Rashid Rida - Contributions To Islamist Political Thought

Contributions To Islamist Political Thought

Rida's ideas were foundational to the development of the modern "Islamic state". He "was an important link between classical theories of the caliphate, such as al-Mawardi's, and 20th-century notions of the Islamic state".

Rida promoted a restoration or rejuvenation of the Caliphate for Islamic unity, and "democratic consultation on the part of the government, which he called "shura"." In theology, his reformist ideas, like those of Abduh, were "based on the argument that

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.

Although he did not call for the revolutionary establishment of an "Islamic state" itself, rather advocating only gradual reform of the existing Ottoman government, Rida preceded Abul Ala Maududi, Sayyid Qutb, and later Islamists in declaring adherence to Sharia law as essential for Islam and Muslims, saying

`those Muslim who introduce novel laws today and forsake the Shari'a enjoined upon them by God ... They thus abolish supposed distasteful penalties such as cutting off the hands of thieves or stoning adulterers and prostitutes. They replace them with man-made laws and penalties. He who does that has undeniably become an infidel.`

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