of Delhi, Isami did never come to Bengal. But he gives some information about Bengal, which are not found elsewhere. For example he says that when Sultan Ghiyasuddin Balban appointed his son bughra khan as governor of Lakhnauti before leaving for the capital of Delhi, he appointed two efficient officers both named Firuz, to advise his son in administration. Of these two one was a Khalji and a man of ripe judgment, and the other hailing from Koh-Jud was a valiant soldier. Modern scholars, after examining the coins, now express the opinion that one of these two Firuzes, later occupied the throne of Lakhnauti with the title of shamsuddin firuz shah (1301-1322 AD). Futuh-us-Salatin also gives the information that when Balban, in his closing days, expressed his desire to see his son Bughra Khan take the responsibility of the Delhi sultanate the latter obeyed the order, went to Delhi, but after spending two months there, fled to Lakhnauti without taking permission from his father. At Lakhnauti he heard about the death of his father, observed mourning of his father's death for seven days, and then sat on the throne of Lakhnauti with the title of Sultan Nasiruddin Mahmud. His assumption of sovereignty in Bengal and his title are supported by numismatic evidence.
Nothing is known about the author Isami after the completion of his Futuh-us-Salatin. Probably he went to Macca where he passed his later life. The Futuh-us-Salatin was edited by Agha Mahdi Husain and published from Agra in1938. An English version by the same scholar was also published from Aligarh in three volumes (1967-77 AD). [Abdul Karim]
Bibliography AM Husain (ed), Agra, 1938; AM Husain, Tughlaq Dynasty, New Delhi, Reprinted 1967; KA Nizami, On History and Historians of Medieval India, New Delhi, 1983.