What Is Iqta System?

Juliet D'cruz

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What Is Iqta System

Are you curious to know what is iqta system? You have come to the right place as I am going to tell you everything about iqta system in a very simple explanation. Without further discussion let’s begin to know what is iqta system?

Throughout history, various land administration systems have shaped the economic and social fabric of societies. One such system is the Iqta system, which emerged during medieval times in the Muslim world. The Iqta system was a unique method of land distribution and revenue collection, offering insights into governance, taxation, and feudal relations of the time. In this blog post, we will delve into what the Iqta system entailed, its historical significance, and its impact on land administration in medieval Muslim societies.

What Is Iqta System?

The Iqta system, also known as the Iqta’at system, was a land administration system that originated during the Abbasid Caliphate in the 9th century and gained prominence throughout the medieval period in the Muslim world. It was a method of assigning land rights to military officials or nobles in exchange for their services to the state.

Under the Iqta system, the ruling authority (usually the Caliph or a regional ruler) granted an Iqta, or an administrative unit of land, to a military officer or noble. The holder of the Iqta, known as the Iqtadar or Muqti, was responsible for collecting revenue from the assigned land, maintaining law and order, and providing military service when required.

Features Of The Iqta System

  1. Land Grant: The Iqta system involved the grant of agricultural land, along with associated rights, to the Iqtadar. The size and productivity of the Iqta varied depending on factors such as the recipient’s rank, loyalty, and military contributions.
  2. Revenue Collection: The Iqtadar collected revenue from the land assigned to them. This revenue was typically in the form of agricultural produce, taxes, or a share of the land’s yield. The Iqtadar retained a portion of the revenue for their own sustenance and military expenses while forwarding the remainder to the ruling authority.
  3. Administrative Authority: The Iqtadar acted as an administrative and military officer within their assigned Iqta. They had the power to enforce law and order, settle disputes, and maintain the productivity of the land. The Iqtadar also had the responsibility to defend the territory during times of conflict.
  4. Non-hereditary Nature: The Iqta system was typically non-hereditary, meaning that the Iqtadar’s rights to the land were not automatically passed down to their heirs. The system allowed for the reassignment of Iqtas based on the ruler’s discretion or the Iqtadar’s performance.

Historical Significance

The Iqta system played a significant role in shaping medieval Muslim societies:

  1. Military Organization: The Iqta system served as a method of organizing and sustaining the military forces of the ruling authority. It provided a means to reward and incentivize military officers, ensuring their loyalty and commitment to the state.
  2. Revenue Collection and Governance: The Iqta system enabled the ruling authority to efficiently collect revenue and govern the vast territories under their control. It provided a decentralized administrative structure that facilitated local governance, taxation, and land management.
  3. Feudal Relations: The Iqta system established a feudal relationship between the ruling authority and the Iqtadars. The Iqtadars held land rights and exercised authority over their assigned territories, creating a system of obligations and loyalty between the ruling elite and the military nobility.
  4. Economic Impact: The Iqta system had implications for agriculture and trade. The Iqtadars, responsible for the land’s productivity and revenue collection, played a role in shaping agricultural practices, encouraging economic growth, and facilitating trade routes.

Legacy And Evolution

Over time, the Iqta system underwent modifications and adaptations in different regions. It evolved into other land administration systems, such as the Timar system in the Ottoman Empire and the Jagir system in India. These systems retained certain elements of the Iqta system while incorporating local customs and administrative practices.


The Iqta system, an innovative land administration system in medieval Muslim societies, offered a unique approach to governance, military organization, and revenue collection. It served as a means to reward military officers, establish feudal relations, and maintain territorial control. Understanding the Iqta system provides insights into the historical dynamics of land administration, taxation, and governance in the Muslim world. While the Iqta system has long faded into history, its influence and legacy continue to resonate in the evolution of land administration systems worldwide.


What Is Iqta In Short?

Iqta was an assignment of revenues of a defined area of land in return of services rendered. Iqtadar was the holder of the assignment. He performed the duties of controlling the areas, establishing peace, collecting revenues etc.

Who Founded The Iqta System?

Shamsa ud-din Iltutmish of the Delhi Sultanate is credited with introducing the Iqta system in India. The concept was based on Muhammad Ghori’s ideas.

What Are The Features Of Iqta System?

Under this system, the entire empire was very evenly divided into several large and small tracts of land, called the Iqtas. These plots of land were assigned to the various nobles, officers, and soldiers for the purpose of easy and flawless administration and revenue collection.

When Was Iqta System Established?

Notes: Mohammad Ghori was the first to introduce the Iqta system in India in 1206 AD. C., but it was lltutmish who gave it an institutional form. Qutbuddin Aibak was assigned as the first iqta of India by Mohammed Ghori. The Iqtadari system went through numerous changes during the sultanate period.


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