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Faithful Dissenters: Sunni Skepticism about the Miracles of Saints

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Abstract Belief in the miracles of saints (karāmāt al-awliyāʾ) is a requirement in Sunni Islam. Challenges to this position are generally seen as limited to Islamic modernists affected by Western historical criticism. This article demonstrates that there have actually been leading Sunni Muslim scholars from the fourth/tenth century until the modern period who held positions regarding the miracles of saints that were much more skeptical than the mainstream Sunni stance. These ‘faithful dissenters’ were motivated by both theological and social concerns, and the methodologies they presented for sifting true from false miracle claims were based entirely on indigenous Islamic epistemological and textual criticism.

Affiliations: 1: Georgetown University USA


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