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Questioning Paradigms: A Close Reading of ʿAbd al-Razzāq al-Bayṭār's "Ḥilya" in Order to Gain Some New Insights into the Damascene "Salafiyya"

Thomas Eich
Arabica
T. 52, Fasc. 3 (Jul., 2005), pp. 373-390
Published by: Brill
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/4057740
Page Count: 18
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Questioning Paradigms: A Close Reading of ʿAbd al-Razzāq al-Bayṭār's "Ḥilya" in Order to Gain Some New Insights into the Damascene "Salafiyya"
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Abstract

By applying several methods of traditional source criticism to Bayṭār's Ḥilya it becomes possible to make this source "speak" and provide some information about its author. It becomes clear that unequal access to wealth and power at Damascus cannot be seen as the major driving force behind the formation of a group of intellectuals who represented the first stage of the formation of the Damascene salafiyya. Thus the so-called middle 'ulamā' thesis has to be refuted. In addition it is shown that the dichotomy of "conservative" and "reformist" ṭuruq did not exist in the mind of leading salafīs themselves. Hence, it also cannot be assumed that "reformist" salafīs were "naturally" attracted to "reformist" ṭuruq.

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