Authoring reform: A comparative study of Martin Luther and Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab through cultural materialism

AlSalem, Abdulaziz Abdullah (2019) Authoring reform: A comparative study of Martin Luther and Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab through cultural materialism. PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.

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From the early nineteenth century to the present, writers and historical observers have perceived parallels between the reforms of Luther and those of Ibn ʿAbd al-Wahhāb. Some even called Ibn ʿAbd al-Wahhāb the “Luther of Mahometanism.” However, in none of these observations did the writers elaborate thoroughly on how, why and what makes them think so. This thesis investigates the validity of such claims by exploring three main questions: What were the reforms of Luther and Ibn ʿAbd al-Wahhāb in essence? How did they author their reforms? And how did they empower them? In attempting to answer these questions, this study examines the intellectual lives of the two reformers, their theologies of reform, their political and social engagements, and their self-perceptions and immediate legacies. In the comparative analysis conducted in light of cultural materialism, this dissertation has found that while Luther and Ibn ʿAbd al-Wahhāb were profoundly different in culture, religion, language and education, they used in their approach to reform comparable authorial and empowerment techniques and strategies. Having identified a powerful concept in each of their sacred scriptures which was neglected in their times but recognised in the past, they reinvigorated and positioned that concept – justification by faith and absolute tawḥīd respectively – at the heart of their theology. From that point of reference, they critiqued the dominant religious discourses of their times and launched their counter discourses of reform. In their method of empowerment, both reformers advanced the social and economic demands of their people and, at the same time, promoted and reinforced the authority of their local rulers. Consequently, and due to other favourable factors, a momentum of social and political support emerged in both societies and transformed their theological teachings to wide-ranging programmes of change carried out by the interested parties.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: Reform, authorship, Salafism, Protestantism, Reformation, cultural materialism, critical theory, Lutheranism, Wahhabism, discourse analysis, comparative religion, religious reform, comparative literature, literary criticism, Saudi Arabia, Germany.
Colleges/Schools: College of Arts > School of Critical Studies
Supervisor's Name: Methuen, Prof. Charlotte and Ridgeon, Dr. Lloyd
Date of Award: 2019
Embargo Date: 10 October 2022
Depositing User: Mr Abdulaziz AlSalem
Unique ID: glathesis:2019-75078
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 11 Oct 2019 08:44
Last Modified: 11 Oct 2019 10:19
Thesis DOI: 10.5525/gla.thesis.75078

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