Muhammad Abduh

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Muhammad Abduh_table_infobox_0

Muhammad AbduhMuhammad Abduh_header_cell_0_0_0
PersonalMuhammad Abduh_header_cell_0_1_0
BornMuhammad Abduh_header_cell_0_2_0 1849 (1849)

Shubra Khit, Egypt, Ottoman EmpireMuhammad Abduh_cell_0_2_1

DiedMuhammad Abduh_header_cell_0_3_0 11 July 1905 (aged 56)

Alexandria, Egypt, Ottoman EmpireMuhammad Abduh_cell_0_3_1

Cause of deathMuhammad Abduh_header_cell_0_4_0 Renal cell carcinomaMuhammad Abduh_cell_0_4_1
ReligionMuhammad Abduh_header_cell_0_5_0 IslamMuhammad Abduh_cell_0_5_1
NationalityMuhammad Abduh_header_cell_0_6_0 EgyptianMuhammad Abduh_cell_0_6_1
EthnicityMuhammad Abduh_header_cell_0_7_0 Turkmens, EgyptianMuhammad Abduh_cell_0_7_1
RegionMuhammad Abduh_header_cell_0_8_0 Middle EastMuhammad Abduh_cell_0_8_1
DenominationMuhammad Abduh_header_cell_0_9_0 SunniMuhammad Abduh_cell_0_9_1
MovementMuhammad Abduh_header_cell_0_10_0 Salafi movement, Islamic ModernismMuhammad Abduh_cell_0_10_1
Notable idea(s)Muhammad Abduh_header_cell_0_11_0 Modernization of IslamMuhammad Abduh_cell_0_11_1
Notable work(s)Muhammad Abduh_header_cell_0_12_0 Risālat al-Tawḥīd (Arabic: رسالة التوحيد‎; "The Theology of Unity")Muhammad Abduh_cell_0_12_1
Alma materMuhammad Abduh_header_cell_0_13_0 Al-Azhar UniversityMuhammad Abduh_cell_0_13_1
OccupationMuhammad Abduh_header_cell_0_14_0 Islamic scholarMuhammad Abduh_cell_0_14_1
Muslim leaderMuhammad Abduh_header_cell_0_15_0

Muḥammad 'Abduh (1849 – 11 July 1905) (also spelled Mohammed Abduh, Arabic: محمد عبده‎) was an Egyptian Islamic scholar, jurist, theologian, mujaddid, Freemason, and writer. Muhammad Abduh_sentence_0

He is 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. Muhammad Abduh_sentence_1

He also wrote, among other things, "Treatise on the Oneness of God", and a commentary on the Quran. Muhammad Abduh_sentence_2

He briefly published, alongside Jamāl al-Dīn al-Afghānī, the Pan-Islamist anti-colonial journal Al-Urwah al-Wuthqa. Muhammad Abduh_sentence_3

Biography Muhammad Abduh_section_0

Muhammad Abduh was born in 1849 to a Turkish father and Egyptian mother in the Nile Delta. Muhammad Abduh_sentence_4

He also had Kurdish roots. Muhammad Abduh_sentence_5

His family was of the Egyptian elite. Muhammad Abduh_sentence_6

His father was part of the Umad, or the local ruling elite. Muhammad Abduh_sentence_7

His mother was part of the Ashraf. Muhammad Abduh_sentence_8

He was educated in Tanta at a private school. Muhammad Abduh_sentence_9

When he turned thirteen, he was sent to the Aḥmadī mosque, which was one of the largest educational institutions in Egypt. Muhammad Abduh_sentence_10

A while later Abduh ran away from school and got married. Muhammad Abduh_sentence_11

He enrolled at al-Azhar University in 1866. Muhammad Abduh_sentence_12

Abduh studied logic, philosophy and Sufism at the Al-Azhar University in Cairo. Muhammad Abduh_sentence_13

He was a student of Jamal al-Din al-Afghani, a philosopher and Muslim religious reformer who advocated Pan-Islamism to resist European colonialism. Muhammad Abduh_sentence_14

Under al-Afghani's influence, Abduh combined journalism, politics, and his own fascination in Islamic mystical spirituality. Muhammad Abduh_sentence_15

Al-Afghani taught Abduh about the problems of Egypt and the Islamic world and about the technological achievements of the West. Muhammad Abduh_sentence_16

In 1877, Abduh was granted the degree of 'Alim ("teacher") and he started to teach logic, theology and ethics at al-Azhar. Muhammad Abduh_sentence_17

In 1878, he was appointed professor of history at Cairo's teachers' training college Dar al-Ulum, later incorporated into Cairo University. Muhammad Abduh_sentence_18

He was also appointed to teach Arabic at the Khedivial School of Languages. Muhammad Abduh_sentence_19

Abduh was appointed editor-in-chief of al-Waqāʾiʿ al-Miṣriyya, the official state newspaper. Muhammad Abduh_sentence_20

He was dedicated to reforming all aspects of Egyptian society and believed that education was the best way to achieve this goal. Muhammad Abduh_sentence_21

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. Muhammad Abduh_sentence_22

In his articles he criticized corruption, superstition, and the luxurious lives of the rich. Muhammad Abduh_sentence_23

In 1879, due to his political activity, Jamal al-Din al-Afghani was exiled and Abduh was exiled to his home village. Muhammad Abduh_sentence_24

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. Muhammad Abduh_sentence_25

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. Muhammad Abduh_sentence_26

He had stated that every society should be allowed to choose a suitable form of government based on its history and its present circumstances. Muhammad Abduh_sentence_27

Abduh spent several years in Ottoman Lebanon, where he helped establish an Islamic educational system. Muhammad Abduh_sentence_28

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. Muhammad Abduh_sentence_29

Abduh also visited Britain and discussed the state of Egypt and Sudan with high-ranking officials. Muhammad Abduh_sentence_30

In 1885, after brief stays in England and Tunisia, he returned to Beirut, as a teacher, and was surrounded by scholars from different religious backgrounds. Muhammad Abduh_sentence_31

During his stay there he dedicated his efforts toward furthering respect and friendship between Islam, Christianity and Judaism. Muhammad Abduh_sentence_32

When he returned to Egypt in 1888, Abduh began his legal career. Muhammad Abduh_sentence_33

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. Muhammad Abduh_sentence_34

In 1899, he was appointed Grand Mufti of Egypt, the highest Islamic title, and he held this position until he died. Muhammad Abduh_sentence_35

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. Muhammad Abduh_sentence_36

His liberal views endeared him to the British, in particular Lord Cromer; however they also caused a rift between him and the khedive Abbas Hilmi and the nationalist leader Mustafa Kamil. Muhammad Abduh_sentence_37

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. Muhammad Abduh_sentence_38

In 1900 he founded The Society for the Revival of Arabic Literature. Muhammad Abduh_sentence_39

He travelled a great deal and met with European scholars in Cambridge and Oxford. Muhammad Abduh_sentence_40

He studied French law and read a great many European and Arab works in the libraries of Vienna and Berlin. Muhammad Abduh_sentence_41

The conclusions he drew from his travels were that Muslims suffer from ignorance about their own religion and the despotism of unjust rulers. Muhammad Abduh_sentence_42

Muhammad Abduh died in Alexandria on 11 July 1905. Muhammad Abduh_sentence_43

People from all around the world sent their condolences. Muhammad Abduh_sentence_44

Thought Muhammad Abduh_section_1

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. Muhammad Abduh_sentence_45

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. Muhammad Abduh_sentence_46

According to Abduh, a teacher’s role was to direct men towards study. Muhammad Abduh_sentence_47

He believed that Islam encouraged men to detach from the world of their ancestors and that Islam reproved the slavish imitation of tradition. Muhammad Abduh_sentence_48

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. Muhammad Abduh_sentence_49

It was with the help of these tools that he could attain happiness. Muhammad Abduh_sentence_50

He believed that the growth of western civilization in Europe was based on these two principles. Muhammad Abduh_sentence_51

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. Muhammad Abduh_sentence_52

His Muslim opponents refer to him as an infidel; however, his followers called him a sage, a reviver of religion and a reforming leader. Muhammad Abduh_sentence_53

He is conventionally graced with the epithets “al-Ustādh al-Imām” and “al-Shaykh al-Muftī”. Muhammad Abduh_sentence_54

In his works, he portrays God as educating humanity from its childhood through its youth and then on to adulthood. Muhammad Abduh_sentence_55

According to him, Islam is the only religion whose dogmas can be proven by reasoning. Muhammad Abduh_sentence_56

Abduh does not advocate returning to the early stages of Islam. Muhammad Abduh_sentence_57

He was against polygamy if it resulted in injustice between wives. Muhammad Abduh_sentence_58

He believed in a form of Islam that would liberate men from enslavement and abolish the religious scholar’s monopoly on exegesis and abolish racial discrimination. Muhammad Abduh_sentence_59

Abduh regularly called for better friendship between religious communities. Muhammad Abduh_sentence_60

He made great efforts to preach harmony between Sunnis and Shias. Muhammad Abduh_sentence_61

Broadly speaking, he preached brotherhood between all schools of thought in Islam. Muhammad Abduh_sentence_62

However, he criticized what he perceived as errors such as superstitions coming from popular Sufism. Muhammad Abduh_sentence_63

As Christianity was the second biggest religion in Egypt, he devoted special efforts towards friendship between Muslims and Christians. Muhammad Abduh_sentence_64

He had many Christian friends and many a time he stood up to defend Copts. Muhammad Abduh_sentence_65

During the Urabi revolt, some Muslim mobs had misguidedly attacked a number of Copts resulting from their anger against European colonialism. Muhammad Abduh_sentence_66

Abduh also had meetings in Baghdad with the son of the Baháʼí Faith'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. Muhammad Abduh_sentence_67

Abduh's collected works have been compiled and published in five volumes by Muhammad Imarah. Muhammad Abduh_sentence_68

Freemasonry Muhammad Abduh_section_2

At the age of 28, Abduh became a Freemason and joined a Masonic lodge, the Kawkab Al-Sharq ("Planet of the East"). Muhammad Abduh_sentence_69

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. Muhammad Abduh_sentence_70

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." Muhammad Abduh_sentence_71

Over the years, Abduh obtained membership in several other Masonic lodges in Cairo and Beirut. Muhammad Abduh_sentence_72

In line with Masonic principles, Abduh sought to encourage unity with all religious traditions. Muhammad Abduh_sentence_73

He stated that, Muhammad Abduh_sentence_74

"I hope to see the two great religions, Islam and Christianity hand-in-hand, embracing each other. Muhammad Abduh_sentence_75

Then the Torah and the Bible and the Qur'an will become books supporting one another being read everywhere, and respected by every nation." Muhammad Abduh_sentence_76

He added that he was “looking forward to seeing Muslims read the Torah and the Bible." Muhammad Abduh_sentence_77

'Abduh was asked why he and (his teacher) Afghani had become Masons. Muhammad Abduh_sentence_78

He replied that it was for a "political and social purpose". Muhammad Abduh_sentence_79

Abduh and the Baháʼí Faith Muhammad Abduh_section_3

Main article: Baháʼí Faith in Egypt Muhammad Abduh_sentence_80

Further information: History of the Baháʼí Faith Muhammad Abduh_sentence_81

Like his teacher, Abduh was associated with the Baháʼí Faith, which had made deliberate efforts to spread the faith to Egypt, establishing themselves in Alexandria and Cairo beginning in the late 1860s. Muhammad Abduh_sentence_82

In particular, he was in close contact with ʻAbdu'l-Bahá, the eldest son of Baháʼu'lláh and leader of the Baháʼí Faith from 1892 until 1921. Muhammad Abduh_sentence_83

Rashid Rida asserts that during his visits to Beirut, ʻAbdu'l-Bahá would attend Abduh's study sessions. Muhammad Abduh_sentence_84

The two men met at a time when they had similar goals of religious reform and were in opposition to the Ottoman ulama. Muhammad Abduh_sentence_85

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." Muhammad Abduh_sentence_86

Remarking on `Abdu'l-Bahá’s excellence in religious science and diplomacy, Abduh said of him that, "[he] is more than that. Muhammad Abduh_sentence_87

Indeed, he is a great man; he is the man who deserves to have the epithet applied to him." Muhammad Abduh_sentence_88


Credits to the contents of this page go to the authors of the corresponding Wikipedia page: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Muhammad Abduh.