An essay by Ron Shaham on the analyses of Western scholar's regarding the possibility of the ulama developing new Shari 'a-based legal theory concludes "that the probability of the Islamic theory of law being updated by the 'ulama' is low" (p.
"The harsh verdict of Islamists on modern Arab 'ulama', together with the slighting treatment of them in Western research, borders to a large extent on historical injustice" (p.
Muhammad Abu Samra examines the "engagement of the 'ulama' with the liberal discourse" involving "a critical reinterpretation of Islam" (pp.
The 'ulama's support, meanwhile, did not come without a price.
The Shah rewarded the 'ulama in two additional ways.
Because for the 'ulama the line separating the two sides was primarily a religious one, these references are to Muslims and Christians.
between "radical modernist" and "extreme conservatives."  Though al-Muzaffar was an 'ulama (mujtahid), his efforts can be recognized in the context of popularization of Islamic reform movements, when we see the reaction of the Shi'i religious establishment in Najaf toward Muntada, which "did not recognize the Muntada as a true madrasa" until Isfahani issued a fatwa for its recognition after several years.
Here we can shed light on the role of Shi'i 'ulama intervening onto the political stage through its history.
Al-Hizb al-Ja'fari and Munazzamat al-Shabab, both of which were founded by notable families of 'ulama in Holy Cities, might have succeeded the tradition of local politics in Shi'i society to some extent.
This is, of course, to do no more than reiterate the conclusions of Joan Gilbert, who wrote in 1980 in her study of the 'ulama' of twelfth and thirteenth-century Damascus, "Nor was the education of state bureaucrats, except for qadis, and deputy qadis, who occupied a special position between religious scholarship and state service, a principal function of madrasas in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries.
Also puzzling is Ephrat's opposition of her thesis that "the 'ulama' of Baghdad enjoyed an autonomous role in the city's public sphere throughout the Seljuq period" to the dominant thesis that madrasas gave "the political rulers influence over the 'ulama'." To my mind, there is no contradiction whatever between the two statements--at least there is none if we avoid a heavy-handed understanding of the agenda of the various component groups in the Saljuq state who established madrasas as having been to dominate the 'ulama' into doing their bidding (5) and instead focus on trying to understand the madrasas as, in part, a new mechanism through which the ruling classes sought more effectively to establish patronage relations with willing elements among the learned classes.
A further difficulty is how to reconcile Ephrat's statement that "it was not around madrasas that scholarly groupings were formed" with her own statement in almost the same breath that "the rise and proliferation of madrasas in Baghdad served to consolidate a small local elite of legal experts whose members utilized the new schools for their own needs." One such elite she cites were the Hanafi 'ulama' family of the Damaghanis who established themselves as a dynasty of Hanafi qadis in the service of the state, and came to have their own patronage network controlling appointments to madrasa teaching positions.