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 secularised Muslim states like Turkey, Indonesia and Bangladesh, religious leadership may take a variety of non-formal shapes.
The Caliph (Arabic: خليفة ḫalīfah/khalīfah) is the head of state in a Caliphate, and the title for the ruler of the Islamic Ummah, an Islamic community ruled by the Shari'ah. It is a transcribed version of the Arabic word خليفة Khalīfah (help·info) which means "successor" or "representative". Following Muhammad's death in 632, the early leaders of the Muslim nation were called "Khalifat Rasul Allah", the political successors to the messenger of God (referring to Muhammad). Some academics prefer to transliterate the term as Khalīfah. The Title 'Khalifatu Rasulil-lah'. was first used for Abu Bakr (RA), who was elected head of the Muslim community after Muhammad's death.
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) and the theological .
The "Grand Imam" or "Imam of imams" (Arabic: الإمام الأكبر) of the Al-Azhar Mosque and Al-Azhar University is a prestigious Sunni Islam title and a prominent official title in Egypt. It is considered by some Muslims to indicate the highest authority in Sunni Islam for Islamic jurisprudence, The grand Imam and holds a great influence on followers of the theological Ash'ari and Maturidi traditions world wide, while the defenders of the Athari and Salafi ideologies find their leaders in the Arabian Peninsula. The concept of IMAM has its origins in the Quran. Hazrat Ibrahim was promoted as Imam after his successful sacrifice. Every person at the day of judgement will also be called by his Imam. And there is an Imam e Mubeen who encompasses the whole universe as per the teachings of the Holy Book. Noble Imperial Sheik is the title for the Grand Imam of Al Hakika Mizaan Mizaani Sufi Order.
Muezzin (the word is pronounced this way in Turkish, Urdu, etc; in Arabic, it is 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 salat. 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.
An interpreter of the Qur'an and Hadith, the Islamic scriptures. These were traditionally Muftis who used interpretation (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 adviser to the local Muslim community in religious matters such as inheritance, divorce, etc.
Allamah is an honorary and prestigious title carried by only the very highest scholars of Islamic thought, jurisprudence, and philosophy. It is used as an honorific in Sunni Islam as well as in Shia Islam.
Titles used only by Shia Muslims
Ayatollah (Arabic: آية الله; Persian: آیتالله) is a prestigious title given to major Shia clergymen. Ayatollah means "sign of God"; those who carry it are considered experts in Islamic studies.
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.
- Succession to Muhammad
- List of Caliphs
- List of Grand Imams of Al-Azhar
- List of Grand Ayatollahs
- List of current Maraji