Social class in the Muslim world
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Middle East and North Africa
In Algeria, Desert Berbers and Arabs usually have a rigid caste or class system, having social ranks ranging from nobles to an underclass of menial workers (commonly ethnic Africans).Template:Copyvio link
Template:Main article Al-Akhdam also known as Al-Muhamasheen, "the marginalized ones" is a social group in Yemen, distinguished from the majority by its members' Negrito-like physical features and stature. They are considered to be at the very bottom of the societal ladder and are mostly confined to menial jobs in the country's major cities.
In Indian subcontinent
Some data indicates that the castes among Bengali Muslims have never been as rigid as among Hindus. The rate of endogamous marriage, for example, is less than two thirds. An old Bengali saying also goes "Last year I was a Julaha (weaver); this year a Shaikh." However, other scholars disagree with this thesis (see criticism below).
Barani was specific in his recommendation that the "sons of Mohamed" [i.e. Ashrafs] "be given a higher social status than the low-born [i.e. Ajlaf]. His most significant contribution in the fatwa was his analysis of the castes with respect to Islam. His assertion was that castes would be mandated through state laws or "Zawabi" and would carry precedence over Sharia law whenever they were in conflict.
Every act which is "contaminated with meanness and based on ignominity, comes elegantly [from the Ajlaf]". Barani also developed an elaborate system of promotion and demotion of Imperial officers ("Wazirs") that was primarily on the basis of their caste.
In addition to the Ashraf/Ajlaf divide, there is also the Arzal caste among Muslims, who were regarded by anti-Caste activists like as the equivalent of untouchables. The term "Arzal" stands for "degraded" and the Arzal castes are further subdivided into Bhanar, Halalkhor, Hijra, Kasbi, Lalbegi, Maugta, Mehtar etc. They are relegated to "menial" professions such as scavenging and carrying night soil.
Interaction and mobility
In Bihar state of India, cases have been reported in which the higher caste Muslims have opposed the burials of lower caste Muslims in the same graveyard. The rate of endogamous marriage among cross cousins and parallel cousins for example, is less than two thirds.
Social class in Pakistan
Stephen M. Lyon of University of Kent has written about what he calls "Gujarism", the act of some Gurjars in Pakistan seeking out other Gurjars to form associations, and consolidate ties with them, based strictly on caste affiliation.
Criticism of the system
Muslim scholars have termed the caste-like features as a "flagrant violation of the Qur'anic worldview."[no citations needed here]
- Social class in the United States
- Social class in New Zealand
- Pasmanda Muslim Mahaz
- Islam in India
- List of Muslim Other Backward Classes communities
- Caste system among Indian Christians
- Indian caste system
- Caste system in Africa
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