A Blog for the study of Traditionalism and the Traditionalists
moderated by Mark Sedgwick
Do you know the French convert to Islam, adventurer and writer Henry de Monfreid? I just found out today that Ivan Aguéli was a friend of his father, Daniel de Monfreid. It's in a memoir I read.
From the little I know, Henry de Monfreid seems more adventurer than Traditionalist. But perhaps not?
I read in Axel Gauffins monograph of Ivan Aguéli that Aguéli thought favourably of Muhammad Abduh. Part II, page 182. The book is in Swedish. I also noticed that Aguéli in his writings about of Pan-Islamism seems to have been influenced by Al-Afghani and Abduh. After all he was a student of Al-Azhar./Omar
I also read that when Aguéli was in India he met Olcott and they became friends.It's in the monography.
It is a factual error to claim that Aguéli was influenced by Muhammed Abduh and Rashid Rida. On the contrary, Rashid Rida often called Aguéli a heretic and a foreign agent in his magazine. Mr Omar (above) would find it beneficial to read Meir Hatina's well researched essay "Where East Meets West: Sufism as a Lever for Cultural Rapprochement" pp. 389–409, Volume 39, International Journal of Middle East Studies, Cambridge University Press, 2007.Hatina, who is an expert on Islamism and has studied the Arabic texts of Ivan Aguéli's magazine Il Convito actually states that Aguéli's Shaykh Abd ar-Rahman Elish was an outspoken enemy of Rashid Rida and Muhammed Abduh. Elish's father Muhammad Elish was likewise an outspoken enemy of the modernist Al Afghani.
I have checked the quote made by Mr Omar and there is only a passing reference to Muhammed Abduh and is in no way an endorsement of his politics. Aguéli states that Abduh serves the cause of Egyptian nationalism - which should not be mistaken for praise. Aguéli and his Shaykh spoke for a rule of the Ottoman Sultan, not Abduh's brand new Egyptian nationalism.
I asked Ahmed Valsan and he told me that he thinks Aguéli was influenced by Al-Afghani. You are right about the quote on Abduh.Where can I get this paper by Hatina? I need for my book.Would you say that Amir Abd el-Kaders movement was Islamist? A spritual and a political movement?If Aguéli was not influence by al-Afghani, from where did his ideas of Pan-Islamism come from?
I never mentioned Rashid Rida. Rida became more and more Wahhabi-oriented as time passed.By the why Valsan has also read every thing Aguéli ever wrote in French, Arabic and Italian, and he thinks he was influenced by Al-Afghani, though not a major influence, and maybe not directly through his writings, but through the "atmosphere" of the time.Al-Afghani was also a supporter of Ottoman Khilafah for a while.
The Hatina article is currently available through Cambridge Journals Online (http://journals.cambridge.org). If you have access through a research library it's free; otherwise it will cost £20/$30. It's a good article.
Al-Afghani at one point in his life encouraged Ottoman-led pan-Islamism (as, more briefly, did Muhammad Abduh), but he did not invent it. It was very much in the air for a while, and someone like Aguéli would have encountered it in all sorts of ways. Similarly, Ottoman-led pan-Islamism was not the only political line al-Afghani explored. Circumstances were changing so quickly during that period that people's politics realy had to change too. And although Egyptian nationalism and pan-Islamism can be seen as mutually exclusive alternatives, some people managed to combine them, as in fact many Egyptians still do today.Either political position could be, and was, combined with modernism or anti-modernism in matters of religion. Someone who was anti-modernist in religion but pro-Ottoman in politics might thus agree politically with someone they disagreed with in other ways.
I went to the library this morning and read Hatinas paper. He did not mention neither Abudh nor al-Afghani, only Rida.Hatina mentions the Sufi criticisms of Rida and some later Islamists, but also acknoledges the more Sufi oriented Islamits like Said Nursi, the Ahbash and others. He also acknowledges Sufi influence on al-Banna.I would like to include Aguéli and his circle in this trend, Sufi-Islamism, whic we see today in for example Ahbash in Lebanon and Minhaj-ul-Quran in Pakistan (Tahir-ul-Qadris movement)Omar
Aguéli and his circle certainly have something in common with Ahbash and Minhaj-ul-Quran, though the ages and circumstances were of course very different.
According to Hatina shaykh Elish was critical of the Ottoman law reforms and hade conservative view of shariah. Maybe that is why he opposed Abduh?I read an article by Umar Vadillo that shaykh Elihs father was against the introduction of paper money. That is how conservative he was, and as we know Abduh was the one who opened up for modern banking.Another point. I read an article by Omar Mutti that claims that Insabato later became an adviser to Mussolini and promoted better relations between fascist Italy and the Moslem world. Do you know anything about this?Omar
When did shaykh Elish passa away? I have seen 1921 and 1929. Did Guénon meet him?
I don't know the date for certain, but at any rate it seems to be before Guénon got to Cairo, so they can hardly have met.
How is the relation between the Ikhwan and the turuq in Egypt? I have been told that there are fractions which are also members of turuq.
I myself never came across anything in this category, but then I was never looking for it. I too have heard this, and it's certainly not impossible.
I read in an article by Omar Mutti that Insabato, Aguélis collegue, later became an adivsor to Mussolini on Islamic affairs. I also heard from an Italian Muslim friend that Insabato was a Muslim and got Muslim burial in Naples.
I spoke on the phone with Ahmad Valsan today, he told me that Abduh and Rida where very different. Abduh was not hostile to sufism. He also told me that Aguéli was well updated on all different trends in Islamic thinking and that he is sure he knew of al-Afghani and might have appreciated some of his writings. He will try to supply me with references after the weekedn. If there are any of course.By the way, I would be happy if you could send me your biography of Abduh for review.Omar
In an article in Il Convito about the Umberto I-Mosque Aguéli criticises Afghani, Abduh and Rida and calls them "The Calvinists of Islam". He also mentions that Afghani was a freemason.Got the info from Valsan.
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