Mawlawi (Islamic title)
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Mawlawi (also spelled Maulvi, Moulvi, and Mawlvi; Arabic: مولوی) is an honorific Islamic religious title given to Muslim religious scholars or Ulema preceding their names, similar to the titles Maulana, Mullah, or Shaykh. Mawlawi generally means highly qualified Islamic scholar. Usually, a Maulvi would have completed full studies in a madrassa (Islamic school) or Darul Uloom (Islamic seminary). It is commonly used throughout the Persian- including Iran, Afghanistan, Central Asia, South Asia, South East Asia and East Africa. The word Mawlawi/Maulvi is derived from the Arabic word "Mawla", which means "master".
Turkish Mawlawi fraternity of Sufis (Muslim mystics) founded in Konya (Qonya), Anatolia, by the Persian Sufi poet Jalal ad-Din ar-Rumi (d. 1273), whose popular title mawlana (Arabic for “our master”) gave the order its name. The order, propagated throughout Anatolia, controlled Konya and environs by the 15th century and in the 17th century appeared in Istanbul.
Difference in titles Mullah and Maulvi among Muslims in South Asia
In the Central Asian and South Asian Pakistani Subcontinent context, where "Mullah" does not carry a formal sense, Maulana is often the word of choice for addressing or referring to Muslim religious scholars that are respected, while Mullah is used often derogatorily for people the speaker considers to be more rabble-rousers than scholars.
Although the words Maulvi and Maulana are interchanged in the Indian Subcontinent as a title of respect, Maulana is more often associated with formal qualification following study at a madrassa or darul uloom and Maulvi is usually more a general title for religious figures.
In Bangladesh, in the government Aliyah madrassa system, Maulvi is also associated with formal degrees for those who have passed the course of Maulvi (basic), Maulvi Alim (intermediate) or Maulvi Fazil (advanced).