Shamsuddin Iltutmish was a slave of Qutbuddin Aibak. Due to the good education and wide knowledge of the Islamic world, which he acquired during the early days of his adversity, he quickly rose to be the amir- i- shikar and son in law of his master within a decade. In 1206, he held the charge of Badaun as one of the most trusted lieutenants of Aibak. He was manumitted by Aibak long before the latter received such formal manumission, himself. It was done in 1205- 1206 at the instance of Mohammad Ghori who was deeply impressed by the performance of Iltutmish in the campaign against the Khokhars. Iltutmish was not only a soldier but also a man of creative tastes. Often engaged in warfare and happily extended his patronage to the pious and learned. He was further endowed with laudable qualities; he was handsome, intelligent, sagacious and of excellent disposition and manners. He was also just, benevolent, impartial and a zealous warrior.
The hereditary succession of Aram Shah was refused by the Turkish nobility of Delhi, as he was an incompetent and unpopular ruler. Iltutmish was invited from Badaun to assume the leadership of Sultanate. Aram Shah refused to abdicate but was defeated and deposed by Iltutmish in 1211. Iltutmish was the real founder of the Delhi Sultanate. He made Delhi his seat of governance in preference to Lahore and proved to be a strong and capable ruler who enjoyed a long reign of twenty- six years. When Iltutmish ascended the throne, the country was full of rivals and hostile chiefs, and the rebellious nobles and the vanquished Rajas and Ranas were threatening the existence of the Sultanate of Delhi. The situation was better handled by Iltutmish and his foresight energy and military skill, proved himself equal to the situation. He suppressed the rebellious nobles with an iron hand,crushed the power of the rivals like Yildiz and Qabacha and recovered the lost provinces. He secured the Sultanate of Delhi diplomatically from the Mongol invasion by warding off their invasion. He not only saved the empire and rescued his people from danger, but also added the provinces of Malwa and Sind to the dominions of has master. In consideration of his contribution to the growth of Muslim rule in India, Iltutmish may rightly be called the real founder of the Sultanate of Delhi. The contribution of Iltutmish to the monetary system of the Sultanate was very great. It was he who introduced the Silver Tanka and the Copper Jital, the two basic coins of the Sultanate period. Besides, he was a builder as well as a conqueror and an administrator, and left monuments both at Delhi and Ajmer displaying his taste in architecture. Iltutmish was a pious Muslim. However, he was intolerant towards the Shias. His treatment of Hindus was also not enlightened. He continued to persecute them. In short, his reign was thus a perpetual series of efforts towards the expansion of an originally small territory. In 1235, Iltutmish made an attempt to bring the Khokhars under his subjugation, but the Khokhars showed no signs of appeasement. Exhausted by continuous warfare, Iltutmish fell sick, returned to Delhi and breathed his last in April, 1236. He was buried in the magnificent tomb which he had got constructed for himself in Delhi.