Secularism, Secularity and Islamic Reformism
If we consider Islamic Reformism, it becomes very clear why it is important to distinguish between secularism and secularity as the Multiple Secularities approach does. ‘Secularity’ denotes a situation in which religious and secular aspects are distinguished, both in terms of structural differentiations and in terms of conceptual distinctions. ‘Secularism’, by contrast, refers to the political demand for greater separation between religion and the secular. Islamic reformists have rejected secularism almost unanimously as an external political regime that evolved in Christian Europe and is alien to Islam. However, they have been operating with the conceptual distinction between religion and the secular. They have elaborated this distinction firmly within an Islamic framework to the extent that, in a sense, Islam itself has taken the place of ‘secularity’, as will be shown.
While this paper focusses on modern Islamic Reformism, to which the questions of secularism and secularity became central, it is worth mentioning earlier reformist thoughts and movements. For centuries, Muslim scholars have repeatedly called for reform (iṣlāḥ) and renewal (tajdīd).1 Since Islam claims its origin in revelation, renewal here is not meant in the sense of innovation, but rather in the sense of restoring the original intention. Scholarly reconsiderations have intersected with various popular reform movements, most visibly pietist and puritanical ones.2 What the great variety of pre-modern reformist thinkers and movements had in common was that they were not centrally concerned with an external other of Islam, which was to become Europe. It is for this reason that Ahmad Dallal entitled his recent book on pre-modern Islamic reformist thoughts and movements “Islam without Europe”.3
In modernity, references to and creative appropriations of European ideas and concepts are characteristic not only of Islamic Reformism, but of Islamic intellectual trends in general. Much scholarship on Islamic history was produced under the assumption that modernity had evolved in Europe only and was then exported to the Islamic world, which had allegedly previously been in decline. Some even thought they could date the onset of modernity in the Islamic world to the landing of Napoleon near Alexandria on 1 July 1798. Both the Islamic and the European elements of this oversimplified view have been disproved. Numerous studies have established intellectual and socio-political changes that dismantled the proposed paradigm of Islamic decline. Equally, scholars have increasingly highlighted the entangled history of modernity and the contributions to modernity made by non-Europeans, challenging the view that modernity originated in Europe alone. Today, the condition and understanding of modernity is most adequately viewed as emerging from the colonial encounter itself.4 This implies that European hegemony is part of modernity, but that the hegemonic European variety of modernity itself has an entangled genealogy and is but one particular variation of more common conditions.
That being said, the conventional typology that distinguishes between three modern Islamic intellectual trends is still made on the basis of the intellectuals’ differing positions on European modernity. According to this typology, traditionalists want to retain their Islamic tradition as it had been, without engaging with modernity; westernised Muslims think that the European way is the only possible realisation of modernity and ought to be followed; and Islamic reformists want to critically select aspects from European modernity and at the same time reform Islam in order to harmonise it with modernity.
While this typology provides an initial ideal-typical orientation in a complex intellectual landscape, it has two major problems: firstly, it is formulated from the perspective of the reformists, who appear as the sensitive middle path between two extremes; secondly, and more fundamentally, it identifies tradition with Islam and religion, and contrasts it with modernity, which is identified with Europe and secularity.5
Since modernity is a common condition that was epitomised by Europe, but shared more widely, Islamic positions are better understood not via their overt relation to Europe, but rather via their conception of the relation between religion and society. After all, the negotiation of this relation has been at the centre of different conceptions of modernity, in both Europe and the Islamic world. Secular actors posited that modernity could be grounded in society alone, since humans are by nature rational social beings. From this perspective, religion is either considered to be obsolete or validated as culture. Religious actors, in turn, argue that society, which was first perceived as secular from their perspective, is not sustainable without being based on religion. Whether this religious argument is regarded as a mere reaction to dominant secular actors or whether the latter is said to have emerged from transformations in the theological field, depends on the narrative of modernity one wants to tell – as originating as a counterpoint to or from within religion. What matters is that in modernity, non-religious and religious actors both are concerned with the issue of societal order and hence also share in secular premises and arguments, which they either regard as immanently self-sufficient or as in need of being grounded in transcendence.
The integration of a religious perspective on society and a societal perspective on religion is, in fact, constitutive for Islamic reformists. Islamic reformists strongly rejected claims that secular society was self-sufficient and asserted that society needed religion. This religion that society was in need of was, notably, a religion to be transformed according to the demands of society. In this integrated perspective, Islamic reformists mirrored religious actors in European societies. Take, for example, the following statement by the German Rabbi Ludwig Phillipson from 1855: “Religion has so long abandoned society, that it is scarcely a matter of surprise if society has in its turn abandoned religion. The two thus parted must be reunited.”6 For Islamic reformists, the desired unification of religion and society was possible only based on Islam, which according to them was the only truly modern religion, perfectly fulfilling the demands of society and conforming to universal reason and progress.
The representatives of Islamic Reformism on whom we shall focus here are those long identified as its most influential protagonists. Whether under the name of reformism, modernism, or salafiyya,7 almost every textbook on modern Islamic trends, names the following three individuals as foremost representatives of the intellectual trend under consideration here: Jamal al-Din al-Afghani (1838/39– 1897), his disciple Muhammad ʿAbduh (1849–1905) and ʿAbduh’s pupil Rashid Rida (1865–1935). Two qualifications should be made regarding the identification of this famous triad with Islamic Reformism: First, there were, of course, other influential protagonists of Islamic modernism, such as the Indian intellectual Sayyid Ahmad Khan, who was attacked by al-Afghani for his pro-British attitudes and his alleged materialism.8 Secondly, al-Afghani, ʿAbduh, and Rida differed in their views, foci, and strategies. This is concealed by the teacher-student relationship, which too narrowly focuses on personal lineages and ignores changing social, political, and cultural conditions. In addition, the thought of ʿAbduh in particular has been taken up by a great variety of intellectuals, some of whom have been overtly at odds with Rida, who to some extent distorted ʿAbduh’s legacy in order to portray himself as ʿAbduh’s most faithful follower.9 With these qualifications in mind, I shall focus here on the journal al-Manar (Cairo, 1898–1940) as the mouthpiece of Islamic Reformism. Al-Manar was founded by Rida with substantial support from ʿAbduh and inspired by al-Afghani’s and ʿAbduh’s journal al-ʿUrwa al-Wuthqa (Paris, 1884). Such a focus is needed to account for the socio-political circumstances of intellectual production and to avoid making sweeping generalisations.
Focussing on al-Manar is a rather obvious choice since this tremendously prominent, widely connected, and influential journal illustrates wider issues and trends in the Islamic negotiation of the modern socio-political order, including the questions of secularism and secularity. Al-Manar was published in Cairo but was read far beyond Egypt, and also included articles and letters by readers from India, Russia, China, France, Syria, Indonesia, England, Turkey and Brazil, among other countries. The wide reception of al-Manar during its lifespan is well-documented, and its influence lingers to this day. In 1998, on the centenary of the foundation of al-Manar, al-Manar al-Jadid (The New Manar) was launched. Tellingly, this new journal opened with Rashid Rida’s editorial from the first volume of al-Manar, reprinted in 1909. It is evident that the topics and tropes negotiated by al-Manar in the formative phase of modernity continue to linger and inform Islamic debates about reform and modernity today.10
When al-Manar was founded in Cairo in 1898, Cairo’s print media was booming. Print media was dominated by rather secular journals and newspapers that were edited by Syro-Lebanese journalists with a Christian background. The centre of Arabic publishing had moved from Beirut to Cairo with these journalists in the 1880s. Whereas private publishing had been virtually non-existent in Egypt in 1870, 849 newspapers and journals were founded in Arabic alone between 1876 and 1914.11 Al-Manar was not the first ‘Islamic journal’ (majalla islāmiyya), but it quickly established itself as the most prominent one. Being an ‘Islamic journal’ did not mean it was restricted to religious topics, but that it addressed questions of public concern from an Islamic perspective and from within the Islamic discursive tradition. This was also a question of marketing and of catering for a certain readership. In the age of print capitalism, al-Manar competed with other publications for shares of the reading public. Differences and rivalries were not only due to marketing considerations, they also related to political positions, ideological convictions, and cultural affiliations. It was especially in debates about the appropriate foundations and structure of the socio-political order that al-Manar’s Islamic voice competed with nationalist, socialist and other voices in the public sphere.
Despite the overt rivalry between journalists and intellectuals of different backgrounds, these urban literati had much in common. After all, they were members of an elitist intelligentsia, who considered themselves capable of mastering the modern world, of guiding the people and of transforming society. Many of them also knew each other. Rashid Rida was acquainted with and cooperated with several Christian intellectuals of a more overtly secular leaning.12 Rida, the modern Islamic intellectual, shared many secular premises and arguments with more overtly secular intellectuals with a Christian background. However, he and other Islamic reformists conceived of secularity within an Islamic framework rather than a non-religious one, which proved to be more difficult. They grounded secularity in transcendence and attacked overt claims of the secular being self-sufficient, or of either religion or society being truly sustainable outside of an Islamic frame connecting both spheres.
Rida was thus a vocal critic of the Azhari scholar ʿAli ʿAbd al-Raziq, whose 1925 book Islam and the Foundations of Power is conventionally considered the first Islamic argument for secularism in Arabic.13 In this book, ʿAbd al-Raziq argues that the prophet Muhammad brought a religious message only and acted as a worldly leader only as a means of protecting that message. ʿAbd al-Raziq claimed that Muslims were free to choose the form of government that best suited their interests, since the central sources of Islam, the Qurʾan and the Sunna, did not contain prescriptions as to the form of government and there had never been a consensus (ijmāʿ) among Islamic scholars. ʿAbd al-Raziq suggested that the only suitable form of government for the time was a democratic, parliamentarian one. Upon the publication of his book, ʿAbd al-Raziq was stripped of his office as a sharīʿa judge by al-Azhar. Rida, who in 1922 had authored a book on the necessity of the caliphate,14 criticised ʿAbd al-Raziq almost to the point of pronouncing him an unbeliever.15
In view of this fact, it is interesting that twenty years earlier, Rida’s close collaborator and friend, Rafiq al-ʿAzm, had made the same basic argument for the separation of religion and politics in Rida’s very own journal al-Manar.16 In addressing the then ubiquitous question of why Islamic countries were lagging behind European nations, which were considered to exemplify civilisation and progress, al-ʿAzm identified the “mixing of politics with religion” (mazj al-siyāsa bi-l-dīn) as the central cause. He attributed this to the fatal influence of practices of the primitive Arab Bedouins, which lingered on, even though the prophet Muhammad had demanded the separation of religious and worldly affairs. Al-ʿAzm maintained that the early Islamic conquests led by the prophet were not religious, but purely political in nature. He also argued that since the Islamic sources were silent on the matter of politics, Muslims were free to choose their form of government, and that a democratic form of government would be appropriate.
Al-ʿAzm’s views were criticised in al-Manar by the Indian Muslim Salih bin ʿAli al-Yafiʿi, who argued that the Islamic sources were not silent at all on the matter of politics, and that the weakness of Muslims was not due to the mixing of politics with religion, but due to politics having been disconnected from religion, which had allowed absolutist rulers to gain power. Al-Yafiʿi maintained that Islam demanded a non-absolutist form of government. Like al-ʿAzm, al-Yafiʿi seemed to have a consultative, at least somewhat democratic type of government in mind. Unlike al-ʿAzm, he avoided the term dīmūqrāṭiyya (‘democracy’) and instead adduced the Qurʾanic principle of shūrā (‘consultation’) to legitimise that form of government. Al-ʿAzm’s overt advocation of secularity on Islamic grounds was ultimately unsuccessful within Islamic Reformism, and al-ʿAzm himself later validated democracy as essentially Islamic, rather than as commendable on autonomous secular grounds.17
A central issue within Islamic Reformism, evident in the debate between al-ʿAzm and al-Yafiʿi, is which parts of the secular sphere are to be granted autonomy. Let us approach this issue in five steps. First, in Islamic Reformism, principles of modern politics, like a consultative government, can be legitimised as inherently Islamic or as independent from, but conforming with, Islam. Second, the acceptability of an argument also hinges on the concepts adduced, as the alternatives of dīmūqrāṭiyya and shūrā show. Third, claims of politics being self-sufficient and not subject to Islamic principles are refuted by the majority of Islamic reformists whose programme includes a political dimension. Fourth, Islamic reformists mainly disagree over which aspects of Islam belong to the religious and which to the secular sphere and how close the connections between both spheres ought to be. Fifth, elaborations of an Islamic political order operate with secular premises. This was also the case in Rida’s conception of the caliphate.18 Overall, the dominant reformist argument against secularity as a self-sufficient, external order and for the connection of religion and the secular in Islam does not deny the distinction between religion and the secular, but rather integrates this distinction, and thus secularity, within Islam.
This constellation, which is constitutive of Islamic Reformism, is summarised in a claim that is only seemingly paradoxical, namely that Islam does not require secularity, because it contains secularity in its very essence. A first articulation of this can be found in a debate between Muhammad ʿAbduh and Farah Antun.19 On the surface, this debate was about the philosopher Ibn Rushd and the role of reason and science in Islam and Christianity, but the real issue was the possibility of a civil government. To Antun, this was possible only based on the emancipation of politics from religion, a process that he argued had happened in the European Enlightenment and to which Christianity was more susceptible than Islam. ʿAbduh objected that the very need for reason to emancipate itself from religion was particular to the Christian religion. Islam, by contrast, accorded reason its due autonomy and politics in Islam was essentially civil. In short, and to slightly systematise and update ʿAbduh’s wording, Islam does not require the separation of religion and the secular, because it in its essence recognises and sustains secularity. This foundational claim was elaborated more explicitly later, for example, by the contemporary European Islamic reformer Tariq Ramadan. Ramadan shifted from an outright rejection of secularism, and especially the French laicité, to considering secularity as also being appropriate to the Islamic religion.20 In Muslim publics today, the concept of ʿalmāniyya (‘secularism’, ‘secularity’) mainly functions as “the other side of Islam”, while at the same time, if not as explicitly, this other side can be integrated into Islam.21
When conceptualising secularity within Islam, reformists resorted to several classical distinctions, mainly from the field of jurisprudence. The most significant conceptual distinction in this regard is that between ʿibādāt and muʿāmalāt, between cultic or religious matters and matters relating to human interactions or secular affairs. ʿAbduh, then Rida and al-ʿAzm, and, later, Tariq Ramadan used ʿibādāt and muʿāmalāt increasingly systematically to conceptualise the modern distinction between religion and the secular. Another important conceptual pair used to distinguish between religion and the secular is that of dīn and dunyā, which in their Qurʾanic usage referred to the sacral cultic sphere and the social world protecting that cultic sphere from the profane.22 Al-ʿAzm, for example, distinguishes firmly between the purely religious section (al-qism al-dīnī al-maḥḍ) of the shariʿa and the purely worldly section (al-qism al-dunyawī al-maḥḍ).23 Other classical Islamic concepts used in modernity to validate the secular sphere and to strengthen the role of reason for discerning human interests in that sphere are the concepts of maṣlaḥa (common, public interest) and of the maqāṣid al-sharīʿa (the goals of the sharīʿa).24
The fact that these distinctions are made within Islam has four main effects. First, it makes it rather easy for Islamic reformists to shift from a secular to a religious position and back. Second, the connections between religion and the secular can be continuously loosened or tightened. Third, the factual secularity of reformist Islam is often blurred and difficult to perceive from the outside. Fourth, Islamic actors might themselves deny their secularity, which they associate with the other side of Islam, not dissimilar to many proponents of secularity considering Islam as their other.
It should be clear that it was from a particular secular perspective, explicitly operating with the concept of secularity, that I have identified the factual secularity of modern Islam. From this perspective, Islam does not appear to be fully secular, for the distinction between religion and the secular remains somewhat blurry and has not been explicated as such. However, if we shift our perspective, the same holds true the other way round: Islamic reformists can identify secularity as factually Islamic,25 but would insist on it not being fully Islamic, for it has not fully harmonised the relation between religion and the secular. From a secular perspective, then, Islam can partially function as secularity, whereas secularity from a modern Islamic perspective can function partially as Islam.
To view Islam and secularity on a par requires a tertium comparationis that is neither Islam, nor secularity. This tertium is the relation between religion and society, as becomes clear when one looks at the common conditions and reference problems underlying both Islam and secularity and when one tries to shift perspectives between overtly secular responses and Islamic responses to that reference problem. Taking a bird’s-eye-view then, both Islam and secularity are overarching guiding ideas to elaborate the modern distinction between religion and society.
This basic constellation can of course be elaborated very differently. The distinction-yet-connection of religion and the secular in Islamic Reformism can give way to ensuring the mutual relation and relative autonomy of both spheres and thereby mirror the dominant ideal-typical arrangement of secularity. It is equally possible, both in Islam as in secularism, that one side denies the autonomy and validity of the other, either subsuming religious aspects under a secular standpoint or secular aspects under the standpoint of religion. Which of these options becomes hegemonic hinges less on cultural resources, let alone religious dispositions, and more on socio-political circumstances. Whichever way the distinction-yet-connection of religion and the secular in Islam plays out, it should be clear that it does not express an alleged timeless essence of Islam, as many modern reformists themselves as well as orientalists claim,26 but is instead a modern arrangement that mirrors claims to the secular being self-sufficient.
Secularism and secularity
Pre-modern reformist thoughts and movements
Modernity, Islam, and Europe
The conventional typology of intellectual trends
Problems with the conventional typology
A more systematic typology
Islamic reformists: integrating society and religion
Protagonists of Islamic Reformism
Al-Manar: the mouthpiece of Islamic Reformism
Egypt's secular public sphere
Commonalities between intellectuals
ʿAli ʿAbd al-Raziq: the first Islamic secularist?
Rafiq al-ʿAzm: an unexpected flirt with secularism
The limits of Islamic publics
The secular as self-sufficient or dependent
Secularity in Islamic Reformism
Conceptualising secularity in Islam
Islam as secularity
Islam and secularity
Commonalities and differences
- John O. Voll, “Renewal and Reform in Islamic History: Tajdid and Islah,” in Voices of Resurgent Islam, ed. John L. Esposito (New York/Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1983).
- See, for example: Madeline C. Zilfi, “The Kadizadelis: Discordant Revivalism in Seventeenth-Century Istanbul,” Journal of Near Eastern Studies 45, no. 4 (1986); Albrecht Hofheinz, “The Islamic Eighteenth Century: A View from the Edge,” in Islam in der Moderne, Moderne im Islam: Eine Festschrift für Reinhard Schulze zum 65. Geburtstag, ed. Florian Zemmin, Johannes Stephan, and Monica Corrado (Leiden: Brill, 2018).
- Ahmad Dallal, Islam without Europe: Traditions of Reform in Eighteenth-Century Islamic Thought (Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolina Press, 2018).
- See: Dror Ze’evi, “Back to Napoleon? Thoughts on the Beginning of the Modern Era in the Middle East,” Mediterranean Historical Review 19, no. 1 (2004).
- For a critical discussion of this conventional typology, see: Florian Zemmin, Modernity in Islamic Tradition. The Concept of ‘Society’ in the Journal al-Manar (Cairo, 1898–1940) (Boston/Berlin: De Gruyter, 2018), 155–60.
- Ludwig Philippso[n], The Development of the Religious Idea in Judaism, Christianity and Mahomedanism, considered in twelve lectures on the history and purport of Judaism, delivered in Magdeburg, 1847, by Dr. Ludwig Philippsohn; translated from the German with notes by Anna Maria Goldsmid (London: Longman, Brown, Green and Longmans, 1855), ix.
- On the genealogy of the term salafiyya and the (non-)usability of Salafism as an analytical category, see: Henry Lauzière, The Making of Salafism: Islamic Reform in the Twentieth Century (New York: Columbia University Press, 2016).
- See: Nikki R. Keddie, An Islamic Response to Imperialism: Political and Religious Writings of Sayyid Jamāl ad-Dīn “al-Afghānī” (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1983).
- Mohamed Haddad, “Les Œuvres de ‘Abduh: Histoire d’une manipulation,” Institut de Belles Lettres Arabes 60, no. 180 (1997).
- For the prominence and reception of al-Manar, see: Zemmin, Modernity in Islamic Tradition, 151–64.
- Ami Ayalon, “The Press and Publishing,” in The New Cambridge History of Islam; vol 6: Muslims and Modernity; Culture and Society since 1800, ed. Robert W. Hefner (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2010), 579.
- Zemmin, Modernity in Islamic Tradition, 132ff.
- Ali ʿAbd al-Raziq, al-Islam wa-Usul al-Hukm: Bahth fi al-Khilafa wa-l-Hukuma fi al-Islam (Cairo: Matbaʿat Misr, 1925); ʿAli ʿAbd al-Raziq, L’Islam et les fondements du pouvoir; trans. Abdou Filali-Ansary (Paris/Cairo: Éditions La Découverte/ CEDEJ, 1994); Souad T. Ali, A Religion, Not a State: Ali ʿAbd al-Raziq’s Islamic Justification of Political Secularism (Salt Lake City: The University of Utah Press, 2009).
- Rashid Rida, al-Khilafa aw al-Imama al-ʿUzma: Mabahith Sharʿiyya Siyasiyya Ijtimaʿiyya Islahiyya (Cairo: Matbaʿat al-Manar, 1922); Henri Laoust, Le Califat dans la doctrine de Rašīd Riḍā. Traduction annotée d’al-Ḫilāfa au al-Imāma al-ʿuẓmà (Le Califat ou l’Imāma supréme) (Paris: Librairie d’Amérique et d’Orient, 1986 ).
- Most strongly: Rashid Rida, “al-Islam wa-Usul al-Hukm: Bahth fi al-Khilafa wa-l-Hukuma fi al-Islam bal Daʿwa Jadida ila Nasf Binaʾiha wa-Tadlil Abnaʾiha,” al-Manar 26, no. 2 (1925).
- For al-ʿAzm’s argument and his debate with al-Yafiʿi summarised below, see: Zemmin, Modernity in Islamic Tradition, 310–25.
- Rafiq al-ʿAzm, “al-Hukuma al-Islamiyya,” al-Manar 26, no. 7 (1926).
- Malcolm Kerr, Islamic Reform. The Political and Legal Theories of Muḥammad ʿAbduh and Rashīd Riḍā (Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 1966), 158–86; Abdulkader Tayob, Religion in Modern Islamic Discourse (London: Hurst, 2009), 110–11.
- Alexander Flores, “Reform, Islam, Secularism: Farah Antûn and Muhammad Abduh,” in Entre reforme sociale et mouvement national: identité et modernisation en Egypte (1882-1962), ed. Alain Roussillon (Le Caire: CEDEJ, 1995).
- Florian Zemmin, “Integrating Islamic Positions into European Public Discourse: The Paradigmatic Example of Tariq Ramadan,” Journal of Religion in Europe 8, no. 1 (2015).
- Daniel Kinitz, Die andere Seite des Islam (Boston/Berlin: De Gruyter, 2016).
- Reinhard Schulze, “On Relating Religion to Society and Society to Religion,” in Debating Islam. Negotiating Religion, Europe, and the Self, ed. Samuel M. Behloul, Susanne Leuenberger, and Andreas Tunger-Zanetti (Bielefeld: transcript, 2013), 346.
- As pointedly summarised by Rashid Rida in: Salih bin ʿAli al-Yafiʿi, “Shakl Hu- kumat al-Islam wa-Daʿf al-Muslimin bi-Istibdad al-Hukkam,” al-Manar 7, no. 23 (1905): 912.
- On the modern reconceptualisation of maṣlaḥa and maqāṣid, see: Anver M. Emon, Islamic Natural Law Theories (New York: Oxford University Press, 2010), esp. 36, 195. On Rida’s usage of maṣlaḥa, see: Dyala Hamzah, “From ʿilm to sihâfa or the Politics of the Public Interest (maslaha): Muhammad Rashid Ridâ and his Journal al-Manâr,” in The Making of the Arab Intellectual (1880-1960): Empire, Public Sphere and the Colonial Coordinates of Selfhood, ed. Dyala Hamzah (London: Routledge, 2013). On contemporary reconceptions of the maqāṣid: Felicitas Opwis, “New Trends in Islamic Legal theory. Maqāṣid al-Sharīʿa as a New Source of Law?,” Die Welt des Islams 57 (2017).
- See also: Shaden M. Tageldin, “Secularizing Islam: Carlyle, al-Sibāʿī, and the Translations of ‘Religion’ in British Egypt,” PMLA 126, no. 1 (2011): 128.
- Dietrich Jung, Orientalists, Islamists and the Global Public Sphere: A Genealogy of the Modern Essentialist Image of Islam (Sheffield/Oakville: Equinox, 2011).
Quoted and Further Reading
- ʿAbd al-Raziq, ʿAli. al-Islam wa-Usul al-Hukm: Bahth fi al-Khilafa wa-l-Hukuma fi al-Islam. Cairo: Matbaʿat Misr, 1925.
- ʿAbd al-Raziq, ʿAli. L’Islam et les fondements du pouvoir. Translated by Abdou Filali-Ansary. Paris/Cairo: Éditions La Découverte/CEDEJ, 1994.
- al-Yafiʿi, Salih bin ʿAli. “Shakl Hukumat al-Islam wa-Daʿf al-Muslimin bi-Istibdad al-Hukkam.” al-Manar 7, no. 23 (1905): 899–912.
- al-ʿAzm, Rafiq. “al-Hukuma al-Islamiyya.” al-Manar 26, no. 7 (1926): 512–22.
- Ali, Souad T. A Religion, Not a State: Ali ʿAbd al-Raziq’s Islamic Justification of Political Secularism. Salt Lake City: The University of Utah Press, 2009.
- Ayalon, Ami. “The Press and Publishing.” In The New Cambridge History of Islam; vol 6: Muslims and Modernity; Culture and Society since 1800. Edited by Robert W. Hefner, 572–96. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2010.
- Buessow, Johann. “Re-imagining Islam in the Period of the First Modern Globalization: Muhammad ʿAbduh and his Theology of Unity.” In A Global Middle East: Mobility, Materiality and Culture in the Modern Age, 1880-1940. Edited by Liat Kozma, Cyrus Schayegh, and Avner Wishnitzer, 273–320. London: I.B. Tauris, 2015.
- Dallal, Ahmad. Islam without Europe: Traditions of Reform in Eighteenth-Century Islamic Thought. Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolina Press, 2018.
- Emon, Anver M. Islamic Natural Law Theories. New York: Oxford University Press, 2010.
- Flores, Alexander. “Reform, Islam, Secularism: Farah Antûn and Muhammad Abduh.” In Entre reforme sociale et mouvement national: identité et modernisation en Egypte (1882–1962). Edited by Alain Roussillon, 565–76. Cairo: CEDEJ, 1995.
- Haddad, Mohamed. “Les Œuvres de ‘Abduh: Histoire d’une manipulation.” Institut de Belles Lettres Arabes 60, no. 180 (1997): 197–222.
- Hofheinz, Albrecht. “The Islamic Eighteenth Century: A View from the Edge.” In Islam in der Moderne, Moderne im Islam: Eine Festschrift für Reinhard Schulze zum 65. Geburtstag. Edited by Florian Zemmin, Johannes Stephan, and Monica Corrado, 234–53. Leiden: Brill, 2018.
- Jackson, Sherman A. “The Islamic Secular.” The American Journal of the Islamic Social Sciences 34, no. 2 (2017): 1–31.
- Jung, Dietrich. Orientalists, Islamists and the Global Public Sphere: A Genealogy of the Modern Essentialist Image of Islam. Sheffield/Oakville: Equinox, 2011.
- Kateman, Ammeke. Muḥammad ʿAbduh and His Interlocutors: Conceptualizing Religion in a Globalizing World. Leiden: Brill, 2019.
- Keddie, Nikki R. An Islamic Response to Imperialism: Political and Religious Writings of Sayyid Jamāl ad-Dīn “al-Afghānī.” Berkeley: University of California Press, 1983.
- Kerr, Malcolm. Islamic Reform. The Political and Legal Theories of MuḥammadʿAbduh and Rashīd Riḍā. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1966.
- Kinitz, Daniel. Die andere Seite des Islam. Boston/Berlin: De Gruyter, 2016.
- Laoust, Henri. Le Califat dans la doctrine de Rašīd Riḍā. Traduction annotée d’al-Ḫilāfa au al-Imāma al-ʿuẓmà (Le Califat ou l’Imāma supréme). Paris: Librairie d’Amérique et d’Orient, 1986 .
- Lauzière, Henry. The Making of Salafism: Islamic Reform in the Twentieth Century. New York: Columbia University Press, 2016.
- Leeuwen, Richard van. “Islamic Reformism and the Secular: Rashid Ridâ’s Theory on Miracles.” In Religion and Its Other. Secular and Sacral Concepts and Practices in Interaction. Edited by Heike Bock, Jörg Feuchter, and Michi Knecht, 64–78. Frankfurt/New York: Campus, 2008.
- Opwis, Felicitas. “New Trends in Islamic Legal theory. Maqāṣid al-Sharīʿa as a New Source of Law?” Die Welt des Islams 57 (2017): 7–32.
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