Synopses & Reviews
Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab (17031792) aroused great controversy in his lifetime. More than two centuries after his death, he still elicits strong views. For some he is the model of a pious religious activist who fought to establish a regime of Islamic godliness in the least promising of environments. For others, especially Muslims associated with mystic orders or who belong to the Shii branch of Islam, he is a hate figure. Few would contest that he shaped the Muslim world. For over 250 years the Wahhabi movement has rested on the twin pillars of a clear, compelling credo and an indissoluble alliance with temporal power. Absolutist, uncompromising theology and political and religious ambition combined to make it the dominant force in Arabia, turning its champions, the Al Saud clan, from petty rulers of a mid-sized settlement into the guardians of Islams Holy Places, disposing of the earths greatest identified oil reserves. This thought-provoking and comprehensive biography, which charts the relationship between religious doctrine, political power, and events on the ground, uncovers the life and thoughts of the man who helped establish the first Saudi state and who began a dynastic alliance that continues to the present day.
"Crawford's books is an excellent introduction to the career, thought, and impact of Wahhabism's founder."
Journal of the Society for Contemporary Thought and the Islamicate World
"For anyone seeking to understand the man who remains a model for increasingly radical claimants to a true Islam, Crawford's book is indispensable."
About the Author
Michael Crawford is an independent consultant and writer on the Middle East. He served the British government in London and overseas, including in Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Egypt and Pakistan, from 1981 to 2009. He previously gained a First in Jurisprudence and a Master of Philosophy in modern Middle Eastern studies. He lives in London.