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
Reem Al Faisal With text by Seyyed Hossein Nasr
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
Christianity in the Land of the Pharaohs
The Coptic Orthodox Church
The Coptic Orthodox ChurchJill Kamil
The Copts, the indigenous Christians of Egypt, have a long and fascinating history, but their importance has often been overlooked. Jill Kamil has written an engaging survey of Coptic Christianity since pharaonic times, through its development under Rome, Byzantium, Islam, and beyond. Based on extensive travel around the Coptic sites of Egypt and conversations with numerous experts, from monks to museum directors, the book looks at the fundamental importance of Coptic religion and culture in Egypt. Weaving together historical research with absorbing stories, the author explores such questions as: •How did Christianity succeed, when Egypt already enjoyed a distinctive and successful religious tradition that had lasted for more than 3000 years? •What led the Copts to invent monasticism? •Why were there so many Egyptian martyrs? •What caused the Coptic church to break away from the rest of Christianity in the fifth century AD? •How has Egyptian Christianity influenced the wider church? Lavishly illustrated with more than 120 photographs, drawings, and maps, Christianity in the Land of the Pharaohs offers a captivating insight into Egypt and will make ideal reading for students of Egyptian history and Christianity....read more
123 b/w illus.
Monks and Monasteries of the Egyptian Desert
Otto F.A. Meinardus
Revised EditionOtto F.A. Meinardus
In the fourth century A.D. the deserts of Egypt saw the birth of Christian monasticism under the tutelage of the desert fathers. Since then the movement has spread around the world. This standard work traces the historical development of all the currently inhabited Coptic monasteries, drawing on a wide variety of sources, including accounts by early Western travelers....read more
1 February 1989
Christianity and Monasticism in Wadi al-Natrun
Edited by Maged S.A. Mikhail Mark Moussa
Wadi al-Natrun, a depression in the Western Desert of Egypt, is one of the most important centers for the development and continued thriving of the Coptic monastic tradition. Christianity and monasticism have prospered there from as early as the fourth century until the present day, when four major monasteries still flourish. Here, international specialists in Coptology, examine various aspects of Coptic civilization in Wadi al-Natrun over the past seventeen hundred years. The studies center on aspects of the history and development of monasticism inWadi al-Natrun, as well as the art, architecture, and archaeology of the four existing and numerous former monasteries of the region. Contributors: Elizabeth S. Bolman, Karl-Heinz Brune, Peter Grossmann, Johannes den Heijer, Suzana Hodak, Lucy-Anne Hunt, Mat Immerzeel, Martin Krause, Ewa Parandowska, S.G. Richter, Rushdi Said, Zuzana Skalova, Hany H. Takla, Tim Vivian, Jacques van der Vliet, Youhanna NessimYoussef, Ugo Zanetti....read more
1 March 2009
90 b/w illus.