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This article is about the title. For the name, see Emir (name). For other uses, see Emir (disambiguation).
"Amir" redirects here. For other persons, see Amir (name). For other uses of Amir, see Amir (disambiguation).
The court of the Afghan Durrani Empire in 1839.
HRH Crown Prince Farouk, Amir of the Kingdom of Egypt and the Sudan, on ascension to the throne 1936 as HM King Farouk I.

Emir (/əˈmɪər, ˈmɪər, ˈmɪər/; Arabic: أميرʾAmīr [ʔæˈmiːr]), sometimes transliterated Amir, Amier or Ameer, is a title of high office used in a variety of places in the Arab world. Literally it means commander, general, or prince. The feminine form is Emira (أميرة ʾAmīrah). When translated as prince, the word "emirate" is analogous to a sovereign principality.


Amir, meaning "chieftain" or "commander", is derived from the Arabic root '-m-r, "command". It may also be related to the Hebrew word hemir, "exalt".[1] 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 émir.[2] It was one of the titles or names of the Islamic prophet Muhammad.

It is possibly derived from the Syriac Mar or Mora, a title of respect, literally meaning 'my lord'.[dubious ][citation needed]

Princely, ministerial and noble titles[edit]

Mohammed Alim Khan, Emir of Bukhara, taken in 1911 by Sergey Prokudin-Gorsky.

Military ranks and titles[edit]

From the start, Emir has been a military title.

The Western naval rank "admiral" comes from the Arabic naval title amir al-bahr, general of the 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."

Muhammad Amin Bughra, Nur Ahmad Jan Bughra, and Abdullah Bughra declared themselves Emirs of the First East Turkestan Republic.

Other uses[edit]

Emirs in fiction[edit]

See also[edit]

Specific emirates of note


  1. ^ Nachmanides, Commentary to Torah, Deuteronomy 21:14
  2. ^ EtymologyOnLine