Rethinking the authority of Muslim religious scholars and mosques in shaping religious discourse in Pakistan: An ethnographic account

  • Muhammad Bilal
Keywords: Muslim religious scholars, mosque, Islam, everyday life, religious schools, Pakistan


The mosque is the fundamental institution in any Islamic society, its role extending far beyond its function as a religious centre. The question that arises for this ethnographic study in Pakistan is whether the mosque is still as central as it was in the past, or as it is understood to be. A similar question can be raised for those Muslim religious scholars trained in Islamic law who frequent the mosque and serve the religious community as prayer leaders. This study explores the part played by the mosque – and by the Muslim religious scholars – in the life of worship and, beyond that, in the everyday social structure. The study suggests that no longer can the Muslim religious scholars or mosques be called representative of Pakistani society.