Encyclopedia of Latin American Religions

2019 Edition
| Editors: Henri Gooren

Sheikhs in Latin America

  • Şaban TanıyıcıEmail author
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-27078-4_297


A sheikh is an Islamic cleric or preacher with traditional education usually in a Madrasa (traditional schools for religious instruction) or modern religious education at a university in a Muslim country such as Saudi Arabia or Iran. In Islam, there is no requirement for a cleric and communities have had the most learned in religious matters as their leaders. Therefore, religious leaders do not have strict control over the community.

Sheikhs in Latin America

In Latin America, sheikhs have diverse backgrounds. However, they can be categorized as Sunni, Shi’a, and Sufi sheikhs.

An example of a Sunni sheikh is Muhammad Isa Garcia, who was born in Argentina and lives in Colombia. He is widely accepted as an authority on religious issues in the Spanish-speaking world. He studied Islamic theology at Umm Al Qura University in Mecca specializing in the origins of prophetic tradition. He also translated Islamic books to Spanish (Schleifer 2017). Garcia argues that converts often...


Islam Muslims Latin America Islamic clerics Religious leadership Sheikhs 
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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Necmettin Erbakan UniversityKonyaTurkey