Shaykh al-Amin bin Ali al-Mazrui

in Modernist Islam, 1840-1940

Published in print September 2002 | ISBN: 9780195154672
Published online November 2007 |

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Shaykh al-Amin bin Ali Mazrui (Kenya, 18901947) was the scion of a long line of religious scholars from the large Mazrui clan, which had immigrated to Mombasa, Kenya, from Oman during the 1700s. In the 1880s and 1890s, Arab colonial power in Kenya and Mombasa was replaced by British rule. Al-Amin sought to explain what appeared to him to be a topsyturvy world, and to find direction for a future he felt was being lost. He was very aware of the nature of this debate as it was being discussed outside East Africa. He appears to have read the teachings and writings of contemporary authors such as Muhammad Abduh (chapter 3) and Rashid Rida (chapter 6). What is especially interesting about al-Amin, however, is the specific construction he gave to the singular historical character of Swahili Islamic society, as well as the localized dilemmas in which it found itself during Mazrui's lifetime. To address these issues, Mazrui wrote two short-lived newspapers in Arabic and Swahili in the early 1930s. Nothing has survived of those journals except for twenty-seven essays that he later collected into a little booklet, from which these excerpts are taken.1

Chapter.  2410 words. 

Subjects: Society and Culture ; Islam

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