Sultana (title)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
For other uses, see Sultana (disambiguation).

The term Sultana (Arabic: سلطانه‎) is an Islamic title reserved for a few Muslim women rulers in history. It is sometimes mistaken for the title of the chief wife of a Sultan.


A famous Sultana was Razia Sultana of India.

Coronation of Sultan Hamengkubuwono X of Yogyakarta and his wife Hemas, effectively Sultana, in 1989

In the former kingdom of Touggourt (now part of Algeria) there was one sultana: Aïsha.

In Aceh, Indonesia, there were five Sultanas who ruled:


In medieval Egypt, Shajar al-Durr, a former slave of Turkic origin, ascended the throne in 1250, thereby becoming the only Muslim woman to rule a country in North Africa and Western Asia.[1] Although several sources assert that she took the title of sultana,[2] The Cambridge History of Islam disputes the claim, stating that "a feminine form, sultana, does not exist in Arabic: the title sulṭān appears on Shajar al-Durr's only extant coin."[3]

Between 1914 and 1922, monarchs of the Muhammad Ali Dynasty used the title of Sultan of Egypt, and their wives were legally styled as sultanas.[4] Two women held the title of sultana during the short-lived Sultanate of Egypt: Melek Tourhan, the wife of Sultan Hussein Kamel, and Nazli Sabri, the wife of Sultan Fuad I. Nazli Sabri became Queen following the establishment of the Kingdom of Egypt in 1922, and it is with the latter title that she is almost always associated. Melek Tourhan, on the other hand, legally retained the title of sultana even after Egypt became a kingdom, and is often referred to simply as Sultana Melek.


With the Ottomans, imperial princesses had the title sultan after their given names (i.e. Mihrimah Sultan and Hatice Sultan). They are all non-ruling royalty; in the western sense, princesses, not queens.

The monarch's mother, who had more power, had the title Valide Sultan (i.e. Ayşe Hafsa Sultan). She was referred to by this title alone, without her given name. Principal consort had the title Haseki Sultan (i.e. Hürrem Sultan). Non-favorite consorts had the title hatun, equivalent to Lady.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Hitti, Philip Khuri (2004) [1951]. "Chapter XLVII: Ayyūbids and Mamlūks". History of Syria: including Lebanon and Palestine (2nd ed.). Piscataway, NJ: Gorgias Press. p. 629. ISBN 978-1-59333-119-1. OCLC 61240442. Retrieved 2010-03-01. 
  2. ^ Meri, Josef W., ed. (2006). Medieval Islamic Civilization: An Encyclopedia. Volume 2: L–Z, index. New York: Routledge. p. 730. ISBN 978-0-415-96692-4. OCLC 314792003. Retrieved 2010-03-01. ... Shajar al-Durr was proclaimed sultana (the feminine form of sultan) of the Ayyubid dominions, although this was not recognized by the Syrian Ayyubid princes. 
  3. ^ Holt, P. M.; Lambton, Ann K. S.; Lewis, Bernard, eds. (1977). The Cambridge History of Islam. Cambridge University Press. p. 210. ISBN 978-0-521-29135-4. OCLC 3549123. Retrieved 2010-03-01. 
  4. ^ Rizk, Yunan Labib (13–19 April 2006). "A palace wedding". Al-Ahram Weekly (790). Retrieved 2010-02-27. ... Britain granted the rulers among the family the title of sultan, a naming that was also applied to their wives.