Lecture on Teaching and Learning <i>and</i> Answer to Renan

Sayyid Jamal al-Din al-Afghani

in Modernist Islam, 1840-1940

Published in print September 2002 | ISBN: 9780195154672
Published online November 2007 |
 Lecture on Teaching and Learning and Answer to Renan

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Sayyid Jamal al-Din al-Afghani (Iran, 18381897) was perhaps the most famous proponent of modernist Islam, and has enjoyed the stablest popularity of all modernists in the century since his death. Born in Asadabad in northwestern Iran, he adopted the name Afghani in order to distance himself from his Shii origins. He was educated at seminaries in Iran and Iraq, then studied modern sciences in India before coming to prominence as a royal adviser in Afghanistan in the late 1860s. Upon his expulsion, Jamal al-Din then spent a decade associated with academic reformbriefly in Istanbul, then for almost a decade in Cairo, before being expelled yet again. He spent much of the 1880s in Europe in Paris, where he published the famous journal al-Urwa al-wuthqa (The Strongest Link) with Muhammad Abduh (see chapter 3); and later in Russia. His final years were spent as a would-be adviser to the rulers of Iran and, after yet another expulsion, the Ottoman Empire, though both monarchs were suspicious of his loyalty and piety. As with his name, Jamal al-Din reinvented his political positions when necessarysupporting and opposing absolute monarchy, for example, and denouncing and offering to assist the British Empire. His consistent aim, however, was to revive the power and image of the Islamic world through modern-style reforms. The texts presented hereaddressed to Hindus, in the first selection, and Christians in the secondoffer Jamal al-Din's view that Muslims can and must adopt modern science as a means of civilizational survival.1

Chapter.  6102 words. 

Subjects: Society and Culture ; Islam

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