Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n.pl. Muslim scholars trained in Islam and Islamic law.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. The guardians of legal and religious tradition in Islam; clerics.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A college or body composed of the hierarchy (the imams, or ministers of religion, the muftis, or doctors of law, and the cadis, or administrators of justice). That of Turkey alone now has political power; its head is the sheik ul Islam.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. The Moslem doctors of sacred law and theological science, especially those belonging to the religious hierarchy of the Turkish empire, with the Sheik ul Islam at their head: a collective term.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. the body of Mullahs (Muslim scholars trained in Islam and Islamic law) who are the interpreters of Islam's sciences and doctrines and laws and the chief guarantors of continuity in the spiritual and intellectual history of the Islamic community

Etymologies

Turkish 'ulemā, from Arabic 'ulamā', wise men, pl. of 'ālim, wise, learned, active participle of 'alima, to know; see ʿlm in Semitic roots.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Arabic علماء (‘ulamā’), plural of عالم (‘ālim) ‘learned one’. (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • Kandahar clerics sympathetic to the Taliban, however, say they understand why the Islamic scholars, known as ulema, are being targeted.

    Taliban Gag Kandahar's Clerics to Keep Grip on City

  • This theme has ample support in the Koran, hadith, and rulings of the ulema, that is, usul al-fiqh (roots of Muslim jurisprudence).

    Jihad Watch

  • All that matters is what do Allah (via the Koran) and his prophet Muhammad (through the Hadith) have to say about any given thing; and how Islam's greatest theologians and jurists-collectively known as the ulema, literally, the "ones who know" - have articulated it.

    Jihad Watch

  • By the whole nation, I mean its people, its scholars, its 'ulema', its judiciary and law enforcement, i.e. each and every segment of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan is equally responsible for his fate.

    Welcome to Islam-Watch

  • Atatürk created the Turkish nation-state by imposing a secularist constitution; adopting a secular legal system based on French and Belgian models; outlawing Islamic dress; expelling the traditional scholars of Islamic law ( 'ulema') from public office; forbidding polygamy; and rooting out Arabic words from Turkish and adopting the Latin alphabet, thus cutting the language off from its cultural antecedents.

    Augean Stables

  • A call from some ulema, or religious councils, for a ban on smoking will be discussed at the meeting in Padang Panjang, around 870 km (540 miles) north west of the capital Jakarta.

    Indonesia Islamic body to mull ban on smoking and yoga

  • The ulema are men and women versed in Islamic law.

    Islamic scholars to Libyans: It's a religious duty to rebel

  • In Gadhafi's interpretation of Islam, both the role of the ulema (clerics) and the Hadith (the sayings of the Prophet) are delegitimized.

    Gadhafi's Utopian Ideology

  • The self-proclaimed guardians of Pakistan's morality, the ulema i.e. religious right, has been silent on these atrocities.

    Samia Khan Bambrah: The Courage To Redefine Pakistan

  • On July 5, two activists debated a member of the ulema on national TV on tolerance.

    Samia Khan Bambrah: The Courage To Redefine Pakistan

Wordnik is becoming a not-for-profit! Read our announcement here.

Comments

Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.