The enhanced role of ulama in contemporary Arab television – Københavns Universitet

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The enhanced role of ulama in contemporary Arab television

The program formats involving ulama have expanded considerably in the age of satellite TV. While formerly ulama would be preaching and talking to audiences from a "pulpit", today they may be engaged in heated debates, or leading characters in TV drama. Research will focus on

  • Ulama stardom. In particular that of Yusuf al-Qaradawi who will be the subject of an edited book.
  • Ulama as characters in TV-serials (musalsalat)
  • The new mediated uses of the khutba (sermon)


The emergence of the modern Islamic public sphere: a portrait of Rashid Rida.

As the intellectual executor of Muhammad Abduh's modernist project, and as the direct inspirator of Hassan al-Banna, Rida looms large in the history of 20th century Islamic thought. Arguably the most influential publicist of the first half of the 20th century, Rashid Rida (1865-1965) forms a convenient point of departure for the whole program. This study seeks to identify styles and arguments in his publication al-Manar which have later become popularized and plagiarized in printed media, and today form the background of much debate on Islam, also on TV.

Dr Jakob Skovgaard-Petersen has done research on contemporary Islamic legal thinking, Islamism, and the community of Muslim scholars (al-ulama) in the 20th century, principally in Egypt. Much of this had a media dimension. In his book "Defining Islam for the Egyptian State", he discussed the impact of print and a new reading public on the classical juridical genre of the fatwa.