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Clerics of IslamReligious Authority and Political Power in Saudi Arabia$
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Nabil Mouline

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780300178906

Published to Yale Scholarship Online: May 2015

DOI: 10.12987/yale/9780300178906.001.0001

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At the Crossroads

At the Crossroads

The Religious Establishment Put to the Test of the Saudi Politico-Religious Space

(p.235) 9 At the Crossroads
Clerics of Islam

Nabil Mouline

Ethan S. Rundell

Yale University Press

This chapter examines how the ulama responded to three important episodes in contemporary Saudi Arabian history: the seizure of the Grand Mosque of Mecca in 1979, the Islamist protest movement of the early 1990s, and the Jihadist threat following the September 11 2001 terrorist attacks. It explores how they tailored their response with a view to defending the symbiotic relationship they had with political power (the guarantor of their discursive hegemony) and implementing the principles of the corporation (the foundation of their ideological authority). The ulama were forced to redefine al-wala' wa al-bara' to meet the Jihadist challenge and adapt the Hanbali-Wahhabi tradition to its status as the official religion of a regional power that enjoyed influence throughout the Islamic world.

Keywords:   ulama, Islam, Grand Mosque of Mecca, Islamist protest, Jihadist threat, terrorist attacks, Hanbali-Wahhabi tradition

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