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Les oulémas/soufis dans l'inde moghole: anthropologie historique de religieux musulmans

Marc Gaborieau
Annales. Histoire, Sciences Sociales
44e Année, No. 5 (Sep. - Oct., 1989), pp. 1185-1204
Published by: EHESS
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/27582639
Page Count: 20
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Les oulémas/soufis dans l'inde moghole: anthropologie historique de religieux musulmans
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Abstract

This article attempts to establish a model for the study of the roles played by highranking religious specialists in Muslim India up until the end of the 18th century: the oulemas or doctors of Low, devoted to the study of the exoteric sciences, and the soufis, mystics versed in the esoteric sciences. The first section of the article critizes current interpretations which strongly oppose oulemas and soufis as anachronistic; they read recent political issues into the past, erroneosly postulating continuity between the 18th and 20th centuries. It must be recognized, on the contrary, that the beginning of the 19th century marked a break that was due less to British presence than to the emergence of the fundamentalist Islam of the Wahhabites. Taking this break into account, the second of the article sketches out an alternative model which stresses the close link of mystic and exoteric sciences: prior to the 19th century, oulemas and soufis formed a restricted class of scholars, grouped according to scholarly lineage; held in subordinate positions, they were little interested in having political influence or interacting in a missionary capacity.

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