Safiya has a comment on her post about t…
Safiya has a comment on her post about the abuse suffered by women in religious groups (linked below by Willow):
The sort of consensus Safiya mentions would ultimately require political patronage and regulation of some sort. In Muslim-majority states, of course, the political and legal clout exists to simply ban or regulate religion (I am not saying if this is good or bad, simply that it exists). This happened in the past and happens today in many Muslim countries, even secular ones, where the teaching of religion is controlled, vetted and authorised by the state.
In ‘minority’ contexts, I know Yahya and Sh. Daoud Rosser-Owen have talked about similar needs for Muslims, at least those in the UK:
[I]n 1889, when the Caliph, Sultan Abdul Hamid II jannat makan, appointed Abdullah Quilliam to be the “Shaykhu-l Islam of the British Isles”, and this was endorsed by the Emir of Morocco, the King of Afghanistan, and the Qajar Shah of Persia. The Office of Shaykhu-l Islam was the adminstrator of the system of qadis, imams, and muftis in the Ottoman Empire, and the implications of using this title for the bestowal on Quilliam cannot have been missed. It is legitimate to speculate that it was, in fact, intentional.
At about the same time, the Caliph, conscious of the vast Muslim population of the British Empire, appointed the Queen-Empress a beylerbeyi: in essence a tributary ruler over Muslims under the Caliphate.
The authority to make Islamic religious appointments, and to regulate the administrations of mosques and tribunals, including the appointment of the Office of the Shaykhu-l Islam, in the United Kingdom and Crown Dependencies rests with Queen Elizabeth II as the great-great-granddaughter of Queen Victoria. And, by residuary sovereignty, in the Republic of Ireland with the President.
Perhaps it is time to petition [Her Majesty] to revive this august Office of State? It is, of course, predominantly administrative, and would bring in expert advisors as needed. It could even commission fatwas from such authoritative sources as the University of Al-Azhar, when needed. But the trouble is who has the stature to fill it?
But I cannot see how such an office will ever prevent a group of people who dislike a particular shaykh, institution, or a set of teachings they will create their own group, given the legal and political freedoms in the UK. This is apart from the problem of which Muslim political authority will grant the patronage necessary for the new office to gain widespread acceptance. The Ottomans were regarded, by and large, the rulers of (Sunni) Islam, de jure or de facto. No such political power exists today; Saudi Arabia, despite its control over the Hijaz, cannot command the same loyalty and respect. (Numerous factors have also changed considerably since the late 19th-century.)
Perhaps the emphasis would be on the symbolism of such an office (Muslims being people who are interested in symbolism), and the inevitable community pressure it would generate (the creation and acceptance of authorities is a two-way street) in speaking out against (but which will have both positive and negative consequences)?