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SHARIF. The meanings of the Arabic word sharif (pl., ashraf, shurafd') include "noble," "honorable," "highborn," and "highbred" (Lisan al-`Arab, p. 2241). In most contexts the word sharif is associated with honor, high position, nobility, and distinction. A sharif is a man who claims descent from prominent ancestors, usually the prophet Muhammad. Although the Qur'an and most of the Prophet's sayings emphasized the equality of all believers and allotted distinction on the basis only of devoutn ...more

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