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MAWLA. Derived from wala ("to be close to, be friends with, have power over"), the term mawla (pl., mawali) has entered other languages as a loan word. Through history it has accrued a varied set of meanings, depending largely on whether it is used in the active or passive voice. Therefore, mawla can have the reciprocal meanings of "master" or "slave, freedman," "patron" or "client," "uncle" or "nephew," and "friend." It is an epithet of God "the Protector" in the Qur'an (e.g., 8.40, 47.11), and ...more

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