Sultanic Highness

"Sultan" redirects here. For the Turkish Sultans, see List of sultans of the Ottoman Empire. For other uses, see Sultan (disambiguation).
Indo-Persian Royal and Noble Ranks
Emperor : Caliph, Padishah
King : Sultan, Shah
Royal Prince : Shahzada, Mirza
Noble Prince : Mirza, Sahibzada
Nobleman: Nawab, Baig

Sultan (Arabic: سلطانSulṭān, pronounced [ˈsulˈtˤɑːn]) is a noble title with several historical meanings. Originally, it was an Arabic language abstract noun meaning "strength", "authority", "rulership" and "dictatorship", derived from the masdar سلطة sulṭah, meaning "authority" or "power". Later, it came to be used as the title of certain rulers who claimed almost full sovereignty in practical terms (i.e., the lack of dependence on any higher ruler), without claiming the overall caliphate, or to refer to a powerful governor of a province within the caliphate.

The dynasty and lands ruled by a sultan are referred to as a sultanate (Arabic: سلطنة‎).

A feminine form, used by Westerners, is sultana or sultanah; though the very styling misconstrues the roles of wives of sultans. In a similar usage, the wife of a German Field-Marshal might be styled Feldmarschallin (in French, similar constructions of the type madame la maréchale are quite common). The rare female leaders in Muslim history are correctly known as "sultanas". However, in the Sultanate of Sulu, the wife of the sultan is styled as the "panguian".

Among those modern hereditary rulers who wish to emphasize their secular authority under the rule of law, the term is gradually being replaced by king (i.e., malik in Arabic).

Compound ruler titles

These are generally secondary titles, either lofty 'poetry' or with a message; e.g.:

  • Mani Sultan = Manney Sultan (meaning 'the Pearl of Rulers' or "Honoured Monarch") - a subsidiary title, part of the full style of the Maharaja of Travancore
  • Sultan of Sultans is the sultanic equivalent of King of Kings
  • Certain secondary titles have a devout Islamic connotation; e.g., Sultan ul-Mujahidin as champion of jihad (To strive and to struggle in the name of Allah)
  • Sultanic Highness - a rare, hybrid western-Islamic honorific style exclusively used by the son, daughter-in-law and daughters of Sultan Hussein Kamel of Egypt (a British protectorate since 1914), who bore it with their primary titles of Prince (Arabic: Amir‎; Turkish: Prens) or Princess, after 11 October 1917. They enjoyed these titles for life, even after the Royal Rescript regulating the styles and titles of the Royal House following Egypt's independence in 1922, when the sons and daughters of the newly styled King (Arabic: Malik Misr, considered a promotion‎) were granted the title Sahib(at) us-Sumuw al-Malaki, or Royal Highness.

Former sultans and sultanates

Mid East and Central Asia

Arab World

Audhali, Fadhli, Haushabi, Kathiri, Lahej, Lower Aulaqi, Lower Yafa, Mahra, Qu'aiti, Subeihi, Upper Aulaqi, Upper Yafa and the Wahidi sultanates

Horn of Africa

Main articles: Somali aristocratic and court titles and Ethiopian aristocratic and court titles


East Africa and Indian Ocean

Maliki

This was the alternative native style (apparently derived from malik, the Arabic word for king) of the Sultans of the Kilwa Sultanate, in Tanganyika (presently the continental part of Tanzania).

Swahili sultan

Mfalume is the (Ki)Swahili title of various native Muslim rulers, generally rendered in Arabic and in western languages as Sultan:

Sultani

This was the native ruler's title in the Tanzanian state of Uhehe a female sultan

West and Central Africa

  • In Cameroon:
    • Bamoun (Bamun, 17th century, founded uniting 17 chieftaincies) 1918 becomes a Sultanate, but in 1923 re-divided into the 17 original chieftaincies.
    • Bibemi 1770 founded- Rulers first style Lamido to ...., then Sultan
    • Mandara Sultanate since 1715 (replacing Wandala kingdom); 1902 Part of Cameroon
    • Rey Bouba Sultanate founded 1804
  • in the Central African Republic:
    • Bangassou created c.1878; 14 June 1890 under Congo Free State protectorate, 1894 under French protectorate; 1917 Sultanate suppressed by the French.
    • Dar al-Kuti - French protectorate since December 12, 1897
    • Rafai c.1875 Sultanate, 8 April 1892 under Congo Free State protectorate, March 31, 1909 under French protectorate; 1939 Sultanate suppressed
    • Zemio c.1872 established; December 11, 1894 under Congo Free State protectorate, April 12, 1909 under French protectorate; 1923 Sultanate suppressed
  • in Niger: Arabic alternative title of the following autochthonous rulers:
  • in Nigeria most monarchies previously had native titles but when most in the north converted to Islam, Muslim titles were generally adopted such as Emir; Sultan has also been used.
    • in Borno (alongside the native title Mai)
    • since 1817 in Sokoto, the suzerain (also styled Amir al-Mu´minin and Sarkin Musulmi) of all Fulbe jihad states and premier traditional Muslim leader in the Sahel (according to some once a Caliph)

Southern Asia


In India:

In the Maldives:

Southeast and East Asia



In Indonesia (formerly in the Dutch East Indies):

In the Peninsular Malaysia:

In Brunei:

In China:

  • Dali, Yunnan, capital of the short-lived Panthay Rebellion
    • Furthermore, the Qa´id Jami al-Muslimin (Leader of the Community of Muslims) of Pingnan Guo ("Pacified South State", a major Islamic rebellious polity in western Yunnan province) is usually referred to in foreign sources as Sultan.

In the Philippines:

In Thailand (Siam):

Contemporary sovereign sultanates

in some parts of the middle east and north Africa. there are still regional sultans or people who are descendants and maintain the title of sultan.

Princely and aristocratic titles


In the Ottoman dynastic system, male descendants of the ruling Padishah (in the West also known as Great Sultan) enjoyed a style including Sultan. This normally monarchic title is thus equivalent in use to the western Prince of the blood: Daulatlu Najabatlu Shahzada Sultan (given name) Efendi Hazretleri. For the Heir Apparent, however, the style was Daulatlu Najabatlu Vali Ahad-i-Sultanat (given name) Efendi Hazretleri; i.e. Crown Prince of the Sultanate.

  • The sons of Imperial Princesses, excluded from the Ottoman imperial succession, were only styled Sultan zada (given name) Bey-Efendi, i.e. Son of a Prince[ss] of the dynasty.

In certain Muslim states, Sultan was also an aristocratic title, as in the Tartar Astrakhan Khanate.

The Valide Sultan was the title reserved for the mother of the ruling sultan. In Ottoman Empire, the Haseki Sultan was the title reserved for the mother of the princes.

Military rank

In a number of post-caliphal states under Mongol or Turkic rule, there was a feudal type of military hierarchy. These administrations were often decimal (mainly in larger empires), using originally princely titles such as Khan, Malik, Amir as mere rank denominations.

In the Persian empire, the rank of Sultan was roughly equivalent to that of a western Captain; socially in the fifth rank class, styled 'Ali Jah.

See also

Other ruling titles

References

  • RoyalArk - see each nation, e.g. here Oman
  • WorldStatesmen - see each present nation

Template:List of titles and honours of the Countries Crown

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