Sufism and Reform

Julian Johansen

in Sufism and Islamic Reform in Egypt

Published in print March 1996 | ISBN: 9780198267577
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191683305 | DOI:

Series: Oxford Oriental Monographs

Sufism and Reform

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This chapter briefly outlines the history of reformist thought in Egypt. It provides the necessary intellectual background against which to examine present-day concerns in a more specific context. Whatever the verdict on al-Afghānī's orthodoxy and the sincerity of his motives, it is certain that his efforts brought Western Europeans and Muslims each into closer contact with the intellectual heritage of the other. 'Abduh seems to have been the first to formulate an intellectual combination of traditional and modern approaches to Islam without incurring the wrath of traditional authorities. Al-Bakrī's eclectic approach to writing and his uncompromisingly traditionalist attitude to Sufism provoked hostile criticism from another contemporary. It is seen that the British had an interest in reform as a means to control religious institutions, whilst Egyptian reformers were anxious to eradicate those practices which they felt rendered Egypt and Islam vulnerable to foreign criticism.

Keywords: Sufism; reform; Egypt; al-Afghānī; 'Abduh; Al-Bakrī; Islam; British

Chapter.  8340 words. 

Subjects: Islam

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