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1 - The Clerics and the Council

Contesting Religious Authority

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  20 October 2020

Mashal Saif
Affiliation:
Clemson University, South Carolina
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Summary

This chapter challenges the commonly held assumption that the ‘ulama have been displaced by their Islamic nation-states. I demonstrate the clerics’ contemporary relevance by interrogating conjunctures of dispute and rivalry between Pakistani Sunni ‘ulama and their state’s religious arms, particularly the Council of Islamic Ideology (CII). The CII is a constitutional body charged with advising the president, Parliament and Provincial Assemblies on how to Islamize the legislation and the country more broadly. At the chapter’s heart lie recent debates between the CII and the ‘ulama over women’s rights. Through exploring these contestations, I assert that despite challenges from the state’s religious institutions, the ‘ulama retain their religious authority and prestige. I highlight how Pakistani ‘ulama – some with and some without affiliations with the state apparatus – partake in constituting and cultivating the state by pressuring political functionaries to acquiesce to their demands. In concluding, I use the ‘ulama’s discourses and demands to comment on the nature of the Pakistani public sphere and how religious authority operates in that sphere. Finally, by drawing on ‘ulama–state debates on the rights of women, I propose a novel manner of appraising the function of the Council of Islamic Ideology, particularly during 2006–2008.

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Chapter
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The 'Ulama in Contemporary Pakistan
Contesting and Cultivating an Islamic Republic
, pp. 37 - 75
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2020

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  • The Clerics and the Council
  • Mashal Saif, Clemson University, South Carolina
  • Book: The <I>'Ulama</I> in Contemporary Pakistan
  • Online publication: 20 October 2020
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108885034.002
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  • The Clerics and the Council
  • Mashal Saif, Clemson University, South Carolina
  • Book: The <I>'Ulama</I> in Contemporary Pakistan
  • Online publication: 20 October 2020
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108885034.002
Available formats
×

Send book to Google Drive

To send content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about sending content to Google Drive.

  • The Clerics and the Council
  • Mashal Saif, Clemson University, South Carolina
  • Book: The <I>'Ulama</I> in Contemporary Pakistan
  • Online publication: 20 October 2020
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108885034.002
Available formats
×