Contemporary Muslim Apocalyptic Literature
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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