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The Development of the Theological and Political Aspects of Jihadi Salafism


  • Orwa Ajjoub

Summary, in English

Since the terrorist attacks of 9/11, scholars have increasingly turned their attention to the rise and influence of jihadi Salafism. For the most part, though, the focus of this body of work has been on the sociology and activities of organizations such as al-Qaʿeda (AQ) and the Islamic State (IS), with less attention paid to the details of the movements’ ideologies.
This, however, should not suggest that these ideologies, which largely stem from theology and religious beliefs, do not play an important role in jihadi Salafi political violence. At the same time, it is not safe to claim that theology is the main or the only driver behind the military activities of jihadi Salafi militants. This report explores the historical development of the theological concepts of jihadi Salafism such as jihad (struggle for sake of Allah which means abstaining from committing sins but also means fight), tawhid (or monotheism), takfir (or excommunication), al-hakimiyya (or applying Allah’s rule), and al-walaa’ wa al-bara’ (or loyalty to Muslims and disavowal to non-Muslims), and their implications on the ground.
By doing so, it interrogates the complicated relationship between these concepts and the ever-changing socio-political context in which they have developed.


  • Political Science
  • Philosophy, Ethics and Religion


  • jihad-salafism
  • jihadism
  • ISIS
  • AQ
  • Syria
  • Iraq
  • Political theology
  • Middle East
  • jihadi groups
  • Salafism
  • Afghanistan