Chapter

The Spirit of Islam (1922)

Ameer Ali

in Modernist Islam, 1840-1940

Published in print September 2002 | ISBN: 9780195154672
Published online November 2007 |
 The Spirit of Islam (1922)

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Ameer Ali (Bengal, 18491928) was one of the most influential modernists and apologists of Muslim India. His fame was due in part to the fact that he wrote in English, explaining Muslim history to Western and Westernized intellectuals. Born to a Shii family in Chinsura, Bengal, Ameer Ali studied law in England, where he was called to the bar in 1873. He had a distinguished legal and judicial career in British India and served on the Bengal high court. After retiring in 1904, he moved to England, where he served as the first Indian member of the Judicial Council of the Privy Council in London. He took an interest in Islamic political causes as well, establishing the London branch of the All-India Muslim League in 1908 and writing to the Turkish government in 1923 to support the restoration of the Ottoman caliph's authority. The Turkish Parliament, however, viewed this as foreign interference and voted to abolish the caliphate permanently in 1924. In the following passage, selected from the revised edition of Ameer Ali's most well known work, The Spirit of Islam, Ali depicts Islamic rule as enlightened and progressive, at its best. One may note evidence of Ameer Ali's Shia background in his praise of the Prophet's family and his footnoting of Shii sources. However, scholars have also noted that Ameer Ali praises orthodox Sunni caliphs as well, and that he develops a political theory combining the apostolic Shii imamate and the pontifical Sunni caliphate.1

Chapter.  5980 words. 

Subjects: Society and Culture ; Islam

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