Reconciling Tribalism and Islam in the Writings of Contemporary 'Ulama' in Saudi Arabia

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

3 Scopus citations


On the 4th of August 2005, the Saudi Arab News reported the following: “Saudi Islamic scholars, tribal chiefs, and officials pledged allegiance to ʿAbdallah in a ceremony seen as a public endorsement of the new king.” The report draws attention to what was seen as the Saudi version of a “democratic celebration” manifested in the public endorsement of ʿAbdallah as the new king of Saudi Arabia. Most interesting, however, was the attempt to introduce the ʿulamaʾ and tribal chiefs as representa- tives of the public, a typical Saudi political ploy when it comes to the legitimacy of their regime. The Saudi ruling family, acknowledging the importance of religion and tribalism in bolstering its ruling power and stability, often portrays its institutions as representing the best of religious and tribal traditions. Moreover, it attempted to develop the fusion of tribal and religious power during the various stages of state building, given that a harmonious relationship between these two ele- ments is essential for the stability of its rule.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationGuardians of Faith in Modern Times
Subtitle of host publication'Ulama' in the Middle East
EditorsMeir Hatina
PublisherEntomological Society of Canada
Number of pages17
ISBN (Electronic)9789047442936
ISBN (Print)9789004169531
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2009

Publication series

NameSocial, Economic and Political Studies of the Middle East and Asia
ISSN (Print)1385-3376

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anthropology
  • Religious studies
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Philosophy
  • Economics, Econometrics and Finance (all)


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