Scholarship on Saudi involvement in the Cold War emphasizes key developments under King Faisal. This article demonstrates the merits of extending the study of the Saudi role in the Cold War to earlier periods. Examining the career of a little-discussed migrant scholar both prior to and in the early years of the Cold War reveals important precedents that shed light on Saudi Arabia's strategic policy at the height of the Cold War. Barely remembered as the Saudi author of a Salafi da‘wa pamphlet, Muhammad Sultan al-Ma‘sumi al-Khujandi's (1880–1961) legacy stands as testament to the fluidity of reformist Islamic discourses in the early twentieth century. Al-Khujandi's biography is first established before subjecting two aspects of his legacy to closer analysis. First, his authorship of some of the earliest examples of Muslim anti-communist literature in Arabic, providing templates widely replicated during the Cold War. Second, the abortive attempt to instrumentalize his stature in the service of state-legitimation by drawing on preexisting cosmopolitanisms. Though his overzealous commitment to “puritan” Salafism initially curtailed this potential, it soon proved key in his redeployment as an asset in the earliest Saudi experiments in Cold War pan-Islamic solidarity, establishing another template much replicated during the Cold War.

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