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Columbia University Press

Making of Salafism: Islamic Reform in the 20th Century

Henri Lauziere





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 Salafism understands the concept as a recent phenomenon projected back onto the past, and it sees its purist evolution as a direct result of decolonization.