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|Died||20 February 1992 91) (aged|
|Nationality|| Austrian |
|Region||Middle East, Pakistan|
|Main interest(s)||Islamic studies, Islamic democracy, Muslim world Quran|
|Notable idea(s)|| Islamic state |
|Notable work(s)||The Message of Quran, Road to Mecca|
|Alma mater||University of Vienna (dropped out in 1920)|
|Occupation||Linguist, Academic, Traveler, Political Theorist, Historian|
Muhammad Asad (pronounced [ˈmoʊ̯hämæd ˈæsæd] (
Austria-Hungary, often referred to as the Austro-Hungarian Empire or the Dual Monarchy, was a constitutional monarchy in central and eastern Europe from 1867 to 1918. It was formed by giving a new constitution to the Austrian Empire, which devolved powers on Austria (Cisleithania) and Hungary (Transleithania) and placed them on an equal footing. It broke apart into several states at the end of World War I.
Linguistics is the scientific study of language. It involves analysing language form, language meaning, and language in context. The earliest activities in the documentation and description of language have been attributed to the 6th-century-BC Indian grammarian Pāṇini who wrote a formal description of the Sanskrit language in his Aṣṭādhyāyī.
An intellectual is a person who engages in critical thinking, research, and reflection about society, proposes solutions for its normative problems, and gains authority as a public figure. Coming from the world of culture, either as a creator or as a mediator, the intellectual participates in politics either to defend a concrete proposition or to denounce an injustice, usually by rejecting, producing or extending an ideology, or by defending a system of values.
By the age of thirteen, young Weiss had acquired a passing fluency in Hebrew and Aramaic, other than his native languages German and Polish.By his mid-twenties, he could read and write in English, French, Persian and Arabic. In Mandatory Palestine, Weiss engaged in arguments with Zionist leaders like Chaim Weizmann, voicing his reservations about some aspects of the Zionist Movement. After traveling across the Arab World as a journalist, he converted to Sunni Islam in 1926 and chose for himself the Muslim name "Muhammad Asad"—Asad being the Arabic rendition of his root name Leo (Lion).
Hebrew is a Northwest Semitic language native to Israel; the modern version of which is spoken by over 9 million people worldwide. Historically, it is regarded as the language of the Israelites and their ancestors, although the language was not referred to by the name Hebrew in the Tanakh. The earliest examples of written Paleo-Hebrew date from the 10th century BCE. Hebrew belongs to the West Semitic branch of the Afroasiatic language family. Hebrew is the only living Canaanite language left, and the only truly successful example of a revived dead language.
Aramaic is a language or group of languages belonging to the Semitic subfamily of the Afroasiatic language family. More specifically, it is part of the Northwest Semitic group, which also includes the Canaanite languages such as Hebrew and Phoenician. The Aramaic alphabet was widely adopted for other languages and is ancestral to the Hebrew, Syriac and Arabic alphabets. During its approximately 3,100 years of written history, Aramaic has served variously as a language of administration of empires, as a language of divine worship and religious study, and as the spoken tongue of a number of Semitic peoples from the Near East.
A first language, native language or mother/father/parent tongue, is a language that a person has been exposed to from birth or within the critical period. In some countries, the term native language or mother tongue refers to the language of one's ethnic group rather than one's first language. Children brought up speaking more than one language can have more than one native language, and be bilingual or multilingual. By contrast, a second language is any language that one speaks other than one's first language.
During his stay in Saudi Arabia, he spent time with Bedouins and enjoyed the close company of Ibn Saud—the founder of modern Saudi Arabia.He also carried out a secret mission for Ibn Saud to trace the sources of funding for the Ikhwan Revolt. Due to these activities, he was dubbed in a Haaretz article as "Leopold of Arabia"—hinting similarity of his activities to those of Lawrence of Arabia.
Saudi Arabia, officially the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, is a country in Western Asia constituting the bulk of the Arabian Peninsula. With a land area of approximately 2,150,000 km2 (830,000 sq mi), Saudi Arabia is the largest sovereign state in the Middle East, geographically the fifth-largest in Asia, second-largest in the Arab world after Algeria and 12th-largest in the world. Saudi Arabia is bordered by Jordan and Iraq to the north, Kuwait to the northeast, Qatar, Bahrain, and the United Arab Emirates to the east, Oman to the southeast and Yemen to the south. It is separated from Israel and Egypt by the Gulf of Aqaba. It is the only nation with both a Red Sea coast and a Persian Gulf coast, and most of its terrain consists of arid desert, lowland and mountains. Saudi Arabia is the largest economy in the Middle East as of October 2018 and the 18th largest in the world. The total number of population of Saudi Arabia is 33.4 million with 50% of youth population are under 25.
Abdulaziz ibn Abdul Rahman ibn Faisal ibn Turki ibn Abdullah ibn Muhammad Al Saud, usually known within the Arab world as Abdulaziz and in the West as Ibn Saud, was the first monarch and founder of Saudi Arabia, the "third Saudi state".
Haaretz is an Israeli newspaper. It was founded in 1918, making it the longest running newspaper currently in print in Israel, and is now published in both Hebrew and English in the Berliner format. The English edition is published and sold together with the International New York Times. Both Hebrew and English editions can be read on the Internet. In North America, it is published as a weekly newspaper, combining articles from the Friday edition with a roundup from the rest of the week.
On his visit to India, Asad became friends with Muslim poet-philosopher Muhammad Iqbal, who persuaded him to abandon his eastward travels and "help elucidate the intellectual premises of the future Islamic state".He also spent five years in internment by the British Government at the outbreak of World War II. On 14 August 1947, Asad received Pakistani citizenship and later served at several bureaucratic and diplomatic positions including the Director of Department of Islamic Reconstruction, Deputy Secretary (Middle East Division) in the Foreign Ministry of Pakistan and Pakistan's Envoy to the United Nations.
Sir Muhammad Iqbal, widely known as Allama Iqbal, was a poet, philosopher and politician, as well as an academic, barrister and scholar in British India who is widely regarded as having inspired the Pakistan Movement. He is called the "Spiritual Father of Pakistan." He is considered one of the most important figures in Urdu literature, with literary work in both Urdu and Persian.
An Islamic state is a type of government primarily based on the application of shari'a, dispensation of justice, maintenance of law and order. From the early years of Islam, numerous governments have been founded as "Islamic".
Internment is the imprisonment of people, commonly in large groups, without charges or intent to file charges, and thus no trial. The term is especially used for the confinement "of enemy citizens in wartime or of terrorism suspects". Thus, while it can simply mean imprisonment, it tends to refer to preventive confinement, rather than confinement after having been convicted of some crime. Use of these terms is subject to debate and political sensitivities.
In the West, Asad rose to prominence as a writer with his best-selling autobiography, The Road to Mecca .Later, after seventeen years of scholarly research, he published his magnum opus: The Message of the Qur'an —an English translation and commentary of the Quran. The book, along with the translations of Pickthall and Yusuf Ali, is regarded as one of the most influential translations of the modern era. An ardent proponent of Ijtihad and rationality in interpreting religious texts, he dedicated his works "to People who Think". In 2008, the entrance square to the UN Office in Vienna was named Muhammad Asad Platz in commemoration of his work as a "religious bridge-builder". Asad has been described by his biographers as "Europe's gift to Islam" and "a Mediator between Islam and the West".
The Road to Mecca, also known as Road to Mecca or Road to Makkah, is the autobiography of Muslim scholar, intellectual, political theorist and spiritual writer Muhammad Asad.
The scholarly method or scholarship is the body of principles and practices used by scholars to make their claims about the subject as valid and trustworthy as possible, and to make them known to the scholarly public. It is the methods that systemically advance the teaching, research, and practice of a given scholarly or academic field of study through rigorous inquiry. Scholarship is noted by its significance to its particular profession, and is creative, can be documented, can be replicated or elaborated, and can be and is peer-reviewed through various methods.
Masterpiece, magnum opus or chef-d’œuvre in modern use is a creation that has been given much critical praise, especially one that is considered the greatest work of a person's career or to a work of outstanding creativity, skill, profundity, or workmanship. Historically, a "masterpiece" was a work of a very high standard produced to obtain membership of a guild or academy in various areas of the visual arts and crafts.
|“||Islam should be presented without any fanaticism. Without any stress on our having the only possible way and the others are lost. Moderation in all forms is a basic demand of Islam.||”|
|— Muhammad Asad|
Leopold Weiss was born on 2 July 1900 to a Jewish family in Lemberg, Galicia, then part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire (which is currently the city of Lviv, Ukraine). Weiss was a descendant of a long line of Jewish rabbis; however, his father, Akiva Weiss, broke from tradition and became a lawyer. Leopold received a religious education and was proficient in Hebrew from an early age, as well as familiar with Aramaic. He studied the Jewish Bible or Tanakh, the text and commentaries of the Talmud, the Mishna and Gemara, also delving into the intricacies of Biblical exegesis and the Targum.
Lviv is the largest city in western Ukraine and the seventh-largest city in the country overall, with a population of around 728,350 as of 2016. Lviv is one of the main cultural centres of Ukraine.
Ukraine, sometimes called the Ukraine, is a country in Eastern Europe. Excluding Crimea, Ukraine has a population of about 42.5 million, making it the 32nd most populous country in the world. Its capital and largest city is Kiev. Ukrainian is the official language and its alphabet is Cyrillic. The dominant religions in the country are Eastern Orthodoxy and Greek Catholicism. Ukraine is currently in a territorial dispute with Russia over the Crimean Peninsula, which Russia annexed in 2014. Including Crimea, Ukraine has an area of 603,628 km2 (233,062 sq mi), making it the largest country entirely within Europe and the 46th largest country in the world.
In Judaism, a rabbi is a teacher of Torah. The basic form of the rabbi developed in the Pharisaic and Talmudic era, when learned teachers assembled to codify Judaism's written and oral laws. The first sage for whom the Mishnah uses the title of rabbi was Yohanan ben Zakkai, active in the early-to-mid first century CE. In more recent centuries, the duties of a rabbi became increasingly influenced by the duties of the Protestant Christian minister, hence the title "pulpit rabbis", and in 19th-century Germany and the United States rabbinic activities including sermons, pastoral counseling, and representing the community to the outside, all increased in importance.
At the age of fourteen he escaped school and joined the Austrian army under a false name. After a week or so, his father traced him with the help of the police, and he was escorted back to Vienna.
After abandoning university in Vienna, Weiss drifted aimlessly around 1920s Germany, working briefly for the expressionist film director Fritz Lang (F. W. Murnau, according to The Road to Mecca). By his own account, after selling a jointly written film script, he splurged the windfall on a wild party at an expensive Berlin restaurant, in the spirit of the times. While working as a telephone operator for an American news agency in Berlin, Weiss obtained a coveted interview with Russian author Maxim Gorky's wife, his first published piece of journalism, after simply ringing up her hotel room.
In 1922 Weiss moved to the British Mandate of Palestine, staying in Jerusalem at the house of his maternal uncle Dorian Feigenbaum at his invitation. Feigenbaum was a psychoanalyst, a disciple of Freud, and later founded the Psychoanalytic Quarterly .
He picked up work as a stringer for the German newspaper Frankfurter Zeitung , one of the most prestigious newspapers of Germany and Europe,[ citation needed ] selling articles on a freelance basis. His pieces were noteworthy for their understanding of Arab fears and grievances against the Zionist project.[ citation needed ] He published a small book on the subject in 1924, and this so inspired the confidence of the Frankfurter Zeitung that it commissioned him to travel more widely still, to collect information for a full-scale book. Weiss made the trip, which lasted two years.
To gain closer assignments in the Arabic world, Weiss developed an ever-deepening engagement with Islam. This led to his religious conversion in 1926 in Berlin and adopting an Arabic name, Muhammad Asad.
Asad spoke of Islam:
"Islam appears to me like a perfect work of architecture. All its parts are harmoniously conceived to complement and support each other; nothing is superfluous and nothing lacking; and the result is a structure of absolute balance and solid composure."
Magazine Saudi Aramco World in a 2002 essay described his journey to conversion in these words: "Two roads diverged in Berlin in the 1920s: a well-worn one to the West, the other, rarely traveled, to the East. Leopold Weiss, a gifted young writer, traveler and linguist with a thorough knowledge of the Bible and the Talmud and with deep roots in European culture, took the road eastward to Makkah."
After his conversion to Islam, Asad moved to Saudi Arabia making a journey by camel across the Arabian Desert, from Tayma to Mecca.He stayed there for nearly six years during which he made five pilgrimages. Alongside, he started writing essays for the Swiss newspaper Neue Zürcher Zeitung , and continued to do so till 1934.
After the sudden death of his wife Elsa, Asad stayed on in Mecca where, in a chance encounter in the Grand Mosque's library, he met Prince Faysal. On Faysal's invitation, Asad met King Abdulaziz (founder of modern Saudi Arabia); the meeting led to almost daily audiences with the King, who quickly came to appreciate Asad's knowledge, keen mind and spiritual depth.Ibn Saud allowed Asad to visit the Najd region (in the King's company), which was forbidden to foreigners at that time.
In late 1928, an Iraqi named Abdallah Damluji, who had been an adviser to Ibn Saud, submitted a report to the British on "Bolshevik and Soviet penetration" of the Hijaz. In this report, after highlighting Asad's activities in Arabia, Damluji alleged that Asad had connections with Bolsheviks: "What is the real mission which makes him endure the greatest discomforts and the worst conditions of life? On what basis rests the close intimacy between him and Shaykh Yusuf Yasin (secretary to the King and editor of the official newspaper Umm al-Qura)? Is there some connection between von Weiss and the Bolshevik consulate in Jidda?"
According to Asad, he did finally become a secret agent of sorts. Ibn Saud sent him on a secret mission to Kuwait in 1929, to trace the sources of financial and military assistance being provided to Faysal al-Dawish – an Ikhwan leader-turned-rebel against Ibn Saud's rule.Asad, after traveling day and night through the desert without lighting fire, reached Kuwait to collect first-hand evidence. He concluded that the British were providing arms and money to Ad-Dawish to weaken Ibn Saud for the purpose of securing a 'land route to India' – a railroad from Haifa to Basra ultimately connecting the Mediterranean Sea with the Indian subcontinent.
Asad left Arabia and came to British India in 1932 where he met South Asia's premier Muslim poet, philosopher and thinker Muhammad Iqbal.[ citation needed ] Iqbal had proposed the idea of an independent Muslim state in India, which later became Pakistan. Iqbal persuaded Asad to stay on in British India and help the Muslims of India establish their separate Muslim state. Iqbal introduced Asad to Chaudhry Niaz Ali Khan, a philanthropist and agriculturalist, who, on the advice of Muhammad Iqbal, established the Dar-ul-Islam Trust Institutes in Pathankot, India and Jauharabad, Pakistan. Asad stayed on in British India and worked with both Muhammad Iqbal and Chaudhry Niaz Ali Khan. Allama Iqbal encouraged Asad to translate Sahih Al-Bukhari in English for the first time in history. Asad responded positively and started making the arrangements for his translation. In order to find a place serene enough to stimulate his intellectual and spiritual cerebration, he arrived in Kashmir during the summer of 1934. There, he met Mirwaiz Mouli Yusuf who became his close friend. While working enthusiastically on his translation, he also set up his own printing press in Srinagar. The first two chapters of his translation were printed in Srinagar. Asad mentions in his book Home-coming of the Heart that he had a special relationship with Kashmir and that he felt very sad when he left it.
When the Second World War broke out in 1939, Asad's parents were arrested and, subsequently, murdered by the Nazis. Asad himself was arrested in Lahore in 1939, a day after the war broke out, by the British as an enemy alien. This was despite the fact that Asad had refused German nationality after the annexation of Austria in 1938 and had insisted on retaining his Austrian citizenship. Asad spent three years in prison, while his family consisting of his wife, Munira, and son, Talal, after being released from detention earlier, lived under the protection of Chaudhry Niaz Ali Khan at the latter's vast 1,000-acre (4.0 km2) estate in Jamalpur, 5 km west of Pathankot. Asad was finally released and reunited with his family in Jamalpur when the Second World War ended in 1945.
Asad supported the idea of a separate Muslim state in India. After the independence of Pakistan on 14 August 1947, in recognition for his support for Pakistan, Asad was conferred full citizenship by Pakistan and appointed the Director of the Department of Islamic Reconstruction by the Government of Pakistan,where he made recommendations on the drafting of Pakistan's first Constitution. In 1949, Asad joined Pakistan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs as head of the Middle East Division and made efforts to strengthen Pakistan's ties with the Muslim states of the Middle East. In 1952, Asad was appointed as Pakistan's Minister Plenipotentiary to the United Nations in New York – a position that he relinquished in 1952 to write his autobiography (up to the age of 32), The Road to Mecca.
Asad contributed much to Pakistan's early political and cultural life but was shunned from the corridors of power. He served this country as the head of the Directorate of Islamic Reconstruction, Joint Secretary of the Middle East Division in Foreign Office, Minister Plenipotentiary to the United Nations and organizer of the International Islamic Colloquium. If one delves into the archival material of these government departments, the role played by Asad for his beloved Pakistan can be dealt with in detail.
By chance, at a reception Asad met Pola, an American of Polish origin who was destined to become his third wife (d. 2007). She was a young, beautiful and intelligent woman. He fell in love with her and when he came to know that she had already embraced Islam he decided to marry her, despite the difference of age and temperament. But under the rules of the Foreign Office, he was bound to get prior permission to marry a non-Pakistani national.He applied through the proper channels but the Governor-General rejected his application. So, he submitted his resignation from the Foreign Service, divorced his Arabian wife (Munira, d. 1978) and in the inspiring company of his new wife, he sat down and wrote his extraordinary The Road to Mecca.
During his stay in Switzerland, Asad received a letter from the President of Pakistan, General Ayub Khan, who was a great admirer of his book named The Principles of State and Government in Islam (1961). In a subsequent exchange of letters, he proposed to Asad to come to Pakistan and have the membership of a seven-man group of Muslim scholars – who both supposedly knew the world and were experts on Islam – to advise him with regard to everyday matters as well as the drawing up of a new Islamic constitution for the country.At that time, Asad was immersed in his cherished work on the Qur'an, and so he regretfully declined.
After many years, Asad was again invited by another President of Pakistan, General Zia ul-Haq, in 1983 and that was his last visit to this country. When he arrived at Islamabad, which he had not yet seen, he was received at the plane with great honour and escorted to the Presidency. During his sojourn in Islamabad, there was a series of meetings with members of the Ansari Commission in order to prepare a kind of programme for the President for the future. Asad agreed with some, and as usual disagreed with others, which he found retrograde.On one point he was firm and insistent that Muslim women should have exactly the same rights in the political sphere as had men, to the extent of becoming Prime Minister. Asad also spared some time to meet with his surviving friends in Lahore and Islamabad and at the request of the President made several radio and television appearances, as always spontaneous. On his return, he was besieged by letters from literally hundreds of admirers in Pakistan, offering him land, a house, everything but he refused politely, as his concept of Pakistan was beyond all these worldly trivialities.
Towards the end of his life, Asad moved to Spain and lived there with his third wife, Pola Hamida Asad, an American national of Polish Catholic descent who had also converted to Islam, until his death on 20 February 1992 at the age of 91. He was buried in the Muslim cemetery of Granada in the former Moorish province of Andalusia, Spain.
Asad had a son, Talal Asad, from his second Saudi Arabian wife, Munira. Talal Asad is now an anthropologist specializing in religious studies and postcolonialism. Asad also had a step-son named Heinrich (converted name Ahmad) with his first wife Else (converted name Aziza).
In April 2008, a space in front of the UNO City in the 22nd District of Vienna was named Muhammad-Asad-Platz in honor of Muhammad Asad.The step was taken as part of a two-day program on the European Year of Intercultural Dialogue focusing on Islam and its relationship with Europe. The program commemorated the life and work of Asad, described as a great Austrian visionary, who earned international recognition by building bridges between religions. The honoree's son Talal Asad, the President of the Islamic Community of Austria Anas Schakfeh and Vienna's cultural adviser Andreas Mailath-Pokorny were present at the unveiling of the square. Mailath-Pokorny, while talking to the media said:
"There is probably no more appropriate place to honor Muhammad Asad than that in front of the UN-City. Muhammad Asad was a citizen of the world, who was at home, and left his mark, everywhere in the world, especially in the Orient."
On 23 March 2013, Pakistan Post issued a stamp with denomination of Rs. 15 under the "Men of Letters" Series in honor of Allamah Muhammad Asad.
In movie documentaries:
In journal entries:
|Jerusalem in 1923: The Impressions of a Young European||1923||Later published in Islamic Studies, Islamabad in 2001. Translated by Elma Ruth Harder.|
|The Concept of Religion in the West and in Islam||1934||Later published in The Islamic Literature , Lahore in 1967.|
|The Spirit of the West||1934||Later published in The Islamic Literature, Lahore in 1956.|
|Towards a Resurrection of Thought||1937||Published in Islamic Culture, Hyderabad, Deccan.|
|Aims and Objectives of the Department of Islamic Reconstruction||1947||Published his thoughts as the Director of the Department of Islamic Reconstruction.|
|Calling All Muslims||1947||A collection of seven Radio Broadcasts delivered at the request of Government of Pakistan.|
|Islamic Constitution Making||1948||Essay published under the auspices of the Government of Punjab in March 1948. It was later expanded to the book The Principles of State and Government in Islam.|
|The Encounter of Islam and The West||1959||Talk delivered on Radio Beromunster in Switzerland.|
|Islam and the Spirit of Our Times||1960||Talk delivered on Radio Beromunster in Switzerland.|
|Answers of Islam||1960s||Answers to questionnaire posed by German publisher Gerhard Szczesny in the 1960s.|
|Islam and Politics||1963||Pamphlet series by Islamic Centre.|
|Can the Qur'an be Translated?||1964||Islamic Centre.|
|Jerusalem: The Open City||1970s||Talk sent for delivery at a conference of Muslim Students Association, United States in the late 1970s.|
|My Pilgrimage to Islam||1974||Published in Majalla al-Azhar.|
|The Meaning and Significance of the Hijrah||1979||Published in London in November 1979.|
|The Message of the Qur'an||1980||Address delivered at a Conference of the Islamic Council in London.|
|A Vision to Jerusalem||1982||Published in Ahlan Wasahlan, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.|
|Jerusalem: A City for all People||1982||Later published in Arabia: The Islamic World Review in 1985.|
|A Tribe That Kept Its Name||1985||Published in Arabia magazine.|
|The City of the Prophet||1991||Published in Muslim Africa.|
Lviv Islamic Cultural Center named after Muhammad Asad was officially opened.
Mecca is a city in the Hejazi region of the Arabian Peninsula, and the plain of Tihamah in Saudi Arabia, and is also the capital and administrative headquarters of the Makkah Region. The city is located 70 km (43 mi) inland from Jeddah in a narrow valley at a height of 277 m (909 ft) above sea level, and 340 kilometres (210 mi) south of Medina. Its resident population in 2012 was roughly 2 million, although visitors more than triple this number every year during the Ḥajj period held in the twelfth Muslim lunar month of Dhūl-Ḥijjah.
The history of Saudi Arabia in its current form as a state began with its foundation in 1744, although the human history of the region extends as far as 20,000 years ago. The region has had a global impact twice in world history:
Wahhabism is an Islamic doctrine and religious movement founded by Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab. It has been variously described as "ultraconservative", "austere", "fundamentalist", or "puritan(ical)"; as an Islamic "reform movement" to restore "pure monotheistic worship" (tawhid) by devotees; and as a "deviant sectarian movement", "vile sect" and a distortion of Islam by its opponents. The term Wahhabi(ism) is often used polemically and adherents commonly reject its use, preferring to be called Salafi or muwahhid. claiming to emphasize the principle of tawhid, for exclusivity on monotheism, dismissing other Muslims as practising shirk, (idolatry). It follows the theology of Ibn Taymiyyah and the Hanbali school of jurisprudence, although Hanbali leaders renounced Abd al-Wahhab's views.
Najd or Nejd is a geographical central region of Saudi Arabia that alone accounts for almost a third of the population of the country. Najd consists of modern administrative regions of Riyadh, Al-Qassim, and Ha'il.
The Hejaz, is a region in the west of present-day Saudi Arabia. The region is so called as it separates the land of the Najd in the east from the land of Tihamah in the west. It is also known as the "Western Province". It is bordered on the west by the Red Sea, on the north by Jordan, on the east by the Najd, and on the south by 'Asir Region. Its largest city is Jeddah, but it is probably better known for the Islamic holy cities of Mecca and Medina. As the site of the two holiest sites in Islam, the Hejaz has significance in the Arab and Islamic historical and political landscape.
The House of Saud is the ruling royal family of Saudi Arabia. It is composed of the descendants of Muhammad bin Saud, founder of the Emirate of Diriyah, known as the First Saudi state (1744–1818), and his brothers, though the ruling faction of the family is primarily led by the descendants of Ibn Saud, the modern founder of Saudi Arabia. The most influential position of the royal family is the King of Saudi Arabia. King Salman, who reigns currently, chose first his nephew and then his son as the crown prince without consulting the Allegiance Council. The family is estimated to comprise 15,000 members, but the majority of the power and wealth is possessed by a group of about 2,000 of them.
Imam Saud al Kabeer bin Abdul-Aziz bin Muhammad bin Saud ruled the First Saudi State from 1803 to 1814. During his rule, Saud annexed Mecca and Medina from the Ottoman Empire.
The Emirate of Diriyah was the first Saudi state. It was established in the year 1744 when Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab and Prince Muhammad bin Saud formed an alliance to found a socio-religious reform movement to unify the many states of the Arabian Peninsula and free it from Ottoman rule. In 1744, both Muhammed bin Abd Al Wahhab and Muhammad bin Saud took an oath to achieve their goal. Marriage between Muhammad bin Saud's son, Abdul-Aziz bin Muhammad, and the daughter of the Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab helped to seal the pact between their families which has lasted through the centuries to the present day.
Juhayman ibn Muhammad ibn Sayf al-Otaybi was a Saudi militant and former Saudi Arabian soldier who in 1979 led the Grand Mosque seizure of the Masjid al Haram in Mecca, Islam's holiest site, to protest against the Saudi monarchy and the House of Saud.
Islam is the state religion of Saudi Arabia. The connection between Islam and Saudi Arabia is uniquely strong. The kingdom, which sometimes is called the "home of Islam", is the location of the cities of Mecca and Medina, where Muhammad, the messenger of the Islamic faith, lived and died, and attracts millions of Muslim Hajj pilgrims annually, and thousands of clerics and students who come from across the Muslim world to study. The official title of the King of Saudi Arabia is "Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques"—the two being Al-Masjid al-Haram in Mecca and Al-Masjid al-Nabawi in Medina—which are considered the holiest in Islam.
The Grand Mosque seizure occurred during November and December 1979 when insurgents calling for the overthrow of the House of Saud took over Masjid al-Haram in Mecca, Saudi Arabia. The insurgents declared that the Mahdi had arrived in the form of one of their leaders – Mohammed Abdullah al-Qahtani – and called on Muslims to obey him. For nearly two weeks Saudi Special Forces, assisted by Pakistani and French commandos, fought battles to reclaim the compound.
Talal Asad is ancultural anthropologist at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York. Asad has made important theoretical contributions to postcolonialism, Christianity, Islam, and ritual studies and has recently called for, and initiated, an anthropology of secularism. Using a genealogical method developed by Friedrich Nietzsche and made prominent by Michel Foucault, Asad "complicates terms of comparison that many anthropologists, theologians, philosophers, and political scientists receive as the unexamined background of thinking, judgment, and action as such. By doing so, he creates clearings, opening new possibilities for communication, connection, and creative invention where opposition or studied indifference prevailed".
The unification of Saudi Arabia was a military and political campaign, by which the various tribes, sheikhdoms, city-states, emirates, and kingdoms of most of the Arabian Peninsula were conquered by the House of Saud, or Al Saud, between 1902 and 1932, when the modern-day Kingdom of Saudi Arabia was proclaimed under the leadership of Ibn Saud, creating what is sometimes referred to as the Third Saudi State, to differentiate it from the Emirate of Diriyah, the First Saudi State and the Emirate of Nejd, the Second Saudi State, also House of Saud states.
Jannat al-Mu'alla, also known as the Cemetery of Ma'la and Al-Hajun, is a cemetery to the north of the Masjid al-Haram, and near the Mosque of the Jinn, in Mecca, Saudi Arabia. It is the place where Muhammad's wife, grandfather, and other ancestors are buried.
The destruction of sites associated with early Islam is an ongoing phenomenon that has occurred mainly in the Hejaz region of western Saudi Arabia, particularly around the holy cities of Mecca and Medina. The demolition has focused on mosques, burial sites, homes and historical locations associated with the Islamic prophet Muhammad and many of the founding personalities of early Islamic history. In Saudi Arabia, many of the demolitions have officially been part of the continued expansion of the Masjid al-Haram at Mecca and the Prophet's Mosque in Medina and their auxiliary service facilities in order to accommodate the ever-increasing number of Muslims performing the pilgrimage (hajj).
The Al ash-Sheikh, also transliterated in a number of other ways, including Al ash-Shaykh, Al ash-Shaikh, Al al-Shaykh, or Al-Shaykh, is Saudi Arabia's leading religious family. They are the descendants of Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab, the 18th-century founder of the Wahhabi sect of Islam which is today dominant in Saudi Arabia. In Saudi Arabia, the family is second in prestige only to the Saudi royal family, the Al Saud, with whom they formed a power-sharing arrangement nearly 300 years ago. The arrangement, which persists to this day, is based on the Al Saud maintaining the Al ash-Sheikh's authority in religious matters and the Al ash-Sheikh supporting the Al Saud's political authority.
The King of Saudi Arabia is Saudi Arabia's absolute monarch who serves as head of state and head of government. He is the head of the Saudi royal family, the House of Saud. The King is called the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, a title that signifies Saudi Arabia's jurisdiction over the mosques of Masjid al Haram in Mecca and Al-Masjid an-Nabawi in Medina, replacing His Majesty in 1986.
A Road to Mecca – The Journey of Muhammad Asad, also known as A Road to Mecca, is a 2008 documentary by Austrian filmmaker Georg Misch. The documentary traces the path of Muslim scholar and political theorist Muhammad Asad, which led to his conversion to Islam.
Arafat: A Monthly Critique of Muslim Thought was a monthly periodical founded by Muhammad Asad in Kashmir in 1946.
Al-Baqi cemetery, the oldest and one of the two most important Islamic graveyards located in Medina, in current-day Saudi Arabia, was demolished in 1806 and, following reconstruction in the mid-19th century, was destroyed again in 1925 or 1926. An alliance of the House of Saud, and the followers of the Wahhabi movement known as the Emirate of Diriyah, carried out the first demolition. The Sultanate of Nejd, also ruled by the House of Saud and followers of Wahhabism, carried out the second. In both cases, the actors were motivated by the Wahhabi interpretation of Islam, which prohibits the building of monuments on graves.
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English biography articles