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Muqaddam (Arabic: مقدم) is an Arabic title, adopted in other Islamic or Islamicate cultures, for various civil or religious officials.

As per the Persian records of medieval India, muqaddams, along with khots and chowdhurys, acted as hereditary rural intermediaries between the state and the peasantry.[1] Originating during the Delhi Sultanate, the earliest known reference to the muqaddami system dates from the first decades of the 13th century, when Hasan Nizami wrote of a delegation of muqaddams offering gifts to Sultan Qutb ud-Din Aibak.[2] Muqaddams were tasked with revenue collection in the areas under their jurisdiction, for which they received either 2.5% as remuneration or rent-free land equalling that amount.[3] The socio-economic status of muqaddams varied over time; during the revenue reforms of Alauddin Khalji, many were impoverished due to the abolition of their traditional privileges. However, in other periods the muqaddams "were prosperous enough to ride on costly Arabi and Iraqi horses, wear fine clothes, and behave like members of the upper classes".[4] Over time, muqaddams and chowdhurys took on the characteristics of landed gentry in their respective localities, with some even attaining the status of Zamindars during the Mughal period.[5] Muqaddams could be dispossessed of their status by the state.[6]

In the Tijaniyyah, Shadhiliyyah, Rahmaniyyah, and other Sufi orders, a muqaddam is a student of the Sufi path (a murid or dervish) who has been authorized by his/her Guide (aka shaikh, pir, or murshid) to assist in teaching the path to other students.

In Lebanon, the muqaddams were the political leaders of their religious community. The last muqaddams disappeared in the beginning of the 17th Century.[7]

Military use

In the militaries of several Arab nations, muqaddam is equivalent to the Anglophone ranks of lieutenant colonel, commander and wing commander, depending on the service branch.

Army Navy Air Force
Algerian People's National Armed Forces[8]
French Lieutenant colonel
Bahrain Defence Force
Egyptian Armed Forces[9]
Iraqi Armed Forces
Jordanian Armed Forces[10]
Kuwait Military Forces
Lebanese Armed Forces[11]
Libyan Armed Forces
Armed Forces of Mauritania[12]
Variant مقدم بحري
Muqaddam bahriun
Sultan of Oman's Armed Forces
Palestinian National Security Forces[13]
Qatar Armed Forces
Armed Forces of Saudi Arabia[14]
Sudanese Armed Forces[15]
Syrian Armed Forces[16]
Tunisian Armed Forces[17]
Variant مقدم بالبحرية
Muqaddam bialbahria
French Lieutenant colonel Capitaine de frégate Lieutenant colonel
United Arab Emirates Armed Forces
Republic of Yemen Armed Forces


  1. ^ Reza Huseini, Said (2021), The Muqaddam Represented in the pre-Mongol Persian Documents from Ghur, Edinburgh University Press, p. 92
  2. ^ Reza Huseini, Said (2021), The Muqaddam Represented in the pre-Mongol Persian Documents from Ghur, Edinburgh University Press, p. 92
  3. ^ Nageshrao Chitnis, Krishnaji (2003), Medieval Indian History, Atlantic, p. 163, ISBN 9788171560622
  4. ^ Chandra, Satish (2007), History of Medieval India (PDF), Orient Blackswan, p. 141
  5. ^ Grover, B.R. (1965), "Nature of Dehat-I-Taaluqa (Zamindari Villages) and the Evolution of the Taaluqdari System During the Mughal Age", The Indian Economic & Social History Review, 2 (2): 166, doi:10.1177/001946466400200204, S2CID 220781506
  6. ^ Habib, Irfan: The Agrarian System of Mughal India, Oxford University Press, 2004, ISBN 0-19-565595-8, pp. 160–161.
  7. ^ Salibi, Kamal (1968), "The muqaddams of Bšarrī: Maronite chieftains of the Northern Lebanon 1382-1621", Arabica, 15 (1), Brill: 86, doi:10.1163/157005868X00280, JSTOR 4056124
  8. ^ "Ranks". Ministry of National Defence (Algeria). Retrieved 30 May 2021.
  9. ^ "Ranks of Military Officers". Ministry of Defense (Egypt). Retrieved 30 May 2021.
  10. ^ "رتب الضباط" [Officer ranks]. (in Arabic). Jordanian Armed Forces. Retrieved 12 June 2021.
  11. ^ "الرتب العسكرية". (in Arabic). Lebanese Armed Forces. Retrieved 3 June 2021.
  12. ^ "رتب الضباط" [Officer ranks]. (in Arabic). Armed Forces of Mauritania. 22 November 2012. Retrieved 10 June 2021.
  13. ^ "الرتب العسكرية". (in Arabic). Palestinian National Security Forces. Archived from the original on 4 April 2020. Retrieved 1 June 2021.
  14. ^ "Saudi Arabian ranks" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 24 April 2012. Retrieved 16 July 2021.
  15. ^ "الرتب العسكرية" [Military ranks]. (in Arabic). Republic of Sudan Ministry of Defence. Archived from the original on 19 November 2019. Retrieved 1 July 2021.
  16. ^ "شعار الرأس" [Main logo]. (in Arabic). Ministry of Defence (Syria). Retrieved 12 October 2021.
  17. ^ "Les grades des officers de la marine". (in French). Ministry of Defence (Tunisia). Retrieved 10 June 2021.