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a word properly meaning “Power” or “Authority used as king, emir. (Wikipedia) - Sultan
This article includes a list of references, related reading or external links, but its sources remain unclear because it lacks inline citations. Please improve this article by introducing more precise citations. (March 2014)
This article is about sultans in general. 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, Emir
Noble Prince: Mirza, Sahibzada
Nobleman: Nawab, Baig
Sultan Mehmed II is considered one of the most famous Ottoman Sultans.

Sultan (Arabic: سلطان‎ Sulṭān, pronounced ) is a noble title with several historical meanings. Originally, it was an Arabic language abstract noun meaning "strength", "authority", "rulership" derived from the verbal noun 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 ṣalṭanah).

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) Datu in Meranaw (Maranao people).


Compound ruler titlesOttoman Sultan Mehmed IV attended by a eunuch and two pages.

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

Former sultans and sultanatesArtistic representation of Saladin, the first Ayyubid Sultan of Egypt and Syria.Mid East and Central Asia Arab WorldH.M. Sultan Qaboos bin Said al Said, the current Sultan of Oman from the Al Said dynasty.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 titlesMohamoud Ali Shire, the 26th Sultan of the Somali Warsangali Sultanate Southeast 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:


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

West and Central Africa Southern AsiaSultan Ali Khan Bahadur, grandson of Nawab H.H Noor ul Umrah and son of Nawab Shujaath Ali Khan

In India:

In the Maldives:

Southeast and East AsiaHamengkubuwono X, the incumbent Sultan of YogyakartaPakubuwono XII, last undisputed Susuhunan of SurakartaSultan Saifuddin of Tidore

In Indonesia (formerly in the Dutch East Indies):

In the Peninsular Malaysia:

In Brunei:

In China:

In the Philippines:

In Thailand (Siam):

Contemporary sovereign sultanates

In some parts of the Middle East and North Africa, there still exist regional sultans or people who are descendants of sultans and who are styled as such.

Princely and aristocratic titlesThe Valide Sultan or "Mother Sultan"

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.

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.

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See All 2 items matching Sultan in Media Gallery

Painting shows Teimur Lang imprisoned Ottoman Sultan Bayazid. Teimur is the standing figure. He was lame, and is seen walking with a cane. He is also armed with a sword. Bayazid became POW during the Battle of Ankara and died one year later. Ghaznavi Sultan Masood Coin with Shahi design. In 1040 The Seljuks defeat Masood at the Battle of Dandanaqan. Masood withdraws and moves capital from Ghazni to Lahore. His army mutined and he was killed by his brother Mohammad.
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