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Reclaiming Scholarly Authority: Abu Muhammad al-Maqdisi's Critique of Jihadi Practices

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This article deals with the attempts by the radical Islamist ideologue Abu Muhammad al-Maqdisi to reclaim scholarly authority over jihad, a phenomenon he has helped promote but that has led to excesses he disagrees with and has increasingly become the prerogative of fighters instead of scholars. These attempts by al-Maqdisi to reassert his own Jihadi authority are expressed through criticism of certain Jihadi practices and advice to jihad fighters. Because al-Maqdisi has been in the forefront of radical scholars calling for jihad, his criticism has been dismissed by some jihadis as revisionism of his earlier views and as the words of a man lacking any fighting experience himself. This article argues that al-Maqdisi's criticism of certain Jihadi practices does not constitute revisionism of his earlier views but is an effort to take greater scholarly control of the Jihadi trend that he has partly inspired but which—in the hands of militants—has also developed beyond what he sees as useful and even Islamically legitimate.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Department of Islam and Arabic, Radboud University Nijmegen, Nijmegen, The Netherlands

Publication date: 01 July 2011

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