Skip to content

Alauddin: Sikander-i-Sani aka The Second Alexander

There were several Mongol invasion attempts in India, but the Delhi Sultanate’s resiliency prevented any parts from being captured. In this article, I’ll tell the full story of Allaudin Khalji, dubbed the Second Alexander, who managed to survive the invasions and teach the Mongols a lesson that made them never come back to his lands ever again.

Furthermore, I’d like to mention that Jalal al-Din Mangburni was another brave military leader who bravely resisted Mongol invasions of his Khwarezmian Empire in Central Asia. However, despite tormenting the Mongols for several years in the battle, he eventually succumbed to Mongol superiority; you can find a vividly-detailed article on him by clicking here.


Sikander-i-Sani

Alauddin Khalji, previously known as Ali Gurshasp, was a fearless ruler of the Khalji (or Khilji) dynasty in India during the 13th century. He was a master of the art of war, leading his armies to conquer one fortress after another, and expanding his kingdom with an ambitious fervor. His innovative administrative policies helped to centralize power and revolutionize the economy, making him one of the most powerful rulers of his time.

Despite his reputation as a ruthless dictator, Alauddin Khalji’s reign marked a significant turning point in Indian history, as it was the beginning of a new Muslim rule in the subcontinent. His rule was also a time of great cultural and intellectual growth, as he patronized scholars, poets, and artists, creating a vibrant and thriving court.

Alleged Flag of the Delhi Sultanate

Alauddin Khilji was a conqueror of epic proportions, expanding the empire he inherited from his uncle, Sultan Jalaluddin Khilji, to new heights after his ruthless takeover. He was a master of war, leading his armies to vanquish kingdoms ruled by Hindu kings, including the proud fortress of Chittor, the wealthy city of Devgiri, the grand kingdom of Warangal, the famous for its wealth Gujarat, the impregnable fort of Ranthambore and the powerful Hoysala and Pandya kingdoms.

Conceptual Illustration of Alauddin Khalji

Alauddin’s conquests were not just the result of his enemies being weak, but rather his own strength as a soldier and general. He commanded a well-trained and disciplined army, using superior Turkic cavalry and infantry tactics that left his opponents reeling. He had also built a solid economic base that provided him with the resources to finance these campaigns, including the acquisition of the famous Kohinoor diamond. With each conquest, Alauddin Khilji’s empire grew stronger, and his reputation as a fierce and unstoppable conqueror spread throughout the land, striking fear in the hearts of his enemies and admiration in the minds of his subjects.

But Alauddin Khalji’s legacy is not without controversy, as his rule was also marked by his cruelty and his tendency to execute his enemies, rivals, and even close associates without trial. However, one cannot deny the impact of his rule, as he saved India from the fate of falling under Mongol rule, who attempted to invade the Indian subcontinent six times during his reign as the sultan of Delhi and failed miserably, thanks to his brilliance as a general, the quality, discipline, and bravery of his army and its commanders, and their superior military tactics. Alauddin Khalji’s reign, for all its faults, was a time of great change and progress, a period in Indian history that will always be remembered.


The main sources used in this article are from the chronicles of Amir Khusrau, with a bit of reference from other historians such as Ziauddin Barani, Wassaf, and Firishta.


The Beginnings

Alauddin Khalji was a formidable force in the political landscape of 13th-century CE India. A nephew and son-in-law of Jalaluddin, the founder and first sultan of the Khalji dynasty, Alauddin cut his teeth in politics as the Amir-i-Tuzuk, or master of ceremonies, under Jalaluddin’s rule. He quickly proved his worth as a skilled leader, crushing a revolt against Jalaluddin and earning the governorship of Kara in 1291 CE, and later, the governorship of Awadh in 1296 CE.

With his ambition burning bright, Alauddin set his sights on the ultimate prize: the throne of Delhi. He led a profitable raid on Bhilsa, acquiring enough loot to stage a successful revolt against Jalaluddin. In a bold move, Alauddin killed Jalaluddin and amassed an army of 56,000-strong cavalry and 60,000-strong infantry, making his march to Delhi in the second week of October 1296.

He met resistance in the form of Jalaluddin’s widow, who had appointed her youngest son, Qadr Khan (aka Ruknuddin Ibrahim) as the new king. But Alauddin’s charisma and military prowess proved too much to handle, as over half of Ruknuddin’s army defected to Alauddin’s side. On 21 October 1296, Alauddin entered the city, where a number of nobles and officials accepted his authority, and he was formally proclaimed Sultan. With his rise to power, Alauddin set out to consolidate his rule and leave a lasting legacy as one of the most powerful rulers of the Khilji dynasty.

Another Conceptual Illustration of Allaudin

In November 1296, Alauddin Khalji, the ruthless ruler of the Delhi Sultanate, set his sights on the city of Multan, governed by Jalaluddin Khalji’s eldest son Arkali Khan. Alauddin’s ultimate goal was to eliminate any remaining threats from Jalaluddin’s family. His generals, Ulugh Khan, and Zafar Khan besieged Multan for a grueling two months, using all means at their disposal to gain control of the city. Their efforts paid off as Arkali Khan’s officers defected to their side, leaving the city vulnerable to Alauddin’s army.

With Multan under their control, Ulugh Khan and Zafar Khan marched to Delhi with the captured prisoners. Meanwhile, Alauddin, known for his merciless punishments, dispatched Nusrat Khan from Delhi with instructions to punish the prisoners. Nusrat Khan met the returning troops at Abohar and proceeded to blind Jalaluddin’s sons Arkali Khan and Ruknuddin Ibrahim, and later imprisoned them at Hansi. Their loyal officers Ulghu and Malik Ahmad Chap were also blinded, and Arkali Khan’s sons were killed. Jalaluddin’s widow, along with other ladies of the harem, was brought to Delhi as a trophy of Alauddin’s victory.

With the conquest of Multan under his belt, Alauddin Khalji began to solidify his grip on power, starting with the appointment of Nusrat Khan as his trusted prime minister. He set out to eliminate any potential threats to his rule, starting with the removal of officers that were not his own appointees. In 1297, the aristocrats who had deserted Jalaluddin’s family to join Alauddin were arrested, blinded, or killed. Their property, including the money earlier given to them by Alauddin, was confiscated.

This move not only strengthened Alauddin’s control over Delhi, but it also filled the royal treasury with a vast amount of cash, thanks to the confiscations ordered by Nusrat Khan. This wealth would give Alauddin the resources he needed to finance his military campaigns and expand his empire even further. With his grip on power secure, Alauddin Khalji was unstoppable, leaving his enemies trembling in fear, and his subjects in awe of his might.


The Early Invasion

In the winter of 1297, the Delhi Sultanate, now fully under the rule of Alauddin Khalji, was threatened by an invasion from the Mongol Chagatai Khanate. Led by the fierce noyan Kadar, the Mongols ravaged the Punjab region and advanced as far as Kasur. Alauddin, known for his military prowess and strategic mind, quickly rallied his forces, led by his brother and trusted general Ulugh Khan to march against the invaders.

The ensuing battle was brutal and relentless, with 20,000 Mongols killed in the clash. The Mongols, unable to withstand the might of Alauddin’s army, fled like a swarm of locusts, trampled underfoot by the victorious soldiers. The wounded Mongols were beheaded, and all other survivors were put into chains, where they were brought to Delhi and trampled to death by elephants. The victory at the Battle of Jaran-Manjur was a crushing blow to the Mongols and increased Alauddin’s prestige and stabilized his position on the throne of Delhi.

An Early Map Showing the Mongol’s Borders with the Nascent Delhi Sultanate

But the Mongols were not done yet, in 1298–99, another Mongol army invaded the Sindh region of the Delhi Sultanate, and occupied the fort of Sivistan. Alauddin once again dispatched his general Zafar Khan to evict the Mongols from the fort. Despite a barrage of arrows from the Mongols and despite not making use of any siege engines, Zafar Khan’s army entered the fort and reclaimed it in heavy battles involving melee combats using short-ranged weapons like axes, swords, javelins, and spears. The victory established Zafar Khan’s reputation as a brilliant general. However, this success made both Alauddin and his brother Ulugh Khan jealous.


The Taking of Gujarat

On February 1299 (different historians given different dates), Alauddin ordered his army which consisted of 14,000 cavalry and 20,000 infantries to prepare for the march to Gujarat. One section of the army started its march from Delhi, led by Nusrat Khan. Another section, led by Ulugh Khan, marched from Sindh, attacking Jaisalmer along the way. The two sections met somewhere near Chittor and then marched to Gujarat through Mewar. After crossing the Banas River, Alauddin’s forces captured a fort called Radosa. Shortly thereafter, the Vaghela king’s (Karna) army was crushed by Ulugh Khan’s forces and Alauddin’s army captured Gujarat easily in a very short time. Enormous wealth was found there; plunder and killing ensued. Alauddin’s administration meted out brutal punishments to the mutineers’ families in Delhi, including killings of children in front of their mothers; historians report that the practice of punishing wives and children for the crimes of men started with this incident in Delhi.


Another Mongol Attempt

In the same year, the Chagatai ruler Duwa sent a massive Mongol force of 100,000 to 200,000, led by his son Qutlugh Khwaja, with the intent to conquer and govern the Delhi Sultanate, not just raid it. The Mongols, during their 6-month-long march to India, did not resort to plundering cities and destroying forts, instead, they conserved their energy for the ultimate battle to conquer Delhi. However, they were harassed by the Delhi generals deployed at frontier posts such as Multan and Samana during the night. They wanted to avoid confrontations with these generals to conserve their energy for the main battle.

Conceptual Illustration of Mongol Hordes

Meanwhile, with only 1-2 weeks to prepare for the impending battle, Alauddin Khalji immediately sent messages to the various provincial governors, asking them to send reinforcements to Delhi. The Delhi army would eventually consist of 300,000 horses and 2,700 elephants, with 22 elephants stationed in front of each division to act as a buffer against the Mongol assault. Zafar Khan, eager for glory, made a premature attack on one of the Mongol wings that was led by a Mongol general named Hijlak, which led him on a wild chase that didn’t end well for him. Alauddin, bitter about his recklessness, refused to send support.

As the battle between the Delhi Sultanate and the Mongol Chagatai Khanate raged on, Qutlugh Khwaja, the son of the Chagatai ruler Duwa, offered Zafar Khan, one of Alauddin’s trusted generals, an opportunity to surrender, promising to take him to the Chagatai Khanate where he would be treated more honorably than at the Delhi court. However, Zafar Khan refused this offer and instead, led his companions in a fierce battle against the invaders, managing to kill 5,000 Mongols while losing only 800. Despite being outnumbered and outmatched, Zafar Khan and his remaining 200 soldiers put up a last stand against the Mongols.

In a display of bravery and determination, Zafar Khan fought on foot and engaged in hand-to-hand combat with Hijlak, the Mongol general, even after his horse was cut down. He was ultimately killed by an arrow that bypassed his armor and pierced his heart. His son Diler Khan also led a charge against the Mongols, forcing Tamar Bugha to fall back. He pursued the retreating Mongol army, whose soldiers showered arrows as they retreated. The Mongols also launched an attack at the center of the Delhi army, which was repulsed by Alauddin’s division, leading to the death of a large number of Mongol soldiers. On the third night, the Mongols retreated to their homeland, Alauddin allowed them to retreat safely, and then returned to Delhi. Some historians believe that Zafar Khan’s attack had caused terror among the Mongols, which was the reason for their retreat, others believe that the Mongols retreated because Qutlugh Khwaja was gravely injured and died during the return journey.

Regardless of the reasons, the battle was a significant victory for Alauddin and his army, who had managed to repel the invaders and defend their homeland. The heroism and sacrifice of Zafar Khan and his companions weren’t remembered in the annals of history as it infuriated Alauddin and the royal court; nonetheless, his actions proved as a testament to the valor and determination of the defenders of the Delhi Sultanate.

The victory at the battle not only established Alauddin’s prestige and stabilized his position on the throne of Delhi but also repelled the Mongols from the Delhi Sultanate for a time. It was a pivotal moment in the history of the Sultanate, and Alauddin’s leadership and military strategy were instrumental in securing the victory.


Conquests and Even More Conquests

Not so long after Alauddin’s successful defense of Delhi, the mighty Sultan set his sights on the present-day state of Rajasthan to subjugate the powerful Rajput kingdoms to secure a base for further expeditions to Gujarat and Malwa, and to expand his territories in the South. In 1299 CE, he laid siege to the impregnable fortress of Jaisalmer, ruled by the Bhati dynasty under Jait Singh I. The siege lasted for a long time, and due to the dearth of food and resources, the Rajputs under the command of Mularaja ultimately performed the Saka, a ritual where the women committed Jauhar and the men fought until death. Thus, Alauddin successfully conquered the territories of the Bhattis. After the conquest of Jaisalmer, it remained under the Khalji’s for a few more years.

In 1301, Alauddin ordered his generals Ulugh Khan and Nusrat Khan to invade Ranthambore, whose king Hammiradeva had granted asylum to the leaders of the mutiny near Jalore. After Nusrat Khan was killed during the siege, Alauddin personally took charge of the siege operations and conquered the fort in July 1301. During the Ranthambore campaign, Alauddin faced three unsuccessful rebellions. To suppress any future rebellions, he set up an intelligence and surveillance system, instituted a total prohibition in Delhi, established laws to prevent his nobles from networking with each other, and confiscated wealth from the general public. It was a ruthless but effective strategy that solidified his rule and expanded his empire.

Conceptual Art of the Delhi Sultanate’s Army

In the winter of 1302-1303, Alauddin Khalji, the ruthless ruler of the Delhi Sultanate, set his sights on expanding his empire even further. He dispatched an army to ransack the Kakatiya capital of Warangal, while he personally led another army to conquer Chittor, the capital of the Guhila kingdom ruled by Ratnasimha. The siege of Chittor lasted for eight months, and ultimately Alauddin emerged victorious, capturing the city and its people. According to his courtier Amir Khusrau, he ordered a brutal massacre of 30,000 local Hindus after this conquest. Some legends state that Alauddin invaded Chittor to capture Ratnasimha’s beautiful queen Padmini, but most modern historians have rejected the authenticity of these legends. Meanwhile, the Mongols were back, looking to cause more trouble. Alauddin’s conquests, though brutal, expanded his empire and solidified his rule, but his actions also incurred the wrath of the defeated kingdoms and the Mongol invaders.


The Mongols in Delhi, Again

In 1303, a formidable Mongol army (est. 20-40,000 horsemen) from the Chagatai Khanate launched yet another invasion of the Delhi Sultanate, catching the city off guard as two major units of the Delhi army was away from the city. The Delhi Sultan Alauddin Khalji, who was away at Chittor when the Mongols started their march, returned to Delhi in a rush, but was unable to make adequate war preparations and decided to take shelter in a well-guarded camp at the under-construction Siri Fort. The Mongols, led by Taraghai, besieged Delhi for over two months and ransacked its suburbs, but ultimately, they decided to retreat, unable to breach Alauddin’s camp.

The invasion was one of the most serious Mongol invasions of India and prompted Alauddin to take several measures to prevent its recurrence. He strengthened his military presence along the Mongol routes to India and implemented economic reforms to ensure adequate revenue streams for maintaining a strong army. He instituted price controls and related reforms in his empire, fixing the prices for a wide range of goods, including grains, cloth, slaves, and animals. He banned hoarding and regrating, appointed supervisors and spies to ensure compliance with the regulations and severely punished violators. These reforms were implemented in the capital Delhi, and possibly, other areas of the Sultanate. However, these reforms would be revoked by his son Qutbuddin Mubarak Shah shortly after his death. Alauddin’s efforts to secure the Sultanate from future invasions were admirable, but his methods were harsh and his policies were not long-lived.

An Original Miniature Painting Depicting Mongol Hordes

On to Gujarat, Again

With a fierce determination burning in his heart, Alauddin Khilji set his sights on expanding the kingdom even further. His conquests were legendary; he set out to subdue the powerful Hindu kings of Chittor, Devgiri, Warangal, Gujarat, Ranthambore, and the Hoysala and Pandya kingdoms. With a well-trained and disciplined army, using superior Turkic cavalry and infantry tactics, and a solid economic base that provided him with the resources to finance his campaigns, Alauddin emerged victorious in each battle, carving his name in history as one of the most powerful rulers of his time.

But Alauddin’s ambitions were not limited to just military conquests, as he also turned his attention to subduing the Rajput kingdoms and establishing a secure base in Gujarat and Malwa. In 1299 CE, Alauddin laid siege to the fortress of Jaisalmer, where a long siege and the dearth of food and resources eventually led to the Rajputs performing Saka, where the women committed Jauhar and the men fought until death.

With the precision of a master strategist and the ferocity of a lion, Alauddin Khalji continued his expansionist policy. His military conquests were legendary, as he systematically took over Hindu kingdoms one by one. One of his most notable conquests was that of the fortress of Jaisalmer, where after a grueling siege, the Rajputs, led by Mularaja, performed Jauhar, where the women committed mass self-immolation and the men fought to their deaths. His campaigns were not just acts of brute force but also a showcase of his superior military tactics, his well-trained and disciplined army, and a solid economic base that provided him with the resources to finance these campaigns. But Alauddin’s victories were not limited to just military conquests, his innovative administrative policies helped to centralize power and improve the economy. His reign, although remembered as a time of great cultural and intellectual growth, is also considered a significant turning point in Indian history, as it marked the beginning of Muslim rule in the subcontinent.


The Mongols Return, Yet AGAIN

In December of 1305, the ruthless Mongol army led by Ali Beg invaded India with a force of 50,000 soldiers, determined to exact revenge upon the Delhi Sultanate. But Alauddin Khalji, the ruler of the Sultanate, was ready for them. He had assembled a fierce army of 30,000 cavalries, led by the skilled warrior Malik Nayak. The battle was intense, with both sides battling fiercely, but ultimately it was the Delhi army who emerged victorious. The Mongols were decimated, with thousands killed and their horses were taken as spoils of war. Some historians claim that the heads of the fallen Mongols were even used to build the Siri Fort, commissioned by Alauddin himself.

The following year, another Mongol army sent by the Chagatai Khanate advanced towards the Ravi River, but once again, Alauddin’s army, led by Malik Kafur and supported by other generals, emerged victorious; more than 60,000 Mongols were killed in the 1306 invasion attempt, and all these soldiers had brought their wives and children to settle in India, but Alauddin captured were enslaved and sold after being taken to Delhi. The crushing defeat dealt to the Mongols during Alauddin’s reign marked the end of their invasions in India for the duration of his rule.


Even More Conquests

With a fierce determination, Alauddin Khalji set his sights yet again on expanding his empire. In the winter of 1308, he sent a powerful army of 30,000 soldiers, led by the skilled warrior Malik Kafur, on a mission to conquer the kingdom of Devagiri. Their objective was to eliminate King Ramachandra, who had broken his promise of tribute payments and granted refuge to the Vaghela king Karna. Kafur’s army was supported by Alauddin’s Gujarat governor Alp Khan, whose forces relentlessly attacked the fortress of Baglana, capturing Karna’s daughter Devaladevi in the process. Devagiri was soon conquered, with King Ramachandra agreeing to become a lifelong vassal of Alauddin.

While this was happening, another section of Alauddin’s army had been attempting to capture the fort of Siwana in the Marwar region for years without success. In August-September 1308, Alauddin himself took charge of the siege operations, and the fort was eventually captured. The defending ruler Sitaladeva was killed in November 1308. The vast wealth and treasures obtained from these conquests only fueled Alauddin’s ambition to invade the other southern kingdoms that had been untouched by the foreign invasions of the past.

In the late winter of 1309, Alauddin Khalji, the powerful ruler of the Delhi Sultanate, sent his trusted general Malik Kafur with a massive 30,000-strong cavalry army to invade the kingdom of Devagiri. Led by the cunning Ramachandra, Devagiri had stopped paying tribute payments promised in 1296 and had also taken in the Vaghela king Karna as a refugee. With the support of Alauddin’s Gujarat governor Alp Khan, Kafur and his army effortlessly marched through the kingdom, ransacking towns and villages, leaving a trail of destruction in their wake. After a month-long siege of the capital Warangal, the Kakatiya king Prataparudra was forced to surrender, handing over a vast amount of wealth to the invaders, possibly even the legendary Koh-i-Noor diamond.

With Devagiri conquered, and Warangal plundered, Malik Kafur set his sights on the untold riches of the Hoysala and Pandya kingdoms, located further south. With Alauddin’s blessing, Kafur set out on his journey in November 1310, and crossed the Deccan in early 1311, with the support of his newly acquired tributaries Ramachandra and Prataparudra. The Pandya kingdom was in the midst of a war of succession between brothers, and the Hoysala king Ballala saw an opportunity to invade. But when he learned of Kafur’s march, he hurried back to his capital, Dwarasamudra, but his resistance was futile, and he was forced to surrender his wealth and become a tributary of Alauddin.

The ambitious Malik Kafur led a fierce campaign from Dwarasamudra, leaving a trail of destruction as he stormed through the lush towns of the Pandya kingdom, even reaching as far as the glorious city of Madurai. The local leaders, Vira and Sundara, were forced to flee their strongholds, and thus, Kafur was unable to make them bend the knee to his master, the powerful Alauddin. Nevertheless, the Delhi army reaped a bountiful harvest of treasures, elephants, and horses, their spoils of war spilling over with wealth. The chronicler Ziauddin Barani described this seizure of riches from Dwarasamudra and the Pandya kingdom as the greatest one since the Muslim capture of Delhi.

However, during this campaign, the Mongol general Abachi dared to conspire with the Pandyas, and as a result, Alauddin ordered him to be executed in Delhi. This, combined with their general grievances against Alauddin, led to a deep-seated resentment among the Mongols who had settled in India after converting to Islam. A group of Mongol leaders plotted to kill Alauddin, but their conspiracy was discovered by Alauddin’s agents. In response, Alauddin ordered a brutal mass massacre of Mongols throughout his empire, leaving thousands dead, with some estimates as high as 20,000 or 30,000 Mongols.

Meanwhile, in the city of Devagiri, after the death of Ramachandra, his son attempted to overthrow Alauddin’s rule. But Malik Kafur, ever the ruthless conqueror, invaded Devagiri again in 1313, defeated the rebellion and Alauddin appointed him as the governor of Devagiri.

Conceptual Illustration Depicting a Battle Scene

Legacy & Conclusion

Alauddin was an unparalleled leader, reigning supreme as the most powerful ruler of his dynasty. Unlike his predecessors, who had relied heavily on the pre-existing administrative structure, Alauddin embarked on a bold journey of reform. Faced with the relentless Mongol invasions and countless rebellions, he implemented sweeping changes to maintain a formidable army and weaken those who dared to challenge his rule. His innovations laid the foundation for future agrarian reforms by leaders such as Sher Shah Suri and Akbar.

One of Alauddin’s most notable achievements was his land reforms, which he implemented by confiscating private properties and annulling land grants, re-designating large areas as crown territory. He imposed a crushing 50% kharaj tax on agricultural produce and ordered his ministry to collect the revenue directly from the peasants, eliminating the intermediary village chiefs.

Alauddin’s military reforms were equally impressive, evident in his numerous victories. His standing army was an awe-inspiring force of more than 475,000 horsemen, achieved by paying relatively low salaries to his soldiers and implementing market price controls to ensure acceptance by the soldiers. Despite his opposition to granting lands to his generals and soldiers, Alauddin generously rewarded his soldiers after successful campaigns. His government maintained a descriptive roll of every soldier and conducted regular reviews of the army to examine the horses and arms of the soldiers. To prevent fraud, he established a system of branding the horses, ensuring that no horse could be presented twice or replaced with a poor-quality horse during the review.

Alauddin was not content with just political and economic reforms; he also implemented a wide range of social reforms to maintain control and prevent rebellion. In a bold move, he prohibited the consumption of alcohol and cannabis, believing that their rampant use made people more susceptible to rebellion. He also banned gambling, excommunicating drunkards and gamblers from Delhi, along with vendors of intoxicants. His administration strictly punished violators and ensured that alcohol was not available in Delhi or its surrounding areas. Later on, Alauddin relented and allowed brewing and drinking in private, but public distribution and drinking remained prohibited.

Conceptual Portrait of Allaudin

To further strengthen his grip on power, Alauddin increased his control over the nobility. He confiscated their wealth and removed them from their bases of power, even seizing charitable lands administered by nobles. Severe punishments were given for disloyalty, and even the wives and children of soldiers who rebelled for greater war spoils were imprisoned. Alauddin set up an efficient spy network that reached into the private households of nobles, and even marriage alliances between noble families had to be approved by the king.

Alauddin’s moral reforms were equally strict, he banned prostitution, ordering all existing prostitutes in Delhi to be married. To curb adultery, he ordered the male adulterer to be castrated and the female adulterer to be stoned to death. He also banned charlatans and ordered sorcerers to be stoned to death, in a bid to maintain the social order and prevent any possible threat to his rule.

As the end of his life approached, Alauddin’s health began to deteriorate and his trust in his officers waned. He began to concentrate all power in the hands of his family and his slaves, becoming particularly infatuated with his slave-general Malik Kafur. Under Kafur’s influence, he was promoted to the rank of viceroy (Na’ib) and effectively became the de facto ruler of the Sultanate.

In a ruthless power grab, Alauddin removed several experienced administrators and abolished the office of wazir (prime minister), even going as far as to execute his own minister Sharaf Qa’ini. It is believed that Malik Kafur, who saw these officers as rivals and a threat to his own power, convinced Alauddin to carry out this purge. Kafur had Alauddin’s eldest sons Khizr Khan and Shadi Khan blinded, and convinced Alauddin to order the killing of his own brother-in-law Alp Khan, an influential noble who could have posed a challenge to Kafur’s power. The victims were said to have hatched a conspiracy to overthrow Alauddin, but this may have been nothing more than Kafur’s propaganda.

Alauddin died on the night of January 4th, 1316, whereby rumors began to spread about Malik Kafur’s involvement in his death. However, most historians believe otherwise. The next day, Kafur appointed Alauddin’s young son Shihabuddin as a puppet monarch, but his reign was short-lived as Kafur was killed shortly after and Alauddin’s elder son Mubarak Khan seized power.