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Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://arks.princeton.edu/ark:/88435/dsp01nz8062003
Title: In Defense of Tradition: Muḥammad Nāṣir Al-Dīn al-Albānī and the Salafī Method
Authors: Olidort, Jacob
Advisors: Haykel, Bernard A.
Contributors: Near Eastern Studies Department
Keywords: Hadith
Islamic Law
Islamic Theology
Jordan
Salafism
Syria
Subjects: Middle Eastern studies
Islamic culture
Middle Eastern history
Issue Date: 2015
Publisher: Princeton, NJ : Princeton University
Abstract: This dissertation examines the life and legacy of Muḥammad Nāṣir al-Dīn al-Albānī (d. 1999), one of the towering leaders of the Salafī movement in the twentieth century, whose students today range from non-political to violent Islamic groups. As the first non-confessional intellectual biography of Albānī, this work chronicles the evolution of his ideas and career in the context of the seismic shifts that took place in the Middle East during his lifetime (1914-1999). In mapping out Albānī’s trajectory through his prolific teachings as well as through accounts told by him, his students and detractors, this project seeks to address two related themes. First, it tries to explain Albānī’s unexpected professional rise as a scholar in light of his autodidacticism and unremarkable beginnings. Second, like studies of world leaders, this dissertation seeks to understand the profound, and in Albānī’s case contradictory, influence he continues to wield over the course of Islamic practice and politics over fifteen years following his death. Whereas in the former he gained a reputation for being a firebrand, serving prison sentences and being expelled from countries because of his uncompromising legal literalism, in the context of the latter his views became regarded as sources of moderation and restraint. In seeking to reconcile these paradoxical features of Albānī’s legacy, this dissertation argues that by framing his teachings as a “method” of the pious predecessors Albānī claimed an authentic religious authority distinct from both Islamic institutions and politics in the post-colonial Middle East. It is this concept, as well as its application to local needs and implications concerning authenticity, that continues to guide many of his followers as they navigate the region’s current tremors. By surveying Albānī’s personal and intellectual arch against the backdrop of the momentous twentieth century during which he lived, this dissertation contributes to the growing scholarship that challenges the portrayal of Salafism as a mere export of Saudi Wahhābism, despite certain shared doctrines and sources. Moreover, as Albānī’s life demonstrated, it was often both personal circumstances and a commitment to the ideology’s truth claims that informed one’s adherence to the Salafī orientation.
URI: http://arks.princeton.edu/ark:/88435/dsp01nz8062003
Alternate format: The Mudd Manuscript Library retains one bound copy of each dissertation. Search for these copies in the library's main catalog
Type of Material: Academic dissertations (Ph.D.)
Language: en
Appears in Collections:Near Eastern Studies

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