How do you become a “Maulana”?

Posted on February 23, 2009
Filed Under >Adil Najam, Education, Religion, Society
Total Views: 103014


Adil Najam

The media is full of “Maulana” Sufi Mohammed and “Maulana” Fazlullah.

All the television news channels are falling over themselves inserting the “Maulana” honorific not only to these two, but to everyone in their coterie.

Makes me wonder, how do you become a “Maulana“?

I mean this as serious question. Is there a process? A certification agency? An exam of some sort? A public process? The coming together of popular sentiment? What? And, how?

We as a society take honorifics seriously. As we should. Visiting Pakistan, I still get unnerved being called “Professor Sahib” and “Daktor Saab.” (Even more so since I suspect that people think that the later is somehow more important than the former!)

I understand that honorifics are an important cultural recognition. I also realize that sometimes they are simply terms of endearment bestowed by one’s fans or supporters. But they can also be publicity stunts for attaining false public credence. In the case of Aamir Liaquat Hussain (Alim OnLine) and his fake degrees, we also know that the repeated use of fake titles can, in fact, sway public opinion.

I had always assumed that there was a sense of intellectual contribution, maybe even piety, being attributed by the title of “Maulana.” I think many Pakistanis still assume so. Yet, it does not seem that many who have adorned with the title recently can make a claim to either.

My honest question merely wishes to figure out how these religious titles are being bestowed today. I assume that for such a title, there must be some criteria or process. Or is it self-proclaimed or based on looks alone? If so, is it now OK to call all the cabin crew on PIA whose facial hair is being targetted as “Maulana”?

I wonder if by throwing the title of “Maulana” on everyone, our media is actually diluting the value of the title? Demeaning the achievements of those who actually deserve it? Most importantly are they not giving “Islam a bad name” to the world at large by turning every gun-totting bearded guy like Fazlullah into a “Maulana”!

(Interestingly, till the writing of this, Wikipedia - which must never be fully trusted – calls Fazlullah a “Maulana” but Sufi Mohammad is not one in the headline, although he is in the text. Yet another reason not to take Wikipedia seriously)!

49 Comments on “How do you become a “Maulana”?”

  1. ASAD says:
    February 24th, 2009 1:01 am

    Very good post.

    Every time I would see TV anchors calling these guys “Maulana” my blood boils and I wonder, “who made them a Maulana”?

    You are right, by calling them as such we insult all teh real religious scholars who go by that title.

  2. Aamir Ali says:
    February 24th, 2009 1:10 am

    You become a Maulana in Pakistan by learning how to lead prayers and growing a long beard. After that anything goes. The more hateful and aggressive your sermons are, the more followers you will have.

  3. Sadiq says:
    February 24th, 2009 1:30 am

    Adil Bhai:
    May Allah bless you and keep you in good health always, mentally and physically.
    Sometimes when I read your posts, I think and feel that you are speaking and writting my own mind and I am sure there are many more who feel the same after reading your articles.
    My best regards

  4. faisal says:
    February 24th, 2009 1:34 am

    We have the tendency to respect facial hairs. I have many friends who are not religious in any sense, but in public places, they automatically gain respect for having facial hairs.

  5. Dilawar Raees says:
    February 24th, 2009 2:16 am

    Excellent point.

    For example, what at all is common between Maulana Rumi and Fazlullah!

  6. Allah Wasaya says:
    February 24th, 2009 2:23 am

    Maulana and Mullah are just titles given to someone who is, or claims to be an authority in religion, there is no degree to gain this title. I remember when I was growing up in 80s punjab, anyone with a beard used to be refered to as “Sufi Saab”, so these are just tearms of endearment we have for someone respectable, you might not find them worthy of any respect but other people do and hence it becomes a part of their name. Just like the word “Shaheed” is used for many people we might think is not a real shaheed. Its just like if you go to Multan, people call each other Pir saab, in Faisalabad its Seth saab and in Gujranwala its Pehalwan ji, so these titles like maulana and Mullah are not to be taken seriously.

  7. Sadiq says:
    February 24th, 2009 3:51 am

    Allah Wasaya:
    wrong examples and wrong comparison.
    seth sahib, Pahalwan ji, and others have no comparison with what Adil has posted regarding ‘Maulana’.
    Othere names are social respect and cultural …. But what Adil is referring to is a “Relegious Abuse” and a “Social Black-Mailing” of innocent followers.

  8. Dilawar Raees says:
    February 24th, 2009 4:00 am

    Allah Wasaya, what you say may be Ok in a social setting amongst friends, but when the media confers the title of something like ‘Maulana’ on someone as an ‘official’ title then it adds authenticity and people start believing that there is some real credibility. That is bad media practice, specially because people just believe what they see and hear on TV. People start thinking of them as religious scholars and experts, even when some like Fazlullah are only terrorists. Also, if we ourselves give these people the air of ‘Maulana’ than how can we stop outsiders from saying the same.

  9. February 24th, 2009 5:17 am

    The beginner level title is Maulvi, meaning “my lord”. The title was officially awarded to those who passed Maulvi Fazil examination which was a Masters level degree from a recognized institution. But the title is indeed older than this and was awarded to the men of high learning in the society. The more famous Maulvis in recent past weren’t even religious scholars, like Maulvi Zafar Ali Khan, Maulv Chiragh Hasan Hasrat etc. But the title holder was always expected to be pious person of learning. The word Maulana “Our lord” is a variation of the word Maulvi and is most probably in use in religious circles for a long period of time. But it seems to be a progression from an ordinary Maulvi to a cleric of some standing in public.

    Nowadays, religious seminaries everywhere claim to provide university level education in theology hence there is no shortage of maulvis and allamas in Pakistan. The curriculum follows are strict sectarian boundry and thus even a research scholar in these institutions can not be expected to think outside the box and comeup with an original piece of work. Moreover, these students are taught to argue, (the subject is called ilmul kalam) with the opposing sects. This gives them a sense of achievement and superiority over the rest and that is a symptom of the takfiri society we live in. The scholars of Pakistani society are wasting everyone’s time by providing oft repeated debates and arugments on the Ali-Muaviyah, Noor-Bashar, Shia-Sunni, Hadith-Quran, rafa yadian-ameen bil jahr-and all sorts… These debates are useless as their vendors and must be shunned by the public. The legneds around these maulanas are repeated among their followers with much pride and reverence that once so and so maulan went to debate with so and so and took along with him books on three donkey carts. And once our maulana silenced so and so maulvi within 5 minutes of the debate and all the congregation repented from their false beliefs etc etc.

    Donkey carts have alot in common with Maulanas of Pakistan.. Both are driven by asinine intellect. May God save us from them..

  10. February 24th, 2009 6:07 am

    To my knowledge both personalities are not Maualna in true sense of the world, i.e, formal education of theology at any Madrassa for a period of eight years, after that in a formal ceremony which is called ‘Dastar Bandi’ a turban is tied to new graduate by a religious scholar.
    I am not sure about Sufi, but Fazlullah is a dropout of a madrassa.

  11. D_a_n says:
    February 24th, 2009 6:17 am

    @ Lutful Islam..

    ‘Donkey carts have alot in common with Maulanas of Pakistan.. Both are driven by asinine intellect. May God save us from them..’

    I could not…for the life of me have put it ever so well….Bravo Sir!

  12. Sayed Zeeshan says:
    February 24th, 2009 6:21 am

    In Arabic “Maulana” means my master, it is indeed a honorific title as asserted by the original poster. Usually a mullah who has attained a basic level of religious education and leads prayers is called Maulana in our society.
    Its sometimes thrown haphazardly at the people who are of some religious significance although they may not have completed formal religious education e.g. “Maulana” Maududi.
    To paste this prefix with known thugs and murderers is in my view strange if not outrightly appalling.

  13. D_a_n says:
    February 24th, 2009 6:27 am

    As Allah Wasaya Said…

    I remember when I was growing up in 80s punjab, anyone with a beard used to be refered to as

  14. Sayed Zeeshan says:
    February 24th, 2009 6:41 am

    If I may be so bold as to suggest that as the things are changing in the modern era, the definition of Maulana should be ammended a bit and the restriction of a fully grown shabby beard should be removed and people like Imran Khan, Ijazul Haq, Hameed Gul should also be called Maulana.

  15. sada says:
    February 24th, 2009 6:50 am

    Don’t forget the context in which this term was basically coined and later on used both in Persian and Urdu languages. There is no concept of “maulana” or “maulvi” in Arabic and they instead use term “sheikh” or “a’lim” for those who are called maulanas popularly in our society. There are serious connotations attached with this term and we cannot simply ignore this. It was used for every learned persons such as Maulana Hasrat Mohani, Maulana Bhashani etc.; the people who were indeed not typical “maulvi” in conventional terms. Later on , like very other term, this term is also misused and abused. Take the example of Allama, Mufti, Wali, Sufi etc. Also recall that there used to be a board and university level exam to become “maulvi” and they called it “Maulvi Fazil”. I think this exam is now practically gone after the introduction of Madarsa wafaq concepts and these wafaq are now issuing degrees though none with the title of “maulvi fazil”.

  16. Usman says:
    February 24th, 2009 7:15 am

    To Lutful Islam who says below:

    “Donkey carts have alot in common with Maulanas of Pakistan.. Both are driven by asinine intellect. May God save us from them..”

    Later D_a_n has endorsed aforementioned view.

    I would just like to say to both of the gentlemen above – How dare they compare intellect of donkeys to that of Maulanas of Pakistan – and denigrate donkeys in this way! Donkey’s are very hardworking animals and make our lives easier in many ways!
    Comparing their intellect to Maulanas is surely an insult to donkeys of the world!

  17. D_a_n says:
    February 24th, 2009 7:30 am


    you are absolutely right….please convey my most sincere apologies to the donkeys of Pakistan..i have done them a great injustice……

  18. Watan Aziz says:
    February 24th, 2009 8:18 am

    Generally, the mullahs in Pakistan (and some from other nations that I have run into) are all certified PPMF.

    @Lutf ul Islam description of clergy, self validating their own dogma, is quite correct for across all faiths. I am not an expert on any of the faiths, including mine, but from what I read and hear in conversation, if you do a search and replace, you can make it fit for any faith, religion, credo.

    Irony of this post is that whereas other faiths established their clergy through their own divine validation, Qur

  19. zakintosh says:
    February 24th, 2009 8:18 am

    Theonly time I though the title made sense was when Bhashani of the then East Pakistan was leading a movement that was aiming to bring Chinese-style communism to Pakistan. The Public dubbed him ‘Mao Laana’ …

  20. MQ says:
    February 24th, 2009 9:02 am

    Adil, to your specific question: “How do you become a Maulana?” here is a specific answer, based on what I gathered from a very friendly, bearded student from Bannu, Shahid, studying in a madrassa in Islamabad.

    In the system run by wafaqul-madaris in Pakistan, when you enter a madrassa, you start with the 4-year course, called ‘Oola’ or primary (not to be confused with secular primary education), regardless of your education background. Shahid told me he had done F. A. in a government school before joining the madrassa. (I assume the minimum requirement would be to able to read and write.)

    After the ‘Oola’, you join another 4-year program called Allamia, which, when successfully completed, entitles you to be called Allama or Maulana. Shahid was a 4th year student in the Allamia and said he would become a Maulana next year. In other words, you can officially become an Allama or Maulana after having successfully completed 8 years of schooling in a madrassa.

    After the Allamia, if you choose to, you can do a 2-3 years course called takhassas (specialization), which entitles you to be a Mufti (one who can issue fatwas).

    Shahid also invited to visit his madrassa and talk to the headmaster for more information. I might do that one of these days.

  21. PMA says:
    February 24th, 2009 10:15 am

    Adil: Since you asked.

    British had sanctioned and introduced two systems of public education and educational certification. Vernacular system and Anglican system. Under Anglican system, primary, middle, metric, F.A., B.A., and M.A. certificates, diplomas and degrees were awarded. That is the prevalent system of education and certification we are all familiar with and product of.

    On parallel lines students were also allowed to take certification exams on six different levels. British government did not encourage or facilitate such schooling system. It was mostly done by the families and the communities themselves by hiring private teachers. Government only provided minimum stipend to the teachers often called Maulavi Sahab. The learning was done either at home, at teacher’s home or at madrassas. This system was maintained chiefly at the insistence of the Muslim communities that did not want to educate their children in English–the education of ‘kafirs’.

    The six levels of certifications were Munshi Alam & Fazal, Adeeb Alam & Fazal, and Maulavi Alam and Fazal. In addition if one studied sharia law one could be called Qazi. A Qazi was not allowed to practice in government courts but could administer Muslim Family Law in cases such as marriage, divorce or other family disputes. Duly certified by the British government Vernacular graduates could use titles such as Munshi, Alam, Fazal, Maulavi and Qazi. These individuals were given their due respect by their society.

    Few years after independence, due to drop in popularity Pakistan government stopped conducting these certification exams and the responsibility of Vernacular education and certification fell mostly upon madrassas alone. Other Muslim countries have baned or eliminated Vernacular systems altogether. Pakistan has not. Since public education is not a priority of Pakistan government, ‘private’ and ‘religious’ communities have filled in the gap.

    Today Pakistan has no shortage of those poorly educated ‘graduates’ of both Vernacular as well as Anglican systems. Why to pick on poorly educated ‘moulavis’ of Vernacular ‘system’ alone?

  22. Sajida says:
    February 24th, 2009 11:11 am

    First of all, let me say that this site never ceases to amaze me.

    It really is an unparralleled Pakistani treasure.

    Not just for the original post and the simple and powerful question it asks. But even more for its readership and the excellent information and ideas and comments they have put in.

    I had heard about the Munshi, Fazil, etc. system but had never all the details. Thank you so much to all the wonderful responses that have explained it in such detail and so clearly. This is what makes this site not just fun but truly educational. Thank you.

    Also, then the responses point out clearly that even if there is such a system, certainly thugs and murderers like Fazlullah are NOT Maulanas and are in fact a blot and shame on real Maulanas.

  23. Jusathot says:
    February 24th, 2009 11:17 am

    Here we go again! Seems like some kind of obsession with darhi walas

  24. REALIST says:
    February 24th, 2009 11:54 am

    Nice post. I am also sick and tired of these so-called Molvis and Maulanas. Who gave them the right to abuse such respectable titles?

    To me, in order to be called “Molvi” or “Maulana” you have to have some kind of intellectual capabilities like Maulvi Abdul Haq:

    Or Maulana Mohammad Ali Johar:

    Other than that, you should be fined and prosecuted if you use these titles with you name.

  25. Anwar says:
    February 24th, 2009 12:19 pm

    Thanks PMA. Your post was very informative.
    Dishing out of titles is perhaps part of our upbringing – I often wondered where were the competitions held that gave out titles such as the “Melody Queen”, “Queen and/or King of Music,” “King/Queen of emotions,” etc. and lately the title of “Shaheed.” These are local feel-good phenomenon not not much more…

  26. Pakwatcher says:
    February 24th, 2009 12:20 pm

    Who knows , Mr Adil Najam, by virtue of writing this , may have himself attained the ‘Maulana’ status.

  27. YARJAMI says:
    February 24th, 2009 12:35 pm

    This is a very valid question if asked just to know the facts. Hera I would like to explain few words that will make the readers understand the meanings of thease words.
    Mulana:- Arabic word means “my master”
    Allama”- Arabic word mean ” man with full of knowledge” superlative degree of Aalim
    Sufi:- Arabic word means clean man “the man who has isolated himself from the wordly affairs and keeps himself busy in remembrence of Allah Almighty.
    Imam:- Arabic word means “in front” a man who leeds is known as Imam Remember it is not exclusive for a person who leads prayer but any body who is leading any movement school of thought can be called Imam
    Now comming over the in practice meaning of these words anybody who is keeping beared is known as mulana or sufi and anybody who has made one or two good speaches in public is Allama.
    In real learned ranks and files of religiously motivated people if somebody has not attaind the greatest level of knowledge if he is called Allama that is taken as disgrase. No real aalim Allama sufi or Imam calls himself by these names nither he allows anyone to call him like that.It is not the problem of learned people but this relates to those who do not desrve but want to be respected like them.

  28. Farooq says:
    February 24th, 2009 12:41 pm

    Another excellent post and discussion.

    I think part of the main point is being lost in discussion.

    If we start calling everyone, including criminals like Fazlullah and the killers who used to control Lal Masjid “Maulanas” then not only do they gain public acceptance and credibility but the outside world becomes justified in thinking that it is they who really represent Islam and what they are doing is about Islam. So, all this talk about Islam being peaceful etc. becomes difficult since to the outsider it is we ourselves who are giving the mantle of religion to these thugs and then letting them define our religion for us.

    This is a truly serious issue.

  29. Riaz Haq says:
    February 24th, 2009 12:53 pm

    Regardless of his qualification to be called a “Maulana”, I believe Fazlullah was associated with a madrassa at Chingai in Swat that was bombed in 2006 by Americans .


  30. MQ says:
    February 24th, 2009 1:01 pm

    Incidentally, the people of Swat do not call Fazlullah a Maulana. Because of his FM station and his frequent sermons and speeches on it, they call him, in Pushto, Moolah Raidoo, which in Urdu will be Mullah Radio.

  31. Kaleemullah says:
    February 24th, 2009 3:51 pm

    I agree with Yarjami’s post with one exception. Maulana means ” our master” not ” my master”. It also means our protector from Jahilia (ignorance). This is a big title. Govt must make some criteria. As a professional Engineer (PE) or Doctor (Dr.) we must have a minimum qualification to use thes titles. As far as I know no one agency exists that awards this title. Being around some Maulanas, I have noticed a vague criteria being applied for such a title. This is just my observation. I am not sure whether it has some validity or authencity to support it. Remember this is simply my observation. In order to become a Maulana, one must start growing a beard approximately 4 inches in length. If people around him do not recognize ( i.e.his knowledge, his piety, and his leadership) with 4 inches of beard and/or do not call him Maulana by this time, he continues to grow it until people recognize him and call him a “Maulana”. Later on he becomes “Maulana Sahib”- means much more established Maulana. One more thing here to add: one must memorize some verses from the Holy Quran without knowing the meanings, and be able to quote some Hadith as well. All without knowing the meanings or understanding. When some asks a question, he touches his long beard, and smiles simultaneously, and then he recites those verses or blurps out Hadith. Then he says Allah and His Rasul knows the best. This is common standard for most of Maulanas. I hope this will help. Keep up the good work Mr. Adil Najam.

  32. Salman Adil says:
    February 24th, 2009 4:04 pm

    My understanding is that the term Mullah (perhaps pejoratively) refers to someone who frequently delivers religious sermons in religious gatherings (Mosques etc.). If mosques are state-built and maintained then I would presume that there is or can be some mechanism put in place to judge the credentials for a person to become Molvi/Mullah. If however, the mosque is privately built, I don’t think that the State legislates academic qualifications.

    My flimsy understanding of Arabic, perhaps incorrectly, leads me to think that Maulana means “Our Maulvi”, which is why I prefer saying Mullah or Maulvi or Molvi Sahib.
    In my opinion, a Mullah is someone with some knowledge to deliver a sermon, and is thus supposed to be a somewhat learned prayer-leader (Imam). A mullah is not necessarily an Alim or a scholar.

    1. Alim (Allama) is a scholar (religious or otherwise), and in the matters of religion a scholar of religion. So, Professor John Esposito is an Alim or an Allama as was Sir Allama Iqbal. I don

  33. Allah Wasaya says:
    February 24th, 2009 4:44 pm

    @Sadiq, Dilawar Raees and D_A_N

    Yes you gentlemen have a point and I fully agree with you, I was merely pointing out the fact that in Pakistan any “neem hakeem” can call himself a doctor and open up a clinic anywhere and start practising medicine, by doing so he is NOT breaking any laws of Pakistan. We are talking about a population which is hell bent on letting the whole world know what fine specimens of Islam they are, so I think in such a society titles like Moulana or Mullah have no importance what so ever, yes they might know more about Islam than I do, but I am not going to lose any sleep over it

  34. readinglord says:
    February 24th, 2009 7:05 pm

    A very good and timely article which led to very informative discussion. I wonder however they forgot a once notorious Moulvi who had sentenced ZAB to death. I mean Moulvi Mushtaq. He was called Moulvi being a graduate of law from the Aligarh University perhaps. I also find some lawyers called Moulvies today even. Interestingly, a lawyer of Atak (formerly Cmpbellpur), named Ain Fatmi, claimed himself to be a ‘Rasool’ but was murdered (not martyred) for doing so a few years ago. In fact, our takfiri society, does not spare those even who give a title of ‘Nabi’ to someone, though they use the titles of Moulana, Allama, Shaheed, etc. so freely. They revere the title of ‘Sher’ (lion or tiger) , a ravenous beast, but hate to be called a donkey. Why?

    Keeping in view his exploits, I would suggest the title of ‘tiger’ for Faz-Lullah instead of Moulana. What our media says?

  35. February 24th, 2009 9:25 pm

    I think Salman Adil correctly pointed out the ‘authentic’ basis behind these titles. These titles mean something, and are earned, theoretically, by serious study and pious behavior.

    The reality is very different. I would like to expand on an example given earlier in the discussion, that of fake doctors. We are all aware of such charlatans, who exploit poor people by pretending to be what they are not. The harm they have done is substantial, but it is not as widespread because a sizable proportion of our population considers their health important and exerts efforts in ascertaining the authenticity of their claims. Unfortunately, religion is either not important for many in Pakistan, therefore, there is no need for experts, many of us interpret it individually.

    Yet, when we are unwell, we exert efforts to get to the best doctor, and once we are assured about his credentials only then do we put our lives in their hands. The current situation, where anyone can proclaim honorifics, is a direct result of our casual approach to religion, if we considered it a serious matter we would search for the learned scholars to learn from. And if that is done then it would not be easy for people to claim these titles undeservedly.

  36. Nihari says:
    February 24th, 2009 10:27 pm

    Depends on nuttyness….Measured along the lines of how much u can crucify logic and common sense in your arguments…

    (Now some people may assume that I am a Maulana…Maulana Nihari)

  37. ali says:
    February 24th, 2009 11:32 pm

    Maulana used to be a title given to scholars of Persian and Arabic.
    In the Indo pak subcontinent a maulana is supposed to be a pious person. You need not have to go to any institute to earn a maulana`s title or degree, although people going to registered Madarsas in the Indo pak sub continent Indonesia and Egypt etc can graduate and earn a maulvi`s certificate. If this maulvi becomes a public figure of importance then he is elevated to the rank of a maulana by the public,media etc.
    Maulana`s are not necessarily extremists, eg Maulana Mohammad ali Jauhar never went to any college to earn a maulana`s degree, he went to Aligarh and then on to Lincoln`s Inn at Oxford.He got the title of Maulana out of respect. The maulana`s that Adil has mentioned got the title because the public feared them not respected them

  38. sherbano a khan says:
    February 25th, 2009 6:21 am

    Maulana or not!


    “God Will not change the condition of a people
    until they first change what is in their hearts”






  39. AHsn says:
    February 25th, 2009 10:22 am

    Maula (mawlA), Maulana (mawlAnA) and Maulvi (mawlawy) are the words of Arabic origin. In Urdu we have words from different origins but these words when they are used in Urdu, they are not used in the same sense as in the original language.
    In Arabic mawlA is used to indicate the master the authority and powerful. For a slave, his master is his mawlA. For many believers mawlA Ali is the master. But the supreme mawlA is the God Himself. So, to become a mawlA is not an easy job. That is why we do not come across a mawlA in Pakistani society or in Urdu literature except

  40. MQ says:
    February 25th, 2009 1:18 pm

    I want to make a little correction to my earlier comment, which was based on the feedback of a madrassa student. Today, I walked into the nearby madrassa and talked to a faculty member (the principal was not available) and asked him how does one become a certified Maulana? So, this is from the horse

  41. Asim says:
    February 25th, 2009 4:22 pm

    Can we somehow get this in all the mullas

  42. AHsn says:
    February 26th, 2009 9:24 am

    Dear MQ,

    In your last contribution, you have given us a plenty of information concerning the madrassa system of education. If I understand correctly, the Maulana degree awarded by the madrassa is something like a University degree of a Master or perhaps a Bachelor. It is not clear if these degrees are recognised by the Pakistan Education Commission (Board).

    In any case the title of Maulana is certainly less than a University Ph.D., because higher to Maulana there is a degree of Mufti. In case Maulana Fazlullah is a graduate from one of these madrassas; my opinion is that this type of Maulanas are blood hungry Jihady Maulanas.

    I will never dare to suggest a Maulana title to Adil or even to MQ. Both of you are much above the knowledge and intelligence of a Jihadi Maulana. Adil has a Ph. D. He has published many articles and research reports without counting all those posts for ATP. To give him a title of this madrassa Maulana will be an insult!

    In my comments when I was talking of Maulana, it was not in terms of Jihadi Maulanas, but in terms of Maulana Azad, Maulana Hali, Maulana Jauhar and Maulana Rumi. All these people did not get their titles from a University, nor from an Academy or from any established institution. They were awarded this title by their pears and the people. So, on behalf of the pears like you and the people like me I repeat my proposal to call him Maulana Adil Najam.

  43. KK says:
    February 26th, 2009 12:25 pm

    I went through all 6 pages of comments under this article and not a single person commented on how this title is obtained in the Shia sect. Frankly I was kind of surprised that none of you guys knew this so I decided to give my two cents on this topic.
    In shias, ‘moulana’ is a special title given to a man who has done is Islamic studies from a accredited university in Qum, Iran. Once this man graduates from that university, only then he is allowed to be called a Moulana and also wears that special black turban that you often see Shia Alims wear. Not every shia speaker (zaakir) is a moulana. The only way to distinguish between a Moulana and a regular Zaakir is that a Moulana wears a (black or sometimes white) tightly wrapped turban. Any Zaakir can be called a Alim for example Alama Talib Johari (a very renounced Shia Alim), if you have seen him on TV or even live, he wears a Jinnah cap not a turban.

  44. February 27th, 2009 12:25 pm

    The same question was asked from Maulana Fazlur Rehman and his brother Maulana Atta ur Rehman that how came you have added Maulana to your names. They said it is hereditary. Since our father Maulana Mufti Mahmud used it with his name therefore we have added it with our name in the same manner son of pir is sometimes pir or pirzada.

    Dr. Allama Tahir ul Qadri was confused for a long time how to add and what to add to his name…..

  45. Abdul Hai says:
    March 2nd, 2009 10:51 am

    In USA, the word Maulana has been replaced by Sheikh. This title is also awarded in the US mosques. Most of these sheikhs or Imams have no formal training. Their biggest contribution besides having a beard is the Juma Khutbah.
    About 300-700 Muslims come to pray on Friday at each mosque. They are captive audience of the Imam and his speech (khutbah). However, I notice usually the attendees tune out what Imam is saying in the first five minutes. The Imam usually tells them how bad they are in their practice of religion. He talks about Hijab for woman 90 percent of the time. However, he does not tell the men that things like beard is also Sunah and pronunce them as Kafirs. Imagine what will be the reaction of a young girl who takes time of work on Friday and hears this. She is likely to stop coming. She needs encouragement. I have found that woman start wearing Hijab on their own when they are ready and are not motivated by Khutbahs.

    The Sheikh/Imam’s is usually a recent immigrant with poor command of English. It is almost impossible to undersatnd him. He thinks he knows it all about Fiqah and Sunnat. However, his knowledge is rudimentary. According to traditions of the prophet, the Khutbah should be shorter than the time it takes to pray. However, the average Imam holds the audience with his monlogue for 30 minutes instead of a schedule of 15 minutes. The audience are looking at their watches because they have to go back to work. He moves from subject to subject without any direction or central theme. If he was teaching a class instead, all the students will drop out.

    I have seen congregations aroused by a young Imam with English as his native tongue. I have seen how the word spreads and mosque gets very active. However, most of the mosques in USA are usually taken over by so called conservative immigrants and they do not like to part their authority. These trustees are usually no where to be seen when the mosque is being built by avearge muslims; however, they appear on the scene immedately after the infrastructure is complete.

    What we need is to encourage young bright Muslims to study religion here in United States and not in places like Saudi Arabia or Madrassas of Pakistan. We have to collect funds to award scholarships to these students. Furtermore we have to make the Imam’s salary attractive for these bright persons after they graduate.

  46. Ajay says:
    March 4th, 2009 4:05 pm

    I am a human first and an Indian second and this is a human tragedy just like Mumbai was.

    The even bigger tragedy is that instead of realizing that terrorism, is the common problem we are both facing, we are playing right into the hands of the same hate mongers that have gotten us here.

  47. atheist says:
    March 29th, 2009 2:00 am

    as an atheist i am not big fan of any “moulana” but i tell you this, i been to many mosues/chruches in my life and met many “moulanas” in my short life. what i have notice is this the more ignorant you are, the bigger “moulana” you are.

  48. D_a_n says:
    March 29th, 2009 3:42 am

    The more Muslims you hate…the quicker they give you your ‘Maulana’ card….

  49. Faizan Ali says:
    December 25th, 2009 6:01 am

    Firstly, the most harmful and dreadful ignorance in the world is atheism. and secondly, maulanas do not hate people rather they sacrifice their time and efforts into guiding other towards the right (Straight) path and to save others from a painful chastisement.

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