Razia Sultan – Sole Female Ruler of the Subcontinent

Razia Sultan Sole Female Ruler of the Subcontinent | CIO Women Magazine

Raziyat-Ud-Dunya Wa Ud-Din, also known as Razia Sultan Sole Female Ruler, was the sultan of the Delhi Sultanate in the northern region of the Indian subcontinent. She died on October 15, 1240, during her reign of 1236–1241. She was Delhi’s sole Muslim female ruler and the first female Muslim ruler of the entire subcontinent.

Razia Sultan Sole Female Ruler , a Mamluk Sultan Shamsuddin Iltutmish daughter, was in charge of running Delhi in 1231–1232 while her father was engaged in the Gwalior war. According to a tradition that may or may not be true, after returning to Delhi, Iltutmish named Razia as his heir apparent after being pleased with her performance during this time.

Ruknuddin Firuz, a half-brother of Razia whose mother Shah Turkan intended to have her put to death, succeeded Iltutmish as ruler. Razia incited the populace to fight against Shah Turkan during a rebellion against Ruknuddin, and she rose to the throne after Ruknuddin was deposed in 1236.

A group of nobility opposed Razia’s ascension; some joined her in the end, while the others were defeated. She defied the expectations of the Turkic nobility who backed her by asserting her power more and more. They became resentful of her as a result of this and the non-Turkic officials she appointed to high positions.

A party of nobles overthrew her in April 1240 after less than four years in power. She sought to reclaim the throne by marrying one of the rebels, Ikhtiaruddin Altunia, but was thwarted by her half-brother and successor Muizuddin Bahram in October of that year. She was assassinated soon after her marriage with Altunia.

Early Life –

Razia Sultan Sole Female Ruler ruled the nation from 1236 until 1240. She was born in the year 1205. The first Muslim woman to hold a position of authority in Delhi was Razia Sultan Sole Female Ruler. In 1236, she took over as her father Shams-ud-din Iltutmish’s successor and established the Sultanate of Delhi.

Nasiruddin Mahmud, the boy Iltutmish had raised to succeed him, unexpectedly passed away in 1229. According to historian Minhaj-i-Siraj, Iltutmish feared that because his other sons were engaged in enjoyable pursuits, they would not be able to run the government after his death. In 1231, Iltutmish placed his daughter Razia in charge of running Delhi’s affairs before departing on his Gwalior campaign.

After returning to Delhi, Iltutmish decided to name Razia as his replacement because she did her job so well. Iltutmish instructed Tajul Mulk Mahmud Dabir, his mushrif-i mamlakat officer, to draft an edict designating Razia as the heir presumptive. Iltutmish responded that Razia was more capable than his sons when his nobles questioned his choice on the grounds that he still had living sons.

Ruknuddin failed as a leader and gave Shah Turkan, his mother, control of the government. A number of nobles rebelled against the two after they blinded and killed Qutubuddin, the well-liked son of Iltutmish, and even the wazir (prime minister), Nizamul Mulk Junaidi, joined them. The situation worsened when slave officials of Turkic descent loyal to Ruknuddin plotted to assassinate Tazik (non-Turkic) officers of the sultanate.

As a result, numerous significant Tazik officers, including Ziyaul Mulk, the son of Junaidi, and Tajul Mulk Mahmud, the person who wrote the decree designating Razia as the heir apparent, were killed. Shah Turkan intended to have Razia Sultan Sole Female Ruler put to death in Delhi as Ruknuddin marched toward Kuhram to confront the rebels.

Not only was Razia’s accession to the Delhi throne unusual because she was a woman, but it was also notable because public backing served as the primary motivation for it. She had reportedly pleaded with the populace to remove her if she didn’t live up to their expectations, according to the 14th-century manuscript Futuh-us-Salatin. Razia Sultan Sole Female Ruler, like her father, was a fierce warrior, wise administrator, and strong woman.

Despite the fact that she only held power for three years, her actions are still recorded in history. One of the places that honors the memory of this brave woman is the Razia Sultan’s Tomb in Delhi. She sat in an open durbar while costumed as a man. She had qualities of a monarch and was a successful ruler. Razia Sultan Sole Female Ruler had minimal interaction with the women of the variety of mistresses as a child and young adult, so she was not exposed to the expected behavior of women in the Muslim community.

Indeed, she was drawn to the exercise of her father’s sultanate long before she became one. In contrast to tradition, Razia Sultan Sole Female Ruler would later show her face when she rode an elephant in battle as the commander of her military force. As sultan, she wore a man’s tunic and a crown.

Work of Razia Sultan Sole Female Ruler –

Razia Sultan Sole Female Ruler immediately set up a number of significant positions after taking the throne. She gave Nizamul Mulk to Khwaja Muhazzabuddin and appointed him as her new wazir (prime minister). Former wazir Junaidi’s deputy at the time was Muhazzabuddin. Malik Saifuddin Aibek Bahtu was given the title Qutlugh Khan by Razia and given the responsibility of leading her army.

But soon after, Saifuddin passed away, and Razia chose Malik Qutubuddin Hasan Ghuri to fill the vacant position of naib-i lashkar (in-charge of the army). Razia Sultan Sole Female Ruler gave the rebel who had joined her, Malik Izzuddin Kabir Khan Ayaz, the iqta’ of Lahore, which had previously been held by the assassinated rebel Alauddin Jani. Among those chosen by Razia for positions in the royal household were Malik-i Kabir Ikhtiyaruddin Aitigin as the Amir-i Hajib and Malik Jamaluddin Yaqut as Amir-i Akhur.

The Shias attempted to overthrow the Sultanate during Razia’s rule, but their uprising was put down.  The Jama Masjid in Delhi was attacked by Shia Qarmatians in a significant incident. Prior to this, the Qarmatian leader Nuruddin Turk had recruited over 1,000 followers from Delhi, Gujarat, Sindh, and the Doab and had denounced the Sunni Shafi’i and Hanafi teachings.

He and his followers invaded the mosque on March 5, 1237, and began slaughtering the Sunnis who had gathered there for Friday prayers before being attacked by the locals.

In response to a danger from the Mongols in 1238, Malik Hasan Qarlugh, a previous Khwarazmian governor of Ghazni, dispatched his son to Delhi, most likely to seek a military alliance against the Mongols. Razia Sultan Sole Female Ruler graciously accepted the prince and offered him the proceeds of Baran for his costs, but she declined to make an alliance with him to oppose the Mongols.

Being a successful ruler, Razia Sultan Sole Female Ruler established genuine peace in her realm, in which every single person abides by the rules and regulations she established. She made an effort to strengthen the foundation of the country by constructing streets, digging wells, and improving exchange.

She also established educational institutions, research hubs, public libraries, and other facilities that made it easier for scholars to study the Quran and Muhammad’s traditions. Hindu fulfills the needs in the sciences, thinking, space science, and writing that were prioritized in schools and colleges. She supported academics, painters, and craftspeople and made contributions in the fields of craftsmanship and culture as well.

End of the accession –

The rebel nobles in Delhi installed Muizuddin Bahram, a son of Iltutmish, on the throne after word of Razia’s capture got there. On April 21, 1240, he officially took the throne, and on May 5, 1240, the nobles swore loyalty to him. The new monarch was only supposed to serve as a symbolic head of state, and Ikhtiyaruddin Aitigin was given the newly established position of naib-i mamlakat, which is comparable to regent. Ikhtiyaruddin Aitigin was however slain within 1-2 months by the new king.

The nobility in Delhi divided up significant positions and iqtas among themselves after removing Razia, disregardeding the claims of Ikhtiyaruddin Altunia, who had detained Razia in Tabarhinda. Altunia decided to join Razia’s side after Aitigin’s death, when she had given up any prospect of reaping any rewards from Razia’s overthrow. Seeing this as a chance to reclaim the throne, Razia Sultan Sole Female Ruler wed Altunia in September 1240. Other irate Turkic nobles, such as Malik Qaraqash and Malik Salari, supported the two.

Abdul Malik Isami claimed that Khokhars, Jats, and Rajputs were all involved in the army that Altunia gathered. Sultan Muizuddin Bahram led an army in battle against the armies of Altunia and Razia in September and October 1240, and on October 14th, he won the victory. After being forced to flee, Altunia and Razia made their way to Kaithal, where their men abandoned them and a mob of Hindus slaughtered them. Razia Sultan Sole Female Ruler passed away on October 15, 1240.

The burial of Razia is situated in Old Delhi’s Mohalla Bulbuli Khana, close to Turkman Gate. Even after the controversies in her 4 years of accession Razia remain the first women Leader in Indian history to be a lady ruler of the sultanate. Name of Razia Sultan Sole Female Ruler has been carved with the golden words in history for her social work and absolute dedication towards her people with great administrative skills. Over the period of time she became a great inspiration for the women in India.


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