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Download Guardians of Faith in Modern Times: 'Ulama' in the Middle by Meir Hatina PDF

By Meir Hatina

This collective quantity offers an integrative historic and modern dialogue of Sunni 'ulama' within the center East in either an city and a semi-tribal context. many of the chapters strengthen a renewed curiosity within the place of the 'ulama' nowa days and supply new insights as to their ideological energy and contribution to the general public discourse on ethical and sociopolitical matters.

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Additional info for Guardians of Faith in Modern Times: 'Ulama' in the Middle East (Social, Economic and Political Studies of the Middle East and Asia, 105)

Sample text

Ulamaʾ between the state and the society 31 they were the undisputed guardians of the Islamic norms. They did not possess political power vis-à-vis the rulers, and they could be bought or intimidated. Yet even the most determined and tyrannical sultans, such as the Mamluk sultans al-Malik al-Zahir Baybars (ruled 1260–1277) and Qansaw al-Ghawri (ruled 1501–1516) and, later, the Ottoman sultans Fatih Mehmet II (ruled 1444–1446, 1451–1481) or Yavuz Selim (ruled 1512–1520), could not bend the principles of the shariʿa to their will without being criticized and their acts of disregarding the property rights of their subjects or judicial justice being recorded in history.

46 44 michael winter The theological aspects of the two confrontations, interesting in themselves, are outside the current discussion. What concerns us here is the attitude of the ʿulamaʾ. First, they understood that the attacks on the Sufis (including the unorthodox ones) were likely to cause social unrest. Second, they were too deeply involved in Sufism to allow themselves to issue anti-Sufi fatwas. Concluding Remarks On the whole, the ʿulamaʾ in Ottoman Egypt were in no mood to endanger themselves and their interests by standing up against the rulers.

The Hanbali madhhab was the smallest legal school in Egypt; during the Ottoman period it all but disappeared from Egypt. In Greater Syria, however, the Hanbalis had sizable communities in a few Palestinians towns and, most importantly, in Damascus, where the al-Salihiyya suburb was a famous Hanbali center with distinguished madrasas and scholars. Economic Aspects Socially and economically, it is not always easy to define the place of the ʿulamaʾ between the state and society. The scholars received a similar education and training, but they were divided socially and economically.

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