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Sultan is an Islamic title, carrying implications of authority and rulership. It was used in period as the title of Muslim rulers who claimed full practical sovereignty (i.e. claimed to have no overlord) without claiming the overall caliphate, with the implications of claiming authority over all Muslims.

The sultan had a purely political authority: he was not a religious teacher in anyway. The princiapl sultans were those of Seljuk and Ottoman Turkey and of Ayyubid and Mamluk Egypt, both of which, at differing times, were involved in conflict with the Christian powers of Europe, not least over the control of the Holy Land, Palestine, and Jerusalem.

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