Hassan Hanafi- The Philosopher

CHAPTER 13. Hassan Hanafi on Salafism and Secularism
Yudian Wahyudi

Subject Religion » Islam
Period 1000 – 1999 » 1900-1999
Key-Topics secularism


This chapter deals with the efforts of the Egyptian philosopher Hassan Hanafi (b. 1935) to bridge the gap between Salafism and secularism, the two principal conflicting ideologies in his homeland, from the perspective of his reform project known as “Heritage and Reform” or “Islamic Left.” His first step involves deconstructing the allegedly legitimate Islamic tradition to the effect that the Muslim community would split into 73 groups, all of whom would ultimately find themselves in Hell, with one exception, namely, the Ahl al-Sunnah (People of the Prophet’s Tradition). The hadith of “the safe group” is, to begin with, weak by virtue of the fact that it contradicts a sound hadith stating that the Muslim community will not split over dalalah (going astray) and another hadith stating that disagreement in the community is a rahmah (blessing). The hadith of “the safe group,” he insists, was in fact fabricated to condemn the opposition forces of the classical Islamic era (Kharijism, Shi’ism, and Mu’tazilism) while at the same time affirming the claims of the pro-establishment group (Ash’arism). The hadith of “the safe group” is in fact spurious, but many have since used it to promote their interests. It was in reaction to this view that Hanafi decided to try reconciling the various rival groups of his own day, in particular: (i) Al-Ikhwan al-Muslimun (Muslim Brotherhood)

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