Sheikh, also rendered as Sheik, Shaykh, Shaikh, Shekh, Cheikh, Šeih, Šejh, Şeyh and other variants (Arabic: شيخ, shaykh; pl. شيوخ shuyūkh), is a word or honorific term in the Arabic language that literally means "elder." It is commonly used to designate an elder of a tribe, a revered wise man, or an Islamic scholar. Although the title generally refers to a male, a very small number of female sheikhs have also existed in history.
Foreign Muslim origin
In South Asia, the term Shaikh may refer to immigrants from Middle East origins that exist mostly in India, Bangladesh, and also in regions of Pakistan, and Jammu and Kashmir. In South Asia caste system, Shaikh along with Saiyyid are considered higher castes in Indian Muslim caste system.
The subdivisions of the Shaikh include:
- Shaikh Qidwai, descendants of the Qazi Qidwa, a son of the Sultans of Rum
- Shaikh Hashmi, members of the Banu Hashim clan of the Banu Quraish tribe. The Islamic prophet, Muhammad belonged to this clan. Usually carry the title Sayyid or Sharif
- Shaikh Siddiqui, descendants of Abu Bakar, the first Khalifa of Islam
- Shaikh Usmani (Osmani), descendants of Uthman Ibn Affan the third Khalifa of [[Islam]
- Shaikh Farooqi, Honorific reverence to Umar Farooq Bin Al-Khattab
- Javed Sheikh, Pakistani Actor.
- Farooq Sheikh, Indian actor (Bollywood and theatre), television presenter and philanthropist.
- Shaikh Ayaz, Sindhi poet of Pakistan.
- Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, Bengali statesman and leader of the Bangladesh independence movement.
- Sheikh Abdullah Kashmiri politician and statesman.
- Sheikh Rasheed Ahmad Pakistani Politician