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(325 words)

(p.), often Arabised as Sirdār , “supreme military commander”, literally “holding or possessing the head”, i.e. chief or leader. It was borrowed in the military sense by the Turks, who, however, sometimes derive it in error from sirrdār (“the keeper of a secret”). Through Turkish it has reached Arabic, and in a letter written in 989/1581 by “one of the princes of the Arabs (of Yaman)” occurs the phrase wa-ʿayyana sardār an ʿala ’l-ʿasākir (“and he appointed a commander over the troops”), on which Rutgers comments “Vocabulum sardār , quod Persicae originis est, ducem exercitûs significat…

Cite this page
Haig, T.W., “Sardār”, in: Encyclopaedia of Islam, Second Edition, Edited by: P. Bearman, Th. Bianquis, C.E. Bosworth, E. van Donzel, W.P. Heinrichs. Consulted online on 20 October 2018 <>
First published online: 2012
First print edition: ISBN: 9789004161214, 1960-2007

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