sheikh

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sheikh

, sheik in Muslim countries
a. the head of an Arab tribe, village, etc.
b. a high priest or religious leader, esp a Sufi master

Sheikh

 

among Arab nomads the head or leader of a clan, tribe, or tribal alliance. In Islamic countries the term also acquired the general meaning of a venerable man; it is most often applied to leaders of Muslim sects and dervish orders (equivalent terms are “pir” and ’”murshid”), prominent theologians, and Muslim jurists. On the southern Arabian Peninsula and in the area of the Persian Gulf, several small states are ruled by sheikhs.