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Sher Ali Khan, Emir of Afghanistan, posing for a portrait in 1869.

Emir (Arabic: أمير; amīr, female: أميرة; emira; amīrah), (Persian: امیر) ("commander" or "general", also "prince" ; also transliterated as amir, aamir or ameer) is a high title of nobility or office, used throughout the Arab World, as well as historically in 19th-century Afghanistan and in the medieval Muslim world. Emirs are usually considered high-ranking sheikhs, but in monarchical states the term is also used for princes, with "Emirate" being analogous to principality in this sense.

The word is also used as a name (rather than an honorific) in Bosnia and Turkey. While emir is the predominant spelling in English and many other languages (for example, United Arab Emirates), amir, closer to the original Arabic, is more common for its numerous compounds (e.g., admiral) and in individual names. Spelling thus differs depending on the sources consulted.

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Origins

Amir, meaning "chieftain" or "commander", is derived from the Arabic root '-m-r, "command". Originally simply meaning commander or leader, usually in reference to a group of people, it came to be used as a title of governors or rulers, usually in smaller states, and in modern Arabic usually renders the English word "prince." The word entered English in 1593, from the French émir. [1] It was one of the titles or names of the Islamic prophet Muhammad.

Princely, ministerial and noble titles

Mohammed Alim Khan, Emir of Bukhara, taken in 1911 by Sergey Prokudin-Gorsky.
Emir Mejhem ibn Meheid and sons, 1920.
  • The caliphs first used the title Amir al-Muminin ("Commander of the Faithful"), stressing their leadership over all Islam, especially in the military form of jihad; both this command and the title have been assumed by various other Muslim rulers, including sultans and emirs. For Shiite Muslims, they still give this title to the Caliph Ali as Amir al Muminin.
  • The Abbasid (in theory still universal) Caliph Ar-Radi created the post of Amir al-Umara ("Amir of the Amirs") for his – in fact governing – Wazir (chief minister) Ibn Raik; the title was used in various Islamic monarchies; see below for military use
  • In Lebanon, the ruling Emir formally used the style al-Amir al-Hakim 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 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.
  • In Nigeria, the traditional rulers of the predominantly Muslim northern regions are known as Emirs.
  • The temporal leader of the Yazidi people is known as an emir, or prince.

Military ranks and titles

Entrance to the Amir's palace in Bukhara. From a photograph taken ca. 1912 by Sergei Mikhailovich Prokudin-Gorskii.

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

The Western naval rank "admiral" 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. In the imperial army of Qajar Persia:

In the former Kingdom of Afghanistan, Amir-i-Kabir was a title meaning "great prince" or "great commander."

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 just as the Western name Rex ("king") is borrowed from Latin while Amira is a common Muslim female name. In Bosnia and Herzegovina, the female name Emira, often interpreted as "princess", is a derivative of the male name Emir.

See also

Specific emirates of note

Famous people having Emir as a first name

Islamic titles

Emirs in fiction

Notes

References


Wiktionary

Up to date as of January 15, 2010

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary

See also emir

Contents

German

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Emir

Wikipedia de

Noun

Emir m.

  1. emir (title of a prince, commander or other leader or ruler in an Islamic nation)

Derived terms


Turkish

Etymology

From Arabic أَمِير

Proper noun

Emir

  1. A male given name, which means prince, commander or other leader or ruler in an Islamic nation.

Simple English

File:Sher Ali Khan of Afghanistan in
Sher Ali Khan, Emir of Afghanistan, posing for a portrait in 1869.

Emir (Arabic: أمير; female: أميرة; emira; (Persian and Urdu: امیر) "commander" or "general", also "prince" ; also transliterated as amir, aamir or ameer) is a high title of nobility or office. It is used throughout the Arab World and historically in some Turkic states and Afghanistan. Emirs are usually considered high-ranking sheiks, but in monarchical states the term is also used for princes, then "Emirate" means more or less the same as principality in this context. Emir is used also as a name in Turkey like Emir Niego and Emir Sevinc. Emir is the most common spelling in English and many other languages (for example, United Arab Emirates). The spelling amir, that is closer to the original Arabic, is more common for its compounds (e.g., admiral) and in individual names.

Contents

Other pages

Specific emirates of note

  • List of emirs of Harar
  • List of emirs of Kuwait
  • List of emirs of Qatar
  • Emirs d'Armènia

Islamic titles

  • Amir al-Muminin
  • Bey
  • Caliph
  • Mahdi
  • Mir, itself used in various compounds
  • Mirza, literally "son of an Emir"
  • Sheikh
  • Sayyid
  • Sultan
  • Umrao

Emirs in fiction

  • Abdul Abulbul Amir character & song
  • Abul Qasim Qannadi, character in Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman's Rose of the Prophet trilogy.

Sources and references

  • WorldStatesmen Here Religious Organisations - see also many present Muslim countries








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