Ustād or Ostād (abbreviated as Ust., Ut. or Ud.; from Persian استاد) is an honorific title for a man used in the Middle East, South Asia and Southeast Asia. It is used in various languages of the Muslim World, including Persian, Urdu, Hindi, Bengali, Dhivehi, Punjabi, Pashto, Turkish, Indonesian, Malay and Kurdish.


The title precedes the name and was historically usually used for well-regarded teachers and artists.

It could also be translated into meaning 'master' or 'maestro,' hence apprentices refer to their teachers as ustad for a lifetime to show the appreciation of teaching them the art.

Aside from the honorific, the word is generally used by its literal meaning to refer to any teacher, master or expert in Urdu, Bengali, Punjabi, and Hindi.

In Persian and in the Arabic-speaking world, it also refers to a university professor.

The title, however, is only used for qualified Islamic scholars in Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, and Singapore. It is a direct equivalent of terms such as Shaykh in the Arab world, and Mawlānā in the Indian Subcontinent. In the Maldives, the title is used by people who are licensed to practice law in the Maldives.

See alsoEdit


  • Baily, John (2001). "Ustād". In Sadie, Stanley (ed.). The New Grove dictionary of music and musicians (2nd ed.). London: Macmillan Publishers. ISBN 0-333-60800-3.
  • Platts dictionary