MULLAH (Arabic maula, a term which originally expresses the legal bond connecting a former owner with his manumitted slave, both patron and client being called maula, and thus suggests the idea of patronage), in Mahommedan countries, a learned man, a teacher, a doctor of the law, In India the term is applied to the man who reads the Koran, and also to a Mussulman schoolmaster. In countries like Afghanistan the mullahs exert an influence over the populace which sometimes rivals that of the amir himself, and they have been responsible for many disturbances in Kabul. Among the democratic tribes of the north-west frontier of India they almost take the place of a secular chief. In the Indian frontier risings of 1897-98 the " mad mullah " of Swat led the attack upon the Malakand, while the Hadda mullah was largely responsible for the risings amongst the Mohmands, Afridis and Orakzais. The leader of the risings in Somaliland in 1899-1910 was similarly known as the " mad mullah."
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)