Shaykh al-Islām

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Shaykh al-Islām (Sheikh ul-Islam, Sheikhul Islam, Shaikh al-Islam, Şeyhülislam) is an honorific title used for outstanding scholars of the Islamic sciences [1]:399[2] and was first used in Khurasan towards the end of the 4th Islamic century.[1]:399 Later it became a prestigious position in the Ottoman Empire, that governed religious affairs of the Muslims.[1]:400

List of scholars who received the title "Shaykh al-Islam"

The title shaykh al-Islam was reserved for very few scholars, those with the greatest merits. The following Islamic scholars were granted the title "Shaykh al-Islam":

In the Ottoman Empire

During the Ottoman empire, which controlled much of the Sunni Islamic world from the 14th to the 20th centuries, the Grand Mufti was given the title Shaykh al-Islam. The Ottomans had a strict hierarchy of ulama, with the Sheikh ul-Islam holding the highest rank. A Sheikh ul-Islam was chosen by a royal warrant amongst the qadis of important cities. The Sheikh ul-Islam had the power to confirm new sultans, but once the sultan was affirmed, it was the sultan who retained a higher authority than the Sheik ul-Islam. The Sheikh ul-Islam issued fatwas, which were written interpretations of the Quran that had authority over the community. The Sheikh ul-Islam represented the law of shariah and in the 16th century its importance rose which led to increased power. Sultan Murad appointed a Sufi, Yayha, as his Sheikh ul-Islam during this time which led to violent disapproval. The objection to this appointment made obvious the amount of power the Sheikh ul-Islam had, since people were afraid he would alter the traditions and norms they were living under by issuing new fatwas.

The office of Shaykh al-Islam was abolished in 1924, at the same time as the Ottoman Caliphate. After the National Assembly of Turkey was established in 1920, this office was in the Shar’iyya wa Awqaf Ministry until 1924, when the Ministry was abolished due to separation of religion from state, the office was replaced by the Presidency of Religious Affairs. As the successor entity to the office of the Sheikh al-Islam, the Presidency of Religious Affairs is the most authoritative entity in Turkey in relation to Sunni Islam.

Current

Recent people claiming title are listed by country below.

Tunisia

Egypt

Bangladesh

India

Pakistan

Thailand

In Thailand, the Shaykh al-Islām is called Chularatchamontri (Thai: จุฬาราชมนตรี). Pursuant to the Islamic Organ Administration Act, BE 2540 (1997), Chularatchamontri is appointed by the King upon advice of the Prime Minister. He has the authority to administer all Islamic affairs in the Nation and to provide advice on Islamic affairs to government agencies. Chularatchamontri vacates his office upon death, resignation and removal by the King upon advice of the Prime Minister.

Gallery

See also

References

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External links