Chapter

Is the Period of <i>Ijtihad</i> Over or Not?

Abdullah Bubi

in Modernist Islam, 1840-1940

Published in print September 2002 | ISBN: 9780195154672
Published online November 2007 |
 Is the Period of Ijtihad Over or Not?

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Abdullah Bubi (Tatarstan, 18711922) was a famous teacher and reformist theologian who long opposed the czarist regime. After studying in Arabia, Cairo, and Beirut, he and his brother returned to their home village of Izh-Bobino and established a reform-style school. Despite the small size of the village, this school was renowned among Muslims throughout the Russian Empire as a leader in reformist education, offering a variety of subjectseven Frenchin addition to traditional Islamic studies. At the same time, Bubi participated along with other reformist scholars in congresses of Russian-empire Muslims, at which he supported demands for democratic rights and called for women's suffrage. In 1911, Russian police charged the Bubi brothers with subversive activities against the Russian government and closed their school. Their allegedly subversive, anti-Russian, and antigovernmental activities included close contact with the Ottoman pan-Turkist party and the propagation of pan-Islamist ideas, including a vision for ending the historical conflict between the Sunni and Shii sects. Anti-modernist Islamic scholars cooperated with Russian prosecutors at the trial, painting Bubi as a dangerous dissident. In addition to his educational activities, Bubi wrote several works of religious scholarship. In the book excerpted here, Bubi argues that the period of ijtihad (rational religious interpretation) did not end in the early Islamic era, and that Muslims are not bound by the positions of the great scholars of the distant past. Rather, he writes, Muslims must reclaim this right and duty, which medieval obscurantists and despots have for centuries denied them.1

Chapter.  4487 words. 

Subjects: Society and Culture ; Islam

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