Razia Al-Din,the Only Female Sultan of India

| August 28, 2011 | Comments (0)

Razia al-Din (1205–1240),died at age 35,killed

Her throne name was Jalalat ud-Din Raziya and she was the Sultan of Delhi,a vast territory in northern India, from 1236 to May 1240.

The First Muslim Rule in India

The Muslims,with the exception of the conquest of Pakistan in the 8th century,did not rule any part of India till the 13th century.And then only the northern part till the 16th century,when the Mughal-Muslim dynasty began conquering the south.The Muslim kingdom in northern India was called the Sultanate of Delhi.

Two other articles about the Muslims in India

One is about how Muslims destroyed the Greatest University in India in its Time,the University of Nalanda in 1193:


The other is about how they Destroyed one of the Most Holy Hindu Temples not Once or Twice but 6 Times:


The Sultanate of Delhi

Northern India was ruled from Delhi by several Muslim dynasties,in the kingdom of the Sultan(Arabic for ruler) of Delhi,for more than 300 years.They were:

1.Muizzi dynasty(1206-1290)

2.Khaldji dynasty(1290-1320)

3.Tughluq dynasty(1320-1413)

4.Sayyid dynasty(1413-1511)

5.Lodi dynasty(1511-1526)

Razia al-Din (1205–1240)

Very unusual for a princess she was trained to lead armies and administer kingdoms if necessary.She was the only Muslim woman to be Sultan in India.Razia succeeded her father Sultan Shams-ud-din Iltutmish. But the Muslim nobility rejected it and after the sultan died on April 29, 1236, Razia’s brother, Ruknud din Firuz Ruknuddin Feroze Shah became Sultan.

Her brother only lasted 6 months

Iltutmish’s widow Shah Turkaan for all practical purposes was ruler of the government because Ruknuddin only cared about personal pleasure and debauchery.On November 9, 1236, both Ruknuddin and his mother Shah Turkaan were assassinated after only six months in power.

Razia becomes Sultan,is Captured and forced to marry to escape Death

So Razia became the new Sultan and it is reported she preferred dressing like a man and would later show her face when she rode an elephant into battle at the head of her army.She refused to be addressed as Sultana because it meant “wife or mistress of a sultan”. She would answer only to the title “Sultan”.

A man called Malik Altunia, the governor of Bhatinda, joined a rebellion by other provincial governors who refused to accept Razia’s authority.A battle between Razia and Altunia ocurred and she was taken prisoner.To escape death, Razia agreed to marry Altunia. Meanwhile, Razia’s other brother, Muizuddin Bahram Shah, had usurped the throne.

Razia is Killed

So Altunia and Razia went to war against Bahram,Razia’s brother,to regain the throne but they were defeated in October 1240 after a battle. They fled Delhi and and their remaining forces abandoned them. They both fell into the hands of Jats,a specific group in India, and were robbed and killed on October 14, 1240.Later her brother Bahram would later be dethroned for incompetence.

Her Reputation

Razia was devoted to her empire and  subjects. There is no record that she made any attempt to remain aloof from her subjects,it appears she preferred to mingle among them. Her tolerance of Hinduism would later bring her criticism from Muslim historians.Razia established schools, academies, centers for research, and public libraries that included the works of ancient philosophers along with the Koran and the traditions of Muhammad. Hindu works in the sciences, philosophy, astronomy, and literature were reportedly studied in schools and colleges.

The Only Other Female Sultan in Muslim History,the Sultana of Egypt Shajarat al-Durr

Before I was of the opinion that only 1 Muslim woman had been supreme ruler before the 20th century.It was the case of Shajarat al-Durr,the Sultana of Egypt.Hers is a rags-to-riches story,from sex-slave to Sultana.She ruled only 2-3 months,and was deposed….for being a woman.


About the other Muslim Women Rulers

1.There are about 25 cases where Muslim women have been supreme rulers before the 20th century.

2.However when you analyze the Muslim case you find it is very,very local and concerns a little geographical area.It is limited geographically,except in the case of Egypt and the Sultanate of Delhi.Here are the other cases:

1.A little region around Bhopal in India(5 cases).

2.The little region of the Maldives(3 cases).

3.The little Muslim region of Pattani in southern Thailand(6 cases)

4.The little region of Aceh in Indonesia(5 cases)

5.The little region of Kelantan in Malaysia(2 cases).

6.The little Tatar region,the Khanate of Kasim,in Russia (the case of Fatima Soltan,ruled 1679-1681)

Again,these are very small areas,their size can not be compared to Hungary,Poland,Portugal(with Brazil as its territory),Russia,Scandinavia,etc.The total number is not 10,nor 20,nor 30,nor even 40 but around 50!






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