Razia Sultana, first Muslim woman ruler of Delhi Sultanate

 Among the Muslim rulers of India, in the  early period only the males were the legal successor to the throne and the women were not either engaged or allowed to rule the land. Ruling the state was responsibility of the males.  This was also true of the Hindu rulers. Razia Sultana became the first woman in Indian History to preside over the Muslim kingdom. 

 Razia Sultana (1205 - October 13, 1240), the Sultan of Delhi from 10 November 1236 - 14 October 1240  was surprisingly  the only  Muslim  woman ever to rule the Delhi Sultanate dominated only by male royal family members. Her given name was  Raziya al-Din (also  Jalâlat-ud-Dîn Raziyâ)
Her father Shams-ud-din Iltutmish, was a Turk slave to  Qutb ud din Aibak, the first Sultan of Delhi, and ultimately he became the  Sultan of Delhi. Since he happened to be a loyal slave, Aibak himself  gave his  daughter  Qutub Begum in marriage to Iltutmish.  Razia's brother  was  Nasiruddin Mahmud.  Razia was brought up in the corridors of power and enjoyed special privileges in the royal family and also in the court. On the other hand, her half brothers  Rukn ud din Firuz and Muiz ud din Bahram, who were the sons of former slave-girls,  were side-tracked and not in the center of power. 

Razia's early childhood was mostly spent around her father, particularly after the demise of  Qutb ud din Aibak. Along with her father, she used to attend the court  and was exposed to the functioning of the state affairs. Being inquisitive and had the ability to learn anything quickly,  she became well trained to run the kingdom independently, if required, in the absence of her father or her husband. Her flair for administration, hard work  and  her mother's royal lineage, stood her  in good stead and made her  a confirmed favorite with Iltutmish. At the same time, her brother  Nasiruddin Mahmud (Razia's brother)  was  also groomed by Iltutmish to succeed him.

The unexpected sudden death of  Nasir ud din Mahmud  in 1229 CE, left Iltutmish  in the dark as he did not have a right person to succeed him to the throne. The choice fell on Razia,  as  none of his several surviving sons, born of his other wives, were unfit to succeed the throne. In 1230 - 1231, after his successful war expedition to Gwalior,
ltutmish became the first sultan to appoint a woman (his own daughter) as his successor. The sultan took this decision because during his absence, princess Razia governed the state well and won the appreciation of  the people Thus Razia became  his heir apparent and took the credit of  being  the first and only female ruler of Delhi Sultanate. 

After Iltutmish's death  on  30 April 1236, Razia's half-brother Rukn ud din Firuz was elevated to the throne instead. Since  he was more after the trappings of the highest position and was in pursuit of personal pleasure and spent his time in the harem, he never paid attention to the state affairs and welfare of his subjects. This resulted in resentment and outrage among the people.  Iltutmish's widow Shah Turkaan  for all practical purposes ran the show. Six months later on  9 November  1236, both Rukn ud din and his mother Shah Turkaan were assassinated . With no male members to lead the Sultanate, with hesitation, the nobility agreed to allow Razia to reign as Sultan of Delhi.

Razia was  endowed with all attributes an effective ruler would require. Being just and sagacious, she patronized the learned. Her husband was
Malik Ikhtiar-ud-din Altunia  with whom she had romantic involvement earlier. Before wedding, when Atunia was the Governor of  of  Bathinda, the Turkic aristocracy, on purpose,  spread rumors about Razia's romantic escapades with Jamal-ud-Din Yaqut, an Abyssinian Siddi (Habshi) slave. Infuriated Altunia's became jealous and rebelled against her in order to get her back. In the ensuing battle, Yaqut was killed and Razia was taken as  prisoner at Qila Mubarak at Bathinda. A chanced meeting with Altunia while offering Friday prayers in a mosque cleared the mistrust and  helped Razia win back her lost-love  and she  she was released in August 1240  and  later she married him.

After Razia  became a ruler, the Turkic nobles along with Malik Ikhtiar-ud-din Altunia, Razia's lover, conspired to weaken the administration by setting a rebellion against her. When  Razia confronted him  at the head of an army. Altunia and his fellow-conspirators lost no time to capture  Razia who was entrusted 

with the care of Altunia and the rest of the nobles returned to 
the capital.
Muslim Heritage

Razia's half-brother Muiz ud din Bahram, took advantage of the chaotic political situation and   ascended the throne.  Altunia and Razia  in October 1240 made a vein attempt to get back the  sultanate from Bahram and later they fell into the hands of Hindu Jats  who  robbed and killed them on 13 October 1240.  Bahram 's reign lasted from  from 1240 to 1242, and later  he was dethroned for incompetence.
Grave of Razia Sultan inDelhi en.wikipedia. org

Razia died at the age of 35 and the  place of Razia's burial is a subject of discussion  by historians. Among  Delhi, Kaithal and Tonk, Rajasthanm, one place seems to be  her place of burial. Some people also say that she was buried where she died in the hands of the Jats. The strong belief is that Razia Sultana was buried in Kaithal, Rajasthan.
The grave of Razia Sultana, it is believed is  in Bulbul-i-Khan near Turkmen Gate, Delhi.
 As for her reign, she got a good name from all sections of the society. She was a good ruler and respected the sentiments of other cultures, including the Hindu community.  She established schools, public libraries and encouraged Islamic as well as Hindu philosophers.