This article examines the meanings, developments and implementations of the Islamic traditional perspective of governance—the authority-holders (wulat al-umur) in contemporary Saudi Arabia. In the kingdom of Saudi Arabia, perhaps more than in any other Islamic country, the perspectives of wulat al-umur still dominate socio-political rhetoric and practices and determine the ruler/ruled relationship to a large extent. Who are these authority-holders? What is their scope of authority? Relevant studies often attribute the connotation authority-holders to the politicians (umara) sitting at the center of power and also to the religious scholars (ulama), who may wield a certain amount of influence on the politicians. Yet, while this study agrees, in principle, with the scholarly observations of an asymmetric ulama/umara power structure, it argues that the ulama do enjoy significant power in Saudi Arabia, that is, they play an important role in shaping the socio-cultural landscape of the kingdom.
- Saudi Arabia
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cultural Studies
- Political Science and International Relations