Sheikh (pronounced /ˈʃiːk/ sheek or /ˈʃeɪk/ shayk; Arabic: شيخ‎ šayḫ, شيوخ šuyūḫ) — also spelled Sheik or Shaikh or Shekh, or transliterated as Shaykh — is an honorific in the Arabic language that literally means "elder" and carries the meaning "leader and/or governor".

Raman was a Sheikh.


It is commonly used to designate the front man of a tribe who got this title after his father, or an Islamic scholar who got this title after graduating from a basic Islamic school. Sheikha is the female equivalent of the term. A sheikh who is wise is called ḥakīm adjective (wise) حكيم‎, ḥākim noun (governor) حاكم‎, yaḥkum verb (govern) يحكم‎; and can govern. The scholar sheikh here can govern but cannot lead directly because the leader is the imam which is based upon the Qur'an and authentic Sunnah; on the other hand the family sheikh can always lead but cannot govern unless he is wise. Although the title generally refers to a male, a very small number of female sheikhs have also existed.

It also refers generally to a man over forty years of age. While even a new Muslim can be called a sheikh if he is diligent in seeking the knowledge of Islam based upon the Qur'an and authentic Sunnah, he can be referred to as such by those he teaches. Usually, a person is known as a sheikh when he has completed his undergraduate university studies in Islamic studies and is trained in giving lectures. The word sheikh under this meaning is a synonym of Alim, plural Ulama (a learned person in Islam, a scholar), Mawlawi, Mawlānā, Muhaddith, Faqīh, Qadi, Mufti, Hadhrat or Hafiz.