Afghani and ʻAbduh: An Essay on Religious Unbelief and Political Activism in Modern Islam

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Psychology Press, 1997 - History - 97 pages
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Jamal al-Din al-Afghani (1838-1897) and his well-known Egyptian disciple Muhammad Abduh (1849-1905), the Mufti of Egypt and Lord Cromer's friend, have been generally considered pious and devoted Muslims who initiated the reform and rejuvenation of Islam after a stagnation of centuries. In this classic essay, reissued in hardback and paperback some thirty years after its first appearance, Elie Kedourie argues that Afghani and Abduh should be considered subverters rather than reformers of Islam. Kedourie addresses the spread of concealed unbelief and atheism in Muslim society towards the end of the nineteenth century, and shows how both Afghani and Abduh, while making a show of their piety, really held esoteric beliefs quite incompatible with orthodox and traditional Islam.
Professor Kedourie also discusses the two men's political activities in Egypt before and during Urabi's revolt and in the process throws new light on the parties and factions which were involved in Egyptian politics in the 1870s. He also gives a summary account of Afghani's relations with the European Powers, an account which shows him to have been a Russian agent and possibly a French one - and to have offered his services to the British, which, in view of his anti-British record and reputation, adds piquancy to this man's strange career.

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