Mirza (name)

Mirza (/ˈmɜːrzə/ or /mɪərˈzɑː/; Persian: میرزا)[1][a] is a name of Persian origin. It is used as a surname or prefix to identify patriarchal lineage.

It is a historical royal and noble title,[2] denoting the rank of a royal prince,[2] high nobleman,[3] distinguished military commander,[3] or a scholar.[4] Specifically, it was used as a title by (and today signifies patriarchal lineage to) the various Persian Empires, the Nogai Horde, Shirvanshahs and Circassians of the European Caucasus, as well as the Muslim Rajputs[5] and mainly the Mughals / Moguls, both of the Indian Subcontinent. It was also a title bestowed upon members of the highest aristocracies in Tatar states, such as the Khanates of Kazan and Astrakhan.


The original title Mīrzā or Merzāh is derived from the Persian term Amīrzādeh which literally means child of the Amīr or child of the ruler.[4] Amīrzādeh in turn consists of the Arabic title Amīr (English: Emir), meaning "commander" and the Persian suffix zādeh, meaning "son of" or "lineage of".[4] Due to vowel harmony in Turkic languages, the alternative pronunciation Morza (plural morzalar; derived from Persian) is also used.


Mirza first emerged during the 15th century as an appellative term for members of the Timurid dynasty, adopted in deference to their progenitor, the Central Asian conqueror Timur, who used Amir as his principal title.[6][7] During the early Timurid period, Mirza preceded a prince's given name, therefore adhering to the Persian fashion, though subsequently the Turkish style was adopted, with the title instead being placed after.[8] This was continued by later rulers such as the Aq Qoyunlus, Safavids and Mughals.[6]

Originally restricted to only kings and princes,[9] the title eventually spread among other social groups, though only the former could have it placed after their given name.[10] During the 16th century, the Safavids conferred it upon high-ranking viziers such as Mirza Shah Hossein and Mirza Ata-Allah Isfahani.[6] By the Qajar period, the title simply marked a person as a clerk or a literate man of consequence.[11] Writing in 1828, Frederic Shoberl records that "as a prefix to the name, it may be assumed by, or conferred on any person. It is right, however, to observe, that none but well-educated men, or such as follow respectable professions, or hold honourable posts, take the title of mirza."[10]

Persian EmpiresEdit

Alqas Mirza meeting Suleiman the Magnificent. Illustration from the Süleymanname.

Safavid dynastyEdit

Afsharid dynastyEdit

Qajar dynastyEdit


Three consecutive titular kings of Shirvan, of the Shirvanshah Dynasty (present-day Azerbaijan), adopted the title as well following the death of Gurban Ali.


Circassian dynastyEdit

The hereditary title of Mirza was adopted by the nobility class of the Circassians. Idar of Kabardia, also known as "Mirza Haydar Temruk Bey", was the great-grandson of Prince Inal – Sultan of Egypt the founder of the "Temruk dynasty" of the Kabardian princes, known in Russia as the "Cherkassky" a Circassian princely family.

Circassian nobility with the name Mirza include:

Princely Issues:

  • Temruk Mirza (ca. 1501 – 1571)
  • Kambulat Mirza (ca. 1510 – 1589)
  • Zhelegot Mirza (ca. 1520- ?)

Russian EmpireEdit

Under Catherine the Great, empress of Russia, the Mirzas gained equal rights with the Russian nobility due to their extreme wealth. Abdul Mirza was given the title Prince Yusupov, and his descendant Prince Felix Yusupov married Princess Irina Alexandrovna of Russia, the only niece of Tsar Nicholas II.

Mughal EmpireEdit

Babur Mirza (born Mirza Zahiruddin), first emperor of Mughal Dynasty.[12]
Meeting between Babur Mirza and Sultan Ali Mirza near Samarqand (The Met Museum of Art NYC / Cleveland Museum of Art).
Akbar Mirza (born Mirza Abu'l-Fath Jalal-ud-din Muhammad), one of the most popular Mughal Emperors of India, known as "Akbar the Great".
Mirzas of the Mughal imperial family, c. 1878.[13]

In the Indian subcontinent, the title Mirza was borne by an imperial prince. It was adopted as part of ones name, implying relationship to the Mongol dynasties like the Mughal dynasty (the Imperial House of Timur).[14] In the traditional naming sequence of the Indian royal families, the title can be placed both before the name and after it, such as Prince Mirza Mughal or Prince Kamran Mirza. Prince Khusrau Mirza was the grandson of Emperor Babur (Babur Mirza), son of Emperor Jahangir and a brother of Emperor Shah Jahan. Emperor Akbar Shah II was known as Prince Mirza Akbar before his coronation. Emperor Babur took the imperial title of Padishah on 6 March 1508, before which he used the title Mirza.[15]

Mughal dynastyEdit

Royal family of BengalEdit

Imperial families of Central India and Bengal The archaic Bengali form of Mirza was Mridha in Bengal and Bihar.[16]

Royal family of AwadhEdit

Rajput dynastyEdit

Rajputs of Northern IndiaEdit

Originally being adversaries and opponents to the Mughal Emperors, the title Mirza was also adopted by the Muslim Rajputs of Northern India.[17] The Rajput imperial families were descendants of ancient Indo-Aryan warriors who strategically formed blood alliances with Mughal aristocracy. The Rajputs were rulers of princely states comprising vast territories of Northern India, including the Punjab Region, Kashmir and Rajasthan. Inter-marriage between Mughal aristocracy and Rajput aristocracy became very common and various factions of Rajput kingdoms embraced the Islamic faith, giving rise to the term "Muslim Rajputs".[18] Rajput rulers were also granted the title Mirza on account of being high-ranked commanders in the Mughal military.[19] The meaning of Mirza (Persian origin)[20] is identical to the meaning of Rajput (Sanskrit Origin).[21]

Other notable MirzasEdit


Academics and literatureEdit


  • Aziz Mirza (born 1947), Indian film director, producer and writer.
  • Dia Mirza, Indian actress and former "Miss Asia Pacific" titleholder.
  • Mastan Haider Mirza, Indian Mafia boss, mobster and filmmaker; popularly known as the first "celebrity gangster" of Bombay.
  • Mirza Babayev, Azerbaijani movie actor and singer. Honored Artist of the Azerbaijan SSR and People's Artist of Azerbaijan.
  • Mirza Nadeem Baig Mirza Nazeer Baig Mughal better known by his stage name Nadeem Baig, a Pakistani actor, singer and producer.
  • Mohib Mirza is a Pakistani actor and television host.
  • Saeed Mirza, Indian film director and screenwriter, considered one of the most influential parallel cinema movie makers in India.



Judges and advocatesEdit






See alsoEdit

Further readingEdit

  • "Life of a Mirza" Chapter 7 (pp. 225–227) The Empire of the Great Mughals: History, Art and Culture (2004), by Annemarie Schimmel, ISBN 1-86189-185-7.
  • Mirzah in The Wordsworth Dictionary of Phrase and Fable by Ebenezer Cobham Brewer, ISBN 1-84022-310-3.
  • MI'RZA in Chambers's Encyclopaedia: A Dictionary of Universal Knowledge For the People. ISBN 1-149-98693-X.
  • A. Jaimoukha The Circassians: A Handbook Routledge, Palgrave, 2001, pp. 157–60, ISBN 0-312-23994-7.


  1. ^ Persian: میرزا; Azeri: Mirzə; Tajik: Мирзо; Uzbek: Mirzo; Russian: мурза; Bashkir: mïrða; Circassian: мырзэ (common variance in Tatar nobility as Morza); Urdu: مرزا; Punjabi: مرزا


  1. ^ "Mirza Definition". Collins Dictionary. n.d. Retrieved 15 October 2014.
  2. ^ a b "Mirza Definition". Dictionary.com. n.d. Retrieved 14 January 2018.
  3. ^ a b "Mirza Definition". Merriam-Webster. n.d. Retrieved 14 January 2018.
  4. ^ a b c "Mirza Definition". Collins Dictionary. n.d. Retrieved 15 October 2014.
  5. ^ "History". Rana M. Ahsan Khan. Retrieved 21 December 2015.
  6. ^ a b c Mitchell, Colin Paul (2006). Josef W. Meri (ed.). "Timurids". Medieval Islamic Civilization: An Encyclopaedia. New York: Taylor & Francis. 2, L–Z, index: 814. ISBN 978-0-415-96692-4.
  7. ^ Soudavar, Abolala (2011). Nikki R. Keddie; Matthee Rudi (eds.). "The Early Safavids and their Cultural Interactions with Surrounding States". Iran and the Surrounding World: Interactions in Culture and Cultural Politics. Seattle and London: University of Washington Press: 93. ISBN 978-0-295-80024-0.
  8. ^ Khwandamir (1994). Habibu's-siyar. Vol. III. Translated by Wheeler Thackston. Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations, Harvard University. p. 641.
  9. ^ Herbert, Thomas; Butler, John Anthony (2012). Travels in Africa, Persia, and Asia the Great. ACMRS (Arizona Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies). p. 148. ISBN 978-0-86698-475-1.
  10. ^ a b Shoberl, Frederic (1828). Persia: Containing a Description of the Country, with an Account of Its Government, Laws, and Religion, and of the Character, Manners and Customs, Arts, Amusements, &c. of Its Inhabitants. Philadelphia: J. Grigg. p. 53.
  11. ^ Tāj al-Salṭanah (1993). Abbas Amanat (ed.). Crowning Anguish: Memoirs of a Persian Princess from the Harem to Modernity, 1884–1914. Mage Publishers. p. 341. ISBN 978-0-934211-35-2.
  12. ^ World Civilizations: The Global Experience, 4th Edition Outlines – Chapter 21: The Muslim Empires. Longman. 2003.
  13. ^ A photo from 'The People of India', published from 1868 to the early 1870s by WH Allen, for the India Office
  14. ^ "10glossary". www.columbia.edu.
  15. ^ pg 24. The Empire of the Great Mughals: History, Art and Culture
  16. ^ The Khan Mohammad Mridha Mosque is named for a man known in Mughal records as Khan Muhammad Mirza; see https://archnet.org/library/sites/one-site.jsp?site_id=4450 Archived 17 November 2010 at the Wayback Machine Mughal dynasty (the Imperial House of Timur "Sarai Mulk Khanam Qutubuddunniya wa Deen Amir Qutubuddin Taimur Baig Sahib-e-kiran").
  17. ^ "History: Muslim Rajputs". Rana M. Ahsan Khan. Retrieved 21 December 2015.
  18. ^ Lord Lawrence and the Reconstruction of India Under The Crown by Sir Charles Aitcheson, K.C.S.I., M.A., LL.D., Rulers of India series, Clarendon Press 1897, V p117
  19. ^ 30. Ra´jah Ma´n Singh, son of Bhagwán Dás – Biography Archived 7 October 2016 at the Wayback Machine Ain-i-Akbari, Vol. I.
  20. ^ "Mirza Definition". Collins Dictionary. n.d. Retrieved 16 June 2017.
  21. ^ "Rajput Definition". Encyclopædia Britannica. n.d. Retrieved 16 June 2017.