plural noun Islam.
the doctors of Muslim religion and law.
Also, ulema.

1680–90; < Arabic ʿulamā learned men

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World English Dictionary
ulama or ulema1 (ˈuːlɪmə)
1.  a body of Muslim scholars or religious leaders
2.  a member of this body
[C17: from Arabic `ulamā scholars, from `alama to know]
ulema or ulema1
[C17: from Arabic `ulamā scholars, from `alama to know]

ulama2 (ˌuːˈlɑːmə)
a Meso-American team ball game, with a history dating back to as early as 1500 bc, played with a solid rubber ball on a long narrow court
[from Nahuatl Ullamalitztli ball game]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
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Encyclopedia Britannica


the learned of Islam, those who possess the quality of 'ilm, "learning," in its widest sense. From the 'ulama', who are versed theoretically and practically in the Muslim sciences, come the religious teachers of the Islamic community-theologians (mutakallimun), canon lawyers (muftis), judges (qadis), professors-and high state religious officials like the shaikh al-Islam. In a narrower sense, 'ulama' may refer to a council of learned men holding government appointments in a Muslim state

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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