Islam and the Baha'i Faith: A Comparative Study of Muhammad 'Abduh and 'Abdul-Baha 'Abbas

Routledge, 15/03/2011 - 256

Muhammad Abduh (1849-1905) was one of the key thinkers and reformers of modern Islam who has influenced both liberal and fundamentalist Muslims today. Abdul-Baha (1844-1921) was the son of Bahaullah (1817-1892), the founder of the Bahai Faith; a new religion which began as a messianic movement in Shii Islam, before it departed from Islam.

Oliver Scharbrodt offers an innovative and radically new perspective on the lives of these two major religious reformers in 19thcentury Middle East by placing both figures into unfamiliar terrain. While one would classify Abdul-Baha, leader of a messianic movement which claims to depart from Islam, as an exponent of heresy in Islam, Abduh is perceived as an orthodox Sunni reformer. This book, however, argues against the assumption that both represent two extremely opposite expressions of Islamic religiosity. It shows that both were influenced by similar intellectual and religious traditions of Islam and that both participated in the same discussions on the reform of Islam in the 19thcentury.

Islam and the Baha'i Faithprovides new insights into the Islamic background of the Bahai Faith and into Abduhs own association with so-called heretical movements in Islam.



Oliver Scharbrodt is Assistant Professor of Religious Studies at Western Kentucky University, USA. His research interests lie in the study of modern Islam and of Iranian Shiism and Sufism.