A reformer for each century

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? Please comment.


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 )