Making Sense of Salafism

Theological foundations, ideological iterations, and political manifestations

Authored by: Naveed S. Sheikh

The Routledge Handbook of Religion, Politics and Ideology

Print publication date:  August  2021
Online publication date:  August  2021

Print ISBN: 9780367417826
eBook ISBN: 9780367816230
Adobe ISBN:


 Download Chapter



The ‘religious turn' in the study of international relations (Petito and Hatzopoulos, 2003; Thomas, 2005; Haynes, 2013) together with the emergence of distinct threats to Western security—military as well as ontological—have brought to the fore concerns about how precisely religion interacts with political ideology in the making of subjects and the emergence of practices. The Muslim-majority world, as the historic nemesis of the West and its foremost ideological challenger after the implosion of Soviet-conditioned bipolarity, has been central to such concerns. The post-9/11 period—our brave new Age of Terror—reinforced the notion that particular strands of Islam were potentially harmful to global conviviality, or to the preservation of a West-centric world order. Among the theo-political outlooks that consequently has received much political currency, and thus scholarly scrutiny, over the course of the last two decades is the nebulous religious philosophy of Salafism (al-salafiyya). But what exactly is ‘Salafism'? How has it evolved as a worldview? What are the key ideational tensions within it? And how do these tensions manifest in politics?

Search for more...
Back to top

Use of cookies on this website

We are using cookies to provide statistics that help us give you the best experience of our site. You can find out more in our Privacy Policy. By continuing to use the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies.