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For other uses, see Razia Sultana (disambiguation).
Razia Sultan
Sultan of Delhi
Tomb of Razia Begum (w:Razia Sultana) in Mohalla Bulbuli Khana
Reign 10 November, 1236– 13 October, 1240
Coronation 1236
Predecessor Rukn ud din Firuz
Successor Muiz ud din Bahram
Spouse Ikhtiar-ud-din Mirza Altunia
Issue Zubrudin Mirza Rashil (1237-1238); adopted son
Dynasty Mamluk
Father Iltutmish
Mother Qutub Begum
Born 1205
Delhi, India
Died 13 October, 1240 (aged 35)
Delhi, India
Burial Bulbul-i-Khan near Turkoman Gate, Delhi
Religion Islam

Raziyya al-Din (1205 – October 13, 1240), throne name Jalâlat ud-Dîn Raziyâ (Perso-Arabic:جلاله الد دین رضیه), Hindi: जलालत उद-दीन रज़िया), usually referred to in history as Razia Sultan, was born in Budaun and was the Sultan of Delhi in India from 1236 to May 1240. Like some other Muslim princesses of the time, she was trained to lead armies and administer kingdoms if necessary.[1] Razia Sultana was the only woman ruler of both the Sultanate and the Mughal period, although other women ruled from behind the scenes.[2] Razia refused to be addressed as Sultana because it meant "wife or consort of a Sultan". She would answer only to the title "Sultan."[3]


Raziyya (also called Radiyya or Raziyya) succeeded her father Shams-ud-din Iltutmish to the Sultanate of Delhi in 1236. Iltutmish became the first sultan to appoint a woman as his successor when he designated his daughter Razia as his heir apparent. Razia was the first and last female ruler of Delhi Sultanate. (According to one source, Iltumish's eldest son had initially been groomed as his successor, but had died prematurely.) But the Muslim nobility had no intention of acceding to Iltutmish's appointment of a woman as heir, and after the sultan died on Wednesday 30 April 1236, Razia's brother, Rukn ud din Firuz, was elevated to the throne instead.

Ruknuddin's reign was short. With Iltutmish's widow Shah Turkaan for all practical purposes running the government, Ruknuddin abandoned himself to the pursuit of personal pleasure and debauchery, to the outrage of the citizenry. On November 9, 1236, both Ruknuddin and his mother Shah Turkaan were assassinated[4] after only six months in power.

With reluctance, the nobility agreed to allow Razia to reign as Sultan of Delhi. She dressed like a man and sat in open durbar. She was an efficient ruler and possessed all the qualities of a Monarch[citation needed]. As a child and adolescent, Razia had little contact with the women of the harem, so she had not learnt the customary behavior of women in the Muslim society that she was born into. Even before she became Sultan, she was reportedly preoccupied with the affairs of state during her father's reign. As Sultan, Razia preferred a man's tunic and headdress; and contrary to custom, she would later show her face when she rode an elephant into battle at the head of her army.

A shrewd politician, Razia managed to keep the nobles in check, while enlisting the support of the army and the populace. Her greatest accomplishment on the political front was to manipulate rebel factions into opposing each other. At that point, Razia seemed destined to become one of the most powerful rulers of the Delhi Sultanate.

But Razia miscounted the consequences that a relationship with one of her advisers, Jamal-ud-Din Yaqut, an Abyssinian Siddi (Habshi) slave,[5] would have for her reign. According to some accounts, Razia and Yaqut were lovers, other sources simply identify them as close confidants. In any case, before long she had aroused the jealousy of the Turkic nobility by the favoritism she displayed toward Yaqut, who was not a Turk, when she appointed him to be Superintendent of the Stables. Eventually, a childhood friend named 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 ensued, with the result that Yaqut was killed and Razia taken prisoner.[6] She was incarcerated in April, 1240 at Qila Mubarak at Bathinda. While in prison, Razia Sultan was allowed to go to Hajirattan mosque to offer prayers on Fridays in a special palki. She was released in August 1240. To escape death, Razia agreed to marry Altunia. Meanwhile, Razia's brother, Muizuddin Bahram Shah, had usurped the throne. After Altunia and Razia undertook to take back the sultanate from Bahram through battle, both Razia and her husband were defeated on the 24th of Rabi' al-awwal A.H. 638 (October 1240). They fled Delhi and reached Kaithal the next day, where their remaining forces abandoned them. They both fell into the hands of Jats and were robbed and killed on the 25th of Rabi' al-awwal A.H. 638,[7] this date corresponds to October 13, 1240.[8] Bahram, for his part, reigned from 1240 to 1242, but would be dethroned for incompetence.


Billon Jital of Razia

Razia is said to have pointed out that the spirit of religion was more important than its parts, and that even the Islamic prophet Muhammad spoke against overburdening the non-Muslims. On another occasion, she reportedly tried to appoint an Indian Muslim convert from Hinduism to an official position but again ran into opposition from the nobles.[citation needed]

Razia was reportedly devoted to the cause of her empire and to her subjects. There is no record that she made any attempt to remain aloof from her subjects, rather it appears she preferred to mingle among them.

Razia established schools, academies, centers for research, and public libraries that included the works of ancient philosophers along with the Qur'an and the traditions of Muhammad. Hindu works in the sciences, philosophy, astronomy, and literature were reportedly studied in schools and colleges.[citation needed]

In popular culture[edit]

The Bengali poet Michael Madhusudan Dutt wrote a play on the life of Razia Sultana in English titled Rizia, the sultana of Inde.[9]

Razia Sultana is a 1983 biopic on Razia Sultan, with Hema Malini taking the titular role.[10]

In 2015, & TV started airing a TV series on the life of Razia Sultana, starring Pankhuri Awasthy.[11]

Controversy regarding Razia's grave[edit]

Grave of Razia Sultana in Bulbul-i-Khan near Turkoman Gate, Delhi

There are conflicting accounts regarding her actual site of grave. There are three claims regarding her grave site. This is compounded by the fact that none of the 3 grave sites has any epitaph (inscription) on tombstone in memory of the one buried there. So far there are no archaeological or documentary evidences to confirm the site of her grave. The dispute is whether she was buried in Kaithal or Delhi or Tonk, and also where were Altunia and Yakut buried.

Claim regarding Razia's Grave at Old Delhi[edit]

First claim is that Razia's grave lies among the narrow lanes of Old Delhi that is in a courtyard in Bulbul-i-khana, Shahjahanabad, near the Turkman Gate entrance.


Original courtesy of Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Razia_Sultana — Please support Wikipedia.
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250 news items


Mon, 27 Jul 2015 18:11:45 -0700

Justice Shahid Jamil Khan passed the order on a petition filed by Razia Sultana advocate. The petitioner stated a number of passersby and motorcyclists had fallen into the long open drain of Green Town. Such incidents would increase during the winter ...
Mayo News
Tue, 28 Jul 2015 04:01:00 -0700

When the doctor returned she was asked what the scans had shown and was told it is bad news and that the doctor would contact Beaumont hospital. Dr Razia Sultana, the Locum Registrar who was treating Mr King in A&E denied saying 'This is the biggest ...
Pakistan Observer
Wed, 29 Jul 2015 22:37:30 -0700

Rabia Khalil, a woman of invincible spirit, and indomitable courage; Rabia, an epitome of Struggle; Rabia, a shadow of Razia Sultana, Hazrat Mahal and Rani Jhansi, who fought tooth and nail for their cause, and finally Rabia, a proud daughter of Sindh ...

Prothom Alo (English)

Prothom Alo (English)
Sun, 26 Jul 2015 02:11:15 -0700

International Crime Tribunal-1 fixed 8 September to decide about acceptance of the charges. The accused have been charged with murder, rape, arsoning, and looting. Public prosecutor Razia Sultana told Prothom Alo four of 12 accused are in prison and ...

Times of India

Times of India
Fri, 12 Jul 2013 13:23:23 -0700

NEW DELHI: Razia Sultana, a teenager from a village in Uttar Pradesh's Meerut, was awarded the United Nations' Special Envoy for Global Education's Youth Courage Award for Education on Friday. The award is in recognition of her efforts to help liberate ...

The Express Tribune

The Express Tribune
Sun, 22 Feb 2015 10:45:26 -0800

PESHAWAR: Vice chancellor (VC) of Shaheed Benazir Bhutto Women University (SBBWU), Peshawar, Razia Sultana, has urged the provincial government to provide sufficient funds to ensure women studying at the institute have access to basic facilities.
Times of India
Thu, 21 Jun 2012 07:57:44 -0700

NEW DELHI: She may be remembered in Indian history as the first Muslim female leader of Delhi Sultanate, but her legacy seems to have become a victim of time and neglect. Located in the dingy lanes of Turkman Gate, the tomb of Razia-al-Din, known ...


Sun, 28 Jul 2013 04:51:22 -0700

RAZIA SULTANA: I used to go to school and thereafter, along with many other children, would stitch footballs. A contractor would handover the raw material to us and we would get down to work. Each small football would fetch us Rs5 (30 fils) and a ...

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