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„Der Islam begann als Fremder, und als Fremder wird er wiederkehren“: Muḥammad b. ʿAbd al-Wahhābs Prophetenbiographie Muḫtaṣar sīrat ar-rasūl als Programm und Propaganda

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Muḥammad b. ʿAbd al-Wahhāb embeds in his Mukhtaṣar sīrat al-rasūl the biography of Muḥammad in an overarching vision of history that begins with Adam and ends in the Mongol period. In this cyclical concept the promulgation of Islam is followed by a relapse into shirk due to misdirected piety. But whereas until the time of Muḥammad God himself reinstalled Islam with the help of prophets and miracles, the true Muslims are obliged to fight aberrations. The paradigmatic example for this is the defeat of the ridda, the event which is dealt with most extensively. The author makes clear what he considers as the two main aberrations of his time: sufi practices which he equates with pagan practices by the choice of suggestive vocabulary and the – as he sees it – excessive veneration of Muḥammad. Therefore Muḥammad b. ʿAbd al-Wahhāb plays down all aspects which could lead to an ascription of a different ontological status to him and following Ibn Taymiyya he even affirms the historicity of the story of the cranes, implying that ʿiṣma does not mean total infallibility. By stressing both the human character of Muḥammad and his military activities the author intends to demonstrate that all his actions which are not related to revelation, in particular the defeat of paganism, can and have to be repeated.

Affiliations: 1: Department of Culture and Society – Arabisk og Islamstudier, Aarhus Universitet


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