Honorific title, derived from Arabic ustādh: ‘master’, for a Muslim master musician in India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iran and neighbouring regions.
The term is also used for Indian musicians originating from the North of the country. The term is applied only to males, and is also used for a highly regarded teacher, writer, poet or visual artist.
To be called an ustād implies that one has studied over a long period of time and that one has a circle of students.
The title Ustād, preceding the musician's name is used within classical music genres. It may be awarded by an official committee or may come into gradual use, applied generally and informally through social consensus.