The present volume focuses on the political perceptions of the Hajj, its global religious appeal to Muslims, and the European struggle for influence and supremacy in the Muslim world in the age of pre-colonial and colonial empires. In the late fifteenth century and early sixteenth century, a pivotal change in seafaring occurred, through which western Europeans played important roles in politics, trade, and culture. Viewing this age of empires through the lens of the Hajj puts it into a different perspective, by focusing on how increasing European dominance of the globe in pre-colonial and colonial times was entangled with Muslim religious action, mobility, and agency. The study of Europe’s connections with the Hajj therefore tests the hypothesis that the concept of agency is not limited to isolated parts of the globe. By adopting the “tools of empires,” the Hajj, in itself a global activity, would become part of global and trans-cultural history.
With contributions by: Aldo D’Agostini; Josep Lluís Mateo Dieste; Ulrike Freitag; Mahmood Kooria; Michael Christopher Low; Adam Mestyan; Umar Ryad; John Slight and Bogusław R. Zagórski.
Chanfi Ahmed shows how West African ʿulamāʾ, who fled the European colonization of their region to settle in Mecca and Medina, helped the regime of King Ibn Sa’ud at its beginnings in the field of teaching and spreading the Salafῑ-Wahhabῑ’s Islam both inside and outside Saudi Arabia. This is against the widespread idea of considering the spread of the Salafῑ-Wahhābῑ doctrine as being the work of ʿulamāʾ from Najd (Central Arabia) only. We learn here that the diffusion of this doctrine after 1926 was much more the work of ʿulamāʾ from other parts of the Muslim World who had already acquired this doctrine and spread it in their countries by teaching and publishing books related to it. In addition
Chanfi Ahmed demonstrates that concerning Islamic reform and mission (daʿwa), Africans are not just consumers, but also thinkers and designers.