ulema

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English[edit]

Alternative forms[edit]

Etymology[edit]

From Arabic علماء (‘ulamā’), plural of عالم (‘ālim, learned one).

Pronunciation[edit]

  • IPA(key): /ˈʊləmə/, /ˈuːlɪmə/, /uːləˈmɑː/

Noun[edit]

ulema (plural only)

  1. (plural only) The guardians of legal and religious tradition in Islam; clerics.
    • 1850, Archibald Alison, The Decline of Turkey, Essays, Political, Historical, and Miscellaneous, Volume 2, page 458,
      In process of time, the whole monopoly of the ulema centred in a certain number of families; and their constant residence at the capital, to which they return at the expiration of their term of office, has maintained their power to the present day.
    • 1999, Margaret L. Meriwether. The Kin Who Count: Family and Society in Ottoman Aleppo, 1770-1840, page 145,
      Perhaps surprisingly, ulema families were less likely to intermarry with other ulema families than merchant families were to intermarry with other merchant families.
    • 2000, Karen Armstrong, The Battle for God, 2004, Harper, page 131,
      For the time being, the faithful must follow their own consciences and learn to distinguish good from evil by themselves, instead of relying on the ulema.
    • 2006, Madeline C. Zilfi, 10: The Ottoman ulema, Suraiya Faroqhi (editor), The Cambridge History of Turkey, page 209,
      The problem of sources can be offset by limiting the scope of generalisation - not all ulema, for example, but those who are retrievable or in some way representative of the sources if not of society.
    • 2009, Ron Eduard Hassner, War on Sacred Grounds, page 143,
      By virtue of their influence and their historical allegiance to the royal household, the ulema form one of three power centers of the kingdom, alongside the members of the royal court and the heads of the major tribes.