While Islamic scriptures like the Quran and Hadith are often quoted to negate the existence of social stratification among Muslims, authors of genealogical texts rely on the very same scriptures to foreground and legitimise discussions on descent and lineage. In the South Asian context, several conceptions of hierarchy as practised by Muslims in north India evolved over the course of colonial rule and were deployed interchangeably by Sayyids. These were based on notions of race, ethnicity, respecta…
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