Joukowsky Institute for Archaeology & the Ancient World
Box 1837 / 60 George Street
Providence, RI 02912
Telephone: (401) 863-3188
Fax: (401) 863-9423
Sharif in Arabic can be translated as “noble”, “highborn” or “highbred”. In most modern contexts the word denotes honor, high position, nobility, and distinction. A sharif is also a man who claims descent from the Prophet Muhammad. However, depending on the context it can mean a person of importance, and high social standing, or a free man as opposed to a slave. Throughout the Muslim world sharifs wore turbans, usually of green and white, to denote their status. They were to be revered and respected, also they were not held to the same religious stipulations that applied to other people as their sins will be forgiven by God.
Posted at Dec 06/2010 08:45PM:
ian: In Egypt those of this status had a particular kind of moral authority that could often serve to challenge governors or dynastic rulers and form a basis for popular resistance or conversely of cooptation.