Mustafa al-Maraghi

Rector of Al-Azhar

Muhammad Mustafa al-Maraghi (1881–1945; Arabic: محمد مصطفى المراغي‎) was an Egyptian modernist reformer and rector of al-Azhar in the 1930s. He was one of the students of Muhammad 'Abduh. He called for social, legal and educational changes and pursued a strong campaign - begun by Muhammad 'Abduh and finished by Mahmoud Shaltout - to include the modern sciences in al-Azhar's curriculum.[1] To that end he organised committees to reform the university's regulations and curriculum and created a supervisory department for research whose responsibilities included publishing and translation.

Mustafa al-Maraghi

Mustafa al-Maraghi was the link between the reforms of his mentor Muhammad Abduh and such subsequent leaders of al-Azhar as Mustafa Abd al-Raziq, Abdel-Halim Mahmoud and Mahmoud Shaltout. As a reformer, al-Maraghi believed in Islam's flexibility and ability to adapt to the needs of modernity. He called for the exercise of ijtihad (independent reasoning/interpretation), reinterpretation, and opposed taqlid (imitation or emulation), the blind following of tradition. And he attributed the religious, moral, intellectual, and political decline of Islamic peoples to the adherence to taqlid and the lack of ijtihad. He said that after the first three centuries, ijma' (consensus of the Muslim community or scholars for resolving legal questions) was impossible, because scholars were so scattered in the East and West that usually it was not possible to collect their opinions.[2]


  1. The Oxford Dictionary of Islam (Oxford Reference)
  2. Islam and the Modern Age - Volume 27 - Page 166.