Misuse of the word “maulana

This is with reference to the letter “Misuse of the word “maulana” (DAWN, August 25). The meanings of most words change, particularly when borrowed by other languages. The word “maulana” may mean “’lord” or “master” in Arabic, but in the subcontinent it is used to describe a scholar, particularly a scholar of Islam. Had it been otherwise, the great Abul Ala Maudoodi would certainly have objected to being called “Maulana Maudoodi”. The fact that he didn’t object supports my contention. Another example of how words change in meaning is provided by the Arabic word “sharab”, which in ancient Arabic meant “alcohol or alcoholic drink”, but in modern Arabic denotes any sweet liquid, even though in Urdu it still means any alcoholic drink .

Printed in DAWN, August 27, 2013