The Worlds Religions: Islam (The World's Religions) by Peter Clarke

By Peter Clarke

The theological and philosophical bases of the ideals are in actual fact offered with their heritage, improvement, expression and daily perform. it's written by way of overseas experts in a scholarly yet non-technical kind.

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Typically, the chief families would provide the principal merchants, the principal landlords, and the principal ulema, including the qadi. Divided by faction, allied or opposed to the wali, the members of this class formed an influential elite respected for its tradition of Islamic scholarship and largely hereditary monopoly of office as imams or prayer-leaders, khatibs or preachers, judges and notaries (udul, sing. adl), and muftis or jurists. The equivalent of this scholarly, sociable Islam in the tribal countryside was provided by the shaykhs of the Ibadites in the oases and villages of the Sahara and its Ifriqiyan borders.

It was structured by religion in all kinds of ways—by the Islamic observances of prayers, fasting and feasts; by Islamic rules of marriage and inheritance which governed the patriarchal family; and by the Islamic character of the administration. This was the responsibility of the three officers required by Law: the wali or governor on behalf of the sultan; the qadi or judge; and the muhtasib or market inspector on behalf of the qadi. Their duties were minimal rather than maximal: to keep the peace and collect taxes; to give judgement in court; and to ensure fair trading.

Militancy and zeal were by no means dead, but expressed within a new framework. That framework was the rural equivalent of Islam in the social order of the city, where a scholarly class set the tone of society, and that tone was the faith. Maraboutism in the countryside gathered up all previous beliefs and practices into a form of religion increasingly identical to the social structure of the countryside and its traditional outlook. Within the long-standing animist tradition, for example, the marabout became a legendary figure associated with the supernatural quality of nature located in places and things.

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