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Preachers (Khaţībs) And Prayer Leaders (Imāms)

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Chapter Summary

This chapter is devoted to the personnel of the mosque, and seeks to find out whether Khaṭῑbs and Imāms did indeed enjoy moral authority in the eyes of medieval Syrian Muslims, and in what ways they exercised that authority. Ideally - that is, in the early Muslim state as constructed in Islamic collective memory - the Friday-noon sermon (khuṭba) was the duty and prerogative of the caliph. Since preaching on Fridays was not a full-time job, almost every khaṭῑb busied himself with other occupations during his term of appointment. Some pursued their scholarly work. The chapter further deals with Imāms: their social and religious status, rights and obligations, and their rapport with the praying-congregation. The position of Imāma, was often passed on from father to son (or uncle to nephew), sometimes from master to disciple.

Keywords: Imāms; Khaṭῑbs; khuṭba; mosque; religious scholars; Syrian Muslims



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