1922: Is it Better to be a Sultan or a King?

1922: Is it Better to be a Sultan or a King?
Photo Credit To Wikipedia Commons

Story Highlights

  • Historical event:
  • 15. March 1922
  • On this day in 1922 Egyptian Sultan Fuad took the title of king. In the Arab world the position of the King (Arabic: Malik) is considered to be higher than the position of the Sultan.

On this day in 1922 Egyptian Sultan Fuad took the title King of Egypt. He probably did it to increase his own reputation, but also the reputation of his dynasty and the whole of Egypt.

Namely, in the Arab world title King (Arabic: Malik) is considered to be higher than the title of Sultan.

It is sometimes strange to Westerners, because the title of Sultan is considered as highly elevated, especially because of the powerful Ottoman rulers who bore that title during the Ottoman Empire.

But in reality, not even the Turks found the title of Sultan to be most exalted. The Ottoman rulers who ruled in Istanbul and who we call the Sultans actually had significantly higher titles – like Padishah (Emperor) and “Sultan of Sultans”. For Turks, the word “Sultan” meant something like “Prince”.

The King of Egypt’s decision to proclaim himself king was probably also caused by the fact that, immediately prior to this, the surrounding Arab rulers took royal titles in a similar manner (the Sherif of Mecca declared himself King of Hejaz in 1916, Syria became a kingdom in 1920, and Iraq in 1921).

During recent history it also happened that Muslim rulers gradually rose to the royal title. The Sultan of Morocco became king in 1957, and the latest example was given by Emir of Bahrain, who proclaimed himself King of Bahrain in 2002.

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