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Muftīs, State and Society

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Chapter Summary

The alliance between the Saudi dynasty and the Wahhābīs has remained intact for over two hundred years, despite the many difficulties caused by changing geo-political and social conditions. The restructuring of the Saudi iftāʾ institutions in 1971, when an unprecedented number of senior muftīs were co-opted by the State Administration, is arguably indicative of the strong ties between the 'ulamā' and the State. The 'ulamā'-umarā' partnership is embodied in the basic Wahhābī doctrines of politics and governance, which introduce both the 'ulamā' and the umarā' as authority-holders (wulāt al-amr). The Government expects the muftīs to place the seal of legitimacy on its policies, while Saudi society expects them to safeguard the Sharīʿa, thereby defending Islamic rights and protecting citizens from political Abuse.

Keywords: muftīs; Saudi dynasty; Sharīʿa; ulamā; umarā; Wahhābīs



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