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Baba (honorific)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Baba ("father, grandfather, wise old man, sir")[1] is a Persian honorific term,[2] used in several West Asian, South Asian and African cultures.

It is used as a mark of respect to refer to Hindu ascetics (sannyasis) and Sikh gurus, as a suffix or prefix to their names, e.g. Sai Baba of Shirdi, Baba Ramdevji, etc.[1][3]

Baba is also a title accorded to Alevi clerics of Shia Islam, also among Sunni leaders and heads of certain Sufi orders, as in Baba Bulleh Shah, Baba Farid, and Rehman Baba.[1]

One of the most revered high priests in Samaritan tradition is Baba Rabba, literally "The Great Father".[4] He lived c. 3rd–4th century C.E.

Baba is also the title used for the Israeli Kabbalistic rabbis of the Abuhatzeira family, descendants of Rabbi Israel Abuhatzeira, originally from Morocco, who was called the Baba Sali, and his brother Isaac Abuhatzeira, the Baba Chaki.

The term was also adopted in Malaysia as an honorific of respect to address Chinese people born in the British Straits Settlement.[5][2]

Baba is also the familiar word for "father" in many languages (see mama and papa); in India it has even been adapted to address male children.[2] Baba also means grandmother in many countries, e.g., short for babushka (Russian for grandmother).

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Platts, John T. (John Thompson). A dictionary of Urdu, classical Hindi, and English. London: W. H. Allen & Co., 1884.
  2. ^ a b c Baba in Weiner, E. S. C.; Simpson, J. R. (1989). The Oxford English dictionary (2nd ed.). Oxford: Clarendon Press. ISBN 0-19-861186-2.
  3. ^ Hunter, William Wilson; James Sutherland Cotton; Richard Burn; William Stevenson Meyer; Great Britain India Office (1908). Imperial Gazetteer of India. Vol. 20. Clarendon Press. p. 295.
  4. ^ Tsedaka, B. (2014). "A Fruity Sukkah Made from the Four Species". TheTorah.com.
  5. ^ Ooi, Keat Gin (2004). Southeast Asia: A Historical Encyclopedia, from Angkor Wat to East Timor. Santa Barbara, Calif: ABC-CLIO. p. 198. ISBN 1-57607-770-5.

Further reading[edit]