Text source: Joshua Project
Introduction / History
The Ulema is a community of Muslim scholars. Their name means, "those who have knowledge." They are known to teach at madrasas, sacred places of learning. They have been called upon to interpret Islamic law and theology. In the past they were so powerful that even leaders in the Ottoman and Mughal Empires craved their support. Thus, they held much political influence and high status.
One is most likely going to find members of the Ulema community in Pakistan's Sindh and Punjab provinces. A smaller number are in western India.
What are their lives like?
Today these Muslim scholars still have high status, and they continue to reach at madrasas. Yet their status is being replaced by people with modern education.
What are their beliefs?
The Ulema people are Sunni Muslims who believe that the supreme God, Allah, spoke through his prophet, Mohammed, and taught mankind how to live a righteous life through the Koran and the Hadith. To live a righteous life, you must utter the Shahada (a statement of faith), pray five times a day facing Mecca, fast from sunup to sundown during the month of Ramadan, give alms to the poor, and make a pilgrimage to Mecca if you have the means. Muslims are prohibited from drinking alcohol, eating pork, gambling, stealing, slandering, and making idols. They gather for corporate prayer on Friday afternoons at a mosque, their place of worship.
The two main holidays for Sunni Muslims are Eid al Fitr, the breaking of the monthly fast and Eid al Adha, the celebration of Abraham's willingness to sacrifice his son to Allah.
Sunni religious practices are staid and simple. They believe Allah has pre-determined our fates; they minimize free will.
Ulama are often associated with the more emotional and mystic Sufi Muslim orders.
What are their needs?
The Ulema people need to be given the chance to hear the life-changing gospel so they can enjoy life to the full.
Pray for loving gospel workers to catch a vision for reaching the Ulema people for Jesus and that in God's sovereign timing the hearts of these people would be open and ready to follow him.
Pray for Jesus movements to bless extended families so the gospel will spread rapidly.
Pray for the spiritual lives of the Ulema people to become fruitful so others will be drawn to Jesus Christ.
ReferencesView Ulema (Muslim traditions) in all countries.