What Is an Islamic Priest Called?

The Islamic religion does not have a defined clergy like the Christian church. Any man may lead prayers or perform the tasks that Christians reserve for the priesthood.

Among the Sunni Muslims, the closest title to “priest” is the “imam khatib.” This term is a combination of two other terms. “Imam” is the leader of a congregational prayer, and “khatib” is akin to a preacher of sermons, or “khutba,” which are prayers recited at midday every Friday. The term “imam” comes from the early days of Islam when learned men led prayer and gave sermons. Its literal meaning is “one who stands in front.”