Islam, People and Power: The Sunni Traditionalists
The battle of ideas that accompanied the Arab uprisings. This week, the splits among Sunni scholars. Is rebelling against state oppression an obligation or a sin?
The anti-government protests that began in the Arab world in 2010 triggered division between the religious scholars of Islam’s largest branch – the traditional Sunnis. Some of the most senior Sunni scholars in the world held fast to the idea that revolution, and even simple protest, was forbidden in Islam. Others decided to back armed groups in Syria, though not the global jihadists of al-Qaeda and ISIS.
Presenter Safa Al Ahmad travels to Egypt to meet Dr Abbas Shouman, one of the most senior scholars at Islam’s most famous seat of learning, Al Azhar University. She also tells the story of Sheikh Ramadan al-Bouti, a famous Syrian Islamic scholar whose stance on the uprisings cost him his life.
(Photo: Anti-Government protesters in Cairo. Credit: Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images)
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