Islamic religious leaders

Islamic religious leaders

Islamic religious leaders have traditionally been people who, as part of the clerisy, mosque, or government, performed a prominent role within their community or nation. However, in the modern contexts of Muslims minorities in non-Muslim countries as well as secular Muslim states like Turkey, Indonesia and Bangladesh, religious leadership may take a variety of non-formal shapes.



Caliph is the term or title for the Islamic leader of the Ummah, or commut Muhammad. Some Orientalists wrote the title as Khalîf. The Caliph has often been referred to as Ameer al-Mumineen (أمير المؤمنين), or "Prince of the Faithful," where "Prince" is used in the context of "commander." The title has been defunct since the abolition of the Ottoman Sultanate in 1924. Historically selected by committee, the holder of this title claims temporal and spiritual authority over all Muslims, but is not regarded as a possessor of a prophetic mission, as Muhammad is regarded in Islam as the last prophet.


Ayatollah (Arabic: آية الله; Persian: آیت‌الله) is a high title given to major Shia clergymen. Ayatollah means 'sign of God', and those who carry the title are experts in Islamic studies.

Grand Ayatollah

Only a few of the most important ayatollah are accorded the rank of Grand Ayatollah (Ayatollah Uzma, "Great Sign of God"). This usually happens when the followers of one of the ayatollahs refer to him in many situations and ask him to publish his Juristic book in which he answers the vast majority of daily Muslim affairs. The book is called Resalah, which is usually a reinvention of the book Al-Urwatu l-Wuthqah, according to their knowledge of the most authentic Islamic sources and their application to current life.

Grand Mufti

The title of Grand Mufti (Arabic: مفتي عام‎) refers to the highest official of religious law in sunni muslim community [1][2]


Imam is an Arabic word meaning "Leader". The ruler of a country might be called the Imam, for example. The term, however, has important connotations in the Islamic tradition especially in Shia Beliefs . In Sunni belief, the term is used for the founding scholars of the four Sunni madhhabs, or schools of religious jurisprudence (fiqh).

Mullah or Mawlana

Mullah or Mawlana are Islamic clergy who have studied the Qur'an and the Hadith and are considered experts on related religious matters in this religion. The term Mullah is a variation of the word mawla(means master or lord) and Mawlana is its derivative means my lord


Muezzin (the word is pronounced this way Turkish, Urdu, etc.; in Arabic: muathi (mu-a-thin) مؤذن [mʊʔæðːɪn]) is any person at the mosque who makes the adhan, or athan (call to prayer) for the Friday prayer service and the five daily prayers, or salah. Some mosques have specific places for the adhan to be made from, such as a minaret or a designated area in the mosque. Major mosques usually have a person who is called the "servant of the mosque". He usually is the person who performs the athan. In the case of small mosques, the imam of the mosque would perform the athan


Mujtahid An interpreter of the Islamic scriptures, the Qur'an and Hadith. These were traditionally Muftis, who used interpretation (Arabic ijtihad) to clarify Islamic law; but in many modern secular contexts, Islamic law is no longer the law of the land. In that case, the traditional Mufti may well be replaced by a university or madrasa professor who informally functions as advisor to the local Muslim community in religious matters such as inheritance, divorce, etc.


Sahib denotes an Islamic leader held in high regard by one or more other Muslims. The term is used almost exclusively in the sub-continent area. This Arabic word has different meanings, depending on the context, and can be translated as lord (or owner), companion, or friend. The Sahib can also call the people in his area on a Jihad

See also

  • List of Grand Ayatollahs
  • List of current Maraji


  1. ^ Alexander Moore (1998). Cultural Anthropology. Rowman & Littlefield. pp. 389. ISBN 0939693488. 
  2. ^ The Official website of a Common Word

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