Sayyids and Sharifs in Muslim Societies: The Living Links to the Prophet, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Sayyids and Sharifs in Muslim Societies

The Living Links to the Prophet, 1st Edition

Edited by Kazuo Morimoto


276 pages | 20 B/W Illus.

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The global Muslim population includes a large number of lineal descendants and relatives of the Prophet Muhammad. These kinsfolk, most often known as "sayyid" or "sharif," form a distinct social category in many Muslim societies, and their status can afford them special treatment in legal matters and in the political sphere.

This book brings together an international group of renowned scholars to provide a comprehensive examination of the place of the kinsfolk of Muhammad in Muslim societies, throughout history and in a number of different local manifestations. The chapters cover:

  • how the status and privileges of sayyids and sharifs have been discussed by religious scholars
  • how the prophetic descent of sayyids and sharifs has functioned as a symbolic capital in different settings
  • the lives of actual sayyids and sharifs in different times and places

Providing a thorough analysis of sayyids and sharifs from the ninth century to the present day, and from the Iberian Peninsula to the Indonesian Archipelago, this book will be of great interest to scholars of Islamic studies, Middle East and Asian studies.


"It must be said that Stern's survey represents a tremendous moment of synthesis within calendrical studies and is an essential purchase for both research libraries and specialists in calendrics."

J. Cale Johnson, Freie Universitat Berlin, Germany, Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies

Table of Contents

Introduction MORIMOTO Kazuo Part 1: Arguing Sayyids and Sharīfs 1. How to Behave Toward Sayyids And Sharīfs: A Trans-Sectarian Tradition of Dream Accounts MORIMOTO Kazuo 2. Qur’ānic Commentary on the Verse of Khums (al-Anfāl VIII:41) Roy Parviz Mottahedeh 3. Debate on the Status of Sayyid/sharīfs in the Modern Era: The ‘Alawī-Irshādī Dispute and Islamic Reformists in the Middle East YAMAGUCHI Motoki Part 2: Sayyids and Sharīfs in the Middle East 4. Genealogy, Marriage, and the Drawing of Boundaries among the ‘Alids (Eighth–Twelfth Centuries) Teresa Bernheimer 5. A Historical Atlas on the ‘Alids: a Proposal and a Few Samples Biancamaria Scarcia Amoretti 6. The Reflection of Islamic Tradition on Ottoman Social Structure: The Sayyids and Sharīfs. Rüya Kilic 7. The Ashrāf and the Naqīb Al-Ashrāf in Ottoman Egypt and Syria: A Comparative Analysis Michael Winter Part 3: Sayyids and Sharīfs beyond the Middle East 8. Shurafā in the Last Years of al-Andalus and in the Morisco Period: Laylat Al-Mawlid and Genealogies of the Prophet Muhammad Mercedes García-Arenal 9. The Role of the Masharifu on the Swahili Coast in the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries Valerie J. Hoffman 10. Dihqāns and Sacred Families in Central Asia Ashirbek Muminov 11. Sacred Descent and Sufi Legitimation in a Genealogical Text from Eighteenth-Century Central Asia: The Sharaf Atā’ī Tradition in Khwārazm Devin Deweese 12. Trends of Ashrāfization in India Arthur F. Buehler 13. The Sayyids as Commodities: The Islamic Periodical Alkisah and the Sayyid Community in Indonesia ARAI Kazuhiro

About the Editor

MORIMOTO Kazuo is an Associate Professor in the Institute for Advanced Studies on Asia at the University of Tokyo. He is the Executive Editor of the International Journal of Asian Studies, and his main research interest lies in the role and position of sayyid/sharifs in Muslim societies.

About the Series

New Horizons in Islamic Studies

The series New Horizons in Islamic Studies presents the fruitful results of Islamic Area Studies Project conducted in Japan during the years 1997-2001. The readers will find multifarious, useful achievements gained through international joint research with high technology of geographic information system about Islamic religion and civilization, particularly emphasizing comparative and historical approaches.

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
RELIGION / Islam / General
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Islamic Studies
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Regional Studies