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Introduction: Religious Authority And Religious Authorities In Muslim Societies. A Critical Overview

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Chapter Summary

Religious authority is an elusive concept and difficult to define. The present volume is concerned with religious authorities, men and women claiming, projecting and exerting religious authority within a given context. The status of the sunna, the collection of reports on the sayings, deeds and practices of Muhammad as a source of religious authority is less clearly defined and more controversial. There is little argument concerning the crucial importance of the Qur'an to Islam and the Islamic tradition. Indeed, Islam may be considered the scriptural religion par excellence. The study of women in Islamic scholarship narrowly defined is slowly developing. The volume has a strong focus on Middle Eastern Muslim majority societies in the period from the eighteenth to the twentieth centuries; one paper deals with a Sufi network of Middle Eastern origin operating in the United States of America and Western Europe.

Keywords: Islam; Middle Eastern muslims; Qur'an; religious authorities; sunna; women in Islamic scholarship

10.1163/ej.9789004149496.i-310.5
/content/books/10.1163/ej.9789004149496.i-310.5
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