Transmitters of authority and ideas across cultural boundaries, eleventh to eighteenth centuries

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There is much that the ulama of the eastern Islamic lands shared, in terms of their conceptions of the scholarly tradition and of the practices constitutive of it, with religious scholars elsewhere. This chapter examines some of the discourses and practices through which, and the contexts in which, the scholarly tradition was cultivated in what ulama like Ali al-Qari clearly recognised as a cumulative endeavour. It explores how the religious authority was asserted through these discourses and practices. All six of the collections of hadith that carry the greatest authority in Sunni Islam were compiled by third-fourth/ninth-tenth-century scholars from north-east Iran and Central Asia. Compendia of legal doctrines, agreements and disagreements as well as commentaries on such works were central to the articulation, preservation and transmission of the ulama’s discursive tradition. Certain texts gradually came to be invested with compelling authority within particular madhhabs. Medieval cosmopolitanism had its constraints, but scholarly learning remained, by far, its most important basis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationThe New Cambridge History of Islam
Subtitle of host publicationVolume 3: The Eastern Islamic World Eleventh to Eighteenth Centuries
PublisherCambridge University Press
Number of pages29
ISBN (Electronic)9781139056137
ISBN (Print)9780521850315
StatePublished - Jan 1 2010

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Arts and Humanities


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