The Making of Salafism

Islamic Reform in the Twentieth Century

Reddit icon
e-mail icon
Twitter icon
Facebook icon
Google icon
LinkedIn icon
Henri Lauzière
Religion, Culture, and Public Life
  • New York, NY: 
    Columbia University Press
    , November
     2015.
     328 pages.
     $55.00.
     Hardcover.
    ISBN
    9780231175500.
     For other formats: Link to Publisher's Website.

Description

This book has been reviewed in JAAR by Ebrahim Moosa. Click here to read the review.

Some Islamic scholars hold that Salafism is an innovative and rationalist effort at Islamic reform that emerged in the late nineteenth century but gradually disappeared in the mid twentieth. Others argue Salafism is an anti-innovative and antirationalist movement of Islamic purism that dates back to the medieval period yet persists today. Though they contradict each other, both narratives are considered authoritative, making it hard for outsiders to grasp the history of the ideology and its core beliefs.

Introducing a third, empirically based genealogy, The Making of Salafismunderstands the concept as a recent phenomenon projected back onto the past, and it sees its purist evolution as a direct result of decolonization. Henri Lauzière builds his history on the transnational networks of Taqi al-Din al-Hilali (1894–1987), a Moroccan Salafi who, with his associates, participated in the development of Salafism as both a term and a movement. Traveling from Rabat to Mecca, from Calcutta to Berlin, al-Hilali interacted with high-profile Salafi scholars and activists who eventually abandoned Islamic modernism in favor of a more purist approach to Islam. Today, Salafis tend to claim a monopoly on religious truth and freely confront other Muslims on theological and legal issues. Lauzière's pathbreaking history recognizes the social forces behind this purist turn, uncovering the popular origins of what has become a global phenomenon.

About the Author(s)/Editor(s)/Translator(s): 

Henri Lauzière is assistant professor of history at Northwestern University.

Keywords: 

Add New Comment

Reading Religion welcomes comments from AAR members, and you may leave a comment below by logging in with your AAR Member ID and password. Please read our policy on commenting.

Log in to post comments