Mullah

From Academic Kids

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

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Mullahs in the court of a Safavid monarch, Iran. Mullahs have frequently been involved in politics, but only recently have they actually taken power. Mullahs seized power in Iran in 1979, and later, in Afghanistan under the Taliban.

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. An alternative etymology is from the Arabic "Ma'Allah" or "(one who is with Allah".

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."

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