This essay proposes a novel interpretation of the Fatāwā-i Jahāndārī (Precepts of world rulership), one of the major sources of Indo-Islamic political thought produced by Ziyā' al-Dīn Baranī, a seminal Indo-Islamic political theorist and historian (fourteenth century). It shows that one of the main thrusts of Baranī's theory is to offer a comprehensive account of the various kinds and manifestations of emergencies and modes of treating the diseases afflicting the body politic. It also investigates the ways in which Baranī's ideas on emergencies relate to the political circumstances that prevailed during the Delhi Sultanate period as well as to previous works of political and moral advice, particularly Naṣīr al-Dīn Ṭūsī's Nasirean Ethics. In addition, this essay is the first systematic endeavor to place Barani in conversation with Western political writers, especially Niccolò Machiavelli. It explores the affinities between these two authors' views on emergencies and, more broadly, on the challenges associated with rulership and the qualities requisite for an efficient ruler. My analysis of Baranī's ideas within the context of the Islamic tradition and the cross-cultural comparison with Machiavelli highlights the normative dimensions of his theory and its relevance to current debates on emergencies.


Additional Information

Print ISSN
pp. 545-573
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
Back To Top

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Without cookies your experience may not be seamless.