Although apocalyptic visions and predictions have long been part of classical and contemporary Islam, David Cook's book is the first scholarly work to cover this disparate but influential body of writing. Cook puts the literature in context by examining not only the ideological concerns prompting apocalyptic material but its interconnection with the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, Arab relations with the United States and other Western nations, and the persistance of violence in the Middle East.Cook suggests that Islam began as an apocalyptic movement and has retained a strong apocalyptic and messianic tone. Drawing on a wide range of contemporary Muslim apocalyptic writings, Cook convincingly demonstrates the influence of non-Islamic sources on such literature, tracing anti-Semitic strains in Islamist thought in part to Western texts and traditions. Through a meticulous reading of current documents, incorporating exegesis of everything from holy texts to assertions of supernatural phenomena, Cook shows how radical Muslims, including members of al-Qa'ida, may have applied these ideas to their own agendas.
By exposing the undergrowth of popular beliefs contributing to religion-driven terrorism, this book casts new light on today's political conflicts.
"A fascinating read.... Readers will benefit from Cook's extensive knowledge of the classical apocalyptic literature in both the Shiite and the Sunni traditions. Cook's mastery of such sources, moreover, enables him to underline the modern and popular nature of the new apocalyptic texts and expose their hybrid nature." - International Journal of Middle East Studies "Cook demonstrates convincingly that... there has been a marked upsurge of interest in eschatological motifs in the modern period, especially since the Six-Day War of 1967.... Recommended." - Choice"