Al-Sayyid Muhammad Rashid Rida with his Friends and Students in early 1935

Sheikh Sayyid Rashid Rida was one of the most prominent Islamic scholars of his times. He was a great admirer of the modernists: Mohammed Abduh and Jamaluddin Afghani. Later, however, he espoused strict adherence to the shari’ah and had salafist leanings. Despite his disagreement with the autocratic ways of Sultan Abdul Hamid II, he was a great supporter of the Ottomans and did his best to promote Arab-Turkish relations. However, after the deposition of Sultan Abdul Hamid II, he vehemently opposed the Young Turks and the CUP.

I will post details of Sheikh Rashid Rida’s views on Sultan Abdul Hamid II, the CUP and his support for Ibn Saud in later posts. The following excerpt is relevant more for Indian audiences.

Shibli Nomani, the principal of the subcontinental Nadwat-ul-Ulama had invited Rashid Rida to Dar al-Ulum in 1912. Nadwat-ul-Ulama had set goals that were fully compatible with those of the Arab Salafiyya Rida delivered two speeches in the Darul Uloom Nadwat ul-ʿulamāʾ in Lucknow. He also met several influential Ahl-i Hadith scholars on the occasion.

“Upon his visit to Nadwat al-Ulama, Rida also visited Dar al-Ulum Deoband. During his stay, Deobandi scholar Sayyid Anwar Shah Kashmiri gave an Arabic lecture on Qur’anHadithHanafite fiqh, methodology of Deobandi school, its intellectual background and the thought of Indian Islamic revivalist Shah Wali Allah Dehlawi. Amazed by the speech, Rida praised Anwar Shah Kashmiri and his Hanafi thought. After returning to Egypt, Rida wrote in Al-Manar, praising Deoband:

“If I had not seen Dar al-‘Ulum Deoband in Hindustan, I would have returned hopeless from that country.”