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Mahmud Shaltut

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Mahmud Shaltut
شلتوت.jpg
Personal Information
Full Name Mahmud Shaltut
Well-known As Shaykh Shaltut
Religious Affiliation Islam
Birth 1311/1983
Place of Birth Bahira
Place of Residence Egypt
Death/Martyrdom 1383/1963
Burial Place Qairo
Works Tafsir al-Qur'an al-Karim, Muqaranat al-madhahib fi l-fiqh, Al-Islam 'aqida wa al-shari'a, Al-Fatawa.
Activities Condemning recognition of Israel, Establishing Dar al-Taqrib bayn al-Madhahib al-Islami, Issuing the fatwa of the permission of acting according to Shi'a Islam.

Maḥmūd Shaltūt (Arabic: محمود شلتوت) known as Shaykh Shaltūt (b. 1311/1893 – d. 1383/1963) was the Egyptian Sunni scholar and exegete of the Qur'an. He was a teacher and president of al-Azhar University. He was among the scholars defending proximity of Islamic schools and the founders of Dar al-Taqrib bayn al-Madhahib al-Islami (literally, the Assembly for Proximity of Islamic Schools). Some of his actions for proximity were his constant connection with Shi'a scholars including Ayatullah Burujirdi, establishing the course of comparative fiqh and issuing the famous fatwa of the permission of acting according to Shi'a and Zaydi schools. Shaykh Shaltut also cared about political issues of the Islamic world. His presence in the popular revolution of Egypt in 1919, objection to the event of June 5th, 1963 in Iran and objection to the actions of Iran's government in recognizing Israel in 1948 were among his political positions.

Life

Mahmud Shaltut was born in 1893 in one of the regions of Bahira in Egypt. After passing primary educational courses and memorizing the Qur'an, he entered the religious Alexandria University in 1906. After graduation at the age of 25, he began teaching in that university as a lecturer.[1] In 1919, at the same time with the revolution in Egypt, he supported people by writing articles and giving speeches.[2] In 1928, Shaykh Mustafa al-Maraghi, the president of al-Azhar University invited Shaykh Shaltut to teach in that university. After withdrawal of al-Maraghi from presidency of al-Azhar due to his disagreement with the court of Egypt, Shaltut too withdrew from teaching and began to work in religious courts as an attorney. After the return of Shaykh Mustafa al-Maraghi to al-Azhar University in 1937, Shaykh Shaltut was again invited to teach there and given different positions during his presence in that university. In October 1958, he was appointed by the president of Egypt as the president of al-Azhar University[3] and kept that position until his demise in 1963.[4]

Efforts for Proximity of Muslims

To bring proximity and unity among Islamic schools, Shaykh Shaltut performed some activities, the most important ones of which are:

  • Establishing the course of comparative fiqh: With the goal of studying and research about fiqh in Islamic schools, Shaykh Shaltut established the course of comparative fiqh in al-Azhar University.[6]
  • Issuing the fatwa of the permission of acting according to Shi'a schools: On Rabi' I 17, 1378/1958, in the presence of the representatives of different Islamic schools, Shaykh Shaltut issued a fatwa giving the permission of acting according to Shi'a schools.[8] In his answer to an Istifta' (an Islamic jurisprudential question) about the inclusion of Twelver Shi'a and Zaydis within Islamic schools, Shaykh Shaltut mentioned that Islam is not following a certain school and a Muslim can move from one school to another. In one part of this fatwa, Shaykh Shaltut said that, "Ja'fari School, known as Twelver Shi'a, is a school, whose following is permissible the same as Sunni schools. Muslims should acknowledge this truth and keep away from an untrue and false fanaticism they have for a certain school."[9]

Other actions of Shaykh Shaltut for proximity were the establishment of Risalat al-Islam journal (literally, the mission of Islam),[10] writing an introduction on Majma' al-bayan commentary and holding 'Ashura ceremony in al-Azhar University.[11]

Political Positions

Shaykh Shaltut cared about political events, especially in the world of Islam and took different political positions including the ones below:

  • Issuing declaration of the event of June 5th, 1963 in Iran: Regarding the event of June 5th, 1963 in Iran, Shaykh Shaltut objected to Imam Khomeini's arrest and killing some people and in a letter asked all Muslims to support mujahid scholars of Iran. In a part of this message, he mentioned that, "I warn Muslims of all countries and the people of Iran not to take this shameless abuse and insult easy and fight with all their might to save Iranian scholars from the claws of the executioners of the dictator of Iran." After this declaration, in a telegraph addressing Muhammad Rida Shah, Shaykh Shaltut officially asked him to avoid violation of "the sacred position of clergies".[12]
  • Condemning recognition of Israel: Shaykh Shaltut objected to Iran's government for recognizing Israel in 1948 and rejected any relation of Islamic countries with Israel. He wrote a letter to Ayatullah Burujirdi and Al-Sayyid Muhsin al-Hakim and condemned this action of Muhammad Rida Shah's government.[13]

Works

Shaykh Shaltut had some works in exegesis, fiqh and other sciences, the most important ones of which are:

  • Tafsir al-Qur'an al-Karim: This book was a compilation of some articles published in Risalat al-Islam journal during 14 years. It was published by Majma' al-Taqrib bayn al-Madhahib al-Islamiyya in 2000. In addition to mentioning the exegesis's traditional discussions, this commentary book took into consideration new needs and requirements of time and place and aimed to prepare the grounds for Islamic unity and proximity.[14] This commentary book is not considered for a certain school but for all Muslims.[15]
  • Muqaranat al-madhahib fi l-fiqh: This book was compiled in comparative fiqh. It collected the views of different schools about a specific problem in fiqh and offered an opinion based on time, place, and arguments.[16]

Some of his other works are al-Islam 'aqida wa l-shari'a, al-Fatawa, Min huda l-Qur'an, al-Mas'uliyyat al-madaniyya wa al-jina'iyya fi l-shari'at al-Islamiyya and Fiqh al-Qur'an wa l-Sunna.[17]

Notes

  1. Salhab, al-Shaykh Maḥmūd Shaltūt, p. 21.
  2. Salhab, al-Shaykh Maḥmūd Shaltūt, p. 21.
  3. Aḥmadī, Shaykh Maḥmūd Shaltūt, p. 19-30.
  4. Salhab, al-Shaykh Maḥmūd Shaltūt, p. 23.
  5. Khusrushāhī, Sarguzasht-i taqrīb, p. 33-37.
  6. Aḥmadī, Shaykh Maḥmūd Shaltūt, p. 85.
  7. Aḥmadī, Shaykh Maḥmūd Shaltūt, p. 75-78.
  8. Salhab, al-Shaykh Maḥmūd Shaltūt, p. 154.
  9. Bīāzār shīrāzī, Hambastigī-yi madhāhib-i Islāmī, p. 344.
  10. Salhab, al-Shaykh Maḥmūd Shaltūt, p. 93.
  11. Aḥmadī, Shaykh Maḥmūd Shaltūt, p. 30, 90.
  12. Aḥmadī, Shaykh Maḥmūd Shaltūt, p. 37-42.
  13. Aḥmadī, Shaykh Maḥmūd Shaltūt, p. 42-48.
  14. Karīmī, "Shakhṣīyyat-i ʿilmī-yi shaykh shaltūt", p. 37-38.
  15. Bīāzār shīrāzī, Shaykh Maḥmūd Shaltūt, p. 14.
  16. Aḥmadī, Shaykh Maḥmūd Shaltūt, p. 110.
  17. Salhab, al-Shaykh Maḥmūd Shaltūt, p. 57-71.

References

  • Aḥmadī, ʿAlī. Shaykh Maḥmūd Shaltūt Āyat-i Shujāʿat. Tehran: Majmaʿ Jahānī-yi Taqrīb-i Madhāhib, 1383 Sh.
  • Bīāzār shīrāzī, ʿAbd al-Karīm. Hambastigī-yi madhāhib-i Islāmī. Tehran: Sāzmān-i Farhang wa Irṭibāṭāt-i Islāmī, 1377 Sh.
  • Bīāzār shīrāzī, ʿAbd al-Karīm. Shaykh Maḥmūd Shaltūt ṭalāyadār-i taqrīb. Tehran: Majmaʿ Jahānī-yi Taqrīb-i Madhāhib, 1376 Sh.
  • Karīmī, Maḥmūd. 1387 Sh. "Shakhṣīyyat-i ʿilmī-yi shaykh shaltūt wa rawish-i tafsīrī-yi wiyy." Muṭāliʿāt-i Qurʾān wa Ḥadīth 2:37-52
  • Khusrushāhī, Sayyid Hādī. Sarguzasht-i taqrīb. Tehran: Majmaʿ Jahānī-yi Taqrīb-i Madhāhib, 1389 Sh.
  • Salhab, Ḥasan. Al-Shaykh Maḥmūd Shaltūt Qirāʾat fī tajrubat al-iṣlāḥ wa l-waḥda al-Islāmīyya. Beirut: [n.p], 2008.

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