khawaja (Persian: خواجه xʷâjah) is an honorific title used across the Middle East, South Asia, Southeast Asia and Central Asia, particularly towards Sufi teachers.

It is also used by Kashmiri Muslims[1][2] and the Mizrahi Jews—particularly Persian Jews and Baghdadi Jews.[3] The word comes from the Iranian word khwāja (Classical Persian: خواجه khwāja; Dari khājah; Tajik khoja). In Persian, the title roughly translates to 'Lord' or 'Master'.[4]

The Ottoman Turkish pronunciation of the Persian خواجه gave rise to hodja and its equivalents such as hoca in modern Turkish, hoxha in Albanian, xoca (khoja) in Azerbaijani,[5][6] hodža in Bosnian, ходжа (khodzha) in Bulgarian, χότζας (chótzas) in Greek, hogea in Romanian, and хоџа in Serbian.

Other spellings include khaaja (Bengali) and koja (Javanese).[7]

The name is also used in Egypt and Sudan to indicate a person with a foreign nationality or foreign heritage.[8]


Ultimately derived from a Middle Indo-Aryan reflex of Sanskrit उपाध्याय (upādhyāya, “teacher; preceptor; spiritual adviser”), via Central Asian intermediaries. Various Middle Indo-Aryan reflexes are attested from all stages, including Maharashtri Prakrit 𑀉𑀯𑀚𑁆𑀛𑀸𑀅 (uvajjhāa), but the Central Asian loaning source most closely resembles an unattested *𑀯𑀸𑀚𑁆𑀛𑀸𑀅 (*vājjhāa) — matching Sindhi واجهو‎ (vājho, “Hindu schoolteacher”). The initial aspiration in Classical Persian خواجه (xwāja) is also found in Khwarezmian خواجیک‎ (xwʾjyk /xwājīk/, “venerated man”) and Chinese 和尚 (héshàng, “Buddhist monk”).[9]


See also


  1. ^ Epilogue, Vol 4, Issue 5. Epilogue -Jammu Kashmir. pp. 23–. GGKEY:JAACF25BJCD.
  2. ^ Shyam Lal Pardesi (1989). Amudarya to Vitasta: A Bird's Eye-view of Relations Between Central-Asia and Kashmir. Sangarmaal Publications. p. 15. It is most pertinent to mention here that the word Khwaja is used as mark of respect before the name of a Kashmiri Muslim shopkeeper or wholesale dealer.and dalals
  3. ^ Husain, Ruquiya K. (2004). "Khwaja Israel Sarhad: Armenian Merchant and Diplomat". Proceedings of the Indian History Congress. 65: 258–266. ISSN 2249-1937. JSTOR 44144740.
  4. ^ Potter, Lawrence G., ed. (2014). The Persian Gulf in Modern Times. New York: Palgrave Macmillan US. doi:10.1057/9781137485779. ISBN 978-1-349-50380-3.
  5. ^ Ashyrly, Akif (2005). Türkün Xocalı soyqırımı (PDF) (in Azerbaijani). Baku: Nurlan. p. 12. "Xoca" türkcə ağ-saqqal, "böyük" mənasını daşıyaraq hörmət əlamətini bildirir
  6. ^ "Xoca". Obastan (in Azerbaijani). Archived from the original on 11 February 2021. Retrieved 11 February 2021.
  7. ^ S. Robson and S. Wibisono, 2002, Javanese English dictionary ISBN 0-7946-0000-X, sv koja
  8. ^ Albaih, Khalid (2018-11-26). "Jamal Khashoggi's borrowed white privilege made his murder count | Khalid Albaih". the Guardian. Retrieved 2018-11-27.
  9. ^ Wiktionary Retrieved 17 August 2022. ((cite web)): Missing or empty |title= (help)
  10. ^ "The Khajenouri Family". The Khajenouri Family. Retrieved 26 August 2020.