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
The Christians of the Nile
Christian Cannuyer 12.95
The Christians of the NileChristian Cannuyer
Between the glory of the pharaohs and the grandeur of Islam lies another Egypt: that of the Copts, Egypt’s Christians. This venerable church embraced the teachings of Jesus when they were new, invented monasticism, gave saints and scholars to the world, and has preserved its ancient traditions down to our day. The Copts were famous for their richly colored textiles and figurative paintings: today, the wide-eyed faces of antiquity gaze at us from out of the past, proclaiming the eternity of Egyptian humanity. According to legend, Mark the Evangelist founded the Coptic church in Alexandria in the first century A.D., when Egypt was under Roman rule and practiced polytheistic religions. Though Egypt has been an Islamic nation since the seventh century, the Copts have maintained their traditions and rites at monasteries and villages throughout the country. Beautiful antique textiles, mosaics, illuminated manuscripts, frescoes, book-bindings, and monuments attest to their rich and venerable culture, which drew inspiration from Egyptian, Hellenistic, and Near Eastern art. This lavishly illustrated little book brings the extraordinary artistic and cultural heritage of the Copts to life....read more
164 color photographs
Photographs of Sufi Rituals in the Middle East and the Balkans
Nicolaas Biegman 29.95
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
100 color 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
Christianity and Monasticism in Middle Egypt
Minya and Asyut
Edited by Gawdat Gabra Hany Takla 39.95
Minya and AsyutEdited by Gawdat Gabra
Christianity and monasticism have long flourished along the Nile in Middle Egypt, the region stretching from al-Bahnasa (Oxyrhynchus) to Dayr al-Ganadla. The contributors to this volume, international specialists in Coptology from around the world, examine various aspects of Coptic civilization in Middle Egypt over the past two millennia. The studies explore Coptic art and archaeology, architecture, language, and literature. The artistic heritage of monastic sites in the region is highlighted, attesting to their important legacies....read more
30 October 2015
90 b/w illus.