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Ethnicity

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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

    Ethnicity

    The Quran stresses the unity of the Islamic community and emphasizes the primacy of bonds created through Islam over those based on shared identities of kinship, region, and language—bonds that the medieval philosopher Ibn Khaldun (d. 1406 ) called asabiyyah. Nevertheless, when Muslims first conquered peoples who neither spoke Arabic nor could claim Arab descent, concerns regarding ethnicity frequently surfaced. Even today, Muslims claiming descent from Muhammad , called sharifs in North Africa and sayyids in Yemen and parts of Asia, often enjoy religious prestige and legal entitlements.

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