A reformer for each
Q2 :Some people quote a Hadith which suggests that
every 100 years Allah sends someone to renew Islam for the Muslim
nation. They support this claim with a list of such reformers including
Umar ibn Abdelaziz for the first century and Imam Al-Shafie for the
second, etc. May I ask who was the reformer for the fourteenth century?
A2 : The Hadith you have quoted is correct.
However, it does not mean that the person referred to will bring
anything new in Islam. He will simply call on Muslims to adhere to the
faith of Islam in its purest form. He would call on people to correct
their beliefs and practices so as to bring them in line with the pure
form of Islam preached by Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). It is
generally agreed that Umar ibn Abdelaziz was the first such reformer.
His influence on the Muslim state was enormous because he eradicated
all practices which crept into the government and which could not be
sanctioned by Islam. Imam Al-Shafie is generally agreed to have been
the reformer for the second century. He brought Islamic scholarship to
complete reliance on Hadith in preference to intellectual thought.
There were trends which favored such intellectual approaches in Islamic
scholarship but Imam Al-Shafie put the work of scholars back on its
proper course, namely, deduction of rulings only on the basis of the
Qur'an and the Sunnah. As for the reformers of following centuries,
people tend to select some people who had positive influence on the
Muslim nation or Islamic thought. However, there is no single list of
such reformers which is completely agreed upon. May I suggest that it
is not important to determine who was a reformer and who was not. The
religion of Islam is taken from the Prophet, and we simply do not take
the view or rulings or thought of any particular scholar as totally
correct. Indeed the statement of Imam Malik is particularly relevant in
this connection. He refers to scholars and people of lesser standing
and says: "You may take some of the view of any person and leave out
some, with the exception of the Prophet, the teachings of whom you
should take in full."
Our Dialogue ( Source : Arab News - Jeddah )