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‘Abduh, Muhammad (1849–1905)

DOI
10.4324/9780415249126-H049-1
DOI: 10.4324/9780415249126-H049-1
Version: v1,  Published online: 1998
Retrieved May 25, 2019, from https://www.rep.routledge.com/articles/biographical/abduh-muhammad-1849-1905/v-1

Article Summary

The Egyptian reformer and Muslim apologist Muhammad ‘Abduh was a pupil and friend of al-Afghani. Although deeply influenced by him, ‘Abduh was less inclined to political activism and concentrated on religious, legal and educational reform. His best-known writings are a theological treatise, Risalat al-tawhid (translated into English as The Theology of Unity), and an unfinished Qur’anic commentary, Tafsir al-manar (The Manar Commentary), on which he collaborated with Rashid Rida. One of the key themes of these works is that since modernity is based on reason, Islam must be compatible with it. But ‘Abduh’s ‘modernism’ went hand in hand with returning to an idealized past, and his ‘rationalism’ was tempered by a belief in divine transcendence which limits the scope of intellectual inquiry. In ethics as in theology, he regarded the classical debates as arid and divisive, although on the issues of free will and moral law his position was in fact similar to that of the Mu‘tazila.

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Citing this article:
Robinson, Neal. ‘Abduh, Muhammad (1849–1905), 1998, doi:10.4324/9780415249126-H049-1. Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Taylor and Francis, https://www.rep.routledge.com/articles/biographical/abduh-muhammad-1849-1905/v-1.
Copyright © 1998-2019 Routledge.

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