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By Charles D. Smith

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In addition, 'Abduh resisted 'Abbas's attempts to use funds from charitable endowments for his personal benefit. Finally, serious differences existed between them over the course of Egyptian politics. Frustrated by Lord Cromer in his efforts to assert authority, 'Abbas began to encourage nationalist groups in Egypt and to look for outside support, especially from the French. 30 Kamil's goals were not those of 'Abduh and his circle. He demanded the immediate evacuation of the British while the latter believed that Egypt should undergo a period of education to prepare it for independence.

By returning to the essence of the Islamic message found in the Quran and the sunna, Islam could retain its divine foundation and direct the transformations which were necessary. Page 20 Here 'Abduh seemed to reflect al-Afghani's influence. In other areas such as the prospective role of the 'ulama, 'Abduh strove to change the means of educating them rather than attacking them outright. When frustrated in his efforts to achieve major changes in the curriculum of al-Azhar, he told Cromer he wished to see Dar al-'Ulum supplant it in supplying teachers for all areas of education.

For 'Abduh reform had a moral basis to be found within the Quran and early teachings of Islam whereas for Lufti al-Sayyid and his colleagues such reform was nearly devoid of religious meaning. 'Abduh's principal concern was the welfare of the umma, the Muslim community, and the manner in which it adhered to the shari'a. He advocated the restoration of ijtihad so that the shari'a could be adapted to meet the new circumstances imposed by the impact of European power and culture. Applying himself more specifically to problems of reform than had al-Afghani, 'Abduh tried to establish a basis for accepting changes inspired by if not always derived from Europe while retaining the fundamentals of Islam.

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