Difference Between Sultan and King | Sultan vs King

Sultan vs King

Monarch is the head of the government in countries having monarchy. The title of a monarch is usually king or queen. A king inherits the kingdom from his royal parents and rules until his death or till he gives up or abdicate in favor of another individual, usually his son or daughter. Sultan is a title that is used by the rulers in the Muslim and Arab world. Despite the two titles being very similar in nature, there are differences between a king and a sultan that will be talked about in this article.


King is one of the titles that monarchs use. Male heads of monarchies usually reserve the title of king for themselves. Queen is the female counterpart of a king. Queen Elizabeth of UK happens to be the monarch of the country at present with her son Charles being the heir apparent of the throne. Bhutan is a tiny landlocked Himalayan kingdom that is still ruled by a king. The ruler in Japanese monarchy is referred to as the Emperor of Japan.


Sultan is a noble title that was assumed by the rulers in Arab and Muslim countries. Sultan is a title that finds mention in the holy book of the Muslims, the Quran. Thus, the title of Sultan also has religious sanction or meaning, in addition to the meaning of the ruler of the country. The word sultan comes from Arabic language and means strength or authority. Rulers who became very powerful and controlled large empires assumed the title of sultan. The title sultan in this sense implied lack of dependence upon any higher authority.

What is the difference between Sultan and King?

• Sultan is a noble title in Muslim countries, whereas king is a generic title of a male ruler in a monarchy.

• The role of sultan finds mention in the holy book Quran thereby sanctifying it.

• Sultan is a title that was assumed by kings who controlled large kingdoms in Muslim world and were free from dependence upon any higher authority.

• King rules a kingdom, while a sultan rules or controls a sultanate.

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