Islam and Political Reform in Saudi Arabia: The Quest for Political Change and Reform, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Islam and Political Reform in Saudi Arabia

The Quest for Political Change and Reform, 1st Edition

By Mansoor Jassem Alshamsi


304 pages

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This book examines the link between Islamic thought/jurisprudence on the one hand and political action on the other. It shows how reformism is deeply rooted in Islamic tradition and how Sunni scholars have become activists for change in Saudi Arabia.


"… He focuses on three contemporary Islamic juridical scholars, Safar al-Hawai, Salman al-Oudah and Nassir al-Omar, all of whom advocate a return to the tenets of Islamic law. In the 1980s and early 1990s, the men lectured on government corruption, an imbalance of wealth and the alarming pact between the Saudi monarchy and the United States. Imprisoned without charges for five years, the three adopted a more conciliatory policy upon their release. Their taped lectures and TV appearances have spread their message far beyond Saudi academia. This account of their thoughts and the development of their religious/political platforms should be of interest to anyone attempting to understand Saudi Arabia today." -- © Feb 2011 Book News Inc.

"[Mansoor Jassem Alshamsi] elucidates the link that exists between Islamic jurisprudence and political action by focusing on the contributions of three leading Ulama, namely Safar Al Hawali, Salman Al Awdah and Nasser Al Umar. By emphasising the discourses and performances of what he terms the "Saudi Sunni Islamic Reformist Leadership", Alshamsi theorises and sets out to demonstrate that the very idea of reform is deeply rooted in Islamic tradition… This richly annotated book will delight the specialist but should not put off the lay reader. Given how little is actually recorded on what the three Saudi shaikhs uttered, this is a valuable addition to the growing literature on a critical topic." - Joseph A. Kéchichian, Special to Weekend Review; Gulf News

Table of Contents

1. Introduction 2. Context 3. The Sunni Fiqh 4. Further Perspectives on the Sunni Fiqh 5. Intellectual Interaction 6. Political Struggle 7. Countering Policy in the 1990s 8. Petitions and Challenges 9. The Monarchy and Support 10. Appeasement 11. External Focus 12. Political Realism 13. Conclusion

About the Author

Mansoor Jassem Alshamsi, a political scientist working for the United Arab Emirates Government, received his PhD in Politics from the University of Exeter, UK, in 2004. The author of many research papers and studies on Middle Eastern affairs, US foreign policy and Islamic movements, Dr. Alshamsi emphasises the necessity of applying scientific and objective methods to the understanding of Middle Eastern politics.

About the Series

Routledge Studies in Political Islam

This series provides a forum for the latest research on all aspects of political Islam. It includes a range of approaches and studies on individuals, movements, theory and practice.

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
POLITICAL SCIENCE / Public Policy / Social Policy
RELIGION / Islam / General
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Regional Studies