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Islam and The Apocalypse


There’s been some pretty serious talk lately about whether or not Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmedinejad, who is a hardline Islamic revolutionary, believes that he has a responsibility to bring about the End Times according to Islamic prophecy. Jonah mentions this in his column today. Rice University scholar David Cook is an expert on the role end-times prophecy plays in the Islamic imagination. A few years back, I interviewed him for NRO here–and
reading it in light of events that have transpired since, I feel a distinctly Derbish sense of doom-and-gloom. While Dr. Cook has not (to my knowledge) spoken out about the Iranian president, this is an extremely useful essay he has written about the Islamic prophetic worldview.
In it, he writes:

The study of Muslim apocalyptic is absolutely essential to the
understanding of modern Islam. Anyone who wishes to understand the huge
influence which these groups have on the direction of Muslims will not be
able to ignore them. Although the groups are frequently anonymous and
unknown until they burst onto the world stage with some action, they cannot
be accused of being secretive about their motives orbeliefs. Leaflets,
pamphlets, and books are available at every bookstand, and are frequently
handed out in mosques.


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