Contemporary Muslim Apocalyptic Literature

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Syracuse University Press, 2005 - Religion - 272 pages
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Although apocalyptic visions and predictions have long been part of classical and contemporary Islam, this book is the first scholarly work to cover this disparate but influential body of writing. David Cook puts the literature in context by examining not only the ideological concerns prompting apocalyptic material but its interconnection with the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, Arab relations with the United States and other Western nations, and the role of violence in the Middle East. Cook suggests that Islam began as an apocalyptic movement and has retained a strong apocalyptic and messianic trend. One of his most striking discoveries is the influence of non-Islamic sources on contemporary Muslim apocalyptic beliefs. He trenchantly discusses the influence of non-Islamic sources on contemporary Muslim apocalyptic writing, tracing anti-Semitic strains in Islamist thought in part to Western texts and traditions. The importance of this work--"which includes primary Arabic texts never before studied--"lies in its political content. Through a meticulous reading of current documents, incorporating everything from exegesis of holy texts to supernatural phenomena, Cook shows how radical Muslims, including members of al-Qa'ida, may have applied these ideas to their own agendas. By exposing the undergrowth of popular belief contributing to religion-driven terrorism, this book casts new light on today's political conflicts. As a result, it will be useful to a variety of audiences--"not only to scholars in religion, Middle East studies, and political science but also to policymakers and general readers.
 

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Contents

Classical Muslim Apocalyptic Literature
1
Building a New Vision of the Future in the Wake of Six Days War
13
Interpretations of the Present
59
The Controversy About Dating the End of the World
84
Quran 1748 From Banu Israil to the State of Israel
98
The Mahdi and World Conquest
126
Prophecies of America The SecondAd and its Downfall
150
Apocalyptic Predictions Concerning Afghanistan
172
The Figure of the Antichrist
184
Problems with the Texts and How They Are Overcome
201
Conclusions
214
Work Cited
237
Index
257
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