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(i)

MULLAH (/ˈmʌlə, ˈmʊlə, ˈmuːlə/ ; Arabic : ملا‎, Azerbaijani : Molla, Persian : ملا‎‎ / Mollâ, Turkish : Molla, Bengali : মোল্লা) is derived from the Arabic word مَوْلَى mawlā, meaning "vicar", "master" and "guardian". However, used ambiguously in the Quran
Quran
, some publishers have described its usage as a religious title as inappropriate. The term is sometimes applied to a Muslim
Muslim
man or woman, educated in Islamic theology and sacred law . In large parts of the Muslim
Muslim
world , particularly Iran
Iran
, Pakistan
Pakistan
, Azerbaijan
Azerbaijan
, Afghanistan
Afghanistan
, Eastern Arabia , Turkey
Turkey
and the Balkans , Central Asia
Central Asia
, the Horn of Africa and South Asia
South Asia
, it is the name commonly given to local Islamic clerics or mosque leaders.

The title has also been used in some Sephardic
Sephardic
Jewish
Jewish
communities to refer to the community's leadership, especially religious leadership.

The term mullah is primarily understood in the Muslim
Muslim
world as a term of respect for an educated religious man.

CONTENTS

* 1 Training and duties

* 2 Usage

* 2.1 Iran
Iran

* 3 See also * 4 References * 5 External links

TRAINING AND DUTIES

Ideally, a trained mullah will have studied Islamic traditions (hadith ), and Islamic law (fiqh ). Such figures often have memorized the Qur\'an . Uneducated villagers may frequently classify a literate Muslim
Muslim
with a less than complete Islamic training as their "mullah" or religious cleric. Mullahs with varying levels of training lead prayers in mosques, deliver religious sermons, and perform religious ceremonies such as birth rites and funeral services. They also often teach in a type of Islamic school known as a madrasah . Three kinds of knowledge are applied most frequently in interpreting Islamic texts (i.e. the Quran
Quran
, Hadiths
Hadiths
, etc.) for matters of Shariah
Shariah
, i.e., Islamic law.

Mullahs have frequently been involved in politics, but only recently have they served in positions of power, since Islamists seized power in Iran
Iran
in 1979. In Syria, political militant groups supported by the West have taken root. The Taliban
Taliban
enforced Islamism
Islamism
in Afghanistan.

USAGE

The term is most often applied to Shi'ite clerics, as Shi\'a Islam
Islam
is the predominant tradition in Iran. However, the term is very common in Urdu , spoken throughout Pakistan
Pakistan
, and it is used throughout the Indian subcontinent for any Muslim
Muslim
clergy, Sunni or Shi'a. Muslim clergy in Russia
Russia
and other former Soviet Republics are also referred to as mullahs, regardless of whether they are Sunni or Shi'a.

The term has also been used among Persian Jews , Bukharan Jews
Bukharan Jews
, Afghan Jews, and other Central Asian
Central Asian
Jews to refer to the community's religious and/or secular leadership. In Kaifeng
Kaifeng
, China, the historic Chinese Jews who managed the synagogue were called "mullahs".

Outside of Eastern Arabia, which has a long Shiite tradition and numerous Shiite minorities, the term is seldom used in other Arabic-speaking areas where its nearest equivalent is often shaykh (implying formal Islamic training), imam (prayer leader; not to be confused with the imams of the Shiite world), or ʿālim ("scholar", plural ʿulamāʾ). In the Sunni world, the concept of "cleric" is of limited usefulness, as authority in the religious system is relatively decentralized.

The term is frequently used in English, although English-speaking Muslim
Muslim
clergy rarely call themselves mullahs. It was adopted from Urdu by the British rulers of India and subsequently came into more widespread use.

It is sometimes used in a derogatory and humorous form, to mock gnostically religious men.

IRAN

Until the early 20th century, the term mullah was used in Iranian hawzas (seminaries) to refer to low-level clergy who specialized in telling stories of Ashura , rather than teaching or issuing fatwas . Today, the term is sometimes used as a derogatory term for any Islamic cleric. In recent years, at least among Shia clerics, the term ruhani (spiritual) has been promoted as an alternative to mullah and akhoond , free of pejorative connotations.

SEE ALSO

* Allamah
Allamah
* Marja\' * Maulana * Maulvi * Mullah
Mullah
Mohammed Omar
Mohammed Omar
* Mullah Nasruddin * Ulema
Ulema

REFERENCES

* This article incorporates text from Chinese and Japanese repository of facts and events in science, history and art, relating to Eastern Asia, Volume 1, a publication from 1863 now in the public domain in the United States.

* ^ Esposito, John (2004). The Oxford Dictionary of Islam. p. 214. * ^ Roy, Olivier (1994). The Failure of Political Islam. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press. pp. 28–9. ISBN 0-674-29140-9 . * ^ See for example: "Rabbinic Succession in Bukhara 1790–1930", * ^ Taheri, Amir (1985). The Spirit of Allah: Khomeini and the Islamic Revolution. Bethesda, Md.: Adler & Adler. p. 53. ISBN 0-917561-04-X . * ^ Chinese and Japanese repository of facts and events in science, history and art, relating to Eastern Asia, Volume 1. Oxford: s.n. 1863. p. 48. Retrieved 2011-07-06. (Original from the University of Michigan) * ^ Momen, Moojan , An Introduction to Shi'i Islam, Yale University Press, 1985, p. 203

EXTERNAL LINKS

* "Mollah". New International