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15 February 2010

Reforming Islam

The ten modern Islamic intellectuals you should know about.

By Ian K Smith

To coincide with this week’s Islam special, we name the ten most influential modern Islamic intellectuals. These are the names that you should know, the scholars and activists who have changed our thinking about the religion and its place in society.

1. Jamal al-Din al-Afghani (d.1897)

The prime mover in the Islamic renaissance.

2. Muhammad Abduh (d.1905)

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The reformer.

3. Muhammad Rashid Rida (d.1935)

Defender of the faith and key advocate for the Caliphate.

4. Muhammad Iqbal (d.1938)

Pakistan’s national poet and the most eloquent proponent of Islamic modernism.

5. Hassan al-Banna (d.1949)

The schoolteacher and founder of the Muslim Brotherhood.

6. Sayyid Qutb (d.1966)

The Islamist.

7. Ali Shari’ati (d.1977)

The revolutionary.

8. Sayyid Abul-A’la Maududi (d.1979)

The Islamist politician and leader of the righteous vanguard.

9. Ayatollah Khomeini (d.1989)

Shia cleric and symbol of the Iranian Revolution.

10. Tariq Ramadan (b.1962)

The radical reformer.