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Introduction

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Chapter Summary

This is the introductory chapter of the book, which deals with Sunni ʿulamaʾ (men of knowledge) in the modern Middle East, who acquired their formal religious training and credentials in established madrasas and religious colleges, and were identifiable by their attire of cloaks and turbans (ʿamaʾim). The book seeks as far as is possible to redraw the blurred lines and better delineate the religious scholar within the modern Islamic spectrum. Throughout Muslim history, the ʿulamaʾ served as the gatekeepers of Islamic learning, constituting one of the pillars of the social order in the Muslim lands. The social base of the ʿulamaʾ was diverse, but their religious knowledge enabled them to emerge as a distinctive group possessing legal expertise and control over ceremonies and fatwas, as a means to guide the believer along the right path.

Keywords: fatwas; madrasas; Middle East; Muslim lands; Sunni ʿulamaʾ

10.1163/ej.9789004169531.i-342.6
/content/books/10.1163/ej.9789004169531.i-342.6
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