Vizier
Overview
 
Distinguish from visor
Visor
A visor is a surface that protects the eyes, such as shading them from the sun or other bright light or protecting them from objects....

.


A vizier (icon, rarely ˈ;
or in Arabic script (Persian
Persian language
Persian is an Iranian language within the Indo-Iranian branch of the Indo-European languages. It is primarily spoken in Iran, Afghanistan, Tajikistan and countries which historically came under Persian influence...

, Urdu
Urdu
Urdu is a register of the Hindustani language that is identified with Muslims in South Asia. It belongs to the Indo-European family. Urdu is the national language and lingua franca of Pakistan. It is also widely spoken in some regions of India, where it is one of the 22 scheduled languages and an...

 and Arabic); ; sometimes spelled vazir, vizir, vasir, wazir, vesir, or vezir) is a high-ranking political advisor or minister in a Muslim government.
The name is simply the Arabic adaptation of a pre-Islamic Persian title, vichir (Middle Persian
Middle Persian
Middle Persian , indigenously known as "Pârsig" sometimes referred to as Pahlavi or Pehlevi, is the Middle Iranian language/ethnolect of Southwestern Iran that during Sassanid times became a prestige dialect and so came to be spoken in other regions as well. Middle Persian is classified as a...

 for Vizier), who was a minister to the Shah
Shah
Shāh is the title of the ruler of certain Southwest Asian and Central Asian countries, especially Persia , and derives from the Persian word shah, meaning "king".-History:...

..
The word appears in the Quran.
Encyclopedia
Distinguish from visor
Visor
A visor is a surface that protects the eyes, such as shading them from the sun or other bright light or protecting them from objects....

.


A vizier (icon, rarely ˈ;
or in Arabic script (Persian
Persian language
Persian is an Iranian language within the Indo-Iranian branch of the Indo-European languages. It is primarily spoken in Iran, Afghanistan, Tajikistan and countries which historically came under Persian influence...

, Urdu
Urdu
Urdu is a register of the Hindustani language that is identified with Muslims in South Asia. It belongs to the Indo-European family. Urdu is the national language and lingua franca of Pakistan. It is also widely spoken in some regions of India, where it is one of the 22 scheduled languages and an...

 and Arabic); ; sometimes spelled vazir, vizir, vasir, wazir, vesir, or vezir) is a high-ranking political advisor or minister in a Muslim government.
The name is simply the Arabic adaptation of a pre-Islamic Persian title, vichir (Middle Persian
Middle Persian
Middle Persian , indigenously known as "Pârsig" sometimes referred to as Pahlavi or Pehlevi, is the Middle Iranian language/ethnolect of Southwestern Iran that during Sassanid times became a prestige dialect and so came to be spoken in other regions as well. Middle Persian is classified as a...

 for Vizier), who was a minister to the Shah
Shah
Shāh is the title of the ruler of certain Southwest Asian and Central Asian countries, especially Persia , and derives from the Persian word shah, meaning "king".-History:...

..
The word appears in the Quran. By the time of Abbasids, the caliph's lieutenants were called viziers.
In modern usage, the term has been used in Arab world
Arab world
The Arab world refers to Arabic-speaking states, territories and populations in North Africa, Western Asia and elsewhere.The standard definition of the Arab world comprises the 22 states and territories of the Arab League stretching from the Atlantic Ocean in the west to the Arabian Sea in the...

 for minister
Minister (government)
A minister is a politician who holds significant public office in a national or regional government. Senior ministers are members of the cabinet....


as well as in Iran
Iran
Iran , officially the Islamic Republic of Iran , is a country in Southern and Western Asia. The name "Iran" has been in use natively since the Sassanian era and came into use internationally in 1935, before which the country was known to the Western world as Persia...

, Afghanistan
Afghanistan
Afghanistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, is a landlocked country located in the centre of Asia, forming South Asia, Central Asia and the Middle East. With a population of about 29 million, it has an area of , making it the 42nd most populous and 41st largest nation in the world...

, Pakistan
Pakistan
Pakistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Pakistan is a sovereign state in South Asia. It has a coastline along the Arabian Sea and the Gulf of Oman in the south and is bordered by Afghanistan and Iran in the west, India in the east and China in the far northeast. In the north, Tajikistan...

, India
India
India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

 (written as वज़ीर).

Etymology

The word entered into English in 1562 from the Turkish vezir ("counsellor"), derived from the in Arabic wazir ("viceroy
Viceroy
A viceroy is a royal official who runs a country, colony, or province in the name of and as representative of the monarch. The term derives from the Latin prefix vice-, meaning "in the place of" and the French word roi, meaning king. A viceroy's province or larger territory is called a viceroyalty...

"). Wazir itself has two possible etymologies: on one hand it might be derived from āzara ("to help"), from the Semitic root W-Z-R ("to help somebody"); on the other hand, the presence of a Middle Persian
Middle Persian
Middle Persian , indigenously known as "Pârsig" sometimes referred to as Pahlavi or Pehlevi, is the Middle Iranian language/ethnolect of Southwestern Iran that during Sassanid times became a prestige dialect and so came to be spoken in other regions as well. Middle Persian is classified as a...

 predecessor for the word (in Pahlavi), vicir ("a legal document" or "decision"), derived from the Avestan vichira, meaning decreer or arbitrator, would seem to indicate an Indo-European
Indo-European languages
The Indo-European languages are a family of several hundred related languages and dialects, including most major current languages of Europe, the Iranian plateau, and South Asia and also historically predominant in Anatolia...

 origin, related to the Latin
Latin
Latin is an Italic language originally spoken in Latium and Ancient Rome. It, along with most European languages, is a descendant of the ancient Proto-Indo-European language. Although it is considered a dead language, a number of scholars and members of the Christian clergy speak it fluently, and...

 term vicarius
Vicarius
Vicarius is a Latin word, meaning substitute or deputy. It is the root and origin of the English word "vicar" and cognate to the Persian word most familiar in the variant vizier....

. It is possible that the Semitic and Indo-Iranian terms influenced one another.

Historical ministerial titles

The Muslim office of vizier, which spread from the Arabs, Persians, Turks, Mongols and neighboring peoples (regardless of the style of the ruler), arose under the first Abbasid
Abbasid
The Abbasid Caliphate or, more simply, the Abbasids , was the third of the Islamic caliphates. It was ruled by the Abbasid dynasty of caliphs, who built their capital in Baghdad after overthrowing the Umayyad caliphate from all but the al-Andalus region....

 caliphs. The vizier stood between sovereign and subjects, representing the former in all matters touching the latter. The name is simply the Arabic adaptation of a pre-Islamic Persian title, vichir (Middle Persian
Middle Persian
Middle Persian , indigenously known as "Pârsig" sometimes referred to as Pahlavi or Pehlevi, is the Middle Iranian language/ethnolect of Southwestern Iran that during Sassanid times became a prestige dialect and so came to be spoken in other regions as well. Middle Persian is classified as a...

 for Vizier), who was a minister to the Shah
Shah
Shāh is the title of the ruler of certain Southwest Asian and Central Asian countries, especially Persia , and derives from the Persian word shah, meaning "king".-History:...

. According to Klein, the word wazir is derived from Avestan
Avestan language
Avestan is an East Iranian language known only from its use as the language of Zoroastrian scripture, i.e. the Avesta, from which it derives its name...

 vicira "arbitrator, judge" and replaced the Arabic kātib, "writer" in the sense of "secretary of state". On account of Egypt
Ancient Egypt
Ancient Egypt was an ancient civilization of Northeastern Africa, concentrated along the lower reaches of the Nile River in what is now the modern country of Egypt. Egyptian civilization coalesced around 3150 BC with the political unification of Upper and Lower Egypt under the first pharaoh...

's later association with Arab civilization, the term "vizier" is also retronym
Retronym
A retronym is a type of neologism that provides a new name for an object or concept to differentiate the original form or version of it from a more recent form or version. The original name is most often augmented with an adjective to account for later developments of the object or concept itself...

ically applied to advisers and ministers of the Pharaoh
Pharaoh
Pharaoh is a title used in many modern discussions of the ancient Egyptian rulers of all periods. The title originates in the term "pr-aa" which means "great house" and describes the royal palace...

.

However, the term has been used in two very different ways: either for a unique position, the prime minister at the head of the monarch's government (the term Grand Vizier
Grand Vizier
Grand Vizier, in Turkish Vezir-i Azam or Sadr-ı Azam , deriving from the Arabic word vizier , was the greatest minister of the Sultan, with absolute power of attorney and, in principle, dismissable only by the Sultan himself...

 always refers to such a post), or as a shared 'cabinet rank', rather like a British secretary of state
Secretary of State
Secretary of State or State Secretary is a commonly used title for a senior or mid-level post in governments around the world. The role varies between countries, and in some cases there are multiple Secretaries of State in the Government....

. If one such vizier is the prime minister, he may hold the title of Grand Vizier or another title.

In Islamic states

  • In Muslim Persia, the Prime Minister under the political authority of the Shahanshah was commonly styled Vazīr-e Azam ('Supreme -, i.e. Grand Vizier'; alternative titles include Atabeg-e Azam
    Atabeg
    Atabeg, Atabek, or Atabey is a hereditary title of nobility of Turkic origin, indicating a governor of a nation or province who was subordinate to a monarch and charged with raising the crown prince...

    and Sardār-e Azam), and various Ministers held cabinet rank as vazir, including a Vazir-i-Daftar (minister for finance) and a Vazir-i-Lashkar (war portfolio).
  • In Al-Andalus
    Al-Andalus
    Al-Andalus was the Arabic name given to a nation and territorial region also commonly referred to as Moorish Iberia. The name describes parts of the Iberian Peninsula and Septimania governed by Muslims , at various times in the period between 711 and 1492, although the territorial boundaries...

     (the Iberian peninsula under the Arabo-Barbaresque Moors) appointed by the Caliph of Cordoba
    Córdoba, Spain
    -History:The first trace of human presence in the area are remains of a Neanderthal Man, dating to c. 32,000 BC. In the 8th century BC, during the ancient Tartessos period, a pre-urban settlement existed. The population gradually learned copper and silver metallurgy...

    .
    • Similarly in many of the emirates and sultanates of the taifas which the caliphate was broken up into (for example the Abbasids in Seville).
  • In Muslim Egypt
    Egypt
    Egypt , officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, Arabic: , is a country mainly in North Africa, with the Sinai Peninsula forming a land bridge in Southwest Asia. Egypt is thus a transcontinental country, and a major power in Africa, the Mediterranean Basin, the Middle East and the Muslim world...

    , the most populous Arab country:
    • Under the Fatimid Caliphs.
    • Again since the effective end of Ottoman rule, remarkably since 1857 (i.e. before the last Wali (governor), Isma`il Pasha, was raised Khedive
      Khedive
      The term Khedive is a title largely equivalent to the English word viceroy. It was first used, without official recognition, by Muhammad Ali Pasha , the Wāli of Egypt and Sudan, and vassal of the Ottoman Empire...

       (circa Viceroy, on 8 June 1867), exchanged for the western Prime ministers on 28 August 1878 (before the formally independent sultanate was proclaimed).
  • During the days of the Ottoman Empire
    Ottoman Empire
    The Ottoman EmpireIt was usually referred to as the "Ottoman Empire", the "Turkish Empire", the "Ottoman Caliphate" or more commonly "Turkey" by its contemporaries...

    , the Grand Vizier
    Grand Vizier
    Grand Vizier, in Turkish Vezir-i Azam or Sadr-ı Azam , deriving from the Arabic word vizier , was the greatest minister of the Sultan, with absolute power of attorney and, in principle, dismissable only by the Sultan himself...

     was the—often de facto ruling—prime minister
    Prime minister
    A prime minister is the most senior minister of cabinet in the executive branch of government in a parliamentary system. In many systems, the prime minister selects and may dismiss other members of the cabinet, and allocates posts to members within the government. In most systems, the prime...

    , second only to the Sultan (many of whom left politics to him, indulging in court pleasures) and was the leader of the Divan
    Divan
    A divan was a high governmental body in a number of Islamic states, or its chief official .-Etymology:...

    , the Imperial Council. "Vizier" was also the title of some Ottoman provincial governors, use of the title often indicating a greater degree of autonomy for the province involved and the greater prestige of the title holder (this was, for example, a major issue in the Bosnian uprising of 1831).
  • In the Sherifian kingdom of Morocco
    Morocco
    Morocco , officially the Kingdom of Morocco , is a country located in North Africa. It has a population of more than 32 million and an area of 710,850 km², and also primarily administers the disputed region of the Western Sahara...

     (historically a sultanate till the incumbent assumed the higher royal style of Malik on 14 August 1957, shortly after the end of the simultaneous French and Spanish protectorates; the additional Islamic title Amir al-Mu´minin "Commander of the Faithful" stayed in use), a Sadr al-A'zam (Grand Vizier) was in office until 22 November 1955, replaced since 7 December 1955 a (part-political) Prime Minister; Vizier was the style of a minister of state (other titles for various portfolios).
  • In the Hashemite
    Hashemite
    Hashemite is the Latinate version of the , transliteration: Hāšimī, and traditionally refers to those belonging to the Banu Hashim, or "clan of Hashim", a clan within the larger Quraish tribe...

     Kingdom of Hejaz
    Kingdom of Hejaz
    The Kingdom of Hejaz was a state in the Hejaz region, ruled by the Hashemite family. The kingdom was annexed by Nejd and merged into the Kingdom of Nejd and Hejaz in the mid 1920s, which would eventually be known as Saudi Arabia in 1932.-Kings of Hejaz:...

     (later merged into present-day Saudi Arabia
    Saudi Arabia
    The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia , commonly known in British English as Saudi Arabia and in Arabic as as-Sa‘ūdiyyah , is the largest state in Western Asia by land area, constituting the bulk of the Arabian Peninsula, and the second-largest in the Arab World...

    ), the sole Vizier was (10 June 1916 - 3 October 1924) the future second king Ali ibn Hussein al-Hashimi
    Ali of Hejaz
    Ali bin Hussein, GBE was King of Hejaz and Grand Sharif of Mecca from October 1924 until December 1925. He was the eldest son of Sharif Hussein bin Ali, the first modern King of Hejaz, and a scion of the Hashemite family...

    , under his father Hussein ibn Ali al-Hashimi
    Hussein bin Ali, Sharif of Mecca
    Sayyid Hussein bin Ali, GCB was the Sharif of Mecca, and Emir of Mecca from 1908 until 1917, when he proclaimed himself King of Hejaz, which received international recognition. He initiated the Arab Revolt in 1916 against the increasingly nationalistic Ottoman Empire during the course of the...

     (the first to assume the title Malik
    Malik
    Malik is an Arabic word meaning "king, chieftain".It has been adopted in various other, mainly Islamized or Arabized, Asian languages for their ruling princes and to render kings elsewhere. It is also sometimes used in derived meanings...

    , i.e. King, instead of Grand Sharif), maintained after the assumption of the Caliphal style
    Sharifian Caliphate
    The Sharifian Caliphate is the term used to describe the unsuccessful attempts at the beginning of the 20th century to establish an Arab caliphate headed by the Sharifs of Mecca in replacement of the Ottoman Caliphate. The idea had been floating around since at least the 15th century...

     (only 11 March 1924 - 3 October 1924)
  • In the 'regency' of Tunisia
    Tunisia
    Tunisia , officially the Tunisian RepublicThe long name of Tunisia in other languages used in the country is: , is the northernmost country in Africa. It is a Maghreb country and is bordered by Algeria to the west, Libya to the southeast, and the Mediterranean Sea to the north and east. Its area...

    , under the Husainid Dynasty
    Husainid Dynasty
    The Husainid Dynasty is the former ruling dynasty of Tunisia originally of Cretan origin. They came to power under Al-Husayn I ibn Ali at-Turki in 1705 replacing the Muradid Dynasty. After taking power the Husainids ruled as Beys with succession to the throne determined by age with the oldest...

    , various ministers of the Bey, including:
    • Wazir al-Akbar (or El Ouzir El Kébir): 'Great Minister', i.e. Grand Vizier
      Grand Vizier
      Grand Vizier, in Turkish Vezir-i Azam or Sadr-ı Azam , deriving from the Arabic word vizier , was the greatest minister of the Sultan, with absolute power of attorney and, in principle, dismissable only by the Sultan himself...

      , Chief Minister or Prime Minister.
    • Wazir al-'Amala (or El Ouzir El Amala): Minister for the Interior.
    • Wazir al-Bahr (or El Ouzir El Bahr): Minister 'of the Sea', i.e. for the Navy/ Marine.
    • Wazir al-Harb (or El Ouzir El Harb): Minister for the Army or Minister for War.
    • Wazir al-Istishara (or El Ouzir El Istichara): Minister-Counsellor.
    • Wazir al-Qalam: Minister of the Pen.
    • Wazir ud-Daula (or El Ouzir El Dawla): Minister of State.
    • Wazir us-Shura (or El Ouzir Ech Choura): Privy Counsellor.
  • In Oman the Hami
    Hami
    -Places:*Hami City, in Hami Prefecture*Hami Prefecture, in Xinjiang, China*Hami Desert, desert in Xinjiang*Hami, Kagoshima, Japan*Hami, Yemen...

    /Sultan's Chief minister was styled Wazir till 1966, but in 1925-1932 there was also or instead a Chairman of the council of Ministers; since 1970 the style is Prime Minister.
  • Viziers to the Sultans of Zanzibar
    Zanzibar
    Zanzibar ,Persian: زنگبار, from suffix bār: "coast" and Zangi: "bruin" ; is a semi-autonomous part of Tanzania, in East Africa. It comprises the Zanzibar Archipelago in the Indian Ocean, off the coast of the mainland, and consists of numerous small islands and two large ones: Unguja , and Pemba...

     (a branch of the Omani dynasty); since 1890 filled by British, also known as First minister
    First Minister
    A First Minister is the leader of a government cabinet.-Canada:In Canada, "First Ministers" is a collective term that refers to all Canadian first ministers of the Crown, otherwise known as heads of government, including the Prime Minister of Canada and the provincial and territorial premiers...

    s, (1 July 1913 - 23 February 1961) the British Resident (Minister)
    Resident (title)
    A Resident, or in full Resident Minister, is a government official required to take up permanent residence in another country. A representative of his government, he officially has diplomatic functions which are often seen as a form of indirect rule....

    s, an extremely direct form of indirect rule (before and after Chief- or Prime Ministers, generally native).
  • Grand Viziers
    Sokoto Grand Vizier
    The Wazirin Sakkwato, or "Sokoto Grand Vizier", was the Grand Vizier to the Sultan of Sokoto of the Fulani Empire, in fact rather suzerain of the Fulani Jihad states.-List of Grand Viziers:*Gidago dan Laima...

     to the Sultan of Sokoto - this is however disputed. The title "Waziri" is apparently a derivative of this word and is a highly regarded traditional title in most of norther Nigeria. It is also a first name and surname for some. Indeed, most of the Emirs in norther Nigeria have a "Waziri" who is usually a high ranking adviser.

  • In pre- and colonial (notably British) India
    India
    India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

     many rulers, even some Hindu princes, had a vizier as chief minister – compare Diwan, Nawab wasir, Pradhan
    Pradhan
    Pradhan is a high, generally ministerial, title of Sanskrit origin in cultures of Hindu tradition, mainly in and around the Indian subcontinent. Pradhan literally means "Prime"...

    , etc.
  • In the (former) sultanate of the Maldives
    Maldives
    The Maldives , , officially Republic of Maldives , also referred to as the Maldive Islands, is an island nation in the Indian Ocean formed by a double chain of twenty-six atolls oriented north-south off India's Lakshadweep islands, between Minicoy Island and...

     (Divehi language), the Prime Minister was styled Bodu Vizier, and various Ministers held cabinet rank as vazierin (plural), including Hakura'a (portfolio of Public Works), Shahbandar (Navy portfolio, also Admiral in chief), Vela'ana'a (Foreign Affairs).
  • In Afghanistan
    Afghanistan
    Afghanistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, is a landlocked country located in the centre of Asia, forming South Asia, Central Asia and the Middle East. With a population of about 29 million, it has an area of , making it the 42nd most populous and 41st largest nation in the world...

    , under the Durrani
    Durrani
    Durrani or Abdali is the name of a chief Pashtun tribal confederation in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Originally known by their ancient name Abdali later as Durrani they have been called Durrani since the beginning of the Durrani Empire in 1747. The number of Durranis are estimated to be roughly 16%...

     dynasty, the Chief minister was styled Vazīr-e Azam or Wazir-i-azam (1801–1880); the Vazīr-e Darbār or Wazir al-durbar was the ('House') Minister of the Royal Court.

Modern post-monarchy use

In Iran
Iran
Iran , officially the Islamic Republic of Iran , is a country in Southern and Western Asia. The name "Iran" has been in use natively since the Sassanian era and came into use internationally in 1935, before which the country was known to the Western world as Persia...

 (Persia) the ministers of government are called Vazīr in Persian
Persian language
Persian is an Iranian language within the Indo-Iranian branch of the Indo-European languages. It is primarily spoken in Iran, Afghanistan, Tajikistan and countries which historically came under Persian influence...

 (e.g. foreign/health Vazīr), and prime minister of state
Prime Minister of Iran
Prime Minister of Iran was a political post in Iran that had existed during several different periods of time starting with the Qajar era until its most recent revival from 1979 to 1989 following the Iranian Revolution.-Prime Ministers of Qajar era:In the Qajar era, prime ministers were known by...

 before the removal of the post, was called as Nokhost Vazīr.

In Pakistan
Pakistan
Pakistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Pakistan is a sovereign state in South Asia. It has a coastline along the Arabian Sea and the Gulf of Oman in the south and is bordered by Afghanistan and Iran in the west, India in the east and China in the far northeast. In the north, Tajikistan...

, the Prime Minister (de facto ruling politician, formally under the President) is called Vazīr-e Azam (Persian for Grand vizier
Grand Vizier
Grand Vizier, in Turkish Vezir-i Azam or Sadr-ı Azam , deriving from the Arabic word vizier , was the greatest minister of the Sultan, with absolute power of attorney and, in principle, dismissable only by the Sultan himself...

), other Ministers are styled vazirs.

Furthermore, wazīr is the standard Arabic
Arabic language
Arabic is a name applied to the descendants of the Classical Arabic language of the 6th century AD, used most prominently in the Quran, the Islamic Holy Book...

 word for a government minister. Prime Ministers are usually termed Ra'īs al-Wuzara (literally, President of the Ministers) or al-Wazīr al-'Awwal (Prime "First" Minister). The latter term is generally found in the Maghreb
Maghreb
The Maghreb is the region of Northwest Africa, west of Egypt. It includes five countries: Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Libya, and Mauritania and the disputed territory of Western Sahara...

, while the former is typical of usage in the Mashriq
Mashriq
Mashriq or Mashreq is derived from the Arabic consonantal root sh-r-q relating to the east or the sunrise, and essentially means "east"...

 (broadly defined, including Egypt
Egypt
Egypt , officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, Arabic: , is a country mainly in North Africa, with the Sinai Peninsula forming a land bridge in Southwest Asia. Egypt is thus a transcontinental country, and a major power in Africa, the Mediterranean Basin, the Middle East and the Muslim world...

, Sudan
Sudan
Sudan , officially the Republic of the Sudan , is a country in North Africa, sometimes considered part of the Middle East politically. It is bordered by Egypt to the north, the Red Sea to the northeast, Eritrea and Ethiopia to the east, South Sudan to the south, the Central African Republic to the...

, Levant
Levant
The Levant or ) is the geographic region and culture zone of the "eastern Mediterranean littoral between Anatolia and Egypt" . The Levant includes most of modern Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Israel, the Palestinian territories, and sometimes parts of Turkey and Iraq, and corresponds roughly to the...

, Iraq
Iraq
Iraq ; officially the Republic of Iraq is a country in Western Asia spanning most of the northwestern end of the Zagros mountain range, the eastern part of the Syrian Desert and the northern part of the Arabian Desert....

 and the Arabian Peninsula
Arabian Peninsula
The Arabian Peninsula is a land mass situated north-east of Africa. Also known as Arabia or the Arabian subcontinent, it is the world's largest peninsula and covers 3,237,500 km2...

). Thus, for example, the Prime Minister of Egypt
Prime Minister of Egypt
The Prime Minister of Egypt is the head of the Egyptian government. According to the constitution, the prime minister is the leader of the largest political party in the Egyptian Parliament....

 is in Arabic a wazīr.

In the Nation of Islam
Nation of Islam
The Nation of Islam is a mainly African-American new religious movement founded in Detroit, Michigan by Wallace D. Fard Muhammad in July 1930 to improve the spiritual, mental, social, and economic condition of African-Americans in the United States of America. The movement teaches black pride and...

, Louis Farrakhan
Louis Farrakhan
Louis Farrakhan Muhammad, Sr. is the leader of the African-American religious movement the Nation of Islam . He served as the minister of major mosques in Boston and Harlem, and was appointed by the longtime NOI leader, Elijah Muhammad, before his death in 1975, as the National Representative of...

 is sometimes given the honorific title of Wazir.

Anachronistic historical use

It is common, even among historians, to apply contemporary terms to cultures whose own authentic titles are (or were when the habit took root) insufficiently known, in this case to pre-Islamic antiquity.
  • In ancient Egypt
    Ancient Egypt
    Ancient Egypt was an ancient civilization of Northeastern Africa, concentrated along the lower reaches of the Nile River in what is now the modern country of Egypt. Egyptian civilization coalesced around 3150 BC with the political unification of Upper and Lower Egypt under the first pharaoh...

     the highest ranking government official, appointed by the pharaoh
    Pharaoh
    Pharaoh is a title used in many modern discussions of the ancient Egyptian rulers of all periods. The title originates in the term "pr-aa" which means "great house" and describes the royal palace...

     and acting as his chancellor
    Chancellor
    Chancellor is the title of various official positions in the governments of many nations. The original chancellors were the Cancellarii of Roman courts of justice—ushers who sat at the cancelli or lattice work screens of a basilica or law court, which separated the judge and counsel from the...

     (chief administrator; Egyptian: taty
    Vizier (Ancient Egypt)
    The vizier was the highest official in Ancient Egypt to serve the king, or pharaoh during the Old, Middle, and New Kingdoms. Vizier is the generally accepted rendering of ancient Egyptian tjati, tjaty etc, among Egyptologists...

    ), is called vizier
    Vizier (Ancient Egypt)
    The vizier was the highest official in Ancient Egypt to serve the king, or pharaoh during the Old, Middle, and New Kingdoms. Vizier is the generally accepted rendering of ancient Egyptian tjati, tjaty etc, among Egyptologists...

    by modern researchers. The term is also used for the chief administrators of Upper and Lower Egypt during the times when the administration of the country was headed by two officials, thus there was a vizier for the North (Lower Egypt
    Upper and Lower Egypt
    Ancient Egypt was divided into two regions, namely Upper Egypt and Lower Egypt. To the north was Lower Egypt where the Nile stretched out with its several branches to form the Nile Delta. To the south was Upper Egypt, stretching to Syene. The two kingdoms of Upper and Lower Egypt were united c....

    , the Nile Delta
    Nile Delta
    The Nile Delta is the delta formed in Northern Egypt where the Nile River spreads out and drains into the Mediterranean Sea. It is one of the world's largest river deltas—from Alexandria in the west to Port Said in the east, it covers some 240 km of Mediterranean coastline—and is a rich...

    ), and a vizier for the South (Upper Egypt
    Upper and Lower Egypt
    Ancient Egypt was divided into two regions, namely Upper Egypt and Lower Egypt. To the north was Lower Egypt where the Nile stretched out with its several branches to form the Nile Delta. To the south was Upper Egypt, stretching to Syene. The two kingdoms of Upper and Lower Egypt were united c....

    ). However at times the viceroy
    Viceroy
    A viceroy is a royal official who runs a country, colony, or province in the name of and as representative of the monarch. The term derives from the Latin prefix vice-, meaning "in the place of" and the French word roi, meaning king. A viceroy's province or larger territory is called a viceroyalty...

     of Nubia
    Nubia
    Nubia is a region along the Nile river, which is located in northern Sudan and southern Egypt.There were a number of small Nubian kingdoms throughout the Middle Ages, the last of which collapsed in 1504, when Nubia became divided between Egypt and the Sennar sultanate resulting in the Arabization...

     (a military governor general, sometimes a prince of the Pharaoh's blood) and/or the High Priest of Amun
    Amun
    Amun, reconstructed Egyptian Yamānu , was a god in Egyptian mythology who in the form of Amun-Ra became the focus of the most complex system of theology in Ancient Egypt...

     (the temple complex at Thebes
    Thebes, Egypt
    Thebes is the Greek name for a city in Ancient Egypt located about 800 km south of the Mediterranean, on the east bank of the river Nile within the modern city of Luxor. The Theban Necropolis is situated nearby on the west bank of the Nile.-History:...

     gradually amassed sufficient possessions and income to rival the crown) rose to equal or even superior power; some pharaohs are even believed to have lost real political preeminence to the 'kingmakers'.

Thus in modern language-translations of the Bible
Bible
The Bible refers to any one of the collections of the primary religious texts of Judaism and Christianity. There is no common version of the Bible, as the individual books , their contents and their order vary among denominations...

, in Genesis chapter 41, Joseph
Joseph (Hebrew Bible)
Joseph is an important character in the Hebrew bible, where he connects the story of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in Canaan to the subsequent story of the liberation of the Israelites from slavery in Egypt....

, the eleventh son of Jacob
Jacob
Jacob "heel" or "leg-puller"), also later known as Israel , as described in the Hebrew Bible, the Talmud, the New Testament and the Qur'an was the third patriarch of the Hebrew people with whom God made a covenant, and ancestor of the tribes of Israel, which were named after his descendants.In the...

, is called Vizier to Pharaoh
Pharaoh
Pharaoh is a title used in many modern discussions of the ancient Egyptian rulers of all periods. The title originates in the term "pr-aa" which means "great house" and describes the royal palace...

. In this same chapter of Genesis, Pharaoh changed his newly appointed Vizier's name to Zaphenath-paneah.

Princely title

In the rare case of the Indian princely state of Jafarabad
Jafarabad
Jafarabad may refer to:Armenia* Getashen, Armavir, Armenia, formerly called JafarabadAzerbaijan* Aşağı Fərəcan, Azerbaijan, formerly called Jafarabad* Cəfərabad, Jabrayil, Azerbaijan* Cəfərabad, Shaki, AzerbaijanIndia...

 (Jafrabad, founded c.1650), ruled by Thanadars, in 1702 a state called Janjira was founded, with rulers (six incumbents) styled wazir; when, in 1762, Jafarabad and Janjira states entered into personal union, both titles were maintained until (after 1825) the higher style of Nawab
Nawab
A Nawab or Nawaab is an honorific title given to Muslim rulers of princely states in South Asia. It is the Muslim equivalent of the term "maharaja" that was granted to Hindu rulers....

 was assumed.

Art

In contemporary literature and pantomime
Pantomime
Pantomime — not to be confused with a mime artist, a theatrical performer of mime—is a musical-comedy theatrical production traditionally found in the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Jamaica, South Africa, India, Ireland, Gibraltar and Malta, and is mostly performed during the...

, the "Grand Vizier" is a character stereotype
Stereotype
A stereotype is a popular belief about specific social groups or types of individuals. The concepts of "stereotype" and "prejudice" are often confused with many other different meanings...

 and is usually portrayed as a scheming backroom plotter and the clear power behind the throne
Power behind the throne
The phrase power behind the throne refers to a person or group that informally exercises the real power of an office. In politics, it most commonly refers to a spouse, aide, or advisor of a political leader who serves as de facto leader, setting policy through influence or manipulation.The...

 of a usually bumbling or incompetent monarch. A well-known example of this is the sinister character of Jafar in the Disney
The Walt Disney Company
The Walt Disney Company is the largest media conglomerate in the world in terms of revenue. Founded on October 16, 1923, by Walt and Roy Disney as the Disney Brothers Cartoon Studio, Walt Disney Productions established itself as a leader in the American animation industry before diversifying into...

 animated film Aladdin, who plots and uses magic to take over the entire Kingdom of Agrabah under the nose of the nation's naïve sultan, just as Jaffar in the 1940 movie The Thief of Bagdad
The Thief of Bagdad (1940 film)
The Thief of Bagdad is a 1940 British fantasy film produced by Alexander Korda, and directed by Michael Powell, Ludwig Berger, and Tim Whelan, with contributions by Korda's brothers Vincent and Zoltán, and William Cameron Menzies...

dethroned his master, caliph Ahmad. Others include Zigzag from The Thief and the Cobbler
The Thief and the Cobbler
The Thief and the Cobbler is an animated feature film, famous for its animation and its long, troubled history. The film was conceived by Canadian animator Richard Williams, who worked 28 years on the project. Beginning production in 1964, Williams intended The Thief and the Cobbler to be his...

(the original inspiration for the character of Jafar in Disney's Aladdin), the comic book character Iznogoud
Iznogoud
Iznogoud |French]] accent) is a French comics series featuring an eponymous character, created by the comics writer René Goscinny and comics artist Jean Tabary...

, Prince Sinbad's advisor Yusuf in the DC Vertigo series Fables
Fables (comics)
Fables is a comic book series created by writer Bill Willingham, published by DC Comics's Vertigo imprint beginning in 2002. The series deals with various characters from fairy tales and folklore – referring to themselves as "Fables" – who have been forced out of their Homelands by "The...

, and the villains of the video games Prince of Persia and King's Quest VI: Heir Today, Gone Tomorrow
King's Quest VI: Heir Today, Gone Tomorrow
King's Quest VI: Heir Today, Gone Tomorrow is the sixth installment in the King's Quest series of adventure games produced by Sierra Entertainment...

.

Perhaps the origin of this character archetype is the biblical account of Esther
Esther
Esther , born Hadassah, is the eponymous heroine of the Biblical Book of Esther.According to the Bible, she was a Jewish queen of the Persian king Ahasuerus...

. The book details the rise of a Jewish woman to Queen
Queen regnant
A queen regnant is a female monarch who reigns in her own right, in contrast to a queen consort, who is the wife of a reigning king. An empress regnant is a female monarch who reigns in her own right over an empire....

 of Persia, and her role in stopping the plot of Haman
Haman (Bible)
Haman is the main antagonist in the Book of Esther, who, according to Old Testament tradition, was a 5th Century BC noble and vizier of the Persian empire under King Ahasuerus, traditionally identified as Artaxerxes II...

, chief advisor to the Persian king, to wipe out all Jews living in Persia.

Throughout history the notion of the sinister Grand Vizier has often been invoked when a political leader appears to be developing a cozy relationship with a spiritual advisor of questionable scruples or talents. This stereotype is frequently mentioned in Terry Pratchett's Discworld
Discworld
Discworld is a comic fantasy book series by English author Sir Terry Pratchett, set on the Discworld, a flat world balanced on the backs of four elephants which, in turn, stand on the back of a giant turtle, Great A'Tuin. The books frequently parody, or at least take inspiration from, J. R. R....

 series, as for example in both Sourcery
Sourcery
Sourcery is the fifth Discworld novel by Terry Pratchett, published in 1988. On the Discworld, sourcerers - wizards who are sources of magic, and thus immensely more powerful than normal wizards – were the main cause of the great mage wars that left areas of the disc uninhabitable. Men born the...

 and Interesting Times
Interesting Times
Interesting Times is the seventeenth novel in the Discworld series by Terry Pratchett.The opening lines explain that the title refers to the phrase "may you live in interesting times".-Plot summary:...

.

Fictional Grand Viziers

  • Ahoshta Tarkaan (The Horse and His Boy
    The Horse and His Boy
    The Horse and His Boy is a novel by C. S. Lewis. It was published in 1954, making it the fifth of seven books published in Lewis' series The Chronicles of Narnia. The books in this series are sometimes ordered chronologically in relation to the events in the books as opposed to the dates of their...

    )
  • Grand Vizier of Chaos (Diablo 2)
  • Iznogoud
    Iznogoud
    Iznogoud |French]] accent) is a French comics series featuring an eponymous character, created by the comics writer René Goscinny and comics artist Jean Tabary...

     (comic series)
  • Jafar (Aladdin)
  • Jaffar (The Thief of Bagdad
    The Thief of Bagdad (1940 film)
    The Thief of Bagdad is a 1940 British fantasy film produced by Alexander Korda, and directed by Michael Powell, Ludwig Berger, and Tim Whelan, with contributions by Korda's brothers Vincent and Zoltán, and William Cameron Menzies...

    )
  • Nerubian Vizier (World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King
    World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King
    World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King, often referred to as WotLK, WLK or Wrath, is the second expansion set for the massively multiplayer online role-playing game World of Warcraft, following The Burning Crusade...

    )
  • Vizier (Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time
    Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time
    Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time is a third-person action-adventure computer and video game published by Ubisoft. It was released on November 21, 2003 and is a reboot of the landmark video game series Prince of Persia, created by Jordan Mechner in 1989.The Sands of Time, developed internally at...

    )
  • Vizier Khilbron (Guild Wars Prophecies
    Guild Wars Prophecies
    Guild Wars: Prophecies , officially known as simply Guild Wars, is the first campaign of the Guild Wars series of Action RPGs, developed by the Seattle-based ArenaNet game developer studio, a subsidiary of South Korean game publisher NCsoft...

    )
  • Yusuf (Fables)
  • Zig Zag (The Thief and the Cobbler
    The Thief and the Cobbler
    The Thief and the Cobbler is an animated feature film, famous for its animation and its long, troubled history. The film was conceived by Canadian animator Richard Williams, who worked 28 years on the project. Beginning production in 1964, Williams intended The Thief and the Cobbler to be his...

    )
  • Radimus Erkle (RuneScape
    RuneScape
    RuneScape is a fantasy massively multiplayer online role-playing game released in January 2001 by Andrew and Paul Gower, and developed and published by Jagex Games Studio. It is a graphical browser game implemented on the client-side in Java, and incorporates 3D rendering...

    )
  • Edriss 562
    Edriss 562
    Edriss 562 is a Yeerk that controls Marco's mother Eva. For most of the series, her rank is Visser One. She is the subject of the novel Visser, which describes her rise to and dramatic fall from power...

     (Animorphs
    Animorphs
    Animorphs is an English language science fiction series of young adult books written by K. A. Applegate and published by Scholastic. Five humans, Jake, Marco, Cassie, Rachel, and Tobias, and one alien, Aximili-Esgarrouth-Isthill , obtain the ability to morph into any animal they touch. They name...

    )
  • Grand Vizier Ertan [World of Warcraft: Cataclysm]

Some famous viziers in history

  • Burzoe
    Burzoe
    Borzūya was a Persian physician in the late Sassanid era, at the time of Khosrow I.He translated the Indian Panchatantra from Sanskrit into the Middle Persian language of Pahlavi. But both his translation and the original Sanskrit version he worked from are lost...

     or bozorgmehr was grand vizier of Khosrau I
    Khosrau I
    Khosrau I , also known as Anushiravan the Just or Anushirawan the Just Khosrau I (also called Chosroes I in classical sources, most commonly known in Persian as Anushirvan or Anushirwan, Persian: انوشيروان meaning the immortal soul), also known as Anushiravan the Just or Anushirawan the Just...

    , the Sassanid Shahanshah of Persian Empire
  • Yahya ibn Khalid
    Yahya ibn Khalid
    Yahya ibn Khalid , yaḥyā bin ḫālid) was a member of the powerful Persian Barmakids family, son of Khalid ibn Barmak. Around 765, he was appointed to Azerbaijan by the Caliph Al-Mansur. Yahya's son Fadl ibn Yahya was born at Ar-Reiy, at the same time as Caliph al-Mahdi's son Harun...

     of Harun al Rashid (Whose son Jafar bin Yahya was an inspiration for the aforementioned Arabian Nights Jafar)
  • Amir Kabir
    Amir Kabir
    Amir Kabir , also known as Mirza Taghi Khan Amir-Nezam , also known by the titles of Atabak and Amir-e Nezam; chief minister to Naser al-Din Shah Qajar for the first three years of his reign and one of the most capable and innovative figures to appear in the whole Qajar period...

     of the Qajar dynasty in Iran
    Iran
    Iran , officially the Islamic Republic of Iran , is a country in Southern and Western Asia. The name "Iran" has been in use natively since the Sassanian era and came into use internationally in 1935, before which the country was known to the Western world as Persia...

     hostory
  • Hasanak vazir of the Ghaznavid dynasty in Iran
    Iran
    Iran , officially the Islamic Republic of Iran , is a country in Southern and Western Asia. The name "Iran" has been in use natively since the Sassanian era and came into use internationally in 1935, before which the country was known to the Western world as Persia...

     history
  • Nizam al-Mulk
    Nizam al-Mulk
    Abu Ali al-Hasan al-Tusi Nizam al-Mulk, better known as Khwaja Nizam al-Mulk Tusi ; born in 1018 – 14 October 1092) was a Persian scholar and vizier of the Seljuq Empire...

     of Malik Shah I
    Malik Shah I
    Jalāl al-Dawlah Malik-shāh was born in 1055, succeeded Alp Arslan as the Seljuq Sultan in 1072, and reigned until his death in 1092....

     in Iran
    Iran
    Iran , officially the Islamic Republic of Iran , is a country in Southern and Western Asia. The name "Iran" has been in use natively since the Sassanian era and came into use internationally in 1935, before which the country was known to the Western world as Persia...

     history
  • Sokullu Mehmet Pasha of Ottoman (Turkish) Empire
    Ottoman Empire
    The Ottoman EmpireIt was usually referred to as the "Ottoman Empire", the "Turkish Empire", the "Ottoman Caliphate" or more commonly "Turkey" by its contemporaries...

  • Köprülü Mehmet Pasha and his son Köprülü Fazıl Ahmet Pasha of Ottoman (Turkish) Empire
    Ottoman Empire
    The Ottoman EmpireIt was usually referred to as the "Ottoman Empire", the "Turkish Empire", the "Ottoman Caliphate" or more commonly "Turkey" by its contemporaries...


Influence on chess

In Shatranj
Shatranj
Shatranj is an old form of chess, which came to the Western world from India. Modern chess has gradually developed from this game.-Etymology and origins:...

, from which modern chess
Chess
Chess is a two-player board game played on a chessboard, a square-checkered board with 64 squares arranged in an eight-by-eight grid. It is one of the world's most popular games, played by millions of people worldwide at home, in clubs, online, by correspondence, and in tournaments.Each player...

 developed, the piece corresponding to the modern chess "queen
Queen (chess)
The queen is the most powerful piece in the game of chess, able to move any number of squares vertically, horizontally, or diagonally. Each player starts the game with one queen, placed in the middle of the first rank next to the king. With the chessboard oriented correctly, the white queen starts...

" (though far weaker) was often called Wazīr.
Up to the present, the word for the queen piece in chess
Chess
Chess is a two-player board game played on a chessboard, a square-checkered board with 64 squares arranged in an eight-by-eight grid. It is one of the world's most popular games, played by millions of people worldwide at home, in clubs, online, by correspondence, and in tournaments.Each player...

 is still "vezér" in Hungarian
Hungarian language
Hungarian is a Uralic language, part of the Ugric group. With some 14 million speakers, it is one of the most widely spoken non-Indo-European languages in Europe....

 (meaning "leader"), "vazīr" in Persian
Persian language
Persian is an Iranian language within the Indo-Iranian branch of the Indo-European languages. It is primarily spoken in Iran, Afghanistan, Tajikistan and countries which historically came under Persian influence...

, "vezir" in Turkish
Turkish language
Turkish is a language spoken as a native language by over 83 million people worldwide, making it the most commonly spoken of the Turkic languages. Its speakers are located predominantly in Turkey and Northern Cyprus with smaller groups in Iraq, Greece, Bulgaria, the Republic of Macedonia, Kosovo,...

, and "wazir" in Arabic.

Waziristan

In Pakistan
Pakistan
Pakistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Pakistan is a sovereign state in South Asia. It has a coastline along the Arabian Sea and the Gulf of Oman in the south and is bordered by Afghanistan and Iran in the west, India in the east and China in the far northeast. In the north, Tajikistan...

, the Wazir
Wazir (tribe)
Wazirs or Waziris are a Pashtun tribe settled in the North Waziristan and South Waziristan agencies of Pakistan as well in the urban cities of Tank, F.R Bannu,i.e Domel and adjacent villages, Karachi and Lahore. Across the border, they can also be found in Paktia, Khost and Paktika provinces of...

 tribe speaks Waziri language are settled in Waziristan
Waziristan
Waziristan is a mountainous region near the Northwest of Pakistan, bordering Afghanistan and covering some 11,585 km² . The area is entirely populated by ethnic Pashtuns . The language spoken in the valley is Pashto/Pakhto...

 region which is now divided into North Waziristan
North Waziristan
North Waziristan is the northern part of Waziristan, a mountainous region of northwest Pakistan, bordering Afghanistan and covering . Waziristan comprises the area west and south-west of Peshawar between the Tochi river to the north and the Gomal river to the south, forming part of Pakistan's...

 and South Waziristan
South Waziristan
South Waziristan is the southern part of Waziristan, a mountainous region of northwest Pakistan, bordering Afghanistan and covering some 11,585 km² . Waziristan comprises the area west and southwest of Peshawar between the Tochi River to the north and the Gomal River to the south, forming...

.

See also

  • Vaziri Family, an Iranian family of viziers
  • Vaziri
    Vaziri
    Vaziri is an Iranian surname derived from the word Vazir and may refer to:* Ali-Naqi Vaziri , Iranian musicologist and composer* Amir Vaziri , Iranian footballer* Kazem Vaziri Hamane, politician, minister...

    , surname
  • Ministerial Head of Government in Iran Heads of Government of Iran (1699-1907)
  • Wazir (Tribe)
    Wazir (tribe)
    Wazirs or Waziris are a Pashtun tribe settled in the North Waziristan and South Waziristan agencies of Pakistan as well in the urban cities of Tank, F.R Bannu,i.e Domel and adjacent villages, Karachi and Lahore. Across the border, they can also be found in Paktia, Khost and Paktika provinces of...

  • Waziri language
  • Waziristan
    Waziristan
    Waziristan is a mountainous region near the Northwest of Pakistan, bordering Afghanistan and covering some 11,585 km² . The area is entirely populated by ethnic Pashtuns . The language spoken in the valley is Pashto/Pakhto...

  • North Waziristan
    North Waziristan
    North Waziristan is the northern part of Waziristan, a mountainous region of northwest Pakistan, bordering Afghanistan and covering . Waziristan comprises the area west and south-west of Peshawar between the Tochi river to the north and the Gomal river to the south, forming part of Pakistan's...

  • South Waziristan
    South Waziristan
    South Waziristan is the southern part of Waziristan, a mountainous region of northwest Pakistan, bordering Afghanistan and covering some 11,585 km² . Waziristan comprises the area west and southwest of Peshawar between the Tochi River to the north and the Gomal River to the south, forming...

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