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"[edit]

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[edit]

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.


Recent people claiming title are listed by country below.







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.


See also[edit]


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  2. ^ Gerhard Böwering, Patricia Crone, Mahan Mirza, The Princeton Encyclopedia of Islamic Political Thought, p 509. ISBN 0691134847
  3. ^ a b c d e f Al-Dhahabi, Siyar a'lam al-nubala' ('Biographies of Noble Personalities').
  4. ^ Constructive Critics, Hadith Literature, and the Articulation of Sunni Islam by Scott C. Lucas - Page 87.
  5. ^ Yazaki, Saeko (2012). Islamic Mysticism and Abu Talib Al-Makki: The Role of the Heart. Routledge. p. 122. ISBN 0415671108. 
  6. ^ M. M. Sharif, A History of Muslim Philosophy, 1.242. ISBN 9694073405
  7. ^ Islam and Other Religions: Pathways to Dialogue by Irfan Omar
  8. ^ Jackson, Sherman (1996). Islamic Law and the State: The Constitutional Jurisprudence of Shihab Al-Din Al-Qarafi (Studies in Islamic Law & Society). Brill. p. 10. ISBN 9004104585. 
  9. ^ Allah's Names and Attributes (Islamic Doctrines & Beliefs) by Imam Al-Bayhaqi (Author), Gibril Fouad Haddad (Translator)
  10. ^ Islamic Culture - Volume 45 - Page 195
  11. ^ Correct Islamic Doctrine/Islamic Doctrine - Page 11.
  12. ^ Abu Zayd Bakr bin Abdullah, Madkhal al-mufassal ila fiqh al-Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal wa-takhrijat al-ashab. Riyadh: Dar al 'Aminah, 2007
  13. ^ Correct Islamic Doctrine/Islamic Doctrine by Ibn Khafif
  14. ^ The Biographies Of The Elite Lives Of The Scholars, Imams & Hadith Masters by Gibril Fouad Haddad
  15. ^ Mohammad Hassan Khalil, Islam and the Fate of Others: The Salvation Question, Oxford University Press, 3 May 2012, p 89. ISBN 0199796661
  16. ^ Tasawwuf al-Subki
  17. ^ Gibb, H.A.R.; Kramers, J.H.; Levi-Provencal, E.; Schacht, J. (1986) [1st. pub. 1960]. Encyclopaedia of Islam (New Edition). Volume I (A-B). Leiden, Netherlands: Brill. p. 791. ISBN 9004081143. 
  18. ^ Bosworth, C.E.; van Donzel, E.; Heinrichs, W.P.; Bearman, P.J.; Bianquis, Th. (2002). Encyclopaedia of Islam (New Edition). Volume XI (W-Z). Leiden, Netherlands: Brill. p. 406. ISBN 9004127569. 
  19. ^ Safinah Safinat al-Naja' - The Ship of Salvation
  20. ^ Timbuktu and the Songhay Empire by John O. Hunwick
  21. ^ The Archetypal Sunni Scholar: Law, Theology, and Mysticism in the Synthesis of Al-Bajuri by Aaron Spevack
  22. ^ The Prophets in Barzakh/The Hadith of Isra' and Mi'raj/The Immense Merrits of Al-Sham/The Vision of Allah by Al-Sayyid Muhammad Ibn 'Alawi
  23. ^ [Mamluk Studies Review - Volume 6 - Page 118.]
  24. ^ The Biographies Of The Elite Lives Of The Scholars, Imams & Hadith Masters by Gibril Fouad Haddad.
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  29. ^ "Unknown Islamist group flexes its muscles in Ctg". The Daily Star (Bangladesh). 25 February 2010. Retrieved 3 May 2013. 
  30. ^ "৩০ জন আহত, গ্রেপ্তার ৩৯, আট ঘণ্টা সড়ক অবরোধ চট্টগ্রামে হেফাজতে ইসলামের কর্মীদের সঙ্গে পুলিশের সংঘর্ষ (Hefajat-e-Islam clash with police at Chittagong, 30 injured and 39 arrested, road blocked for 8 hours)". Prothom Alo. 25 February 2010. Retrieved 3 May 2013. 
  31. ^
  32. ^ Nasr, Seyyed Vali Reza (1996). Mawdudi and the Making of Islamic Revivalism. Oxford University Press. ISBN 9780195357110. 
  33. ^ Adams, Maududi and the Islamic State, 1983: p.99
  34. ^ Martín, Richard C. (2004). Encyclopedia of Islam & the Muslim World. Granite Hill. p. 371. ISBN 9780028656038. 

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