COOK (David), [Studies in Muslim apocalyptic, Princeton, Darwin Press, (« Studies in late antiquity and early Islam, 21 »), 2002, XII-470 p. Bibliogr; index. ISBN 0-87850-142-8
Until now, Muslim apocalyptic has been assumed to have been primarily a Shi’i endeavor. The present work demonstrates that in reality the Sunni material is broader, and that the Shi’i material is in fact subsidiary to the Sunni. In addition, the book is designed to present Muslim apocalyptic beliefs as a whole, categorizing them into cycles or stories.
Muslim apocalyptic developed in tandem with Jewish and Christian apocalyptic beliefs of the same period, each tradition playing off the others to create a sequence useful to the community in question. The present work reveals how deeply important apocalyptic beliefs are to all areas of Sunni and Shi’i religious (and often mundane) literature. This has not been a phenomenon confined to the masses; on the contrary, responsible religious and political leaders have been instrumental in both generating and circulating this literature. Because of the politically charged nature of the individual traditions, however, many of them have been either excluded from the canonical collections of hadith or reinterpreted in a more innocuous direction. This book seeks to restore to prominence this vital and central facet of classical Muslim religious and political life.