In Pursuit of Authenticity: Becoming a Salafi
Issue: Vol 8 No. 1-2 (2012)
Journal: Comparative Islamic Studies
Salafis refer to their understanding of Islam as authentic. This claim has resonated well with a substantial number of young Muslims. The article sets out to identify this assertion’s main components and its appeal among Egyptian youth immediately before and after the 2011 popular revolt. In other words, what is specific in the Salafi approach to the issue of authenticity? By answering this question, I aim to offer a better understanding of why this religiously inspired movement has become so attractive. By examining the narratives of Egyptian Salafis, I suggest that the allure of strict religious life transcends a Muslim’s search for identity, for it is, in reality, driven by a deep-rooted desire for certainty, purpose, and a form of collective individualism. Salafism, broadly defined, offers a very modern form of socialized spirituality that hinges largely on a discourse of authenticity and prophetic originality, a discourse that resonates with many of today’s young Muslims.
Author: Emin Poljarevic
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