Salafīsm and Traditionalism: Scholarly Authority in Modern Islam (by Emad Hamdeh) Cambridge University Press, 2021, 256 pages

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Suheil Laher



Emad Hamdeh’s Salafīsm and Traditionalism: Scholarly Authority in Modern Islam is a meticulous study of a contemporary debate  about scholarly legitimacy, between the Salafī hadith-scholar Nāṣir al-Dīn al-Albānī and his traditional Sunnī interlocutors, focused on  disputes over both hadiths and Islamic Law (fiqh). The book is a welcome addition to contemporary studies about Salafīsm, which (as  the author observes) often tend to focus on political dimensions of the movement, at the expense of religious elements—this although the latter may be more significant in the sense that most Salafīs themselves view their initiative as primarily religious, and not necessarily political.

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1 Eyyup Said Kaya, “Continuity and Change in Islamic Law: The Concept of Madhhab and the Dimensions of Legal Disagreement in Hanafi Scholarship of the Tenth Century,” in The Islamic School of Law: Evolution, Devolution, and Progress, International Conference on Islamic Legal Studies, ed. Peri Bearman, Rudolph Peters, Frank Vogel, (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2005), 26-40.
2 Aḥmad al-Ghumarī, al-Jawāb al-Mufīd lil-Sāʾil al-Mustafīd (Beirut: Dār al-Kutub al- ʿllmiyya, 1423/2002), 98.
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6 Ibn Taymiyya, Majmūʿ al-Fatāwā, ed. ʿAbd al-Raḥmān Ibn Qāsim (Madinah: King Fahd Printing Complex, 1995/1416), 3rd ed., 10:357.