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Modernist Islam anthologyModernist Islam, 1840-1940: A Source-Book, edited by Charles Kurzman (Oxford University Press, 2002).

The Modernist Islamic movement was a major force in Africa, Asia, and Eastern Europe in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, generating tremendous intellectual ferment by attempting to reconcile Islamic faith and modern ideals. The movement pioneered the formation or reformation of educational institutions; agitation for political liberalization or decolonization; and the establishment of a periodical press throughout the Islamic world. This anthology brings the ideas of Modernist Islam to wider audiences than they have previously reached, particularly students of Islamic history and thought, who have relied previously on the handful of existing English translations; and academicians and Islamic thinkers, most of whom are familiar only with their region of specialty. The anthology also serves as a counterexample to the popular image of a permanent clash of civilizations between Islam and the West. Selected original-language texts are linked from the table of contents (below). More…


* represents a selection previously published in English.
† represents a selection translated for this project.
(Original) indicates that the original-language text is available in a PDF file.

I. Africa:
1. Rifa`a Rafi` al-Tahtawi (Egypt, 1801-1873), Takhlis al-ibriz ila talkhis Bariz (The Extraction of Gold, or an
Overview of Paris, 1834)* and al-Murshid al-amin (The Honest Guide, 1875)† (Original of second selection)
2. Khayr al-Din (Tunisia, died 1889), Aqwam al-masalik (The Surest Path, 1867)*
3. Muhammad `Abduh (Egypt, 1849-1905), “Ikhtilaf al-qawanin bi-ikhtilaf ahwal al-umam” (Laws Should
Change in Accordance with the Conditions of Nations, 1881),† Risalat al-tauhid (Theology of Unity, 1897)*
(Original of first selection)
4. Qasim Amin (Egypt, 1863-1908), Tahrir al-mar’a (The Emancipation of Woman, 1899)* and al-Mar’a al-jadida
(The New Woman, 1900)† (Original of second selection)
5. Bahithat al-Badiya (Egypt, 1886-1918), “A Lecture in the Club of the Umma Party” (1909)*
6. Muhammad Rashid Rida (Syria-Egypt, 1865-1935), “al-Tajdid wa al-tajaddud, wa al-mujaddidun”
(Renewal, Renewing, and Renewers, 1931-1932)† (Original)
7. Shaykh al-Amin bin `Ali al-Mazrui (Kenya, 1891-1947), Uwongozi (Guidance, 1931)† (Original)
8. Abdullah Abdurahman (South Africa, 1870-1940), “On Democracy” (1935)* (Original)
9. `Abd al-Hamid Ibn Badis (Algeria, 1889-1940), “Usul al-wilayat fi al-islam” (The Principles of
Governing in Islam, 1938)† (Original)
10. Muhammad Ahmad Mahjub (Sudan, 1908-1976), “al-Haraka al-fikriyya fi al-sudan” (The
Intellectual Movement in the Sudan, 1941)† (Original)

II. Iran/Afghanistan:
11. Jamal al-Din al-Afghani (born in Iran, 1838-1897), “Lecture on Teaching and Learning” (1882) and
“Answer to Renan” (1883)*
12. Mirza Malkum Khan (Iran, 1833-1908), Qanun (The Law, issue #10, circa 1890)† (Original)
13. Muhammad Husayn Na’ini (Iran, 1860-1936), Tanbih al-umma (Admonition of the People, 1909)† (Original)
14. Mahmud Tarzi (Afghanistan, 1865-1933), Chih bayad kard? (What Is to Be Done?, 1914)† (Original)

III. Ottoman Empire:
15. `Abd al-Qadir al-Jaza’iri (Syria, circa 1807-1883), Dhikra al-`aqil (Reminding the Intelligent, 1855)† (Original)
16. Namik Kemal (Turkey, 1840-1888), “Wa shawirhum fi’l-amr” (And Seek Their Counsel in the Affair
[Qur’an, 3:159], 1868)† (Original)
17. Ali Suavi (Turkey, 1838-1878), “Dimukrasi” (Democracy, 1870)† (Original)
18. Semseddin Sâmi Frasheri (Albania-Turkey, 1850-1904), “Medeniyet-i cedidenin ümem-i islâmiyeye nakli”
(Transferring the New Civilization to the Islamic Peoples, 1883)† (Original)
19. `Abd al-Rahman al-Kawakibi (Syria, 1854-1902), Umm al-qura (The Mother of Cities [Mecca], 1902)† (Original)
20. Mahmud Shukri al-Alusi (Iraq, 1857-1924), Ghayat al-amani (The Goal of Desires, 1903)† (Original)
21. Abdullah Cevdet (Turkey, 1869-1932), Tarikh-i islamiyet (History of Islamism, 1908)† (Original)
22. Jamal al-Din al-Qasimi (Syria, 1866-1914), Kitab irshad al-khalq (Book of People’s Guidance,
1911)† (Original)
23. Musa Kazim (Turkey, 1858-1920), “Islam’da usul-i mesveret ve hürriyet” (The Principles of
Consultation and Freedom in Islam, 1908) and “Kütüb-i kelamiyye’nin ihtiyajat-i asra göre islah ve
te’lifi” (Reform and Review of Religious Writings According to the Requirements of the Age, 1909)† (Original)
24. Mansurizade Mehmet Sa`id (Turkey) “Taaddüd-i zevcat islamiyet’de men` olabilir” (Polygamy Can Be
Prohibited in Islam, 1914)† (Original)
25. Ziya Gökalp (Turkey, 1875-1925), “Islamiyet ve asri medeniyet” (Islam and Modern Civilization) (1917)*
26. Dzemaluddin Cauševic (Bosnia, 1870-1938), “Pismo i Odgovor” (Letter and Answer, 1928)† (Original)
27. `Abd al-Qadir al-Maghribi (Syria, 1867-1956), Muhammad wa’l-mar’a (Muhammad and Woman,
1928)† (Original)
28. Halide Edib Adivar (Turkey, 1882-1964), “Turkey Faces West” (1930)* (Original)

IV. Russian Empire:
29. Ismail Bey Gasprinskii (Crimea, 1851-1914), Mebadi-yi temeddun-e Islamiyyan-i Rus (First Steps
toward Civilizing the Russian Muslims, 1901)*
30. Munawwar Qari (Turkistan-Uzbekistan, 1878-1931), “Islah ne demakdadur” (What is Reform?,
1906).† (Original)
31. Ahmed Aghayev (Azerbaijan, 1865-1939), “Islam i demokratiya” (Islam and Democracy, 1909)† (Original)
32. `Abdullah Bubi (Tatarstan, 1871-1922), Zaman-i ijtihad munqariz mi, dägil mi? (Is the Time of
Ijtihad [Independent Reasoning] Over or Not?, 1909)† (Original)
33. Rizaeddin Fakhreddin (Tatarstan, 1859-1936), Rusya Musulmanlarïnïng ihtiyajlarï (The Needs of
the Muslims of Russia, 1908)† (Original)
34. Abdal Rauf Fitrat (Bukhara, 1886-1938), Munazara (The Discussion, 1909)† (Original)
35. Musa Jarullah Bigi (Tatarstan, 1875-1949), Khalq nazarïna bir nichä mäs’älä (Some Questions
for the People’s Consideration, 1912)† (Original)
36. Mahmud Khoja Behbudiy (Bukhara-Samarqand, 1874-1919), Pedarkush (Patricide, 1913)*
37. Abdulhamid Sulayman Cholpan (Uzbekistan, 1893-1938), “Dokhtur Muhammadyor” (Dr.
Muhammadyar, 1914)† (Original)

V. South Asia:
38. Khwaja Altaf Hussein Hali (North India, 1837-1914), “The Flow and Ebb of Islam” (1879)*
39. Chiragh `Ali (North India, 1844-1895), The Proposed Political, Legal, and Social Reforms (1883)* (Original)
40. Sayyid Ahmad Khan (North India, 1817-1898), “Lecture on Islam” (1884)*
41. Muhammad Iqbal (North India, 1877-1938), “Islam as a Moral and Political Ideal” (1909)* (Original)
42. Muhammad Abdul Khader Maulavi (Malabar-Kerala, 1873-1932), “Islam buddhiye acarikkunna
matumakunnu” (Islam Is a Religion that Respects Reason, 1915)† (Original)
43. Sayyid Ameer `Ali (Bengal, 1849-1928), The Spirit of Islam (1922)* (Original)
44. Abu’l-Kalam Azad (Bengal, 1888-1958), Qaul-i faysal (The Last Word, 1922)* (Original)
45. Muhammad Akram Kham (Bengal-Pakistan, 1868-1968), “Bak tu di Qur’an” (Back to the Qur’an, 1939)† (Original)

VI. Southeast/East Asia:
46. Al-Imam (The Leader) newspaper editors, “Uraian Melayu” (An Exposition Concerning the Malays,
1908)† (Original)
47. Ahmad Dachlan (Java 1868-1923), “Kesatuan Hidup Manusia” (The Unity of Human Life, 1923)† (Original)
48. Ahmad Surkati (Sudan-Indonesia, 1872-1943), Al-Masa’il al-thalath (The Three Questions,
1925)† (Original)
49. Haji Agus Salim (Java, 1884-1954), Fadjar Asia (The Asian Dawn, 1928-1929)† (Original)
50. Ahmad Hassan (Singapore-Indonesia, 1887-1958), Soal-Djawab (Question and Answer,
1931-1934† (Original)
51. Kyai Haji M. Hasyim Asy’ari (Java, 1871-1947), “Beberapa Nasehat” (Some Advice, 1935)† (Original)
52. Ya`qub Wang Jingzhai (China, 1879-1948), “Fazhan Yisilan Wenhua Zhi Biyao” (Imperatives for the
Development of Islamic Culture, 1939)† (Original)

This page was last updated June 25, 2010.