Cover

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Title Page, Copyright, Dedication

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Contents

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pp. vii-viii

A Note on Transliteration

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pp. ix-x

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Preface

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pp. xi-xii

The status of the Sunni ʿulamaʾ (religious scholars; sing. ʿalim) in modern times has attracted renewed academic interest over the last decade in light of their assertiveness regarding moral and sociopolitical issues on the Arab-Muslim agenda. ...

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Introduction - ʿUlamaʾ and Modernity: A Reappraisal

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pp. 1-14

Western discourse on the status of clergy and religious functionaries in the three monotheistic creeds reflects a clear divide between their position in the premodern period and in modern times. As the custodians of learning and molders of communal identity in the premodern period, they were viewed as central to the functioning of society. ...

Part One. The ʿUlamaʾ of Egypt

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1. A Historical Sketch

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pp. 17-27

Religious knowledge was perceived in the Islamic tradition as a sanctified value. The quest to attain it was analogous to an ascetic ritual act to appease Allah. To cease studying meant to become ignorant. Islamic literature is filled with praise for the centrality of learning, as in the Qurʾan: “Question the people of the Remembrance, if it should be that you do not know” (16:43) ...

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2. Modernization and Protest

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pp. 28-40

Under Muhammad ʿAli’s rule (1805–48), which brought about the emergence of a centralized state with modern methods of control (such as the confinement, regulation, and supervision of the population), the ʿulamaʾ experienced what Daniel Crecelius has termed “the expulsion from Olympus.”1 ...

Part Two. Azharis and the ʿUrabi Revolt, 1881–1882

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3. Islam and Dissidence

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pp. 43-62

The ʿUrabi movement began as a military revolt initiated by embittered Egyptian army officers, which gradually metamorphosed into a popular proto–national liberation movement. It targeted both the Turco-Circassians, who controlled the army and the administration, and the Europeans, whose growing influence in Egyptian affairs overshadowed that of the Khedive Tawfiq. ...

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4. In Defense of Religion and Homeland

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pp. 63-79

The book Nafhat al-basham fi rihlat al-Sham (The Scent of Balsam in the Journey of Sham, 1901), written by the leader of the order, Muhammad al-Qayati, gives an instructive explanation of the motives of the Qayatiyya order in joining the ʿUrabi movement. In an introduction, al-Qayati notes that the revolt began in the wake of demands by Egyptian army officers led by Ahmad ʿUrabi to root out discrimination and despotism in the army ranks. ...

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5. Exile as a Prism for Cultural Interaction

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pp. 80-92

The sentences of exile meted out to pro-ʿUrabist ʿulamaʾ following the suppression of the revolt did not necessarily mean that they became strangers in alien lands or detached from productive intellectual endeavor. On the contrary, exile became a second home to them as a result of intercultural and personal ties maintained with colleagues in the scholarly world throughout the Middle East, ...

Part Three. Confronting a Changing World

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6. Debating Islam

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pp. 95-130

The essence of the struggle between supporters and opponents of the ʿUrabi movement within the ʿulamaʾ community centered on the issue of the duty to obey a Muslim ruler. While supporters among the ʿulamaʾ viewed the khedive as a puppet of the Christian powers and therefore as having relinquished faith — thus evoking the duty to depose him — opponents of the movement viewed him as a legitimate authority figure and the lawful representative of the Ottoman sultan. ...

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7. Al-Azhar and the Egyptian Nation-State

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pp. 131-155

Egypt’s contentious encounter with the West, marked by confrontation and challenge that led to the ʿUrabi revolt, culminated in the British conquest in 1882. Typical of their colonial style of rule, the British refrained from comprehensive reform in local society, with the exception of the economic and administrative realms essential to stabilize the functioning of the Egyptian polity. ...

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8. ʿUlamaʾ in the Middle East: A Comparative Perspective

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pp. 156-170

Egyptian history experienced modernization alongside colonialism and nationalist (or proto-nationalist) resistance at the end of the nineteenth century and beginning of the twentieth century. While this phase in its history was largely molded by Westernized elites and modernist intellectuals, the role of the ʿulamaʾ was also palpable. ...

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9. Conclusion

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pp. 171-176

During the course of the nineteenth century Egyptian society was exposed to a new ethical code — secular and Western, with a considerable hedonistic element. How did this exposure affect the ancient theological seminary al-Azhar? ...

Notes

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pp. 177-214

Bibliography

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pp. 215-238

Index

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pp. 239-244