Although the early forms of the name were to be found among the pre-Arab and pre-Islamic Semites of the Levant, Canaan, and Mesopotamia, it has since been adopted in various other, mainly but not exclusively Islamized or Arabized non-Semitic Asian languages for their ruling princes and to render kings elsewhere.
It is also sometimes used in derived meanings.
The female version of Malik is Malikah (Arabic: ملكة; or its various spellings such as Malekeh or Melike), meaning "queen".
Moloch has traditionally been interpreted as the epithet of a god, known as "the king" like Baal was an epithet "the master" and Adon an epithet "the lord", but in the case of Moloch purposely mispronounced as Moleḵ instead of Meleḵ using the vowels of Hebrew bosheth "shame".
Primarily a malik is the ruling monarch of a kingdom, called mamlaka; that term is however also used in a broader sense, like realm, for rulers with another, generally lower titles, as in Sahib al-Mamlaka. Malik is also used for tribal leaders, e.g. among the Pashtuns.
Some Arab kingdoms are currently ruled by a Malik:
Bahrain, formerly under a hakim, or "ruler", until 16 August 1971, then under an emir, or "prince", and since 14 February 2002 under a malik.
Saudi Arabia. On 10 June 1916 the Grand Sharif of Mecca assumed the title of King of the Hejaz; from 29 October 1916 "King of the Arabs and Commander of the Faithful"; from 6 November 1916 recognized by the allied powers only as King of the Hejaz, Commander of the Faithful, Grand Sharif and emir of Mecca; also assumed the title of Caliph on 11 March 1924; from 3 October 1924: King of the Hejaz and Grand Sharif of Mecca. In 1925 Nejd conquered Hijaz, so the Sultan of Nejd added the title "King of Hijaz". On 22 September 1932 Nejd and Hejaz were renamed as Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, full style: Malik al-Mamlaka al-'Arabiyya as-Sa'udiyya ("King of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia"); from 1986 prefixed to the name: Khadim al-Haramayn ash-Sharifayn ("Servant (i.e. Protector) of the Two Exalted Holy Places [Mecca and Medina]").
Iraq – between 23 August 1921 and 2 May 1958, Iraq was ruled by a Hashemite Malik al-'Iraq ("King of Iraq"). Among the indigenous Assyrians and Kurdish Jews, the term has been (and still is) used since pre-Arab and pre-Islamic times for the title of tribal chief, for example Malik Khoshaba of the Bit-Tyareh tribe.
Libya – Idris I (1890–1983) (Sayyid Muhammad Idris as-Sanusi, heir of a Muslim sect's dynasty) reigned as Malik al-Mamlaka al-Libiyya al-Muttahida ("King of the United Libyan Kingdom") from 24 December 1951 through 25 April 1963 and Malik al-Mamlaka al-Libiyya ("King of the Libyan Kingdom") until 1 September 1969.
Maldives – between 1965 and 1968, Muhammad Fareed Didi ruled the Maldives as Jala'ala ul-Malik ("King" and the style of "His Majesty"); previous rulers were styled Sultan of Land and Sea and Lord of the twelve-thousand islands, holding both the Arabic title of Sultan and the more ancient Divehi title of Maha Radun or Ras Kilege.
In the sixth class, Grandees of the second class (mtavari) of the Kingdom of Kartli, ranking first of the second subclass, Grandees under the Prince of Sabaratiano: the Malik of Lori (Lori – a region in Armenia), head of the house of Melikishvili.
It is also one of the Names of God in Islam, and is then al-Malik (الملك) or The King, Lord of the Worlds in the absolute sense (denoted by the definite article), meaning the King of Kings, above all earthly rulers.
Hence, Abdelmelik ("servant of [Allah] the King") is an Arabic male name.
In Biblical Hebrew, Moloch is either the name of a god or the name of a particular kind of sacrifice associated historically with Phoenician and related cultures in North Africa and the Levant.
Melqart ("king of the city") was a Phoenician and Punic god.
The Melkites (from Syriac malkāyâ, ܡܠܟܝܐ, "imperial") are the members of several Christian churches of the Middle East, originally those who sided with the Byzantine emperor.
Malika is the female derivation, a term of Arabic origin used in Persia as the title for a Queen consort. Frequently also used as part of a lady's name, e.g. Malika-i-Jahan 'Queen of the World'.
Sahib us-Sumuw al-Malik (female Sahibat us-Sumuw al-Malik) is an Arabic title for His/Her Royal Highness, notably for Princes in the dynasty of the Malik of Egypt.
The following components are frequently part of titles, notably in Persian (also used elsewhere, e.g. in India's Moghol tradition):
- ul-Mulk (or ul-Molk): - of the kingdom; e.g. Malik Usman Khan, who served the Sultan of Gujarat as Governor of Lahore, received the title of Zubdat ul-Mulk 'best of the kingdom' as a herary distinction, which was retained as part of the style of his heirs, the ruling Diwans (only since 1910 promoted to Nawab) of Palanpur.
- ul-Mamaluk (plural of ul-mulk): - of the kingdoms.
In the great Indian Muslim salute state of Hyderabad, a first rank- vassal of the Mughal padshah (emperor) imitating his lofty Persian court protocol, the word Molk became on itself one of the titles used for ennobled Muslim retainers of the ruling Nizam's court, in fact the third in rank, only below Jah (the highest) and Umara, but above Daula, Jang, Nawab, Khan Bahadur and Khan; for the Nizam's Hindu retainers different titles were used, the equivalent of Molk being Vant.
The Arabic term came to be adopted as a term for "tribal chieftain" in the tribal areas of northwestern Pakistan. In tribal Pashtun society in Pakistan the Maliks serve as de facto arbiters in local conflicts, interlocutors in state policy-making, tax-collectors, heads of village and town councils and delegates to provincial and national jirgas as well as to Parliament.
In the Punjab, "Malik", literally meaning "King" is a title used by some well-reputed specific Punjabi aristocrat bloodlines with special lineage, more formally known as Zamindars. The Actual clan to hold and originate this esteemed title is the Malik which is also associated with different aspects throughout different generations and periods of history, It is believed that they originated as a clan of warriors who later on settled as wealthy landlords. Malik title is used various castes and tribes.
Some Maliks (Urdu: ملک) belong to a clan of HinduJat, Muslim and a few Sikh Jat, found primarily in India. (There also exist Hindu Punjabi Maliks that are part of the Khukhrain or Arora communities. The Muslim Malik community is settled all over Pakistan and the Sikh Malik in India. The Malik are also known as the Gathwala. The Gathwala are now designating themselves as Maliks. Due to popularity of the Malik title many Punjabi sub-castes such as GujaratiPunjabis and many others have adapted the title to gain acceptance in the Punjabi caste system.
Malik or Malek is a common element in first and family names, usually without any aristocratic meaning.
Maluku islands, an archipelago in Indonesia whose name is thought to have been derived from the Arab traders' term for the region, Jazirat al-Muluk ('the island of many kings').
Minicoy, an island in India that was the ancient capital of Lakshadweepa, whose local name (Maliku) is thought to have been derived from the Arab traders' term for it, Jazirat al-Maliku ('the island of the king').