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This article forms part of the series
Vocabulary of Islam
Five Pillars
Profession of faith
Prayer · Alms · Fasting
Pilgrimage to Mecca
Prophets of Islam
Caliphs · Shia Imams
Companions of Muhammad
Holy Cities
Mecca · Medina · Jerusalem
Najaf · Karbala · Kufa
Kazimain · Mashhad · Samarra
Hijra · Islamic calendar · Eid ul-Fitr
Eid ul-Adha · Aashura · Arba'in
Mosque · Minaret · Mihrab · Kaaba
Islamic architecture
Functional Religious Roles
Muezzin · Imam · Mullah
Ayatollah · Mufti
Interpretive Texts & Practices
Qur'an · Hadith · Sunnah
Fiqh · Fatwa · Sharia
Sunni: Hanafi · Hanbali · Maliki · Shafi'i
Shi'a: Ithna Asharia · Ismailiyah · Zaiddiyah
Others: Ibadi · Kharijite · Murjite · Mu'tazili
Sufism · Wahhabism · Salafism
Non-Mainstream Sects / Movements
Ahmadiyyah · Nation of Islam
Zikri · Druze
Related Faiths
Babism · Bahá'í Faith · Yazidi
A muezzin calls Muslims to prayer in Bukhara, Uzbekistan
A muezzin calls Muslims to prayer in Bukhara, Uzbekistan

Mullahs are Islamic clergy who have studied the Qur'an and the Hadith and are considered experts on related religious matters.

Mullahs are considered to be able to give direction and make judgments based on their religious studies.

"Mullah" derives from Urdu mulla through Persian, originally from Arabic mawla, meaning "master, friend". The 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica pointed out that Arabic maula was a term which originally expressed the legal bond connecting a former owner with his manumitted slave, both patron and client being called maula.

Under Islam a mullah is a learned man, a teacher, a doctor of the law of Sharia. In India the term is applied to the man who reads the Qur'an, and also to a Muslim schoolmaster. The Encyclopedia Britannica noted in 1911 that mullahs are considered powerful social leaders:

"In countries like Afghanistan the mullahs exert an influence over the populace which sometimes rivals that of the amir himself, and they have been responsible for many disturbances in Kabul."

Last updated: 02-07-2005 09:29:47
Last updated: 03-18-2005 11:16:12