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Abduh, Muhammad

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The Oxford Dictionary of Islam What is This? Covers the religious, political, and social spheres of global Islam in the modern world

    Abduh, Muhammad

    (d. 1905 )

    Egyptian scholar, journalist, theologian, jurist, grand mufti, and reformer, regarded as an architect of Islamic modernism. Educated at al-Azhar University. Adherent of the Shadhili Sufi order, although he later renounced his Sufi background. Disciple of Jamal al-Din al-Afghani (d. 1897 ). Supported pan-Islamism and political activism. Edited the journal Al-urwah al-wuthqa (The strongest bond) in the 1880s. Exiled from Egypt 1882 – 88 , during which time he traveled to Syria, North Africa, and France. Upon returning to Cairo, focused thoughts and efforts on education and the renewal of Islamic theology. Strove to emancipate Muslims from the mentality of taqlid (adherence to tradition) while retaining Islamic authenticity. Taught that reason and revelation are inherently compatible and harmonious. Most popular work was Risalat al-tawhid (The theology of unity), which asserts belief in God as a rational act and the need for rational analysis of revelation. Declared that any reluctance to apply rationality to social issues or refuse its scientific fruits was a disavowal of divine creation, constituting shirk (associationism). Bitterly opposed by some academics and legal scholars. Ideas found continuing expression through the journals Al-manar, published by his disciple Muhammad Rashid Rida (d. 1935 ), and Al-manar al-jadid (est. 1998 ).

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