The Sultan’s Muslim Scholars

By: Hazza Abu Rabia Abu Rabia  

In 2017, Mohammed bin Salman has pledged to change Saudi Arabia. According to Prince Salman, Saudi Arabia must return to a moderate form of Islam. This includes removing religious bans place on is citizens, and allowing women to drive, open cinemas, play cards, and to attend concerts. To openly practice a religion other than Islam is illegal and will result in prosecution. Saudi citizens are required to strictly adhere to sharia law based on Wahhabism ideology, and all other form of Islam and Islamic branches or teaching were forbidden and attacked. Today, many Muslim Scholars are employed by the regimes in the Arab world and their mission is to tailor Fataw based on the needs of the political leaders and the leaders’ mood. Before the emerging of the new nation states in the Middle East, scholars in most of the Arab world carefully kept their distance from the ruling class. This changed when the colonial powers left or were removed by local leaders and nation states were created. From WW2 onwards, the new local government co-opted large groups of scholars, usually over a hundred at a time, and employed them in a hierarchical bureaucracy to fulfill educational, legal and administrative tasks. In this paper we will explore how the ruling governments in the Middle East gradually transformed of independent Muslim scholars into scholar-bureaucrats, including the deliberate legal, bureaucratic and architectural actions of the governments and rulers, and how combination of Islam and politics shaped the modern Muslim beliefs, culture, and society.

Muslim Scholars Politics
The Politics of Religion
Paper Presentation in a Themed Session

Hazza Abu Rabia Abu Rabia

Professor, International Studies and Language, Central Connecticut State University, United States
CONNECTICUT, United States