The Sayyid dynasty was the fourth dynasty of the Delhi Sultanate, with four rulers ruling from 1414 to 1451. Founded by Khizr Khan a former governor of Multan, they succeeded the Tughlaq dynasty and ruled the sultanate until they were displaced by the Lodi dynasty. Members of the dynasty derived their title, Sayyid, or the descendants of the Islamic prophet, Muhammad, based on the claim that they belonged to his lineage through his daughter Fatima, and son-in-law and cousin Ali.
The first ruler of the Sayyid Dynasty: Khizr Khan (1414-1421)
Khizr Khan, the founder of this dynasty was once the governor of Multan appointed by Firoz Tughlaq. He supported Timur when the latter attacked India. Before leaving India, Timur appointed him the governor of Multan, Lahore, and Dipalpur. After Timur’s return, there was no strong power in Delhi for about 14 years. Taking advantage of the chaotic conditions; he occupied the throne of Delhi in 1414. He claimed to be the descendant of the Prophet. The seven years of his reign were spent suppressing revolts in various parts of India. He was successful in protecting the Delhi Sultanate from the rulers of Gujarat, Malwa, and Jaunpur who aspired to conquer Delhi.
Khizr Khan’s personality and his rule have won praise from Fersihta in these words, “Khizr Khan was a great and a wise King and was always true to his word. His subjects loved him with so much a graceful affection that great and small, master and the servant sat and mourned for him in black garments, till the third day, when they laid aside their mourning garments and raised his son, Mubarak Shah, to the throne.”
Mubarak Shah (1421-1434)
Yahya Bin Sirhindi, a famous historian of his time, in his book Tarikh- i-Mubarak Shah’ has written about his reign as, “The reign of Mubarak Shah was a period of disquiet and rebellions, so his entire reign was spent in suppressing these.” One feature of his reign is remarkable. In the history of Sultanate, for the first time, we learn that there were two Hindu Amirs in his reign.” Mubarak Shah built a city on the banks of the river Yamuna and named it Mubarkabad. He was assassinated in a plot.
Muhammad Shah (1434-45)
Muhammad Shah was a very weak ruler of the Sayyid dynasty. The real authority of the Sultan extended merely 40 miles around Delhi. During his reign, disorder and mismanagement prevailed. The ruler of Malwa attacked Delhi during his reign. However, with the timely help of Bahlol Lodi, the governor of Lahore and Sirhind, the Sultan was able to face the challenge successfully.
Later on during the reign of Muhammad Shah, Bahlol Lodi tried to capture Delhi but he failed. About the state of affairs during the reign of Muhammad Shah, the historian Nizam-ud-Din wrote, “The affairs of the state grew day by day more and more confused.”
Ala-ud-Din Alam Shah (1445-1451)
Alam Shah was a pleasure-loving, incompetent and weak king. He used to reside at Badaun. According to some historians, he transferred his capital from Delhi to Badaun on account of the fear of Bahlol Lodi, governor of Lahore, and Sir-hind. Taking advantage of his absence from Delhi, Bahlol Lodi, supported by Sudan’s ‘Vazir’ occupied Delhi in 1451. Alam Shah continued to live at Badaun till his death in 1478.