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The Making of Salafism: Islamic Reform in the Twentieth Century

The book is a conceptual journey through the concept of Salafism, which removes ambiguities for the readers, particularly saving readers from being trapped in the conceptual chimera which emanates from the presumptions inherent in the prevailing, mis-constructed history of Salafism. Lauzière reconceptualizes Salafism and makes it clear for the 21st century readers.

The Making of Salafism is an extensively researched book on the concept of Salafism, about which a plethora of ambiguities prevail among historians of Islamic intellectual history. Henri Lauzière traces the genealogy of the term and concept of ‘Salafism.’ His well-considered endeavour for conceptualizing Salafism departs from the methodologies of other historians who have misunderstood the term and thus misrepresented the history of Salafism. Lauzière, throughout the book, shows the complexities of defining Salafism, which has gotten a different semantical thrust in different temporal and spatial contexts. For him, grappling with the question, ‘what is Salafism?’ has been the contentious part of the project of defining the term, which cannot alone resolve the deep-seated confusion surrounding the meaning and historical origins of this concept.

Lauzière’s project in this book is not to give the proper definition or even attempt to comprehensively define the term. His project here is to untangle the ambiguities and confusions that have emerged across space and time. He offers a critique of the existing trend among the scholars who uncritically take up the concept for further analysis without giving much heed to the mistakes inherent in the concept, and thus become trapped in the web of ambiguities that surround it. According to Lauzière, confusion over the term Salafism has created a number of mistaken and false narratives in the history of the development of Islamic thought and reform.

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