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Islam consequently became a nomocentric religion and civilization. The caliphs and their successors were no longer able to intervene in the process of defining dogma and law in Islam. From that point on, they ceased to be sovereign legislators and became mere protectors of the faith responsible for overseeing the temporal affairs of the community (at least in the religious domain properly so called). Thanks to their mastery of networks of knowledge and monopoly over the transmission of tradition, only the ulama were authorized to interpret the holy texts and deduce norms from them.
Without going as far as his colleague, the ‘alim Bakr Abu Zayd (d. 97 By organizing his work chronologically, Abu Zayd encouraged uninformed readers to conclude that there was a natural continuity among the periods, regions, and individuals under discussion. Indeed, he draws up an exhaustive list of nearly all known Hanbali clerics, from Ahmad ibn Hanbal (d. 855) to Abd al-Aziz ibn Baz (d. 1999), mufti of Saudi Arabia. The author invents no tradition and does not go to the trouble of justifying this claim of continuity.
This is why Ibn Taymiyya composed al-Siyasa al-shar‘iyya. The main objective of this work is to show the importance of the interaction between political practice (al-siyasa) and the Law (al-shari’a). He therefore recommended genuine cooperation among the community’s two main social categories: the emirs and the ulama. Indeed, “when these two categories are healthy,” Ibn Taymiyya wrote, “everything is healthy in the community. ”85 This cooperation should result in a genuine division of labor between them,86 according to which the ulama will look after the religious and legislative domains while the emirs will look after the political, economic, and military domains.