By Charles D. Smith

Publication by means of Smith, Charles D.

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Extra resources for Islam and the search for social order in modern Egypt: a biography of Muhammad Husayn Haykal

Sample text

He did not call for the reintroduction of ijtihad, the means of reaching independent judgments which presumably respected but went beyond the accumulated wisdom of the four schools of Muslim law. Rather he emphasized the idea of acceptable bid'a, or innovation, which would permit change on the basis of tajdid; tajdid meant renovation of Islam in accordance with precepts easily found in Islamic jurisprudence but ignored in the present day, not ijtihad which challenged norms of legal interpretations believed to be divinely sanctioned.

As a result, the political groupings which had formed by 1907 represented significant differences of opinion in their attitudes towards Islam and the need to reform Egypt which in turn affected their views of the British occupation and the best means to seek Egypt's liberation from foreign rule. With this brief overview, we can turn to a comparison of the reformist ideas of Rifa'a al-Tahtawi with those of Jamal al-Din al-Afghani and Muhammad 'Abduh in order to indicate those trends which contributed to Haykal's own views.

12 Using these criticisms, I indicate how an intellectual such as Haykal could advocate the influx of Western ideas and institutions but seek to restrict their scope and to preserve traditional social relationships. 13 As shown in the conclusion, a comparison of the social applicability of Haykal's Islamic model and that of the Muslim Brothers indicates clearly the gap between them and the natural attractiveness of the latter to the Muslim public. Paradoxically, Haykal's search for progress with order and his attempt to use Islam for that purpose encouraged retention of the values he hoped to undermine which were, though "traditional" in origin and appearance, more appropriate to Egypt's changing socioeconomic conditions.

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