Iqta System

Iqta System

After the establishment of the Delhi Sultanate, iqta system was introduced by the Sultans.

The army commanders and nobles were given territories to administer and collect the revenue.

The territories thus assigned were called iqta and their holders as iqtadar or muqti.

This was a system of payment to the officers and maintenance of the army by them.

Through the years it became the main instrument of administrating the Sultanate.

In due course, the muqti was given complete charge of the administration of the iqta which included the task of maintaining an army.

The muqti was to help the sultan with his army in case of need.

He was expected to maintain the army and meet his own expenses with the revenue collected.

From the time of Balban the muqti was expected to send the balance (fawazil) of the income to the center after meeting his and the army’s expenses.

This process became even stricter during the time of Alauddhin Khalji.

The Khwaja (probably the same as Sahib-i-Diwan) was appointed to keep a record of the income of the Iqtas.

It was on the basis of this record that the Sultan used to make his revenue demands.

A barid or intelligence officer was also appointed to keep the Sultan informed.

During the time of Feroze Shah Tughlaq the control of the state over iqtas was diluted when iqtas became hereditary.



Diwan-i-Arz department was set up to look after the military organization of the empire.

It was headed by Ariz-i-Mumalik.

He was responsible for the administration of military affairs.

He maintained royal contingent, recruited the soldiers, ensured the discipline and fitness of the army, inspected the troops maintained by the Iqta-holders, examined the horses and branded them with the royal insignia.

Alauddin Khalji introduced the system of Dagh (branding) and huliya (description) and cash payment to the soldiers in order to strengthen his control over the army.


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