Who speaks for Islam? To whom do Muslims turn when they look for guidance? To what extent do individual scholars and preachers exert religious authority, and how can it be assessed? The upsurge of Islamism has lent new urgency to these questions, but they have deeper roots and a much longer history, and they certainly should not be considered in the light of present concerns only.
The present volume – grown out of an international symposium at the Free University, Berlin in 2002 – is not so much concerned with religious
authority, but with religious
authorities, men and women claiming, projecting and exerting religious authority within a given context. It addresses issues such as the relationship of knowledge, conduct and charisma, the social functions of the schools of law and theology, and the efforts on the part of governments and rulers to organize religious scholars and to implement state-centred hierarchies.
The volume focuses on Middle Eastern Muslim majority societies in the period from the eighteenth to the twentieth centuries, and the individual papers offer case studies elucidating important aspects of the wider phenomenon. Individually and collectively, they highlight the scope and variety of religious authorities in past and present Muslim societies.
Gudrun Krämer is Professor of Islamic Studies at the Free University, Berlin. She has published extensively on Middle Eastern history, Islamic movements and Islamic political thought.
Sabine Schmidtke is Professor of Islamic Studies at the Free University, Berlin. She has published extensively on Islamic and Jewish intellectual history.
Introduction: Religious Authority and Religious Authorities in Muslim Societies. A Critical Overview
Gudrun Krämer and Sabine Schmidtke
“This day have I perfected your religion for you”: A Ẓāhirī Conception of Religious Authority
The Epistemology of Excellence: Sunni-Shiʿi Dialectics on Legitimate Leadership
The Relationship between Chief
Qāḍī and Chief
Dāʿī under the Fatimids
Paul E. Walker
Forms and Functions of ‘Licences To Transmit’ (
Ijāzas) in 18th-Century-Iran: ʿAbd Allāh al-Mūsawī al-Jazāʾirī al-Tustarī’s (1112–73/1701–59)
Ijāza Kabīra Sabine Schmidtke
Asserting Religious Authority in late 19th/early 20th Century Morocco: Muḥammad b. Jaʿfar al-Kattānī (d. 1927) and his
Kitāb Salwat al-Anās Bettina Dennerlein
Consensus and Religious Authority in Modern Islam: The Discourses of the
ʿUlamāʾ Muhammad Qasim Zaman
Drawing Boundaries: Yūsuf al-Qarḍāwī on Apostasy
A Doctrine in the Making?
Velāyat-e faqīh in Post-Revolutionary Iran
Religious Authority in Transnational Sufi Networks: Shaykh Nāẓim al-Qubrusī al-Ḥaqqānī al-Naqshbanī
The Modern Dede: Changing Parameters for Religious Authority in Contemporary Turkish Alevism
Al those interested in Islamic societies and history of ideas.