Islamic Reform and Conservatism: Al-Azhar and the Evolution by Indira Falk Gesink

By Indira Falk Gesink

The famed reform debates at al-Azhar Madrasa in nineteenth-century Cairo -- some of the most influential facilities of spiritual learn in Sunni Islam -- have been tremendously influential for twentieth-century Islamic notion. during this publication Indira Gesink argues that narratives of those debates overemphasize the jobs of well-known modernists like Muhammad ‘Abduh, obscuring vital issues. via restoring conservative voices to the controversy, she indicates that conservative ‘ulama engaged some of the related matters as reformers and led committees that generated and carried out reforms; finally, conservative leaders at al-Azhar supplied the most important legitimacy for the reforms to develop into rooted in public existence. Drawing on vague, yet very important, archival assets to demonstrate the real contributions of conservative students to the evolutionof twentieth-century Sunni Islam, Islamic Reform and Conservatism is integral for all these attracted to the fashionable center East, spiritual heritage, secularism, modernism and non secular reform.

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Extra info for Islamic Reform and Conservatism: Al-Azhar and the Evolution of Modern Sunni Islam (Library of Modern Religion)

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In 1854, Sa‘id involved Egypt in the Crimean War. Changes to state conscription policy had grave consequences for al-Azhar, which was otherwise left to its own devices. Muhammad ‘Ali and his successors Ibrahim and ‘Abbas had continued to draft peasants into the military after it was downsized. Although conscription was lighter under ‘Abbas’s rule than under Muhammad ‘Ali’s, ‘Abbas still maintained a force of approximately 100,000 troops who usually served in public works projects or in the Sudan.

In 1854, Sa‘id involved Egypt in the Crimean War. Changes to state conscription policy had grave consequences for al-Azhar, which was otherwise left to its own devices. Muhammad ‘Ali and his successors Ibrahim and ‘Abbas had continued to draft peasants into the military after it was downsized. Although conscription was lighter under ‘Abbas’s rule than under Muhammad ‘Ali’s, ‘Abbas still maintained a force of approximately 100,000 troops who usually served in public works projects or in the Sudan.

By 1865, enrollment had further decreased to 2,817. In 1867, there were 221 teachers and 4,712 students. By 1873, only six years later, there were 314 teachers and 9,441 students. 19 The population of Cairo was also increasing rapidly during this time, due in part to the training of draftees and to extensive public works projects. Most rural migrants to the city found lodgings with relatives or in cheap inns, but those who did not were taken in by local mosques. 20 The erosion of al-Azhar’s order became apparent as the inundation of the mosque led to disturbances.

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