Weber and islamic sects

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

3 Scopus citations


This chapter begins by attempting to pin down Max Weber’s distinction between church and sect. It looks at the way in which Weber himself applies his distinction in the Islamic context-in so far as he does so. Weber clearly thought that Islamic sects existed, but beyond that he gives us little guidance. If Sunni Islam is perhaps a bit too congregational to be a convincing Weberian church, Shi’ite Islam has too much of a tendency to hierarchy to be convincing as a Weberian sect or sects. The conditions under which the Kharijite communities of early Islam took shape were a different story. Several factors conspired to make it commonplace for a group to extricate itself physically from a society perceived as religiously alien, and to embark on a political life of its own, often in violent confrontation with the rulers of the society it had left.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationMax Weber and Islam
PublisherTaylor and Francis
Number of pages8
ISBN (Electronic)9781351289832
ISBN (Print)1560004002, 9781560004004
StatePublished - Jan 1 2019

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Arts and Humanities
  • General Social Sciences


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