Rida, Rashid (1865–1935)

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RIDA, RASHID (1865–1935)

Rashid Rida was the most prominent disciple of Muhammad ˓Abduh and one of the most influential scholars and jurists of his generation. Rida was born near Tripoli, in present-day Lebanon. His early education consisted of training in traditional Islamic subjects and a brief, disenchanting exposure to the secular curriculum of the Ottoman government school in Tripoli. His reformist views began to form in 1884–1885 when he was first exposed to Jamal al-Din Afghani's and ˓Abduh's journal al-˓Urwa al-wuthqa (The firmest grip). In 1897, Rida left Syria for Cairo to collaborate with ˓Abduh. The following year he launched al-Manar, first a weekly and then a monthly journal comprising Qur˒anic commentary (begun by ˓Abduh, continued by Rida, but never completed) and opinions on pressing legal, political, and social issues of the day. Like ˓Abduh, Rida based his reformist principles on the argument that the shari˓a consists of ˓ibadat (worship) and mu˓amalat (social relations). Human reason has little scope in the former and Muslims should adhere to the dictates of the Qur˒an and hadith. The laws governing mu˓amalat should conform to Islamic ethics but on specific points may be continually reassessed according to changing conditions of different generations and societies. Unlike ˓Abduh, Rida narrowed the salaf (the "pious ancestors" as authoritative interpreters of Islamic tradition) to include only the Prophet's companions and immediate successors.

See also˓Abduh, Muhammad.


Adams, Charles C. Islam and Modernism in Egypt: A Study of the Modern Reform Movement Inaugurated by Muhammad ˓Abduh. New York: Russell and Russell, 1968.

Kerr, Malcolm H. Islamic Reform: The Political and Legal Theories of Muhammad ˓Abduh and Rashid Rida. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1966.

Sohail H. Hashmi