Ridwan Al-Sayyid was born in Lebanon, graduated from al-Azhar University in Cairo and obtained his doctorate in Islamic Studies from the University of Tübingen. He was a visiting Professor at both the Harvard University and the University of Chicago from 1993 to 1997. He was Director of the Higher Institute for Islamic Studies in Beirut and subsequently Director of the Arab Development Institute there. He has been managing editor of the journal al-Ijtihād and has authored or edited numerous books in Arabic and German.
Most Muslims have never been subjected to the authority of a caliph. The discourse on the “Islamic state” as a legitimate state is a recent ideology that, emerging between the 1930s and the 1960s, links the legitimacy of a state’s political regime to a particular understanding of religion. Today’s Islamic world needs both a religious reform that can stimulate fresh reflection on the polity, understood not as a religious institution but as the administration of public affairs, and a political reform that can promote alternation in power.
The appearance of the Islamic State, which followed the season of al-Qa’ida, has confirmed the contagious character of a grave illness – extremism in the name of God. The atrocities committed by the Caliphate attract some groups of young Muslims but run the risk of leading religion to collapse.
Educating in Islam /2. The subject of the reform of the transmission of religious knowledge remained open for the whole of the twentieth century and led to three different historical stages that were marked by a ‘moderate’ vision. However, since the 1970s the scenario has changed radically.