Al-Manār and Popular Religion in Syria, 1898-1920

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Book Chapter

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Publication Title

Intellectuals in the Modern Islamic World: Transmission, Transformation, Communication


On July 23, 1898 a Damascene subscriber to the Islamic modernist journal al-Manār wrote a letter to the editor complaining that the journal had ceased to appear for several weeks because the censor’s office had confiscated copies of recent issues. In a comment on this letter, Rashid Rida, the journal’s publisher, noted that the governors in Beirut and Damascus had banned the publication. Years later, Rida reported that Ottoman authorities in Beirut and in Tripoli had banned the second issue published in 1898, on the orders of the sultan’s religious advisor, Abu al-Huda al-Sayyadi, who knew that Rida was an admirer of the modernist figure Jamal al-Din al-Afghani (who had died in Istanbul the previous year). Affirmation of Istanbul’s alarm at Rida’s enterprise comes from Russian and German diplomatic sources reporting in 1899 that Sultan Abdülhamid II was upset at Egyptian Khedive ‘Abbas Hilmi for allegedly sponsoring al-Manār’s publication.


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