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Ulama: Sunni

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The Oxford Dictionary of Islam What is This? Covers the religious, political, and social spheres of global Islam in the modern world

    Ulama: Sunni

    Men of knowledge (sing., alim). Refers to those who have been trained in religious sciences (Quran, hadith, fiqh, etc.). In the colonial and postcolonial world, alim can also mean a scientist in the secular sense. Formulators of Islamic theology and law in the classical age. In the modern era, the ulama's sphere of operation is confined to the mosque and the madrasa. As imam of the local mosque, an alim leads daily prayers, delivers the Friday sermon, and teaches children the basics of Islamic law and Quranic recitation. On occasions of birth, death, and marriage, he may also be called upon for prayers or for help in performing the rituals themselves. In rural areas, an alim may be the most educated or wisest man in the area, but not necessarily formally trained; in urban centers, ulama generally possess some sort of credentials or formal education.

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