Academic journal article Middle East Quarterly

Contesting the Saudi State: Islamic Voices from a New Generation

Academic journal article Middle East Quarterly

Contesting the Saudi State: Islamic Voices from a New Generation

Article excerpt

Contesting the Saudi State: Islamic Voices from a New Generation. By Madawi alRasheed. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2007. 332 pp. $30.

Rasheed, professor of social anthropology at King's College London, notes that much of the scholarly literature on politico-religious discourse in Saudi Arabia merely establishes that it is strongly rooted in Wahhabism. Her purpose in Contesting the Saudi State is to move beyond that cursory understanding by analyzing the evolutionary dynamics ofthat discourse, its fragmentation, and the resulting state of political consent and contestation. This is done through a frank and compelling analysis that could have been voiced only by a Saudi scholar living outside of the kingdom.

The starting point for Rasheed' s narrative is the political consolidation of the Arabian Peninsula in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries by an alliance of the Saudi family and the Wahhabis, who together established Wahhabism as the official discourse of the resulting Saudi emirate. The Saud strategically allowed the Wahhabi ulema (religious scholars) a wide sphere of social control in return for the religious legitimization of their authoritarian rule. This legitimization was accomplished through a creative interpretation of the Qur'an, in which obeying one's rulers became a corollary of the mandate to obey God. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.