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Al-Jabarti’s attitude towards the ʿUlamaʾ of his time

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Chapter Summary

The historian ʿAbd al-Rahman al-Jabarti, scion of an eminent family of Egyptian ʿulamaʾ, was among the few Arab historians who described in detail the status of the ʿulamaʾ, their interests and duties in Egyptian society and their function and relations with first the Mamluk and Ottoman rulers, then with the French and finally with Muhammad ʿAli. Al-Jabarti was aware that he was witnessing the last generation of pious Muslim scholars and rulers under the conventional Islamic administration-its traditional economic and military systems, its customs and moral values, and its religious attitudes towards the dhimmis and harbis. The changes he witnessed were taking place under the impact of continuous defeats of the Ottoman armies by the "infidel" European powers. This chapter discusses the five ranks of human beings created by God: the prophets; ʿulamaʾ; kings and rulers; the middle class; and those who exercise governance over themselves.

Keywords: ʿAbd al-Rahman al-Jabarti; ʿulamaʾ; Mamluk rulers; Muhammad ʿAli; Muslim scholars; Ottoman rulers; prophets



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