The New International Encyclopædia/Mollah

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MOL'LAH (more properly maula, Turkish pronunciation mevla, from Ar. walaya, to be near). Among the Turks, the title of a superior judge. The mollahs are divided into two classes. Those in the first class exercise jurisdiction over the more important pashaliks. The mollahs of the second class hold office for a lunar month at a time, and their lowest rank is composed of the naibs over the inferior provinces, towns, and villages. The mollah is an expounder of civil, criminal, and canon law; he must, therefore, be a lawyer as well as an ecclesiastic. Under him is the qadi (or kadi), judge who administers the law, and superior to him are the kadilesker and the mufti (q.v.). They are all, however, subject to the Sheikh ul-Islam, who is the supreme mufti. In Persia, the office of mollah, who is generally called akhūn, is similar to what it is in Turkey. This superior there is the ‘sadr,’ or chief of the mollahs.