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 Upper Egypt
Volume 2: Nag Hammadi–Esna
Edited by Gawdat Gabra Hany Takla
Volume 2: Nag Hammadi–EsnaEdited by Gawdat Gabra
Christianity and monasticism have flourished in 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 along the Nile Valley from Nag Hammadi (associated with the famous discovery of Gnostic papyri) through Luxor and Coptos and south to Esna over the past seventeen hundred years, looking at Coptic religious history, tradition, language, heritage, and material culture in the region through texts, art, architecture and archaeology. Contributors: Iwona Antoniak, Heike Behlmer, Ramez Boutros, Renate Dekker, Marianne Eaton-Krauss, Stephen Emmel, Cäcilia Fluck, Gawdat Gabra, James E. Goehring, Martin Krause, Bishop Martyros, Nashaat Mekhaiel, Howard Middleton-Jones, Samuel Moawad, Ashraf Nageh, Fr. Angelous el-Naqlouny, Elisabeth R. O’Connell, Tonio Siegfried Richter, Adel F. Sadek, Ashraf Alexandre Sadek, Fr. Bigoul al-Suriany, Matthew Underwood, Jacques van der Vliet, Gertrud J.M. van Loon, Fr. Awad Wadi, Youhanna Nessim Youssef...read more
15 December 2010
Rumi and the Whirling Dervishes
Shems Friedlander Foreword by Annemarie Schimmel Preface by Sayyed Hossein Nasr Music section by Nezih Uzel
Foreword byAnnemarie Schimmel
Preface by Sayyed Hossein Nasr
Music section byNezih Uzel
Rumi and the Whirling Dervishes is an account of the Mevlevi Sufi order and its founder, the poet and mystic Mevlana Jalalu’ddin Rumi. Rumi danced and sang his famous verses in memory of his friend and teacher Shams Tabriz, who opened to him the way to direct experience of the Divine Beloved. After Rumi’s death in 1273, the whirling dance was introduced as part of the Mevlevi ritual, a statement of a timeless and passionate yearning toward God. Author Shems Friedlander has been doing documentary photography of the whirling dervishes since his first trip to Konya in 1973, and this book features haunting, evocative pictures of the order’s dancers, clad in their traditional white skirts and tall hats that represent their tombstones. Taken within the dervish lodges, known as tekkes, these photographs provide an insider’s view of ceremonies usually closed to the public. Friedlander’s images of the dervishes in mid-whirl evoke the exaltation of union with the divine source. In addition to Rumi’s life story and the accounts of dervishes past and present, the book features excerpts from Rumi’s poetry and the teachings of other Sufi masters, descriptions of the tekke and the symbolism of the dervish ceremony, an overview of the music that accompanies the Mevlevis’ turn, and a concluding section on the universality of Rumi’s message of love. This classic account of the Whirling Dervishes is now presented in a new and revised edition containing additional text and photographs....read more
100 b/w illus.
Photographs of Sufi Rituals in the Middle East and the Balkans
Photographs of Sufi Rituals in the Middle East and the BalkansNicolaas Biegman
Sufism, the mystical tradition of Islam, is as far from the strident and often violent fundamentalist strain of the religion that has so captured world attention as it is possible to be. Sufis in all parts of the Islamic world are broad-minded, tolerant, and non-violent, their quest only to find and approach God through all means, including poetry, music, and dance. Historian Nicolaas Biegman has been observing and photographing Sufi practice and ritual in different Muslim lands for many years, and here in this collection of extraordinary photographs he feels the pulse of the Sufi experience, with its enormous variety in discipline and exuberance, intellectualism and spontaneity, in Egypt, Syria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, and Macedonia. In accompanying texts he explores what lies behind the rituals, and explains aspects of Sufi life and practice such as the position of women....read more
1 June 2009
100 color illus.
Christianity and Monasticism in Aswan and Nubia
Edited by Gawdat Gabra Hany N. Takla
Hany N. Takla
Christianity and monasticism have flourished along the Nile Valley in the Aswan region of Upper Egypt and in what was once Nubia, 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 Aswan and Nubia over the past centuries. The complexity of Christian identity in Nubia, as distinct from Egypt, is examined in the context of church ritual and architecture. Many of the studies explore Coptic material culture: inscriptions, art, architecture, and archaeology; and language and literature. The archaeological and artistic heritage of monastic sites in Edfu, Aswan, Makuria, and Kom Ombo are highlighted, attesting to their important legacies in the region....read more
1 August 2016
91 b/w illus.