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William Cleveland wrote in his A History of the Modern Middle East that muftis were "experts in Islamic law qualified to give authoritative legal opinions know as fatwas; muftis were members of the ulama establishment and ranked above qadis."
Within Islamic legal schools, a mufti is considered the pinnacle in the hierarchy of scholars because of the advance training required out of the individual inspiring to be a mufti. Originally, muftis were private individuals who gave fatwas informally, regulated their own activities, and determined their own standards of the fatwa institution. A mufti could also be defined as an individual well-grounded in Islamic law.
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