Padishah ('Master King'; from Persian: pād [or Old Persian: *pati], 'master', and shāh, 'king'),[1][2] sometimes rendered as Padeshah or Padshah (Persian: پادشاه; Ottoman Turkish: پادشاه, pâdişah; Turkish: padişah, pronounced [ˈpaːdiʃah]; Urdu: بَادْشَاہ‎, Hindi: बादशाह), is a superlative sovereign title of Persian origin.

A form of the word is known already from Middle Persian, or Pahlavi language, as pātaxšā(h) or pādixšā(y).[3][4][5][6] Middle Persian pād may stem from Avestan paiti,[7] and is akin to Pati (title). Xšāy, "to rule", and xšāyaθiya, "king", are from Old Persian.

It was adopted by several monarchs claiming the highest rank, roughly equivalent to the ancient Persian notion of "Great King", and later adopted by post-Achaemenid and the Mughal emperors of India. However, in some periods it was used more generally for autonomous muslim rulers, as in the Hudud al-'Alam of the 10th century, where even some petty princes of Afghanistan are called pādshā(h)/pādshāʼi/pādshāy.[8]

The rulers on the following thrones – the first two effectively commanding major West Asian empires – were styled Padishah:

  • Mongol Ilkhan Ghazan took the title Padshah-i Islam after he converted to Islam in 1295, possibly in order to undermine the religious prestige of the Mamluk Sultanate in Egypt.[10] The title Ilkhan, that came into use c. 1259–1265, may be an equivalent of Padishah, if it is taken to mean "sovereign khan" (and not "subordinate khan" as often posited).[11]
Suleiman the Magnificent, Padishah of the Ottoman Empire. Portrait attributed to Titian c.  1530

The paramount prestige of the title padishah in Islam and beyond becomes clearly apparent from the Ottoman Empire's dealings with the (predominantly Christian) European powers. For example, one of the terms of the Treaty of Küçük Kaynarca in 1774 was that the defeated Ottoman Empire refer to Empress Catherine the Great of Russia, and all other Russian monarchs after her, as a "Padishah" in all official correspondence (including in the treaty itself). This was a symbolic acknowledgement that Russian emperors were in all diplomatic and corollary capacities the equal of the Turkish ruler, who by his religious paramount office in Islam (Caliph) had a theoretical claim of universal sovereignty (at least among Sunnites).

The compound Pādshah-i-Ghazi ("Victorious Emperor") is only recorded for two individual rulers:

  1. Ahmad Shah Durrani, Emperor of the Durrani Empire (r. 1747–1772)
  2. H.H. Rustam-i-Dauran, Aristu-i-Zaman, Asaf Jah IV, Muzaffar ul-Mamaluk, Nizam ul-Mulk, Nizam ud-Daula, Nawab Mir Farkhunda 'Ali Khan Bahadur [Gufran Manzil], Sipah Salar, Fath Jang, Ayn waffadar Fidvi-i-Senliena, Iqtidar-i-Kishwarsitan Muhammad Akbar Shah Padshah-i-Ghazi, Nizam of Hyderabad (r. 1829–1857)

The Sikhs us the term Patishahi for the 10 gurus.[13]

Note that like many titles, the word Padishah was also often used as a name, either by nobles with other (in this case always lower) styles, or even by commoners.

Modern usageEdit

There is a large family of Turkish origin using the surname Badi in modern-day Libya. They were originally called "Padishah" due to their Military rank in the Ottoman Army, but the part "shah" was dropped after the Ottoman expansion into Tripoli town of Misrata, and the pronunciation of "Padi" became "Badi" from the Arabic pronunciation, as there is no p in Arabic.

In 2008, a professional cricket team, the Lahore Badshahs, was founded.

In India, Padishah is often a Muslim surname, from the above-mentioned trend of adopting titles as names by both royalty and commoners.

See alsoEdit


  1. ^, s.v. "pasha" Archived October 6, 2013, at the Wayback Machine.
  2. ^ Dictionary & Etymology
  3. ^ MacKenzie, D. N. (1971). A concise Pahlavi dictionary. London. p. 63. ISBN 978-1-136-61396-8. OCLC 891590013.
  4. ^ "pad(i)shah ." The Oxford Dictionary of English Etymology. Retrieved September 22, 2021 from
  5. ^ "[ pādixšā(y) – Encyclopedia Pahlavica ]".{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  6. ^ Horn, Paul (1893). Grundriss der neupersischen Etymologie. University of Michigan. Strassburg, K.J. Trübner. p. 61.
  7. ^ "[ Pad – Encyclopedia Pahlavica ]". Retrieved 2021-10-08.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  8. ^ Babinger, Fr. & Bosworth, C.E. (1995). "Pādis̲h̲āh". In Bosworth, C. E.; van Donzel, E.; Heinrichs, W. P. & Lecomte, G. (eds.). The Encyclopaedia of Islam, New Edition, Volume VIII: Ned–Sam. Leiden: E. J. Brill. ISBN 978-90-04-09834-3.
  9. ^ Korobeĭnikov, Dimitri (2014). Byzantium and the Turks in the Thirteenth Century. Oxford, United Kingdom. pp. 99–101, 290, 157. ISBN 978-0-19-870826-1. OCLC 884743514.
  10. ^ Charles Melville, "Padshah-i Islam: the conversion of Sultan Mahmud Ghazan Khan", Pembroke Papers I, ed. C. Melville, Cambridge: Middle East Centre, 1990: p. 172.
  11. ^ Kyle Crossley, Pamela (2019). Hammer and Anvil: Nomad Rulers at the Forge of the Modern World. Rowman & Littlefield. p. 162. ISBN 978-1-4422-1445-3.
  12. ^ "Countries Ab-Am".
  13. ^ श्रद्धा के साथ मनाया पंच पातिशाही गुरु अर्जुनदेव महाराज का शहीदी पर्व, Dainik Bhaskar, 1916

External linksEdit