Frequently Asked Questions

'Ulama

The 'Ulama (sing. 'alim) is the body of Muslim religious scholars and chief religious authorities, members of which often serve as teachers, judges, jurists, preachers, urban and rural imams, market inspectors, and advisers in various capacities.

Abul A’la Maududi

Abul A’la Maududi (1903–1979) was an influential Islamic revivalist, Islamist thinker, prolific author and political activist, and founder of the Jamaat-e-Islami, an Islamist political organization that has profoundly shaped the Islamic character of Pakistan. Among Islamists globally, Maududi was one of the first to articulate a modern Islamic political vision and to forge a path independent of both traditional Islamic leadership (the ‘Ulama) as well as nationalist leaders. His writing and political life had an important impact on global Islamism, inspiring others across the Muslim world...

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African-Derived Religions in Brazil

African-derived religions in Brazil include, most prominently, Candomblé and Umbanda, as well as Xango, Batuque, Cantimbo, and Macumba, which are regionally associated traditions. African-derived religions have played an important role in the formation of Afro-Brazilian ethnic identities, both historically and today. Such traditions have been both celebrated and denigrated at different times and by different actors, from the Catholic Church in the post-independence era—which characterized them as evidence of “backwards” African culture and Afro-Brazilians as failing to become “true...

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Aglipayan Church, The

The Independent Philippine Church (IPC) or Aglipayan Church is a popular schismatic Catholic church founded in 1902 by the priest Gregorio Aglipay and Sr. Isabelo de los Yeyes. The schism was a function of the native Filipino clergy’s resentment of Spanish Catholic orders during the late Spanish colonial period, and received early support from some Filipino nationalists as well as American Protestants. Aglipay himself clearly underscored that the schism’s roots were in the treatment...

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Ahlu Sunna Wal Jamaa

The Ahlu Sunna Wal Jamaa (“People of the Sunna and Community,” ASWJ) is a militia that represents Somali Sufi orders in opposition to Islamist groups such as Hizb ul-Islam and al-Shabaab. In 2010, the ASWJ joined forces with the Transitional Federal Government (TSG) with the expectation that they would be granted positions cabinet positions, though not all members supported the move and some have complained that the TSG reneged...

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Ahmadiyya Movement in Nigeria, The

The Ahmadiyya Movement was founded in British India by Mirza Ghulam Ahmad (1836-1906), an Islamic reformist and mystic, who in 1891 claimed that he was a prophet, mujaddid (“renewer”), and the messiah/mahdi anticipated by Muslims. The movement split in two following the death of Ahmad’s successor, Maulana Nur ad-Din in 1914, with one group affirming Ahmad’s messianic status (The Ahmadiyya Movement in Islam) and a second group regarding him as a reformer, but otherwise adhering to mainstream Islamic beliefs that understand Muhammad to have been the final prophet (the Lahore Ahmadiyya...

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Ahmadiyya Movement in Pakistan, The

The Ahmadiyya Movement was founded in British India by Mirza Ghulam Ahmad (1836-1906), an Islamic reformist and mystic who in 1891 claimed that he was a prophet, revivalist (mujaddid), and the messiah (mahdi) anticipated by Muslims. The movement split in two following the death of Ahmad’s successor, Maulana Nur ad-Din in 1914, with one group affirming Ahmad’s messianic status (The Ahmadiyya Movement in Islam) and a second group regarding him as a reformer, but otherwise adhering to mainstream Islamic beliefs that understand Muhammad to have been the final prophet (the...

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