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Muhammad Abdo

( Theologian and social activist, representative of the reformist movement in Islam)

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Biography Muhammad Abdo
Abduh, Muhammad (1849-1905), theologian and social activist, representative of the reform movement in Islam, a student and close associate of Jamal al-Din al-Afghani. Born in a small village near Damanhur (Lower Egypt) in the family of a prosperous farmer. Primary education in the parental home. Great influence on the formation of religious views Abdo has his uncle, Sheikh Sufi (Sufism is widespread in Egyptian villages). Some time Abdo kept closed, ascetic life, the distance, following the teachings of the Sufis, from reality. This passion Sufism expressed in his earlier treatise (Treatise on the mystical inspiration, 1874, contains an exposition of the doctrine of Ibn Arabi). Abdo attracted to the moral teachings of the Sufis side, the requirement of moral self-improvement, finding inner faith and a critical attitude to the official dogma, external religiosity. Subsequently, Abdo said, and the negative aspects of contemporary Sufism - passion for the formal rites at the expense of moral behavior and thoughts, the aspirations of censure of earthly life and earthly interests, and promoting beggary. Free oneself from passion mysticism helped him to al-Afghani. Abdo began to oppose the characteristic of the Sufi cult of saints, sometimes equated with God (which is contrary to Islamic teachings about monotheism). Sharply as fraud condemned Abdo and faith of Sufis in chudotvorstvo. In 1881-1882, occupying the post of Director of the Department of the Egyptian press, he even banned the publication of the famous treatise of the largest medieval Sufi Ibn Arabi Meccan revelations, considering it harmful to the public. His fidelity to this doctrine Abdo expressed in the call back to the original, 'true' Sufism. Left the village in Cairo and graduated from the 'al-Azhar', obschemusulmansky center of traditional education and science, Abdo involved in the political life of the capital.

Abdo took part in the raised Arabi uprising in 1881 against the 'illegality of the Turkish government, bankrupt the country', against the Anglo-French intervention in the internal affairs of the country and for the proclamation of the independent Republic of Egypt. In 1883, for participation in rebellion Abduh was exiled from Egypt. While in Paris, he and al-Afghani has created a secret society 'Naikrepchayshaya Us', produced a newspaper with the same name. In 1888 he returned to Cairo and soon became the head of the administrative council 'al-Azhar'. Introduced in the program of teaching secular subjects (mathematics, history, geography). In 1889-1904 served as the chief mufti of Egypt. All social activities Abdo in this period was directed to update Islam, reform of Muslim law and justice. Abduh issued a fatwa (decision mufti), which allows to make deposits in banks and receive a percentage of them that earlier, according to Shariah, was banned as usury. Speaking for the independence of Egypt from the Ottoman Empire and the West, Abdo as a politician, pragmatist and followed ideas of nationalism ( 'Egypt for the Egyptians'), and the ideas of pan-Islamism, the re-establishment of the Caliphate, headed by the Ottoman sultan. Collaborated with the British, for what it was called 'the greatest among the Egyptians Anglophile'. Urged to learn from the West, to acquire new advances in science, law, public organizations. 'Muslims can not live in isolation, they must be armed with what others are armed with' - wrote Abdo. 'We must study the practice of other religions and nations in order to reveal the secret of their progress. Our first duty is to disseminate scientific achievements in our country '.

Criticizing firmed, not able to reform contemporary Islam, Abdo at the same time praised Islam as the supreme achievement of the spirit. Modernization of Islam, believed Abdo, you must recognize the inviolability of the Qur'an as 'sacred pillar' of Muslim societies. At the same time, Abdo was fighting with the followers 'taqlid' traditionalists who rejected the right of free, rationalistic interpretation of dogmas opposed to blind faith in the scholastic doctrine, created later theologians. The desire to give a rationalistic interpretation of the Koran was expressed in writing the five-volume, . unfortunately, . Comments are not finished work on the Koran, . considered to be the most authoritative modern 'Tafsir' (commentary), . and the message of monotheism treatise,
. Abdo thought it necessary to release people from the domination of prejudice, to open them the true knowledge of things. Rejecting the understanding of religious faith as soon as the internal state, Abdo stressed its necessary connection with practical action. 'Pride of the illustrious past will be turned into the construction of its present and future'. According to the Abdo, the terms of an independent Egypt were to be a gradual transformation of society, educating people, reforms in the direction of parliamentary democracy and renewal of religion.

Abdo died in Alexandria on Dec. 11, 1905.

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