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What exactly is the meaning of the word "maula" ( مَوْلَى )


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Author Topic: What exactly is the meaning of the word "maula" ( مَوْلَى )  (Read 938 times)
N. Truth Seeker
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« on: January 25, 2021, 09:14:01 pm »




How would you elucidate its definition?   Is it okay to give this title to humans?    Personally I don't think so. 
 
We do know that the word mawla or maula is derived from the root 'wly' (ولي‎) meaning "to be close to" or "to be friends with" or "to have power."

The plural is  مَوَالِي

This will be our agenda in our next discussion session through zoom.    Would like to have your opinion.  

As-Salam Alaykom Wa Rehmatullahi Wa Barakatuhu




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Zainab_M
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« Reply #1 on: January 25, 2021, 09:34:53 pm »




Walaikum As-Salaam brother TS.


Yes.   Its root is the Arabic word "wali" which means friend, guide, to be close to.  It can be interpreted in various ways and has over 20 meanings such as master, protector, friend, owner of a slave or judge.

If this word is used for humans, it should only refer to them with the intention of a "friend" or "guardian" or a human master or protector who does not have unlimited powers.   A Muslim should NEVER utter the word "maula" for humans with the intention of infinite power to help.  Needless to say, that is only the prerogative of Allah The Almighty and none else.

The term 'maula' must never be given to any human being based on their status of earthly power.  Such a practice invariably leads to elevating human status to levels of divinity which is completely Haram. 

Misguided and so-called Muslims sometimes attribute the the word 'maula' for deceased spiritual leaders as if their soul has the power to help.  Again needless to say, this notion is absolutely and completely Haram!   It amounts to indulgence in shirk by turning for help and assistance to other than Allah The Almighty.   Whether the person is dead or alive, no one should be looked upon as a source of infinite power and help with spiritual reverence which amounts to attributing humans the status of The Almighty.   In my opinion, to stay on the right path without any risks of blundering, this word should not be used for human beings at all, whether alive or deceased.   There are lots of other words one can use instead like wali, friend, guardian, teacher, leader etc.  All these words strictly denote a wise and literate human being who can give good advise and whatever help that's humanly possible.   That's it.  Nothing beyond.

In the Noble Quran the word "maula" is used for Allah Almighty in several Verses.  You can check those Verses which are: Verses  3:150,  6:62,  9:51,  10:30,  57:15.


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« Reply #2 on: January 25, 2021, 09:41:39 pm »



Subhan'Allah.   Thanks Sister Zeynab.    That was a very complete feedback and to the point. 
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« Reply #3 on: January 25, 2021, 09:51:20 pm »



Some uneducated clerics in Pakistan and other parts of South Asia have taken this the honorific title of “Maulana” for themselves (which means "our protector, our lord, our master").  It has the most serious un-Islamic connotation of placing another with The Almighty.  In other words, the connotation implies shirk.  “Maulana” is a compound word – ' maula' which has already been explained and 'na' which means 'our.'  According to correct and true Islamic rules, this is applicable to Allah Almighty only.

This word is used twice in the Noble Quran and refers to Allah The Almighty indicating that it must refer to Him only and none else.

“Rabana…anta maulana fansoorna alal qaumil Kaafireen"  (2:286).
Translation:  "Our Rab…You are our Protector/ Rab/ Master, so grant us victory over the disbelievers


“Huwa maulana; wa alal Laahi fal yatawakkalil Mu’minoon"  (9:51).
Translation:   "He (Allah) is our Protector/ Rab/ Master, And on Allah let the Believers rely"



In no other parts of the world is the word 'maulana' used as honorific title for humans.  In Middle East (or West Asia) they use the title "shaikh" which means 'head' or "ustad" which means 'teacher.'   In Iran they use the term "imam" (leader).  

So, be careful never to use the word maulana for humans either.



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« Reply #4 on: January 25, 2021, 09:56:22 pm »




Again, excellent point for feedback, Sister Ruhi.   Thanks.


Basically, intention plays a big role.  If you refer to a person as your "master" with the mere intent of an academic teacher or someone who taught you to be a good human being according to the Laws of Allah, without at all elevating the status of that person to anything other than a human being, then it's fine.  It's only when the use of certain words insinuate idolizing humans with reverence to raise them beyond humans is the Haram aspect of the approach. 



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« Reply #5 on: January 25, 2021, 09:57:56 pm »



Very correct brother.
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« Reply #6 on: January 25, 2021, 10:00:27 pm »



That's a very relevant point you mentioned Sister Ruhi. 




Basically, intention plays a big role.  If you refer to a person as your "master" with the mere intent of an academic teacher or someone who taught you to be a good human being according to the Laws of Allah, without at all elevating the status of that person to anything other than a human being, then it's fine.  It's only when the use of certain words insinuate idolizing humans with reverence to raise them beyond humans is the Haram aspect of the approach. 



Spot on brother.  Agree totally.


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