Respected scholars, as-salamu`alaykum One fundamental feature of the Islamic religious system is that there is no equivalent of "church"—no religious institution with doctrinal or legal authority, no ordained priesthood, no sacred/profane dichotomy, and no doctrinally sanctioned "official truth." How does a person become an imam? Is there a class, a school, or something else? Given that there is no institutionalized clergy in Islam, how does the religious system work? What is the nature of religious leadership in Islam? What is the role of the state in religious matters? What are the fundamental consequences of the absence of ordained and institutionalized priestly orders in Islam: political and sectarian consequences? Do you think that the test for a true Muslim is not that he or she remains faithful to an "orthodoxy," but that he or she is loyal to the community—that is, the test is not theological, but social?Jazakum Allahu Khayran.