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IBN BADIS, `ABD AL-HAMID ( December 4, 1889, Constantine — April 16, 1940), Islamic reformer, national leader, and head of the Association of Algerian `Ulama’. `Abd al-Hamid ibn Badis was born inConstantine,Algeria, to a prominent Berber family renowned for its scholarship, wealth, and influence. Ibn Badis received an Islamic education and in I 9o8 attended the famous Zaytunah Mosque inTunis. There, he was educated by scholars who had been influenced by the teachings of Jamal al-Din al-Afghani (d. 1897) and Muhammad `Abduh (d. 1905) and introduced Ibn Badis to the reformist ideas of the Salafiyah movement. After obtaining the degree of `alim (scholar of religion), Ibn Badis returned in 1913 to Algeria and, until his death in 1940, devoted his entire career to teaching, reforming Islam, and defining the Arab and Islamic basis of Algerian nationalism.

The French colonial administration had closed down many centers of Arab and Islamic education, appropriated the financial institutions that backed them, restricted the teaching of Arabic and the Qur’an, and spread French schooling and culture. It also encouraged missionary activities and supported the mystical Sufi orders, which disseminated acquiescent attitudes among the Algerians. To quell the disorienting effects of French policies and the advocates of assimilation (evolues), Ibn Badis initiated a reform movement that sought to assert the national identity ofAlgeria, defend the cultural integrity of its people, and prepare them for eventual independence fromFrance. In 1925, he founded a weekly paper, Al-muntagid (The Critic), in which he disseminated Salafi ideas and attacked the “un-Islamic” practices of the Sufi orders. Al-muntagid was banned after eighteen issues, and Ibn Badis replaced it with Al-shihab (The Meteor), in which he maintained a more moderate tone.

In 1931, Ibn Badis and other religious scholars formed the Association of Algerian `Ulama’, which he headed and which promoted the Arab and Islamic roots of the Algerian nation, the reform and revival of Islam, and criticism of the Sufi orders and the assimilationists. The Association demanded religious freedom, restoration of the hubus (religious endowment, waqf) properties, and recognition of Arabic as the national language. It opened hundreds of free schools and mosques to teach Arabic, Islam, and modern subjects, published its own papers to spread religious, cultural, and social reform, campaigned against the marabouts’ (local venerated men) corrupt practices, and sent delegations toFranceand opened branches to involve Algerian residents there. In 1938, the Association issued a formal fatwa (legal opinion), which declared naturalized Algerians to be non-Muslims. Its activities disturbed the French administration, which tried to restrict the conduct of its members.

Ibn Badis perceived his mission as “not to produce books, but educated people.” His thought is discernible in the numerous articles that he wrote and in his interpretation of the Qur’an. He shared many viewpoints of the Salafiyah movement, blaming the deterioration of the Muslims on internal weakness, disunity, despotism, and the spread of non-Islamic practices.

Ibn Badis stressed education to purify Islam from popular accretions and improve the condition of the individual as a step toward reviving the entire society. He offered a modernist interpretation of the Qur’an and emphasized reasoning and free will. His major. contribution lies in linking reform and education with the promotion of an Algerian nationalism. He identified Islam, Arabism, and nationalism as the three components of the Algerian national character.

Ibn Badis and the Algerian `Ulama’ laid the foundations for the national identity of the Algerian people. Throughout the Algerian war againstFrance(19541962), the Association aligned with the Front de Liberation Nationale (FLN), and was later represented in the provisional government of theAlgerianRepublicafter independence.

[See alsoAlgeria; Salafiyah.]

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Balasi, Nabil Ahmad. Al-ittijdh al-`Arab! wa-al-Islami wa-dawruhu ft tahrir al-jaza’ir (The Arab and Islamic Trend and Its Role in LiberatingAlgeria).Cairo, 1990. Detailed study of the Arab and Islamic trend and its impact within the Algerian nationalist movement.

Jurashi, Salah al-Din al-. Tajribah ft al-islah: Ibn Badis (A Case in Reform: Ibn Badis).Tunis, 1978. Overview of the role of Ibn Badis and the Association of Algerian `Ulama’ in establishing a movement for reform and social change.

Qasim, Mahmud. Al-Imam `Abd al-Hamid Ibn Bddis, al-za’im al-ruhi li-harb al-tahrir a1 jaza’iriyah (`Abd al-Hamid Ibn Badis: The Spiritual Leader of the Algerian Liberation War). 2d ed.Cairo, 1979. Early and excellent study of Ibn Badis’s life, reform ideas, and thought.

Rabih, Turk!. Al-Shaykh `Abd al-Hamid Ibn Badis: Ra’id al-islah waal-tarbiyah ft al-jaza’ir (`Abd al-Hamid Ibn Badis: The Pioneer of Reform and Education inAlgeria). 3d ed.Algiers, 1981. Comprehensive study of an important period in Algeria’s modern history (1900-1940), with a special focus on Ibn Badis, social, cultural, economic, and political factors influencing his thought, and his contributions in providing the Arab and Islamic seeds for the Algerian nationalist movement.

`Uthman, Fathi. `Abd al-Hamid Ibn Bddis: Ra’id al-harakah alIslamiyah ft al-jaza’ir al-mu’asirah (`Abd al-Hamid Ibn Badis: The Pioneer of the Islamic Movement in Contemporary Algeria).Kuwait, 1987. Original comparison of Ibn Badis’s thought and movement with that of Jamal al-Din al-Afghani, Muhammad `Abduh, and Hasan al-Banna’.

EMAD ELDIN SHAHIN

Azhar Niaz Article's Source: http://islamicus.org/ibn-badis-abd-al-hamid/
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