Difference between a Sheikh and a Maulana

Answered according to Hanafi Fiqh by

Q. I was looking at the graduates section on the website and I was wondering what is the difference between a Sheik and a Maulana.

A. In the Middle East countries, the scholars have chosen to use the word ‘Shaikh’ for one who graduates in higher Islamic studies. The word Shaikh literally means ‘an old person’ or a chief, leader, respected person, etc., and it had been used as a mark of respect for one who is a religious scholar.

The word ‘Maulana’ has also been used as a mark of respect for a religious scholar and has been used mostly in the Indo-Pak continent, and in UK and other places. ‘Maulana’ literally means ‘our leader’, and it is permissible in Islam for one to use it for a religious scholar.

And Allah knows best.

Mufti Waseem Khan

This answer was collected from, which is operated under the supervision of Mufti Waseem Khan from Darul Uloom Trinidad and Tobago.

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