Muhammad Abduh

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Muhammad Abduh
Muhammad Abduh.jpg
Personal
Born1849 (1849) [1]
Died11 July 1905 (aged 56)
Alexandria, Khedivate of Egypt, Ottoman Empire
Religion Islam
Nationality Egyptian
Ethnicity Arabic
RegionMiddle East
Denomination Sunni
Movement Salafi, [2] [3] [4] Islamic Modernism [5]
Alma mater al-Azhar
Senior posting

Muḥammad 'Abduh (1849 – 11 July 1905) (also spelled Mohammed Abduh, Arabic : محمد عبده) was an Egyptian Islamic jurist, religious scholar and liberal reformer, regarded as one of the key founding figures of Islamic Modernism, sometimes called Neo-Mu’tazilism after the medieval Islamic school of theology based on rationalism, Muʿtazila. [8] He also wrote, among other things, "Treatise on the Oneness of God", and a commentary on the Qur'an. [1]

Egyptians are an ethnic group native to Egypt and the citizens of that country sharing a common culture and a common dialect known as Egyptian Arabic.

Islam is an Abrahamic, monotheistic religion teaching that there is only one God, and that Muhammad is the messenger of God. It is the world's second-largest religion with over 1.8 billion followers or 24% of the world's population, most commonly known as Muslims. Muslims make up a majority of the population in 50 countries. Islam teaches that God is merciful, all-powerful, and unique, and has guided humankind through prophets, revealed scriptures and natural signs. The primary scriptures of Islam are the Quran, claimed to be the verbatim word of God, and the teachings and normative examples of Muhammad.

Islamic Modernism is a movement that has been described as "the first Muslim ideological response" attempting to reconcile Islamic faith with modern values such as nationalism, democracy, civil rights, rationality, equality, and progress. It featured a "critical reexamination of the classical conceptions and methods of jurisprudence" and a new approach to Islamic theology and Quranic exegesis (Tafsir).

Contents

Biography

Muhammad Abduh was born in 1849 to a Turkish father [9] and Egyptian mother [10] in the Nile Delta. [1] He also had Kurdish roots. [11] His family was of the Egyptian elite. His father was part of the Umad, or the local ruling elite. His mother was part of the Ashraf. He was educated in Tanta at a private school. [1] When he turned thirteen, he was sent to the Aḥmadī mosque, which was one of the largest educational institutions in Egypt. A while later Abduh ran away from school and got married. He enrolled at al-Azhar University [12] in 1866. [13] Abduh studied logic, philosophy and Islamic mysticism at the Al-Azhar University in Cairo. He was a student of Jamal al-Din al-Afghani, [14] a philosopher and Muslim religious reformer who advocated Pan-Islamism to resist European colonialism. Under al-Afghani's influence, Abduh combined journalism, politics, and his own fascination in Islamic mystical spirituality. Al-Afghani taught Abduh about the problems of Egypt and the Islamic world and about the technological achievements of the West.

Turkish people or the Turks, also known as Anatolian Turks, are a Turkic ethnic group and nation living mainly in Turkey and speaking Turkish, the most widely spoken Turkic language. They are the largest ethnic group in Turkey, as well as by far the largest ethnic group among the speakers of Turkic languages. Ethnic Turkish minorities exist in the former lands of the Ottoman Empire. In addition, a Turkish diaspora has been established with modern migration, particularly in Western Europe.

Nile Delta Delta produced by the Nile River at its mouth in the Mediterranean Sea

The Nile Delta is the delta formed in Lower Egypt where the Nile River spreads out and drains into the Mediterranean Sea. It is one of the world's largest river deltas—from Alexandria in the west to Port Said in the east, it covers 240 km (150 mi) of Mediterranean coastline and is a rich agricultural region. From north to south the delta is approximately 160 km (99 mi) in length. The Delta begins slightly down-river from Cairo.

Kurds Stateless Indo-European ethnic group

Kurds or the Kurdish people are a stateless Iranian ethnic group native to Western Asia. Geographically, this mountainous area, known as Kurdistan includes southeastern Turkey, northwestern Iran, northern Iraq, and northern Syria. There are also exclaves of Kurds in central Anatolia and Khorasan. Additionally, there are significant Kurdish diaspora communities in the cities of western Turkey, in particular Istanbul, while a Kurdish diaspora has developed in Western Europe, primarily in Germany. Numerically, the Kurds are estimated to number anywhere from a low of 30 million, to possibly as high as 45 million.

In 1877, Abduh was granted the degree of 'Alim ("teacher") and he started to teach logic, theology and ethics at al-Azhar. In 1878, he was appointed professor of history at Cairo's teachers' training college Dar al-Ulum, later incorporated into Cairo University. He was also appointed to teach Arabic at the Khedivial School of Languages. [13]

Dar al-Ulum

Dar al-Ulum, is an educational institution designed to produce students with both an Islamic and modern secondary education. It was founded in 1871 and is now a faculty of Cairo University; it became commonly called Faculty of Dar al-Ulum.

Cairo University public university with its main campus in Giza, Egypt

Cairo University, known as the Egyptian University from 1908 to 1940, and King Fuad I University from 1940 to 1952) is Egypt's premier public university. Its main campus is in Giza, immediately across the Nile from Cairo. It was founded on 21 December 1908; however, after being housed in various parts of Cairo, its faculties, beginning with the Faculty of Arts, were established on its current main campus in Giza in October 1929. It is the second oldest institution of higher education in Egypt after Al Azhar University, notwithstanding the pre-existing higher professional schools that later became constituent colleges of the university. It was founded and funded as the Egyptian University by a committee of private citizens with royal patronage in 1908 and became a state institution under King Fuad I in 1925. In 1940, four years following his death, the University was renamed King Fuad I University in his honor. It was renamed a second time after the Egyptian revolution of 1952. The University currently enrolls approximately 155,000 students in 22 faculties. It counts three Nobel Laureates among its graduates and is one of the 50 largest institutions of higher education in the world by enrollment.

Arabic Central Semitic language

Arabic is a Semitic language that first emerged in the 1st to 4th centuries CE. It is now the lingua franca of the Arab world. It is named after the Arabs, a term initially used to describe peoples living in the area bounded by Mesopotamia in the east and the Anti-Lebanon mountains in the west, in northwestern Arabia, and in the Sinai Peninsula. The ISO classifies Arabic as a macrolanguage comprising 30 modern varieties, including its standard form, Modern Standard Arabic, which is derived from Classical Arabic. This distinction exists primarily among Western linguists; Arabic speakers themselves generally do not distinguish between Modern Standard Arabic and Classical Arabic, but rather refer to both as al-ʻArabīyat ul-fuṣḥáStandard Arabic.

Abduh was appointed editor and chief of al-Waqāʾiʿ al-Miṣriyya, the official state newspaper. He was dedicated to reforming all aspects of Egyptian society and believed that education was the best way to achieve this goal. He was in favor of a good religious education, which would strengthen a child’s morals, and a scientific education, which would nurture a child’s ability to reason. In his articles he criticized corruption, superstition, and the luxurious lives of the rich. [13]

In 1879, due to his political activity, Jamal al-Din al-Afghani was exiled and Abduh was exiled to his home village. The following year he was granted control of the national gazette and used this as a means to spread his anti-colonial ideas, and the need for social and religious reforms. [1] He was exiled from Egypt by the British in 1882 for six years, for supporting the Egyptian nationalist revolt led by Ahmed Orabi in 1879. He had stated that every society should be allowed to choose a suitable form of government based on its history and its present circumstances. [13] Abduh spent several years in Ottoman Lebanon, where he helped establish an Islamic educational system. In 1884 he moved to Paris, France where he joined al-Afghani in publishing The Firmest Bond (al-Urwah al-Wuthqa), an Islamic revolutionary journal that promoted anti-British views. Abduh also visited Britain and discussed the state of Egypt and Sudan with high-ranking officials. In 1885, after brief stays in England and Tunisia, he returned to Beirut, as a teacher, [1] and was surrounded by scholars from different religious backgrounds. During his stay there he dedicated his efforts toward furthering respect and friendship between Islam, Christianity and Judaism. [13]

Lebanon Country in Western Asia

Lebanon, officially known as the Lebanese Republic, is a country in Western Asia. It is bordered by Syria to the north and east and Israel to the south, while Cyprus is west across the Mediterranean Sea. Lebanon's location at the crossroads of the Mediterranean Basin and the Arabian hinterland facilitated its rich history and shaped a cultural identity of religious and ethnic diversity. At just 10,452 km2, it is the smallest recognized sovereign state on the mainland Asian continent.

Paris Capital and most populous city of France

Paris is the capital and most populous city of France, with an area of 105 square kilometres and an official estimated population of 2,140,526 residents as of 1 January 2019. Since the 17th century, Paris has been one of Europe's major centres of finance, diplomacy, commerce, fashion, science, as well as the arts. The City of Paris is the centre and seat of government of the Île-de-France, or Paris Region, which has an estimated official 2019 population of 12,213,364, or about 18 percent of the population of France. The Paris Region had a GDP of €709 billion in 2017. According to the Economist Intelligence Unit Worldwide Cost of Living Survey in 2018, Paris was the second most expensive city in the world, after Singapore, and ahead of Zurich, Hong Kong, Oslo and Geneva. Another source ranked Paris as most expensive, on a par with Singapore and Hong Kong, in 2018. The city is a major railway, highway, and air-transport hub served by two international airports: Paris-Charles de Gaulle and Paris-Orly. Opened in 1900, the city's subway system, the Paris Métro, serves 5.23 million passengers daily, and is the second busiest metro system in Europe after Moscow Metro. Gare du Nord is the 24th busiest railway station in the world, but the first located outside Japan, with 262 million passengers in 2015.

Sudan Country in Northeast Africa

Sudan or the Sudan, officially the Republic of the Sudan, is a country in Northeast Africa. It is bordered by Egypt to the north, the Red Sea to the northeast, Eritrea to the east, Ethiopia to the southeast, South Sudan to the south, the Central African Republic to the southwest, Chad to the west, and Libya to the northwest. It has a population of 39 million people and occupies a total area of 1,886,068 square kilometres, making it the third-largest country in Africa. Sudan's predominant religion is Islam, and its official languages are Arabic and English. The capital is Khartoum, located at the confluence of the Blue and White Nile. Since 2011, Sudan is the scene of ongoing military conflict in its regions South Kordofan and Blue Nile.

When he returned to Egypt in 1888, Abduh began his legal career. He was appointed judge in the Courts of First Instance of the Native Tribunals and in 1891, he became a consultative member of the Court of Appeal. [1] In 1899, he was appointed Grand Mufti of Egypt, the highest Islamic title, and he held this position until he died. As a judge, he was involved in many decisions, some of which were considered liberal such as the ability to utilize meat butchered by non-Muslims and the acceptance of loan interest. His liberal views, endeared him to the British, in particular Lord Cromer; however it also caused a rift between him and the khedive Abbas Hilmi and the nationalist leader Mustafa Kamil. [1] While he was in Egypt, Abduh founded a religious society, became president of a society for the revival of Arab sciences and worked towards reforming al-Azhar University by putting forth proposals to improve examinations, the curriculum and the working conditions for both professors and students. He travelled a great deal and met with European scholars in Cambridge and Oxford University. He studied French law and read a great many European and Arab works in the libraries of Vienna and Berlin. The conclusions he drew from his travels were that Muslims suffer from ignorance about their own religion and the despotism of unjust rulers. [13]

Dar al-Ifta al-Misriyyah

Dār al-Iftā' al-Miṣriyyah is an Egyptian educational institute and government body founded to represent Islam and a center for Islamic legal research since its establishment in 1313 AH/1895 CE. It keeps contemporary Muslims in touch with religious principles, clarifies "the right way," removes doubts concerning religious and worldly life, and reveals religious law for the new issues of contemporary life.

Evelyn Baring, 1st Earl of Cromer British diplomat

Evelyn Baring, 1st Earl of Cromer, was a British statesman, diplomat and colonial administrator. He was British controller-general in Egypt during 1879, part of the international Control which oversaw Egyptian finances after the 1876 Egyptian bankruptcy. He later became the agent and consul-general in Egypt from 1883 to 1907 during the British occupation prompted by the 'Urabi revolt. This position gave Baring de facto control over Egyptian finances and governance.

Abbas II of Egypt Ottoman Empire politician

Abbas II Helmy Bey was the last Khedive of Egypt and Sudan, ruling from 8 January 1892 to 19 December 1914. In 1914, after the Ottoman Empire joined the Central Powers in World War I, the nationalist Khedive was removed by the British, then ruling Egypt, in favor of his more pro-British uncle, Hussein Kamel, marking the de jure end of Egypt's four-century era as a province of the Ottoman Empire, which had begun in 1517.

Muhammad Abduh died in Alexandria on 11 July 1905. People from all around the world sent their condolences.[ citation needed ]

Thought

Work of Muhammad Abduh, translated in Old Tatar language and published in tatar city Kazan in 1911 Taukhid. twHyd.pdf
Work of Muhammad Abduh, translated in Old Tatar language and published in tatar city Kazan in 1911

I went to the West and saw Islam, but no Muslims; I got back to the East and saw Muslims, but not Islam.

Muhammad Abduh [15]

Muhammad Abduh argued that Muslims could not simply rely on the interpretations of texts provided by medieval clerics; they needed to use reason to keep up with changing times. He said that in Islam, man was not created to be led by a bridle, but that man was given intelligence so that he could be guided by knowledge. According to Abduh, a teacher’s role was to direct men towards study. He believed that Islam encouraged men to detach from the world of their ancestors and that Islam reproved the slavish imitation of tradition. He said that the two greatest possessions relating to religion that man was graced with were independence of will and independence of thought and opinion. It was with the help of these tools that he could attain happiness. He believed that the growth of western civilization in Europe was based on these two principles. He thought that Europeans were roused to act after a large number of them were able to exercise their choice and to seek out facts with their minds. [16] His Muslim opponents refer to him as an infidel; however, his followers called him a sage, a reviver of religion and a reforming leader. He is conventionally graced with the epithets “al-Ustādh al-Imām” and “al-Shaykh al-Muftī”. In his works, he portrays God as educating humanity from its childhood through its youth and then on to adulthood. According to him, Islam is the only religion whose dogmas can be proven by reasoning. Abduh does not advocate returning to the early stages of Islam. He was against polygamy and thought that it was an archaic custom. He believed in a form of Islam that would liberate men from enslavement, provide equal rights for all human beings, abolish the religious scholar’s monopoly on exegesis and abolish racial discrimination and religious compulsion. [13]

Abduh regularly called for better friendship between religious communities. He made great efforts to preach harmony between Sunnis and Shias. Broadly speaking, he preached brotherhood between all schools of thought in Islam. However, he criticized what he perceived as errors such as superstitions coming from popular Sufism. [17] As Christianity was the second biggest religion in Egypt, he devoted special efforts towards friendship between Muslims and Christians. He had many Christian friends and many a time he stood up to defend Copts. [17] During the Urabi revolt, some Muslim mobs had misguidedly attacked a number of Copts resulting from their anger against European colonialism. Abduh also had meetings in Baghdad with the son of Baha'ism's founder and then spiritual leader, Abdu'l Baha, who he had a generally positive view of - although it was asserted by his students that he was unaware of the extra-Quranic religious scripture or status of Baha'ullah as a prophet in the faith and viewed it as a reformation of Shi'ism. [18]

Abduh's collected works have been compiled and published in five volumes by Muhammad Imarah.

Freemason

At the age of 28 Abduh joined a Masonic lodge, the Kawkab Al-Sharq (Planet of the East). Its members included Prince Tawfiq, the Khedive's son and heir, leading personalities such as Muhammad Sharif Pasha, who had been a minister, Sulayman Abaza Pasha and Saad Zaghlul. [19]

A. M. Broadbent declared that "Sheikh Abdu was no dangerous fanatic or religious enthusiast, for he belonged to the broadest school of Moslem thought, held a political creed akin to pure republicanism, and was a zealous Master of a Masonic Lodge." [20]

In line with Masonic principles, Abduh sought to encourage unity with all religious traditions. He stated that,

"I hope to see the two great religions, Islam and Christianity hand-in-hand, embracing each other. Then the Torah and the Bible and the Qur'an will become books supporting one another being read everywhere, and respected by every nation." He added that he was “looking forward to seeing Muslims read the Torah and the Bible." [21]

'Abduh was asked why he and (his teacher) Afghani had become Masons. He replied that it was for a "political and social purpose". [22]

Abduh and the Bahá'í Faith

Like his teacher, Abduh was associated with the Bahá'í Faith, which had made deliberate efforts to spread the faith to Egypt, establishing themselves in Alexandria and Cairo beginning in the late 1860s. Rashid Rida asserts that during his visits to Beirut, `Abdu'l-Bahá would attend Abduh's study sessions. [23] The two men met at a time when they had similar goals of religious reform and were in opposition to the Ottoman ulama . [24] [25] Regarding the meetings of `Abdu'l-Bahá and Muhammad 'Abduh, Shoghi Effendi asserts that "His several interviews with the well-known Shaykh Muhammad ‘Abdu served to enhance immensely the growing prestige of the community and spread abroad the fame of its most distinguished member." [26] Remarking on `Abdu'l-Bahá’s excellence in religious science and diplomacy, Abduh said of him that, "[he] is more than that. Indeed, he is a great man; he is the man who deserves to have the epithet applied to him." [27]

Works

Other works by Muhammad `Abduh

See also

Notes

  1. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 Kerr, Malcolm H. (2010). "'Abduh Muhammad". In Hoiberg, Dale H. (ed.). Encyclopædia Britannica. I: A-ak Bayes (15th ed.). Chicago, IL: Encyclopædia Britannica Inc. pp. 20–21. ISBN   978-1-59339-837-8.
  2. Chris Heffelfinger, Radical Islam in America: Salafism's Journey from Arabia to the West, Chapter 2, p.3. ISBN   1597976032
  3. John L. Esposito, The Oxford Handbook of Islam and Politics, p 33. ISBN   0195395891
  4. Richard Gauvain, Salafi Ritual Purity: In the Presence of God, p 33. ISBN   071031356X
  5. "On Salafi Islam Dr. Yasir Qadhi". Muslim Matters. April 22, 2014. Retrieved August 14, 2017.
  6. Syeda Saiyidain Hameed (2014), Maulana Azad, Islam and the Indian National Movement, Oxford, pp. 17, 36, ISBN   9780199450466
  7. Hussein Abdul-Raof (2012), Theological Approaches to Qur'anic Exegesis: A Practical Comparative-contrastive Analysis, Routledge, p. 3, ISBN   9780415449588
  8. Ahmed H. Al-Rahim (January 2006). "Islam and Liberty", Journal of Democracy 17 (1), p. 166-169.
  9. Adams, Charles Clarence (1933), "Muhammad Abduh: Biography", Islam and Modernism in Egypt, Volume 10, Taylor & Francis, p. 18, ISBN   0415209080, True, his father 'Abduh ibn Hasan Khair Allah, came from a family of Turkish origin that had settled in the village of Mahallat Nasr in the Buhairah Province at some remote time in the past...
  10. Hourani, Albert (1962). Arabic Thought in the Liberal Age. Great Britain: Oxford University Press. p. 130.
  11. Arthur Goldschmidt, Biographical Dictionary of Modern Egypt, Lynne Rienner Publishers (2000), p. 10
  12. Hourani, Albert (1962). Arabic Thought in the Liberal Age. Great Britain: Oxford University Press.
  13. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Kügelgen, Anke von. "ʿAbduh, Muḥammad." Encyclopaedia of Islam, v.3. Edited by: Gudrun Krämer, Denis Matringe, John Nawas and Everett Rowson. Brill, 2009. Syracuse University. 23 April 2009
  14. Kedourie, E. (1997). Afghani and 'Abduh: An Essay on Religious Unbelief and Political Activism in Modern Islam, London: Frank Cass. ISBN   0-7146-4355-6.
  15. Ahmed Hasan (July 2, 2011). "Democracy, Religion and Moral Values: A Road Map Toward Political Transformation in Egypt". Foreign Policy Journal. Retrieved August 14, 2017.
  16. Gelvin , J. L. (2008). The Modern Middle East (2nd ed., pp. 161-162). New York: Oxford university Press.
  17. 1 2 Benzine, Rachid. Les nouveaux penseurs de l'islam, p. 43-44.
  18. Juan R.I. Cole. Muhammad `Abduh and Rashid Rida: A Dialogue on the Bahá'í Faith. World Order Vol. 15, nos. 3-4 (Spring/Summer 1981):7-16.
  19. "What did Muhammad Abduh do?". Arab News. Retrieved August 14, 2017.
  20. Raafat, Samir. "Freemasonry in Egypt: Is it still around?" Insight Magazine, March 1, 1999
  21. Muhammad 'Abduh, Islam and Christianity, in Waqf Ikhlas, The Religion Reformers in Islam, Istanbul, 1995, p. 117
  22. Rida, "Tatimmat," p. 402. Journal of the American Oriental Society, Vol. 92, No. 1 (Jan. - Mar., 1972), pp. 25-35
  23. Cole, Juan R.I. (1981). "Muhammad `Abduh and Rashid Rida: A Dialogue on the Baha'i Faith". World Order. 15 (3): 11.
  24. Scharbrodt, Oliver (2008). Islam and the Bahá'í Faith: A Comparative Study of Muhammad 'Abduh and 'Abdul-Baha 'Abbas. Routledge. ISBN   9780203928578.
  25. Cole, Juan R.I. (1983). "Rashid Rida on the Bahai Faith: A Utilitarian Theory of the Spread of Religions". Arab Studies Quarterly. 5 (2): 278.
  26. Effendi, Shoghi (1944). God Passes By. Wilmette, Illinois, USA: Bahá'í Publishing Trust. p. 193. ISBN   0-87743-020-9.
  27. Cole, Juan R.I. (1983). "Rashid Rida on the Bahai Faith: A Utilitarian Theory of the Spread of Religions". Arab Studies Quarterly. 5 (2): 282.

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References

Sunni Islam titles
Preceded by
Hassunah al-Nawawi
Grand Mufti of Egypt
1899 - 1905
Succeeded by
Bakri al-Sadafi