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Muhammad Rashid Rida

(d. 1933)


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(d. 1935)

Syrian Islamic revivalist, reformer, and writer. Lived in Egypt from 1897 until his death. Close associate and disciple of Muhammad Abduh. Published the journal Al-manar to articulate and disseminate reformist ideas and preserve the unity of the Muslim nation. Concerned with the preservation of Muslim identity and culture. Viewed original Islamic sources—the Quran, Sunnah, and ijma (consensus) of Muhammad's companions—as the basis for reform. Believed that matters of worship (ibadat), intended to organize human behavior, were revealed in the Quran and authentic hadith, making them unchangeable. Human relations (muamalat), in the absence of an explicit, authentic, and binding text, can be reinterpreted according to the interest of the community (maslahah). Ijtihad (independent reasoning) is to be exercised to achieve the common good of the Muslim community. Believed the decline of the Muslim nation was due to the stagnation of scholars and tyranny of rulers. Viewed European dominance over Muslims as a result of Muslim weakness due to a lack of mastery over the sciences, an inability to form organized political institutions, and a lack of restrictions on the power of government. Considered education a precondition for political reform and independence. Urged Muslims to acquire the commendable aspects of Western civilization, such as science, technical skill, and wealth. Tried to combine modern education with religious teachings. Supported revival of the caliphate as essential to the unity and coherence of the Muslim community.

Subjects: Islam.


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