Like his predecessors, Rida focused on the relative weakness of Muslim societies vis-à-vis Western colonialism, blaming Sufi excesses, the blind imitation of the past (taqlid), the stagnation of the ulama, and the resulting failure to achieve progress in science and technology. He held that these flaws could be alleviated by a return to what he saw as the true principles of Islam - salafiyya Islam which was purged of impurities and Western influences — albeit interpreted (ijtihad) to suit modern realities. This alone could, he believed, save Muslims from subordination to the colonial powers.
The corruption and tyranny of Muslim rulers ("caliphs") throughout history was a central theme in Rida's criticisms. Rida, however, celebrated the rule of Mohammad and the Rightly Guided Caliphs, and leveled his attacks at subsequent rulers who could not maintain Mohammad's example. He also criticized the clergy ("ulama") for compromising their integrity - and the integrity of the Islamic law ("sharia") they were meant to uphold - by associating with worldly corrupt powers.
Towards the end of his life, Rida became a staunch defender of the Saudi regime and an advocate of Wahhabism, saluting 'Abd al-Wahhab as the "renewer of the XII century (of the Hijra)". In fact, he died on his way back to Cairo from Suez, where he had gone to see Ibn Sa'ud off.
Read more about this topic: Rashid Rida
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“There is a very remarkable inclination in human nature to bestow on external objects the same emotions which it observes in itself, and to find every where those ideas which are most present to it.”
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