CONTENTS OF Vol. 32, No. 1, 2007
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SPECIAL NUMBER ON MUHAMMAD ABDUH
YASIR S. IBRAHIM: Muhammad Abduh and Maqasid Al-Sharia
ABSTRACT: The paper presents an analysis of the legal thought of the Egyptian religious reformer Muhammad Abduh (died 1905), particularly his usage of a concept in Sunni Islamic legal theory known in Arabic as maqasid al-sharia. Abduh and some of his students, such as Muhammad Rashid Rida (died 1935), consider this term to mean the true aims or spirit of Islamic law in contrast to a pre-modern tradition of strict literal interpretation. Abduh can be regarded as the founder of this movement of religious and legal reform which continued throughout the twentieth century. By focusing on the maqasid, the reformist ulama (religious scholars) hope to bring about broader social and legal reforms in the Islamic world. I focus in my paper on the development of the maqasid movement through its first modern conceptualization by Abduh. Since this mode of religious and legal reform has largely been ignored or dismissed by existing scholarship in the West, my methodology will consist in presenting Abduhs maqasid thought in the light of Western scholars assessment of his movement of religious reform. In the paper I mostly refer to Malcolm Kerr, Albert Hourani, and Wael Hallaqs assessments about Abduh and Ridas projects of legal reform. Hourani and Hallaqs conclusions are very much based on Kerrs assessments, which describe Abduh and Ridas legal thought as very much emanating from Western conceptions of Natural Law and Utilitarianism. Thus, according to Kerr, Hourani, and Hallaq, this movement of religious reform will ultimately lead to secular conceptions of Islamic law that contradict traditional religious understanding of the law based on the sacred texts of Islam. The papers central thesis represents a response to the aforenentioned scholars in which I argue first that Abduhs conception of natural law is very much limited and defined by the Divine law, i.e. The sharia. In addition, I argue that Abduhs legal thought is not fully utilitarianist and that the best way to understand Abduhs legal reform is through his conception of maqasid al-sharia, particularly the legal aims mentioned in the Quran. Here, I offer an analysis of Abduhs legal theory and several of his fatwas to show how this concept is applied to actual legal situations. The studied cases include, for example, questions on political participation, art and music, wearing ornaments, and marriage and polygamy. My final conclusion is that since Abduhs legal thought is based on Islamic sacred texts, without ignoring an influence coming from Western sources, one should evaluate such reformist ideas as a religiously legitimate contribution toward a modernist interpretation of Islamic law.
MAHCER LOTFI: Muhammad Abduh lesprit et la lettre
RÉSUMÉ: La vie et la carrière
de Muhammad Abduh couvrent presque la première période
égyptienne du XIXème siècle et le début
du XXème siècle, celle des vice-rois réformateur
et des Khédives. Nous allons voir que Muhammad Abduh fut par
son activité et sa doctrine un représentant tout à
fait éminent de cette période. Cest sur une étude
de lensemble de son activité et de ses œuvres écrites,
acceptés telles quelles sont, dans létonnante diversité
de leurs titres et de leur contenu, que nous voudrions fonder une nouvelle
approche des attitudes et des idées de Abduh; tout en disant
notre conviction, quil restera encore beaucoup à faire
après cette étude, dans la même orientation, pour
comprendre véritablement Abduh, dont le destin fut de tenter
une très difficile conciliation.
OLIVIER CARRE: Lectures du Coran: Qutb contre Abduh
RÉSUMÉ: Quelle méthode de lecture du Coran chez lun, dans Fî zilâl al-qurân, et chez lautre, notamment dans ses contributions à Tafsîr al-manâr? Quelle interprétation de la foi en elle-même et des croyances, notamment la création divine et la liberté humaine, lAutre Monde et la Vie future? Quelle interpretation de lincroyance et de lapostasie, du christianisme et du judaisme? Quelle pensée politique et quelle idée de la pratique du pouvoir musulman idéal, en particulier de la shûrâ? Quelle conception de la Sharîa et des Lois de lEtat islamique à venir, notamment concernant lapostasie et le droit de la famille? Quelle justice sociale, quelle interprétation de la Zakat et de linterdiction de lintérêt spéculatif (ribâ)? Quelle interprétation de la guerre-pour-Dieu? Les réponses à ces questions conduisent à contester lextrémisme de Qutb, mais aussi le timide réformisme de Abduh face au défi de lherméneutique scientifique des Ecritures.
RONALD L. NETTLER: Ideas and methods in new Islamic thought in late-colonial Egypt: A plea for the re-institution of Ijtihad
ABSTRACT: The period from 1919 to the early 1950s
in Egypt saw the emergence of a Plethora of new-intellectual and cultural
trends. In the context of late-colonial Egyptian political, economic
and social developments, these trends took root and flourished. Among
them were Islamic outlooks and ideas which represented a break with
the methods, style, contents and emphases of pre-modern Islamic thought.
This new thought was the product of intellectuals who were often not
ulama and those who wrote in the new way. Though these writings
often took the form of books, a large amount of them appeared in the
many new intellectual journals in Egypt which were themselves part of
the new intellectual and cultural life of the period. This journal literature
of Islamic thought constitutes an important source for the intellectual
history of Islam in the Middle East in the 20th century. In the main,
it still awaits detailed analysis of its ideas and intellectual methods.
ITZCHAK WEISMANN: The Sociology of Islamic Modernism: Muhammad Abduh, the Muslim Public Sphere, and the Colonial State.
ABSTRACT: This article examines the biography and ideas of Muhammad Abduh, the seminal figure of Islamic Modernism in the Arab world, from a sociological perspective. More particularly it makes use of Habermas concept of the public sphere, and the critics thereof, to examine the two major turning points in Abduhs career. One was his move from al-Azhar scholasticism to journalism during the 1870s, the other being his return from exile in the late 1880s to take office under the British occupation. Scholars have tended to follow Rashid Ridas quasi-official biography of Abduh and explain these changes in personal terms: the charisma of a Jamal al-Din Afghani or the force of a Lord Cromer. I would rather argue that Abduhs Modernist outlook was characteristic of a new stratum of religious intellectuals which was integrated into the incipient Egyptian public sphere in Khedive Ismails time. Abduhs subsequent readiness to cooperate with the British derived from the adverse experiences he had with the autocratic governments of Khedive Tawfiq during the Urabi revolt and of Ottoman Sultan Abdulhamid II while he was in exile in Beirut. As both regimes strangled the public spheres of their respective societies, Abduh became convinced that the cause of Islamic reform would be better served under the more liberal British colonial state.
KATHARINA IVANYI: Gods custom Concerning the Rise and Fall of Nations: the Tafsîr al-manâr on Q 8:53 and Q 13:11
ABSTRACT: This article will examine Muhammad Abduh and Rashid Ridas interpretation of Q 8:53 and Q 13:11, as found in their seminal Qurn commentary, the Tafsîr al-manâr. Their reading and treatment of these two verses will be argued to represent a highly innovative adaptation and incorporation of certain strands of nineteenth-century European thought into the field of Qurnic exegesis. It provides a good example of how the two reformers addressed a number of issues of modernity, in particular the perceived decline and impotence of Islam vis-à-vis the West. Their adoption of certain positivist, social-Darwinist and other notions of contemporary European thought, as well as their incorporation of these into the interpretation of two seemingly innocuous Qurnic verses, is representative of a more general trend affecting the transformation of Islamic religious thought at the time a transformation, which, hence, also involved a redefinition and semantic broadening of traditional Islamic concepts in the light of new and modern notions taken up from the West.
THESES ABSTRACTS ON MUHAMMAD ABDUH
MAHCER LOTFI: Les idées de Muhamed, thèse de Doctorat, Université de Paris X, soutenu le 9 Septembre 2005
RÉSUMÉ: Le sujet porte sur la personnalité de Muhamed Abduh (1849-1905), un pionnier incontesté de la pensée musulmane contemporaine, et plus particulièrement sur le réformisme musulman de cet homme qui fut lun des symboles de la modernisation au dix neuvième siècle. Cette étude sur Abduh est aussi une étude de la pensée réformiste. Il sagit de la période durant laquelle lEgypte ainsi que dautres pays de lorient arabe, ont assistées à la monte des mouvements nationaux contre la domination ottomane. Ces mouvements étaient lexpression politique directe des idées de lépoque de la Nahda et la renaissance. Abduh fut un acteur atypique de cette période. Ses idées et ses projets, sa contribution au développement de la pensée musulmane, sa vision renouvelée des structures politiques et sociales. Ainsi comprendre les origines et la nature des mouvements réformistes et le modernisme musulman dans les pays du moyen orient. La personnalité de Abduh et ses idées peuvent servir de référence et de source de réforme dans le contexte de lislam aujourdhui.
YASIR S. IBRAHIM: The spirit of Islamic law and modern religious reform: Maqasid al-sharia in Muhammad Abduh and Rashid Ridas legal thought, Princeton University, PhD 2004.
ABSTRACT : This dissertation presents an analysis of the legal thinking of two modern Muslim religious reformers, particularly their usage of a concept in Sunni; Islamic legal theory known in Arabic as Maqasid al-sharia. The religious reformers who are the subjects of this dissertation, the Egyptian Muhammad Abduh (died 1905) and his Syrian student Muhammad Rashid Rida (died 1935), consider this term to mean the true aims or spirit of Islamic law in contrast to a tradition of strict literal interpretation. Abduh can be regarded as the founder of this movement of religious and legal reform which continued throughout the 20th century. By focusing on the Maqasid, the reformist Ulama (religious scholars) hope to bring about broader social and legal reforms in the Islamic world. I focus on the development of the Maqasid movement through its first modern conceptualization by Abduh. Since this mode of religious and legal reform has largely been ignored or dismissed by existing scholarship, my methodology will consist in presenting the reformers thought in light of the critique they faced. This critique comes from certain traditionalist religious scholars, especially neo-hanbalıtes associated with the Wahhabi movement in Saudi Arabia and certain scholars affiliated with the famous al-Azhar University in which Abduh studied and attempted to reform. However, certain scholars of Islam in the West who studied Abduh and Ridas reform movement also offer a critique of their legal thought. In the dissertation I mostly refer to Malcolm Kerr, Albert Hourani, and Wael Hallaqs assessments of Abduh and Ridas projects of legal reform. After an introduction that aims to define maqasid, al-sharia and the role this concept plays in classical and modern Islamic legal theorization, chapter one addresses the connection between natural law and divine law in Abduhs legal thought and considers Kerrs claim that Abduhs theological views, which are different from the Asharite Sunni ones, influenced his legal thought. Chapter two focuses on the maqasid thought of Abduh through the analysis of his theoretical writings and some of his fatwa (religious edicts). Chapter three examines the religious and legal reform espoused by Abduhs disciple Rashid Rida and analyzes his maqasid thought.
GESINK, INDIRA FALK: Beyond modernisms: Opposition and negotiation in the Azhar reform debate in Egypt, 1870 - 1911, Washington University, PhD, 2000
ABSTRACT : This dissertation examines debates over curricular and administrative reforms at the Azhar Mosque in nineteenth-century Cairo, one of the most influential centres of religious study in the Islamic world. These debates catalyzed a fundamental shift in the way varieties of knowledge and ways of knowing were hierarchically organized and absorbed by the Muslim public, which catalyzed public acceptance of several trends in twentieh-century Islamic thought, including secularism, Islamic modernism, and radical Islamism. The dissertation begins with historiographical point that sets me outside the self-confirming layers of authoritative scholarship: Historians of Egypt have assumed that famous modernist reformers such as Muhammad Abduh were primarily responsible for the instigation of the reform movement and for the conceptualization of modern religious life that emanated from Azhar and permeated Egyptian and Islamic society, and that opposition to reform arose from a faction of religious conservatives mired in scholastic traditionalism. Employing concepts of tradition and sociocultural change derived from cognitive philosophy, I sought out obscure sources on opposition to reforms. These revealed that opponents of reforms, engaged many of the same issues as reformers, that both parties sought epistemological and juridical mechanisms to adapt to the contemporary strain of change in ways that preserved the moral purity of the Muslim community and ensured its continued guidance by the Ulama; (they even had fluid memberships) and that some so-called opponents formulated alternative visions of reform that eschewed the modernists social-scientific terminologies of progress in favour of an adaptive preservationism. In fact, the texts of reforms show greater attention to the concerns of the conservatives than to the original programmes of Muhammad Abduh, and legal conservatives chaired the very committees that generated and implemented reforms. Had religious conservatives not contributed to the reforms of the early twentieth century, the reforms would have lacked the crucial cultural assonance, that permitted them to become rooted in public life. In short, my dissertation is a critical revision of our knowledge of Islamic reform
MUKBIL, F.T.M: The Development of reform concepts in nineteenth century Egypt, with special emphasis on Shaykh Muhammad Abduh and his group, PhD University of Manchester 1983
ABSTRACT: The nineteenth century saw the convergence
(and conflict) of many traditions and cultures. This was most evident
in Arab and Islamic countries emerging from centuries of lethargy and
enforced isolation. The dangers as well as promises of a new age dawned
on many intellectuals and leaders of various local communities,
challenging them to advance new ideas or reinterpret traditional ideas
in a new light. The reform attempts, which were increasingly being regarded
as a matter of necessity and urgency rather than of desire, were dealing
with such varied issues as religion, education, system of government,
and literary expression. Indeed, the age was ripe for these movements,
which included large-scale military and social upheavals, starting,
most vividly, with Wahhabism in Arabia and continuing with the Sanusiyya
in North Africa and Mahdism in Sudan, as well as with many other movements
throughout the Arab and Islamic world.