Conforming to salafi standards: The dilemma between unity and exclusion in early twentieth-century islamic reform

Henri Lauzière*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

Abstract

This paper presents a brief overview of some of the internal tensions and transformations that took place within the Salafi reform movement. At the beginning of the 20 th century, those who claimed to be Salafi of creed often claimed to tolerate a certain amount of theological diversity. Over the course of the 20 th century, modern reformers gradually forfeited or lost their ability to promote their progressive and tolerant views. Why? This paper outlines three factors that explain, in part, the gradual triumph of the Wahhabis' purist interpretation of Salafi standards. First, modern reformers had to walk a tight rope from the beginning. It was no easy task to strike a balance between Enlightenment ideas of tolerance and the exclusive claim to orthodoxy that characterized Salafi theology. Second, the promising potential of the young Saudi state in the late 1920s changed the situation and convinced some of the most important modern reformers to reconsider their earlier conceptions of Salafi tolerance. Third when the struggle against colonialism came to an end from the 1950s onward, it became virtually impossible for postcolonial Muslim reformers to defend an Enlightened interpretation of Salafi standards in the name of Muslim unity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)71-84
Number of pages14
JournalTeoria
Volume32
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jun 26 2012

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Philosophy

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