A wilāyah ( _ar. ولاية) or vilâyet (in Persian and Ottoman Turkish) is an administrative division, usually translated as "
province." The word derives from the Arabic root "w-l-i", meaning "to govern": a wāli'governor' governs a "wilayah" 'that which is governed'. Under the Caliphate, it referred to one of the constituent near-sovereign states.
Use in specific countries
For Morocco which is divided into provinces "and" wilāyas the translation "province" would cause the distinction to cease. For
Sudanthe term "state", and for Mauritaniathe term "region" is used.
Provinces of Algeria
Provinces of Oman
Regions of Mauritania
States of Sudan
Districts of Kenya
Governorates of Tunisia
governorates of Iraq( muhafazah) are often translated as province, in contrast to official Iraqi documents and the general use for other Arab countries. This conflicts somehow with the general translation for muhafazah ( governorate) and wilāyah (province).
Malaysia and Indonesia
Wilayah Persekutuanis the Malay term for federal territory. In Malaysiathe term wilayah is used to represent central government controlled areas. Wilayah Persekutuan are the areas directly under the control of the federal government, which all other states in Malaysia are subordinate to. States such as Penangand Malaccaenjoy far more autonomy from the central government, as they were former Straits Settlementsof Britain. A major difference between Penang Island can be seen in automatic granting citizenship to any persons born within the Island of Penang, regardless of the citizenship of the parents. This right is a derived form of a law from the British era called " Jus soli". However neither Penang or Malacca actually practise their autonomy status in the spirit of unity within Malaysia. However east Malaysian states of Sarawakand Sabahpractice a large degree of autonomy from the central government. Passports are required for a Peninsular Malaysian to travel to Malaysian Borneo, although in the spirit of the union, these requirements maybe done away in the future.
Technically, Malaysia is only the areas covered within the Wilayah Persekutuan, all other states in the Federation of Malaysia are subordinate states to the federal government, which may choose to leave the federation. Fact|date=February 2007 One former state has been expelled in the past; the state of
Singaporewas expelled from the Malaysian Federation to form a new Republic of Singapore in the mid-Sixties.
However all Malaysians are equal federal citizens, meaning they owe no allegiance to the state, only to the federation of Malaysia, the
Yang di-Pertuan Agong, the Federal Constitution and the Malaysian Flag.
In Indonesian wilayah means "area", "region" or "regional", but does not refer to a level of government.
The Ottoman Empire
Traditionally the provinces of the
Ottoman Empirewere known as "eyâlet"s, but beginning in 1864, they were gradually restructured as "vilâyet"s – the Turkish pronunciation of the Arabic word "wilāyah".
provinces of Turkeyare called "il" in Turkish.
The Ottoman Turkish word for "province" ("vilâyet") is still used in several similar forms in
Central Asian countries:
Provinces of Afghanistan(velayat in Pashto, wilaayat in Dari)
Provinces of Tajikistan(singular: viloyat, plural: viloyatho)
Provinces of Turkmenistan(singular: welayat, plural: welayatlar)
Provinces of Uzbekistan(singular: viloyat, plural: viloyatlar)
Iran, the word is also used unofficially.
Hindiand Urdu, the term "Vilayet" is used to refer to any foreign country. As an adjective "Vilayeti" is used to indicate an imported article or good.
In Arabic, "wilāyah" is used to refer to the states of the
United States, and the United States as a whole is called "الولايات المتحدة" ("al Wilāyat al Muttaḥidah") literally meaning "the United States."
Tsez language, the districts of Dagestanare also referred to as "вилайат" ("wilayat"), plural "вилайатйоби" ("wilayatyobi"). But the term "район" (" rayon"), plural "районйаби" ("rayonyabi") is also used.
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