The Royal and Hashemite Order of the Pearl is divided into several grades. Highest grade, Royal Companion, is reserved exclusively for members of the current and former royal houses. Beside this, there are five more grades in the Order: Grand Cordon, Distinguished Companion, Companion, Officer and Member. This ranking to some extent resembles the ranking of traditional nobility and privileged classes of society in the Sultanate of Sulu and North Borneo (Datu, Tuan, etc.), but also the European Royal Orders of Chivalry. Membership in the Order can only be acquired in accordance with the wish and the approval of its Grand Sayyid (Grand Master). With this dynastic Order its Grand Sayyid rewards persons of all nationalities and religions, which were particularly meritorious concerning service, deeds and faithfulness to the Royal House and the Sultanate of Sulu and North Borneo, as well as those, who gained an outstanding international reputation in their field of activity.