Saturday, September 11, 2010

Why Muhammad Abduh came to be called "Salafi"

In a new article (“The Construction of Salafiyya: Reconsidering Salafism from the Perspective of Conceptual History,” International Journal of Middle East Studies 42, August 2010, pp. 369-389), Henri Lauzière reviews the history of the use of the term "salafi," and shows how it became attached to Muhammad Abduh, after his death, as the result of its adoption as a business name by a successful Cairo bookstore and publisher. The use of "Salafiyya" by this publisher in the title of a short-lived modernist journal discussed by Massignon as an example of modernism caused confusion among Western scholars, and the adoption--years after Abduh's death--to describe modernism.

An excellent article that clears up almost 90 years of confusion!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Goldziher on Afghani

Thanks to Dietrich Jung for bringing to my attention Ignaz Goldziher's recollections of Afghani, with whom he spent time during his four-month visit to Cairo as a young man in 1873/74. Goldziher described Afghani as "the most original figure among [his] friends" in Cairo. He joined Afghani frequently in the coffee house in Abdin Street where Afghani "presided every evening over a group of young Azhar students and taught them all sorts of free-thinking stuff (ihnen alles mögliche freisinnige Zeug vormachte)" (Tagebuch, Leiden: Brill 1978, p. 68).

Goldziher wrote that he met Afghani again in Paris in 1883, and should one day write more about this. but apart from an entry in the Encyclopedia of Islam, seems not to have done so.