Emir

Emir

Overview

Emir is a title of high office, used throughout the Muslim world
Muslim world
The term Muslim world has several meanings. In a religious sense, it refers to those who adhere to the teachings of Islam, referred to as Muslims. In a cultural sense, it refers to Islamic civilization, inclusive of non-Muslims living in that civilization...

. Emirs are usually considered high-ranking Sheikh
Sheikh
Not to be confused with sikhSheikh — also spelled Sheik or Shaikh, or transliterated as Shaykh — is an honorific in the Arabic language that literally means "elder" and carries the meaning "leader and/or governor"...

s, but in monarchic states the term is also used for Prince
Prince
Prince is a general term for a ruler, monarch or member of a monarch's or former monarch's family, and is a hereditary title in the nobility of some European states. The feminine equivalent is a princess...

s, with "Emirate
Emirate
An emirate is a political territory that is ruled by a dynastic Muslim monarch styled emir.-Etymology:Etymologically emirate or amirate is the quality, dignity, office or territorial competence of any emir ....

" being analogous to a principality
Principality
A principality is a monarchical feudatory or sovereign state, ruled or reigned over by a monarch with the title of prince or princess, or by a monarch with another title within the generic use of the term prince....

.

While Emir is a common transliteration in English and other languages, the form Amir is found for numerous compounds (e.g. admiral
Admiral
Admiral is the rank, or part of the name of the ranks, of the highest naval officers. It is usually considered a full admiral and above vice admiral and below admiral of the fleet . It is usually abbreviated to "Adm" or "ADM"...

) and names. Transliteration differs depending on the sources consulted.

Amir, meaning "chieftain" or "commander", is derived from the Arabic root , "command".
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Emir is a title of high office, used throughout the Muslim world
Muslim world
The term Muslim world has several meanings. In a religious sense, it refers to those who adhere to the teachings of Islam, referred to as Muslims. In a cultural sense, it refers to Islamic civilization, inclusive of non-Muslims living in that civilization...

. Emirs are usually considered high-ranking Sheikh
Sheikh
Not to be confused with sikhSheikh — also spelled Sheik or Shaikh, or transliterated as Shaykh — is an honorific in the Arabic language that literally means "elder" and carries the meaning "leader and/or governor"...

s, but in monarchic states the term is also used for Prince
Prince
Prince is a general term for a ruler, monarch or member of a monarch's or former monarch's family, and is a hereditary title in the nobility of some European states. The feminine equivalent is a princess...

s, with "Emirate
Emirate
An emirate is a political territory that is ruled by a dynastic Muslim monarch styled emir.-Etymology:Etymologically emirate or amirate is the quality, dignity, office or territorial competence of any emir ....

" being analogous to a principality
Principality
A principality is a monarchical feudatory or sovereign state, ruled or reigned over by a monarch with the title of prince or princess, or by a monarch with another title within the generic use of the term prince....

.

While Emir is a common transliteration in English and other languages, the form Amir is found for numerous compounds (e.g. admiral
Admiral
Admiral is the rank, or part of the name of the ranks, of the highest naval officers. It is usually considered a full admiral and above vice admiral and below admiral of the fleet . It is usually abbreviated to "Adm" or "ADM"...

) and names. Transliteration differs depending on the sources consulted.

Origins


Amir, meaning "chieftain" or "commander", is derived from the Arabic root , "command". Originally simply meaning commander or leader, usually in reference to a group of people, it came to be used as a title for governors or rulers, usually in smaller states, and in modern Arabic is analogous to the English word "PRINCE". The word entered English in 1593, from the French
French language
French is a Romance language spoken as a first language in France, the Romandy region in Switzerland, Wallonia and Brussels in Belgium, Monaco, the regions of Quebec and Acadia in Canada, and by various communities elsewhere. Second-language speakers of French are distributed throughout many parts...

 émir. It was one of the titles or names of the Islam
Islam
Islam . The most common are and .   : Arabic pronunciation varies regionally. The first vowel ranges from ~~. The second vowel ranges from ~~~...

ic prophet Muhammad
Muhammad
Muhammad |ligature]] at U+FDF4 ;Arabic pronunciation varies regionally; the first vowel ranges from ~~; the second and the last vowel: ~~~. There are dialects which have no stress. In Egypt, it is pronounced not in religious contexts...

.

Princely, ministerial and noble titles


  • The monarchs of Qatar
    Qatar
    Qatar , also known as the State of Qatar or locally Dawlat Qaṭar, is a sovereign Arab state, located in the Middle East, occupying the small Qatar Peninsula on the northeasterly coast of the much larger Arabian Peninsula. Its sole land border is with Saudi Arabia to the south, with the rest of its...

     and Kuwait
    Kuwait
    The State of Kuwait is a sovereign Arab state situated in the north-east of the Arabian Peninsula in Western Asia. It is bordered by Saudi Arabia to the south at Khafji, and Iraq to the north at Basra. It lies on the north-western shore of the Persian Gulf. The name Kuwait is derived from the...

     are currently titled Emirs.
  • The caliph
    Caliph
    The Caliph is the head of state in a Caliphate, and the title for the ruler of the Islamic Ummah, an Islamic community ruled by the Shari'ah. It is a transcribed version of the Arabic word   which means "successor" or "representative"...

    s first used the title Amir al-Muminin
    Amir al-Muminin
    Amīr al-Mu'minīn usually translated Commander of the Faithful or Leader of the Faithful, is the Arabic style of Caliphs and other independent sovereign Muslim rulers that claim legitimacy from a community of Muslims...

     or "Commander of the Faithful", stressing their leadership over all Islam
    Islam
    Islam . The most common are and .   : Arabic pronunciation varies regionally. The first vowel ranges from ~~. The second vowel ranges from ~~~...

    , especially in the military form of jihad
    Jihad
    Jihad , an Islamic term, is a religious duty of Muslims. In Arabic, the word jihād translates as a noun meaning "struggle". Jihad appears 41 times in the Quran and frequently in the idiomatic expression "striving in the way of God ". A person engaged in jihad is called a mujahid; the plural is...

    ; both this command and the title have been assumed by various other Muslim
    Muslim
    A Muslim, also spelled Moslem, is an adherent of Islam, a monotheistic, Abrahamic religion based on the Quran, which Muslims consider the verbatim word of God as revealed to prophet Muhammad. "Muslim" is the Arabic term for "submitter" .Muslims believe that God is one and incomparable...

     rulers, including Sultans and Emirs. For Shiite Muslims, they still give this title to the Caliph Ali
    Ali
    ' |Ramaḍān]], 40 AH; approximately October 23, 598 or 600 or March 17, 599 – January 27, 661).His father's name was Abu Talib. Ali was also the cousin and son-in-law of the Islamic prophet Muhammad, and ruled over the Islamic Caliphate from 656 to 661, and was the first male convert to Islam...

     as Amir al Muminin.
  • The Abbasid (in theory still universal) Caliph Ar-Radi
    Ar-Radi
    Ar-Radi was the Abbasid Caliph in Baghdad from 934 to his death at the age of thirty-three in 940.The seven years' reign of ar-Radi, son of al-Muqtadir, was but a succession of misfortune. Praised for his piety, he became the mere tool of the chief minister of the day. The authority of the Caliph...

     created the post of Amir al-Umara ("Amir of the Amirs") for his – in fact governing – Wazir
    Vizier
    A vizier or in Arabic script ; ; sometimes spelled vazir, vizir, vasir, wazir, vesir, or vezir) is a high-ranking political advisor or minister in a Muslim government....

     (chief minister) Ibn Raik; the title was used in various Islamic monarchies; see below for military use
  • In Lebanon
    Lebanon
    Lebanon , officially the Republic of LebanonRepublic of Lebanon is the most common term used by Lebanese government agencies. The term Lebanese Republic, a literal translation of the official Arabic and French names that is not used in today's world. Arabic is the most common language spoken among...

    , the ruling Emir formally used the style al-Amir al-Hakim
    Hakim (title)
    ' and ' are two Arabic titles derived from the same triliteral ḤKM "appoint, choose, judge". Compare the Hebrew title hakham.-Hakīm :...

     since, specifying it was still a ruler's title. Note that the title was held by Christians as well.

  • The word Emir is also used less formally for leaders in certain contexts. For example, the leader of a group of pilgrims to Mecca
    Mecca
    Mecca is a city in the Hijaz and the capital of Makkah province in Saudi Arabia. The city is located inland from Jeddah in a narrow valley at a height of above sea level...

     is called an Emir hadji, a title sometimes used by ruling princes (as a mark of Muslim piety) which is sometimes awarded in their name. Where an adjectival form is necessary, "Emiral" suffices.
  • Amirzade, the son (hence the Persian patronymic suffix -zade) of a prince, hence the Persian princely title Mirza
    Mirza
    Mirza , is of Persian origin, denoting the rank of a high nobleman or Prince. It is usually translated into English as a royal or imperial Prince of the Blood...

    .
  • The traditional rulers
    Nigerian traditional rulers
    Nigerian traditional rulers often derive their titles from the rulers of independent states or communities that existed before the formation of modern Nigeria...

     of the predominantly Muslim northern regions of Nigeria
    Nigeria
    Nigeria , officially the Federal Republic of Nigeria, is a federal constitutional republic comprising 36 states and its Federal Capital Territory, Abuja. The country is located in West Africa and shares land borders with the Republic of Benin in the west, Chad and Cameroon in the east, and Niger in...

     are known as Emirs, while the titular sovereign of their now defunct empire is formally styled as the Sultan of Sokoto, Amir-al-Muminin or Sarkin Musulmi in the Hausa language
    Hausa language
    Hausa is the Chadic language with the largest number of speakers, spoken as a first language by about 25 million people, and as a second language by about 18 million more, an approximate total of 43 million people...

    .
  • The temporal leader of the Yazidi
    Yazidi
    The Yazidi are members of a Kurdish religion with ancient Indo-Iranian roots. They are primarily a Kurdish-speaking people living in the Mosul region of northern Iraq, with additional communities in Transcaucasia, Armenia, Turkey, and Syria in decline since the 1990s – their members emigrating to...

     people is known as an Emir or Prince.

Military ranks and titles




From the start, Emir has been a military title, roughly meaning "general" or "commander."

The Western naval rank "admiral
Admiral
Admiral is the rank, or part of the name of the ranks, of the highest naval officers. It is usually considered a full admiral and above vice admiral and below admiral of the fleet . It is usually abbreviated to "Adm" or "ADM"...

" comes from the Arabic naval title amir al-bahr, general at sea, which has been used for naval commanders and occasionally the Ministers of Marine.

In certain decimally-organized Muslim armies, Amir was an officer rank. For example, in Mughal India Amirs commanded 1000 horsemen (divided into ten units, each under a Sipah salar), ten of them under one Malik
Malik
Malik is an Arabic word meaning "king, chieftain".It has been adopted in various other, mainly Islamized or Arabized, Asian languages for their ruling princes and to render kings elsewhere. It is also sometimes used in derived meanings...

.
In the imperial army of Qajar Persia:
  • Amir-i-Nuyan,
  • Amir Panj, "Commander of 5,000"
  • Amir-i-Tuman, "Commander of 10,000"
  • Amir ul-Umara, "Amir of Amirs" (cfr. supra) or 'Commander of Commanders'


In the former Kingdom of Afghanistan
History of Afghanistan
The written history of Afghanistan can be traced back to the Achaemenid Empire ca. 500 BCE, although evidence indicates that an advanced degree of urbanized culture has existed in the land since between 3000 and 2000 BCE. Alexander the Great and his Macedonian army arrived to Afghanistan in 330 BCE...

, Amir-i-Kabir was a title meaning "great prince" or "great commander."

Muhammad Amin Bughra
Muhammad Amin Bughra
Muhammad Amin Bughra also Muḥammad Amīn Bughra , Муххамад Эмин Бугро, was a Turkic Muslim leader, who planned to set up an independent state, the First East Turkestan Republic....

, Nur Ahmad Jan Bughra
Nur Ahmad Jan Bughra
Nur Ahmad Jan Bughra , was an Uighur Emir of the First East Turkestan Republic. He was the younger brother of Muhammad Amin Bughra and Abdullah Bughra. He commanded Uighur and Kirghiz forces during the Battle of Kashgar against the Chinese Muslim 36th Division...

, and Abdullah Bughra
Abdullah Bughra
Abdullah Bughra , was a Uighur Emir of the First East Turkestan Republic. He was the younger brother of Muhammad Amin Bughra and older brother of Emir Nur Ahmad Jan Bughra. He commanded Uighur and Kirghiz forces during the Battle of Kashgar against the Chinese Muslimm 36th Division...

 declared themselves Emirs of the First East Turkestan Republic
First East Turkestan Republic
The First Eastern Turkestan Republic , or Turkish Islamic Republic of East Turkestan , or, Republic of Uyghurstan, was a short-lived breakaway would-be Islamic republic founded in 1933...

.

Other uses

  • Amir-i-Il designates the head of an Il (tribe) in imperial Persia.

  • In addition to being an Arabic name, Amir is also a common Muslim male name for both Arab and non-Arab Muslims, taken from Arabic
    Arabic language
    Arabic is a name applied to the descendants of the Classical Arabic language of the 6th century AD, used most prominently in the Quran, the Islamic Holy Book...

     just as the Western name Rex ("king") is borrowed from Latin
    Latin
    Latin is an Italic language originally spoken in Latium and Ancient Rome. It, along with most European languages, is a descendant of the ancient Proto-Indo-European language. Although it is considered a dead language, a number of scholars and members of the Christian clergy speak it fluently, and...

     while Amira is a common Muslim female name. In Bosnia and Herzegovina
    Bosnia and Herzegovina
    Bosnia and Herzegovina , sometimes called Bosnia-Herzegovina or simply Bosnia, is a country in Southern Europe, on the Balkan Peninsula. Bordered by Croatia to the north, west and south, Serbia to the east, and Montenegro to the southeast, Bosnia and Herzegovina is almost landlocked, except for the...

    , the female name Emira, often interpreted as "princess", is a derivative of the male name Emir.

Specific emirates of note




Islamic titles

  • Amir al-Muminin
    Amir al-Muminin
    Amīr al-Mu'minīn usually translated Commander of the Faithful or Leader of the Faithful, is the Arabic style of Caliphs and other independent sovereign Muslim rulers that claim legitimacy from a community of Muslims...

  • Bey
    Bey
    Bey is a title for chieftain, traditionally applied to the leaders of small tribal groups. Accoding to some sources, the word "Bey" is of Turkish language In historical accounts, many Turkish, other Turkic and Persian leaders are titled Bey, Beg, Bek, Bay, Baig or Beigh. They are all the same word...

  • Caliph
    Caliph
    The Caliph is the head of state in a Caliphate, and the title for the ruler of the Islamic Ummah, an Islamic community ruled by the Shari'ah. It is a transcribed version of the Arabic word   which means "successor" or "representative"...

  • Dai
    Dai
    Dai can mean:* Dai people, one of the 56 recognized ethnic minorities of China* Dai , ethnic tribe of Chin, Myanmar* Dai County, in Shanxi, China* Dai , a state during the Spring and Autumn Period...

  • Dervish
    Dervish
    A Dervish or Darvesh is someone treading a Sufi Muslim ascetic path or "Tariqah", known for their extreme poverty and austerity, similar to mendicant friars in Christianity or Hindu/Buddhist/Jain sadhus.-Etymology:The Persian word darvīsh is of ancient origin and descends from a Proto-Iranian...

  • Imam
    Imam
    An imam is an Islamic leadership position, often the worship leader of a mosque and the Muslim community. Similar to spiritual leaders, the imam is the one who leads Islamic worship services. More often, the community turns to the mosque imam if they have a religious question...

  • Mahdi
    Mahdi
    In Islamic eschatology, the Mahdi is the prophesied redeemer of Islam who will stay on Earth for seven, nine or nineteen years- before the Day of Judgment and, alongside Jesus, will rid the world of wrongdoing, injustice and tyranny.In Shia Islam, the belief in the Mahdi is a "central religious...

  • Mir
    Mir (title)
    Mir is a title which is derived from the Arabic title Emir or Amir . It was adopted in many languages under Islamic influence, such as Persian , Pashto, Sindhi and Urdu, meaning leader of a group or tribe in Iran, Afghanistan, India and Pakistan.-Title:In Iran, mir has also been formally used as a...

    , itself used in various compounds
  • Mirza
    Mirza
    Mirza , is of Persian origin, denoting the rank of a high nobleman or Prince. It is usually translated into English as a royal or imperial Prince of the Blood...

    , literally "son of an Emir"
  • Sheikh
    Sheikh
    Not to be confused with sikhSheikh — also spelled Sheik or Shaikh, or transliterated as Shaykh — is an honorific in the Arabic language that literally means "elder" and carries the meaning "leader and/or governor"...

  • Sayyid
    Sayyid
    Sayyid is an honorific title, it denotes males accepted as descendants of the Islamic prophet Muhammad through his grandsons, Hasan ibn Ali and Husain ibn Ali, sons of the prophet's daughter Fatima Zahra and his son-in-law Ali ibn Abi Talib.Daughters of sayyids are given the titles Sayyida,...

  • Shah
    Shah
    Shāh is the title of the ruler of certain Southwest Asian and Central Asian countries, especially Persia , and derives from the Persian word shah, meaning "king".-History:...

  • ShahenShah
  • Sultan
    Sultan
    Sultan is a title with several historical meanings. Originally, it was an Arabic language abstract noun meaning "strength", "authority", "rulership", and "dictatorship", derived from the masdar سلطة , meaning "authority" or "power". Later, it came to be used as the title of certain rulers who...

  • Umrao
  • Vizier
    Vizier
    A vizier or in Arabic script ; ; sometimes spelled vazir, vizir, vasir, wazir, vesir, or vezir) is a high-ranking political advisor or minister in a Muslim government....


Emirs in fiction

  • Abdul Abulbul Amir
    Abdul Abulbul Amir
    "Abdul Abulbul Amir" is a poem written in 1877 by Percy French and later set to music. It tells the story of two valiant heroes — a Russian, Ivan Skavinsky Skavar, and one of the Shah's mamelukes, Abdul Abulbul Amir — who because of their pride end up in a fight and kill each other...

    , both character and song
  • Abul Qasim Qannadi, a character in Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman's Rose of the Prophet
    Rose of the Prophet
    The Rose of the Prophet is a trilogy of fantasy novels by Tracy Hickman and Margaret Weis. Cover art and interior illustrations by Larry Elmore.-Overview:...

    trilogy.
  • Emir Wat Tambor, a character from Star Wars
    Star Wars
    Star Wars is an American epic space opera film series created by George Lucas. The first film in the series was originally released on May 25, 1977, under the title Star Wars, by 20th Century Fox, and became a worldwide pop culture phenomenon, followed by two sequels, released at three-year...

  • In an episode of Gargoyles called "Grief", the Emir of Egypt
    Egypt
    Egypt , officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, Arabic: , is a country mainly in North Africa, with the Sinai Peninsula forming a land bridge in Southwest Asia. Egypt is thus a transcontinental country, and a major power in Africa, the Mediterranean Basin, the Middle East and the Muslim world...

     summoned Anubis
    Anubis
    Anubis is the Greek name for a jackal-headed god associated with mummification and the afterlife in ancient Egyptian religion. In the ancient Egyptian language, Anubis is known as Inpu . According to the Akkadian transcription in the Amarna letters, Anubis' name was vocalized as Anapa...

     (Tony Jay
    Tony Jay
    Tony Jay was an English actor, voice actor and singer. A former member of the Royal Shakespeare Company, he was known for his voice work in animation, film and computer games. Jay's distinctive baritone voice often landed him villainous roles...

    ) to resurrect his dead son.
  • In several of the Tintin books, Emir Ben Kalish Ezab makes an appearance along with his son Abdullah.