ULEMA (Arab, 'ulamd, sing, 'alim, literally " knowers," in the sense of scientes}, the learned of Islam, theologians, canonlawyers, professors, judges, muftis, etc., all who, whether in office or not, are versed theoretically and practically in Muslim science in general. By " science " in this case is especially meant what is learned from tradition, books or men, and through the intellect. In a narrower sense, Ulema is used, in a Muslim state, of a council of such learned men, holding government appointments. If all conception of intermediary priesthood be eliminated, the Ulema may be said to be equivalent to the secular clergy of Roman Christendom (see DERVISH). Opposed to them, again, are the 'arifs (" knowers," " perceivers," sentientes, as opposed to scientes), to whom religious knowledge comes in the vision of the mystic, not by tradition or reason (see SUFIISM).
On the training of the ulema see SUNNITES. (D. B. MA.)
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)