Before Sept. 11th, few Westerners had heard of Wahhabism. Today, it is a much more widely known. Frequently mentioned in association with Osama bin Laden, Wahhabism is portrayed by the media and public officials as an intolerant, puritanical, militant interpretation of Islam that calls for the wholesale destruction of the West in a jihad of global proportions. In the first study ever undertaken of the writings of Wahhabism’s founder, Muhammad Ibn Abd al-Wahhab (1702-1791), Natana DeLong-Bas shatters these stereotypes and misconceptions. Her reading of Ibn Abd al-Wahhab’s works produces a revisionist thesis: Ibn Abd al-Wahhab was not the godfather of contemporary terrorist movements. Rather, he was a voice of reform, reflecting mainstream 18th-century Islamic thought. His vision of Islamic society was based upon a monotheism in which Muslims, Christians and Jews were to enjoy peaceful co-existence and cooperative commercial and treaty relations. Eschewing medieval interpretations of the Quran and hadith (sayings and deeds of the prophet Muhammad), Ibn Abd al-Wahhab called for direct, historically contextualized interpretation of scripture by both women and men. His understanding of theology and Islamic law was rooted in Quranic values, rather than literal interpretations. A strong proponent of women’s rights, he called for a balance of rights between women and men both within marriage and in access to education and public space. In the most comprehensive study of Ibn Abd al-Wahhab’s interpretation of jihad ever written, DeLong-Bas details a vision in which jihad is strictly limited to the self-defense of the Muslim community against military aggression. Contemporary extremists like Osama bin Laden do not have their origins in Wahhabism, she shows. The hallmark jihadi focus on a cult of martyrdom, the strict division of the world into two necessarily opposing spheres, the wholescale destruction of both civilian life and property, and the call for global jihad are entirely absent from Ibn Abd al-Wahhab’s writings. Instead, the militant stance of contemporary jihadism lies in adherence to the writings of the medieval scholar, Ibn Taymiyya, and the 20th century Egyptian radical, Sayyid Qutb. This book fills a gap in the literature about Wahhabism by returning to the original writings of its founder.
From Revival and Reform to Global Jihad
For sale only in the Middle East
Christianity and Monasticism in the Fayoum Oasis
Essays from the 2004 International Symposium of the Saint Mark Foundation and the Saint Shenouda the Archimandrite Coptic Society in Honor of Martin Krause
Edited by Gawdat Gabra 29.95
Essays from the 2004 International Symposium of the Saint Mark Foundation and the Saint Shenouda the Archimandrite Coptic Society in Honor of Martin KrauseEdited by Gawdat Gabra
Christianity began in the large and fertile Fayoum oasis of Egypt’s Western Desert as early as the third century, and its presence has endured to the present day. This volume, which constitutes a tribute to the scholarly work of the father of modern Coptology, Martin Krause, contains contributions on various aspects of Coptic civilization in Egypt’s largest oasis over the past eighteen hundred years. The contributors are all international specialists in Coptology, from Australia, the Czech Republic, Egypt, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Poland, Russia, and the United States. A number of the studies included in this volume deal with recent archaeological discoveries at Deir al-Banat, the early Christian graves in the necropolis at the eastern edge of the Fayoum, and the monastic settlements and medieval Coptic cemetery at Naqlun. Others provide thorough examinations of archaeological sites at Karanis, Tebtunis, and Naqlun. Contributions cover the rich Christian literary heritage in Greek, Coptic, and Arabic, while art historians touch on the famous Fayoum portraits and their influence on the production of Coptic icons, as well as on the medieval wall paintings at Naqlun and in textiles, metal objects, and basketry from the region. This important volume provides for the first time an up-to-date, comprehensive treatment of Christianity and monasticism in the Fayoum Oasis. Contributors: Father Bigoul al-Suriany, Roger S. Bagnall, Dominique Bénazeth, Anne Boud’hors, Ramez Boutros, Karl-Heinz Brune, Barbara Czaja-Szewczak, Stephen Davis, Stephen Emmel, Cäcilia Fluck, Wodzimierz Godlewski, Wilfred C. Griggs, Peter Grossman, Alexi Krol, Suzana Hodak, Anetta Lyzwa-Piber, Ewa Parandowska, Siegfried G. Richter, Marie-Hélène Rutschowscaya, Sofia Schaten, Zuzana Skalova, Jacques Van der Vliet, Youhanna Youssef....read more
96 b/w illus.
Reem Al Faisal With text by Seyyed Hossein Nasr 24.95
With text bySeyyed Hossein Nasr
The great Hajj pilgrimage to Mecca is one of the five ‘pillars’ of Islam, required of every Muslim who is fit and able to undertake it. Every year in the month of Dhu al-Hijja, millions of Muslims converge on this desert city on the Arabian Peninsula from all corners of the globe, in one of the world’s greatest and most spiritual human gatherings. Saudi princess and photographer Reem Al Faisal here brings together a portrait of the Hajj in an extraordinary collection of black-and-white photographs that reveal not just the vast scale of the pilgrimage, not just the range of rituals involved, but also the human dimension: the sheer variety of humanity that comes here, the private moments of piety and devotion, the intimate moments of relaxation, and the joy (and sometimes anxiety) of being a part of such an immense community of people in a common purpose....read more
175 b/w photographs
An Islam of Her Own
Reconsidering Religion and Secularism in Women’s Islamic Movements
Sherine Hafez 18.95
Reconsidering Religion and Secularism in Women’s Islamic MovementsSherine Hafez
As the world grapples with issues of religious fanaticism, extremist politics, and rampant violence that seek justification in either “religious” or “secular” discourses, women who claim Islam as a vehicle for individual and social change are often either regarded as pious subjects who subscribe to an ideology that denies them many modern freedoms, or as feminist subjects who seek empowerment only through rejecting religion and adopting secularist discourses. Yet in actuality Muslim women whose activism is grounded in Islam draw equally on principles associated with secularism. Here Sherine Hafez focuses on women’s Islamic activism in Egypt to challenge these binary representations of religious versus secular subjectivities. Drawing on five years of ethnographic fieldwork within a women’s Islamic movement in Cairo, Hafez analyzes the ways in which women who participate in Islamic activism narrate their selfhood, articulate their desires, and embody discourses in which the boundaries are blurred between the religious and the secular....read more
Christianity and Monasticism in Upper Egypt
Volume 1: Akhmim and Sohag
Edited by Gawdat Gabra Hany Takla 39.95
Volume 1: Akhmim and SohagEdited by Gawdat Gabra
Christianity and monasticism have flourished along the Nile Valley in the Sohag region of Upper Egypt from as early as the fourth century until the present day. The contributors to this volume, international specialists in Coptology from around the world, examine various aspects of Coptic civilization in the Upper Egyptian governorate of Sohag over the past seventeen hundred years. Many of the studies center on the person and legacy of the great Coptic saint, Shenoute the Archimandrite (348–466 ce), looking at his preserved writings, his life, his place in Pachomian monasticism, his relations with the patriarchs in Alexandria, and the life in his monastic system. Other studies deal with the art, architecture, and archaeology of the two great monasteries that he founded and the archaeological and artistic heritage of the region. Contributors: Heike Behlmer, Elizabeth Bolman, Anne Boud’hors, Andrew Crislip, Stephen Emmel, Cäcilia Fluck, James Goehring, Suzana Hodak, Dale Kinney, Rebecca Krawiec, Bentley Layton, Catherine Louis, Nina Lubomierski, Nashaat Mekhaiel, Samuel Moawad, Siegfried G. Richter, Ashraf Sadek, Sofia Schaten, Zuzana Skalova, Bigoul al-Suriany, Mark Swanson, Hany Takla, Janet Timbie, Jacques Van der Vliet, Youhanna Youssef, Ugo Zanetti....read more
40 b/w illus.