Encyclopaedia of Islam, First Edition (1913-1936)

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(557 words)

is strictly the plural of ʿalīm, one who possesses the quality ʿilm [q.v.], knowledge, learning, science in the widest sense, and in a high degree (mubālag̲h̲a). In usage, however, the accepted singular of ʿulamāʾ is ʿālim. Both singulars are Ḳurʾānic and can be used of Allāh and of man; but the plural ʿulamaʾ occurs only twice in the Ḳurʾān and there of men (xxvi. 197; xxxv. 25). The plural ʿālimūn occurs four times: twice of Allāh (xxi. 52, 81) and twice of men (xii. 44; xxix. 42). On all this see Mufradāt of al-Rāg̲h̲ib al-Iṣfahānī, Cairo 1324, p. 348 sqq. and Lisān, xv. 310 sqq.

Inasmuch as ʿilm…

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Macdonald, D. B., “ʿUlamāʾ”, in: Encyclopaedia of Islam, First Edition (1913-1936), Edited by M. Th. Houtsma, T.W. Arnold, R. Basset, R. Hartmann. Consulted online on 26 June 2019 <http://dx.doi.org/10.1163/2214-871X_ei1_SIM_5878>
First published online: 2012
First print edition: ISBN: 9789004082656, 1913-1936

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