The Birth of the Islamic Reform Movement in Saudi Arabia: Muhammad Ibn Abd al-Wahhab (1703/4-1792) and the Beginnings of Unitarian Empire in Arabia

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9780954479220: The Birth of the Islamic Reform Movement in Saudi Arabia: Muhammad Ibn Abd al-Wahhab (1703/4-1792) and the Beginnings of Unitarian Empire in Arabia

Current troubles in the middle east have focused much international attention on Saudi Arabia. However, little has been published in English on the background to its culture and its roots in the First Saudi State that arose in 18th-century Najd (central Arabia).The Islamic reform movement that imbued it with its sense of mission, and the life and thought of its proponent Shaikh Muhammad b. 'Abd al- Wahhab (1703/4-1792), have been similarly neglected.

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About the Author:

Born in Pennsylvania in 1912, George S Rentz was recruited by Aramco in 1946 to set up the company's research and translation division at Dhahran. His sojourn there (1946-63), where he immersed himself in the history, culture and geography of the Arabian Peninsula, transformed him into Aramco's resident authority on Arabic and Arabian matters and established him as a scholar of international repute. Rentz influenced a generation of Arabist scholars, and laid the foundations for the study of Saudi Arabian history in the West. William Facey is a historian of Arabia. He is also a museum consultant and a director of the London Centre of Arab Studies.

Review:

“George Rentz was the modern pioneer of Western studies of Wahhabism and the early history of Saudi Arabia. ... It is strange that it has taken more than half a century for such a ground-breaking work [his 1947 Ph.D thesis] to be published. But this scholarly and well-indexed volume does Rentz proper homage, and, as the editor William Facey remarks in his introduction, what the publication lacks in punctuality is made up for by its topicality. The events of 9/11 have propelled the legacy of Muhammad bin ‘Abd al-Wahhab from obscurity to a topic of widespread concern.” (Robert Lacey Journal of Islamic Studies, 18/2, 2007)

“Anyone interested in the rise of Islam, Islamic state formation, the complex relationships between tribes and towns and, above all, the unifying power in an Islamic context of a simple message of “return” ... should find much to ponder in this book. William Facey’s scrupulous edition at last makes a fundamental work on the rise of the most significant force in the Islamic world today available to a wide readership. His introduction is exemplary, reviewing the literature on the rise of the muwahhidun and providing a careful assessment of George Rentz’s life and work. ... This is a major contribution to Arabian studies, made even more valuable by the splendid maps.” (Paul Lunde Bulletin of the Society of Arabian Studies, 2006)

“Much gratitude is owed to the writer and publisher, William Facey, for releasing into the public domain George Rentz’s important study of the life of Shaikh Muhammad ibn ‘Abd al-Wahhab, the 18th-century Arabian founder of the “Wahhabi”, or Unitarian, Islamic reform movement. ... The general reader now has accessible indigenous material to lie alongside familiar western accounts such as those of Niebuhr and Burckhardt. The result is the achievement of a far sharper focus than existed before on Saudi Arabia’s Islamic credentials.” (Alan Rush Asian Affairs)

“Rentz’s 1947 Ph.D. dissertation, long used by scholars, is here published for the first time. ... Rentz’s thesis, now of great interest outside the academy, is published virtually unchanged, but includes several maps not in the original that help navigate the text.” (Saudi Aramco World Magazine, March/April 2006)

“The Birth of the Islamic Reform Movement in Saudi Arabia by George. S. Rentz is devoted to the first Saudi state, and provides a detailed, footnoted account of its history up to the death of the reformer. ... My sampling fully supports the editor’s statement that the dissertation appears unchanged and in full. ... Rentz’s version of early Saudi history is definitely not a sanitized one. ... The party best served by the publication of the book is undoubtedly the specialist reader. Rentz’s dissertation was in its day the only genuine scholarly, adequately footnoted, source-critical account of the early Saudi state. Amazingly, it still is. ... Without question, the book is [also] accessible to readers with no specialist knowledge of Saudi history and the Wahhabi movement. It is clearly written and does not take much for granted.” (Michael Cook Times Literary Supplement)

“The academic community, in particular specialists of Saudi Arabia, should rejoice at the publication of this 1947 thesis. [It] will give them readily available evidence of how ARAMCO historians propagated myths that are still adhered to despite evidence to the contrary.” (Madawi Al-Rasheed Middle Eastern Studies 42:1)

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George Rentz
Published by Medina Publishing Ltd, United Kingdom (2005)
ISBN 10: 095447922X ISBN 13: 9780954479220
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Book Description Medina Publishing Ltd, United Kingdom, 2005. Hardback. Book Condition: New. 234 x 156 mm. Language: English . Brand New Book. Current troubles in the Middle East have focused much international attention on Saudi Arabia. However, little has been published in English on the background to its culture and its roots in the First Saudi State that arose in 18th-century central Arabia. The Islamic reform movement that gave it its sense of mission, and the life and thought of Shaikh Muhammad b. Abd al-Wahhab (1703-1792), the teacher who inspired it, have been similarly neglected. Often referred to outside Arabia as Wahhabism, the Shaikhs teachings have been a fundamental influence on the lives of Saudi Arabians and their government ever since his death in 1792. His ideas continue to inspire his many followers, both inside the Kingdom and abroad, and a knowledge of his life and thought is vital to a proper understanding of both Saudi Arabia and the Arab world of today. Students of Saudi Arabian history have long recognized George S Rentzs thesis on the Shaikhs life and the origins of the First Saudi State as a work of pioneering scholarship. Despite this, since its acceptance in 1947 by the University of California, it has never before now been published.Closely basing his account on the local Najdi chroniclers who were contemporary with many of the events they describe, Rentz pieces together the life and thought of the thinker who, using as his guide orthodox Hanbalite doctrine, set out to purify Islam as he saw it practised around him, and to direct Muslims back to the original fountainhead of their faith. In the process Rentz tells the colourful story of the creation of the First Saudi State (1745-1818) with its capital at al-Diriyah, near present-day Riyadh. Bookseller Inventory # AAO9780954479220

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George Rentz
Published by Medina Publishing Ltd, United Kingdom (2005)
ISBN 10: 095447922X ISBN 13: 9780954479220
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Book Description Medina Publishing Ltd, United Kingdom, 2005. Hardback. Book Condition: New. 234 x 156 mm. Language: English . Brand New Book. Current troubles in the Middle East have focused much international attention on Saudi Arabia. However, little has been published in English on the background to its culture and its roots in the First Saudi State that arose in 18th-century central Arabia. The Islamic reform movement that gave it its sense of mission, and the life and thought of Shaikh Muhammad b. Abd al-Wahhab (1703-1792), the teacher who inspired it, have been similarly neglected. Often referred to outside Arabia as Wahhabism, the Shaikhs teachings have been a fundamental influence on the lives of Saudi Arabians and their government ever since his death in 1792. His ideas continue to inspire his many followers, both inside the Kingdom and abroad, and a knowledge of his life and thought is vital to a proper understanding of both Saudi Arabia and the Arab world of today. Students of Saudi Arabian history have long recognized George S Rentzs thesis on the Shaikhs life and the origins of the First Saudi State as a work of pioneering scholarship. Despite this, since its acceptance in 1947 by the University of California, it has never before now been published.Closely basing his account on the local Najdi chroniclers who were contemporary with many of the events they describe, Rentz pieces together the life and thought of the thinker who, using as his guide orthodox Hanbalite doctrine, set out to purify Islam as he saw it practised around him, and to direct Muslims back to the original fountainhead of their faith. In the process Rentz tells the colourful story of the creation of the First Saudi State (1745-1818) with its capital at al-Diriyah, near present-day Riyadh. Bookseller Inventory # AAO9780954479220

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Book Description Arabian Pub Ltd, 2005. Hardcover. Book Condition: Brand New. 320 pages. 9.50x6.50x1.25 inches. In Stock. Bookseller Inventory # __095447922X

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