Padeshah, Padshah or Padishah (Persian: پادشاه) is a superlative royal title, composed of the Persian pād "master" and the widespread shāh "king", which was adopted by several monarchs claiming the highest rank, roughly equivalent to the ancient Persian notion of "The Great" or "Great King", and later adopted by post-Achaemenid and Christian Emperors.
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The rulers on the following thrones, the first three effectively commanding major West Asian empires, were styled Padishah:
- The Shāhanshāh of Iran (King of Kings of Persia), from Achaemenid and Sassanid origin.
- The Sultan of the Ottoman Empire
- The Mughal Emperors of the Indian Subcontinent, who used the Arabic version of the title, Badshah.
Miangul Golshahzada Abdul Wadud (predecessor styled Amir-i shariat, successors [Khān and] Wali) of the tiny (one valley) Pakistani North West Frontier state of Swat called himself badshah from November 1918 to March 1926.
- Ahmed Shah Durrani founded the last Afghan empire in 1747 with the title Pādshah-i Afghanistan in Persian and Badcha Da Afghanistan in the Pashto language. The Sadozai were overthrown in 1823 but there was a brief restoration by Shah Shujah in 1839. The title went dormant after his assassination in 1842 until 1926 when Amanullah Khan resurrected it (official from 1937) and was finally laid to rest with the abdication of Mohammed Zahir Shah in 1973 following a coup; at other times the Afghan monarchy used the style Emir (Amir al-Momenin) or Malik ("King").
- The last Basha bey of Tunisia, Muhammad VIII al-Amin (proclaimed bey on 15 May 1943), adopted the sovereign style padshah 20 March 1956 – 25 July 1957.
The paramount prestige of this title, in Islam and even beyond, is clearly apparent from the Ottoman Empire's dealings with the (predominantly Christian) European powers. As the Europeans and the Russians gradually drove the Turks from the Balkans, Central Asia, and the Caucasus, they insisted—even at the cost of delaying the end of hostilities—on the usage of the title "Padishah" for themselves in the Turkish versions of their treaties with the High Porte, as acknowledgement that their Christian 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:
- H.M. Ahmad Shah Bahadur, Padshah-i-Ghazi, Dur-i-Durran ('pearl of pearls'), Padshah of Khorasan (today Afghanistan) 1747–1772
- 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 1829–1857
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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 landing in the North East Libyan town of Misrata, and the pronunciation of "Padi" became "Badi" due to Arabic pronunciation.
In India, Padishah is a often a Muslim surname, from the above mentioned trend of adopting titles as names by both royalty and commoners.
Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan of Turkey has been referred to as "Padişah" by critics, who have compared his authoritarianism, religious conservatism, and his party's policy of Neo-Ottomanism to the absolutist rule of the Sultans of the Ottoman Empire, referred to in Ottoman Turkish and modern Turkish by the title Padişah.
- "'Eylemlerin amacı Erdoğan'ın padişah olmasını engellemek'" (in Turkish). BBC Türkçe. 13 June 2013. Retrieved 17 January 2014.