Proper Signposts for the Camp: The Reception of Classical Authorities in the Ǧihādī Manual al-ʻUmda fī Iʻdād al-ʻUdda*
This book is an attempt to explore how jihadi authors make use of the Sunni tradition in order to bolster their case. Such a discussion is a desideratum even in Islamic studies since oftentimes radical authors are chastised a priori for their untenable misrepresentation of religion. Similarly, their arguments are tossed aside as a simple recycling of an irrelevant stream of thought that stretches directly from Ibn Taymīya over Muḥammad b. ‘Abd al-Wahhāb to Sayyid Quṭb. In revisiting this claim, "Proper Signposts for the Camp" employs a close reading of a crucial jihadi text: al-‘Umda fī I‘dād al-‘Udda was written in the context of Afghanistan in 1988 by an influential Egyptian ideologue who is widely known as Dr. Faḍl. The book maps and evaluates all religious sources and authorities the author puts to use with a particular focus on questions of political authority. Simon Wolfgang Fuchs argues that Dr. Faḍl makes a convincing case for a political project in the camps that is deeply embedded in the Sunni tradition while reading Ibn Taymīya faithfully: Dr. Faḍl does not turn him into a proponent of violence but rather sticks to the profound quietism the Damascene scholar is known for.
*This work was published before Fuchs entered Princeton as a graduate student.