The Necessity of Religious Reform

  • Muhammad Abduh


Like all other Eastern nations, Egypt constituted a religious community bounded together by the Shari‘ah. It had built its ethics and its civilization on religion. Religion is the organizing principle of all its affairs—it dictates man’s private and public conduct, the king’s orientation toward his subjects and the subjects’ toward their king. Ask an Egyptian, Why do you speak the truth? Why do you try to be fair in your judgment? Why are you honest whenever you are trusted? Why are you not vulgar? Why do you avoid misdeeds and do not lie to, treat unfairly, or mistrust others? He will answer you that God recommends those good qualities and interdicts the misdeeds. Whether he is a scholar or a student, he will be able to recite to you Quranic verses and sayings of the Prophet that support his statement, such as “God recommends fairness and charity and visitation of relatives, and interdicts vulgarity, unfairness, and oppression.” Likewise, and for the same purpose, he may recall the following hadith: “There are three signs distinguishing the hypocrite: He lies when he talks, he does not fulfill his promises, and he betrays when trusted.”


Religious Community Moral Conduct Religious Institute Western Nation Arabic Language 
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© Mansoor Moaddel and Kamran Talattof 2000

Authors and Affiliations

  • Muhammad Abduh

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