Muhammad Akram deposited The Authority of Ulama and the Problem of Anti-State Militancy in Pakistan on Humanities Commons 2 years, 2 months ago
Pakistan’s religious leaders, ulama, have been put under significant strain in relation to how to deal with questions about the political tensions and violence over the past decade flowing from the Taliban’s role in the conflict in Afghanistan and Pakistan. The effects of this fraught environment on religious authority can be seen through the way that religious leaders have issued contradictory and opaque fatawa (non-binding, but highly influential, legal opinions). This article particularly considers the way that different fatwa-giving religious groups, such as Deobandis, Brevalis, and Ahl-i-Hadith, have dealt with these problems. The violence, which has struck the heart of Pakistan civil society, has led to a confusing array of fatawa from these religious elites. These opinions have sought to categorize violence as either legitimate or to be condemned. This article, therefore, shows how these fatawa and the conflicting positions they have taken compromised religious authority in contemporary Pakistan.