Muhammad Rashid Rida (1865-1935)

The Syro-Egyptian Islamic thinker Muhammad Rashid Rida (1865-1935) was influential in the revival movement of the nineteenth and early century that influenced and continue to influence Muslim youth. Rida was born in a village near Tripoli in Ottoman Syria. He studied at the National Islamic School in Tripoli, founded by Shaykh Husayn al-Jisr (1845-1909). The curriculum offered both traditional subjects normally studied by the 'ulama' and some modern subjects like European languages and mathematics. In the urban setting of Tripoli, Rida rejected what he considered to be the un-Islamic practices of the Mawlawi sufi order, which had a center there. He insisted on the dignified simplicity of the religion of the village notables, and condemned both the elaborate rituals of the aristocrats and the ecstatic excesses of peasants and urban laborers. Rida's desire to reform religious practices of his time found expression when he joined the Naqshbandiyyah sufi order and decided to study with the pan- Islamist thinker Jamal ud-Din al-Afghani.

Upon al-Afghani's death, Rida went to Cairo to study with the al-Afghani's most eminent student, Muhammad `Abduh. `Abduh's father was the headman of a village in the Egyptian delta, and had sent his son to study at al-Azhar in 1896.

Selected Bibliography

Nikki Keddie, Sayyid Jamal al-Din `Al-Afghani: A Political Biography, (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1972)

Nikki R. Keddie, An Islamic Response to Imperialism, Political and Religious Writings of Sayyid Jamal al-Din `Al-Afghani, trans. Nikki R. Keddie and Hamid Algar (Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1968)

Elie Kedourie, Afghani and`Abduh: An Essay on Religious Unbelief and Political Activism in Modern Islam (London: Frank Cass and Co., Ltd., 1966).

For Rida's life and thought see Malcolm H. Kerr, Islamic Reform: The Political and Legal Theories of Muhammad `Abduh and Rashid Rida (Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1966)

Albert Hourani, Arabic Thought in the Liberal Age. 1798-1939 (London: Oxford University Press, 1970, Chapter IX)

Ahmad ash-Sharabasi, Rashid Rida sahib al-Manar (Cairo: Matabi` al-Ahram at- Tijariyyah, 1970).



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