Visions of Allah : the competing political theologies of Ayman al-Zawahiri and Ayatollah Muhammad Hussain Fadlallah

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2021-12-02

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Prowant, Max

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Abstract

What follows is an attempt to better understand not just the political ideologies of prominent jihadist groups, but the wide-ranging theologies which inform political and militant action. My central argument and contribution to the study of jihadist organizations is that how they conceive of God is a major factor in explaining their strategies, tactics, and end goals. To demonstrate this, I compare the theological-political thought of two radically different jihadist ideologues: Ayman al-Zawahiri (1951-present) and Ayatollah Muhammad Hussain Fadlallah (1935-2010). This Master’s Thesis illuminates how these men understand the nature or phenomenon of God and his relationship with man. Flowing from their approach to God, it shows how their theologies inform two central aspects of the political ideologies: the proper function and place for jihad and the jihadist, and the role and function of the state. The thesis concludes with some telling real-world examples of how their theological-political ideologies are played out in the operations of al-Qaeda and Hezbollah

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