Al-Afghani, Jamal al-Din جمال الدين الافغاني (1838–97) By Luce, Mark D.
Jamal al-Din Al-Afghani (1838–1897) is considered the “father of Islamic Modernism.” As a philosopher, writer, orator, and journalist, Al-Afghani affected Islamic thought from the Indian subcontinent, to Iran and the Middle East. He advocated for national liberation and was the founder of the revivalist movement, which later gave rise to the Muslim Brotherhood.
Of Iranian origin, Al-Afghani traveled widely, spending time and working in Afghanistan, India, Iraq, Egypt, and Istanbul. His preaching and writings called for a Muslim revival, an abandonment of fatalism, and the application of intellect to work for freedom. He urged students to use journalism as a tool in the fight: to influence minds. He denounced Muslim rulers who opposed reform. Al-Afghani envisioned Muslims being governed in one state, free from Western imperialism, and reviving the past glories of Islam. He pioneered an Islamic awakening for Muslims through his writings, teachings, speeches, and political organizations, which sparked anti-imperialist, reformist, and pan-Islamic political activities.