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On the preservation and revitalization of Islamic traditions

Dr. Radwan al-Sayyed, is a professor and Sheikh in the field of political ideology in Islam, or ‘Islamic politics’ as it is known.

He studied at the Religious Institute in Lebanon and then at the Religious Academy of al-Azhar in Egypt. He then pursued his Philosophy studies about Islam and Christianity at Tubingen University in Germany. He later on became a professor of Islamic studies at Lebanese University.

He expounded many ideas and insights about the awareness of political jurisprudence and its theories through the ages. In this regard, I can remember for example, a precious lecture ‘From the Caliphate and the Sultanate to a national country’, that he delivered in Abu Dhabi. It took me on an exciting journey between the changes in nomenclature and the awareness about political structures through Islamic history.

Dr. Sayyed was recently granted the King Faisal International Prize for Islamic Studies. He deserves it and much more for his research and modernizing approach, and for fusing the old methods of scholarship with modern curricula. He used this brilliantly in his studies and in counselling, from which I personally benefited a lot.

I am strongly convinced that the reason for the overall climate around Muslims today is because of the lack in reading religious and heritage-related material, and not vice versa!

Mshari Al Thaydi

What is important now is that our ‘Mawlana’ Sheikh Radwan, is interested in the rehabilitation of Hanbalism and Salafism. He wants to free them from secular defections and political media scrutiny that are very far from noble sciences. He also wants to defend them from ‘ignorant defenders’.

In his interview with Al Arabiya by Fahd Shoqiran, Dr. Sayyed spoke about this sensitive matter and said: “I do not know why they hate Sunni Islam in particular (some secular Arab intellectuals), despite the fact that those who have succeeded in establishing a religious state in modern times are Iranian Shiites.”

He then talked about the important studies of an American professor of Lebanese origin, Dr. Georges Makdissi, who was interested in the 60s in Hanbali studies and restored its importance in academia, unlike what was prevailing in Orientalist studies.

“Makdissi’s main idea of the Hanbali people was that they were preachers and responsible for the Sunni doctrine, and he disapproved Goldziher who believed that Ash’arism was the doctrine of the Sunnis, not the Hanbali school,” he said.

Finally, Dr. Sayyed is not a fan of Hanbalism or Salafism. On the contrary, he calls for the preservation and revitalization of Islamic traditions. He speaks from the point of view of a scientific scholar, who studies political tendencies and sectarian implications in Islamic Studies.

In the interview, Radwan stressed that Salafists should be modernized and not pushed towards extremism.

In fact, the eradication of Salafism is impossible as it is a broad current supported by Muslims, but who would understand it, he queries.

I am strongly convinced that the reason for the overall climate around Muslims today is because of the lack in reading religious and heritage-related material, and not vice versa!

This article was first published in Asharq al-Awsat.

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Saudi journalist Mshari Al Thaydi presents Al Arabiya News Channel’s “views on the news” daily show “Maraya.” He has previously held the position of a managing senior editor for Saudi Arabia & Gulf region at pan-Arab newspaper Asharq al-Awsat. Al Thaydi has published several papers on political Islam and social history of Saudi Arabia. He appears as a guest on several radio and television programs to discuss the ideologies of extremist groups and terrorists.
 

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Last Update: Saturday, 4 February 2017 KSA 06:58 - GMT 03:58
Disclaimer: Views expressed by writers in this section are their own and do not reflect Al Arabiya English's point-of-view.
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On the preservation and revitalization of Islamic traditions
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