Guy Eyre

Quietist Salafism Between (Neo)liberal Apprehensions and Convergence

MECAM Papers English | 2023

  • Salafism – a scripturalist, literalist, transnational Sunni Islamic movement – is one of the most influential contemporary Islamic ideologies. Salafis tend to reject liberalism and democratic politics and often urge strict obedience to incumbent regimes, including illiberal and authoritarian states, in the name of political security.

    • The typical Salafi rejection of liberal democratic politics and liberalism is generally based on the argument that these concepts and practices are “un-Islamic” and rooted in “forbidden,” “Western” ideologies. Further, there is usually little convergence between the thinking of Salafi actors and the economic injunctions of liberalism and neoliberalism.

    • Through an in-depth study of the largest and most prominent Salafi group in Morocco – the quietist Dor al-Qur’an association, centred around Sheikh Muhammad ibn ‘Abd al-Rahman al-Maghrawi – this paper argues that despite these Salafis’ deep apprehensions vis-à-vis liberalism and their general disregard for questions of the economy and the market, there are in fact striking affinities between the political and societal prescriptions of liberalism and neoliberalism and those of Dor al-Qur’an.

    • The paper contrasts these Dor al-Qur’an Salafis’ thinking vis-à-vis individual responsibility, “crisis,” the state, and societal transformation with that of their Islamist competitor, the Moroccan Islamist Party of Justice and Development (PJD).

    Context There are some striking similarities between quietist Salafi thinking in Morocco and key political and societal dictates of liberal and neoliberal logics. These traditions all variously vilify the state as a means of effecting individual and, ultimately, societal transformation. They also variously locate matters of responsibility at the level of each individual, rather than at the level of society or the state.

    English version: Quietist Salafism between (neo)liberal apprehensions and convergence French version: Le salafisme quiétiste entre appréhensions et convergences (néo)libérales Arab version: السلفية العلمية بين التخوفات الليبرالية (الجديدة) والتقارب


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    Merian Center for Advanced Studies in the Maghreb




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