Global Jihad is a constructed category, perpetuated in the discourse of academics, think tank consultants, politicians, policy makers, terror experts, and journalists on the one hand, and Jihadi ideologues and sympathisers on the other hand. The first group identify a global menace that requires the mobilisation of governments, military strategists, civil society activists, and media campaigns across the world to justify the global War on Terror. The second group endeavours to mobilise Muslims across cultures, nations and geographies in the pursuit of deterritorialised battles that nevertheless take place in specific localities, ranging from world financial centres, train stations, discos, expatriate residential compounds, tourist resorts, shrines, mosques and markets. Focusing on the contradictions and tensions within the Saudi Jihadi project is the subject of this short exposition(i). I will argue that Saudi Jihadis represent post-national non-state actors who draw on the rhetoric of the global Jihad, yet they remain immersed in the locality of Saudi Arabia.(ii) Rather than selecting famous contemporary Jihadi ideologues, this paper draws on the messages of less known Saudi authors of jihadi texts to demonstrate the centrality of the local in the global project. The first author Faris al-Shuwayl wrote about the priority of local Jihad: the other Lewis Atiyat Allah glorified the global project. Both seem to exhibit the tension between the local and the global.
In al-Shuwayl and Lewis Atiyat Allah’s writings, the first Saudi state (1744-1818) is glorified as dawlat al-tawhid, the state of monotheism, a political entity unbounded by defined territorial boundaries, unrecognised by the international community, and uncontaminated by international treaties and legal obligations. The first state is a local political configuration that defied regional and international contexts and promised to make true Islam hegemonic. They regard this state as a revival of the state of prophecy where the community was subjected to divine law. Membership was determined not by recognised frontiers but by submission to the rightful Imam, whose authority over distant territory was recognised by paying zakat, receiving his judges, and performing Jihad under his banner. In the first state, unity was expressed in belief in one God, applying his rule and swearing allegiance to his political authority on earth. oth al-Shuwayl and Lewis Atiyat Allah regard the main agent of this state to be Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab rather than Muhammad ibn Saud; the former was the interpreter of God’s words while the latter was the executive force that enforces these words. This state had no name apart from dawlat al-tawhid, state of monotheism, a deterritorialised polity pursuing the ultimate message of Islam, subjecting the individual to the sovereignty of God. As such, this state cannot be confined to man made borders, cultural and historical factors, ethnic and linguistic considerations or any other attributes common in defining the modern nation state. As such it was the ideal Muslim state that rebelled against blasphemy, religious innovations, and man-made law. The collapse of this state in 1818 at the hands of Ottoman troops temporarily sealed the fate of dawlat al-tawhid whose advocates impatiently waited for its revival in the twentieth century.
Posted by Main at 08:50 PM. Filed under: Research Interest •