Iltutmish belonged to the slave dynasty and succeeded to the throne after Qutub-ud-din-Aibak. He was one of the leading rulers of the Delhi Sultanate and played a key role in extending the empire to a large part of the country. He was a Turk, who belonged to the Ilbari tribe. Qutub-ud-din-Aibak, who was at that time the Viceroy of Delhi was impressed by his intelligence and bravery and purchased him.
Gradually, he rose to a high position and was appointed as the Governer of Gwalior. Fascinated by his intelligence, goodness and nobleness of character Aibak married his daughter to him.
Qutub-ud-din Aibak died in 1210 A.D and the Chihalgani nominated Aram Shah as the new Sultan. As he turned out to be an inefficient ruler, he was replaced by Iltitmish within the time span of one year. Iltutmish was a shrewd ruler, who after ascending the throne, was engaged in a series of battles and thus extended his empire. In 1229 AD, he was honored with the title of Sultan-I-Azam (Great Sultan) from Ali Mastansir Billah, the Khalifah of Baghdad and considered as the absolute ruler of the land that he had captured. As a result his prestige and authority increased in the Muslim world, and created a separate identity for himself. During his reign, Iltutmish averted the attack led by the famous Mongol Chengiz Khan, in 1221 AD.
Iltutmish was a patron of arts and letters. The construction of the Qutab Minar in Delhi was started by his predecessor Qutub-ud-din-Aibak but was completed under his supervision. This unique piece of architecture is said to be built from the ruins of the demolished temples at Delhi. The huge column was named after Khwaja Qutub-ud-din, a native of Ush near Baghdad, who lived in Hindustan and won the love and respect of Iltutmish and others. He inscribed the names of his patrons, Sultan Qutub-ud-din and Sultan Mu’iz-ud-din on the column as a sense of gratitude towards them. The extremely religious Sultan also built the magnificent Quwwatu’l Islam mosque. In 1235, he built the tomb, which is situated to the northwest of the Quwwatu’l Islam mosque. The tomb is noted for its stark exteriors and intricately ornamented interiors and the use the ancient Hindu motifs such as bell-and-chain, tassel, wheel, lotus and diamond.
Iltumish died in 1236A.D. He was disappointed with his sons incapability, so he nominated his daughter Razia Sultana as his heiress.