First in line of our Muslim reformers is Jamal al-Din al-Afghani. Afghani lived from 1838 to 1897 and was actually a Shi'i of Persian origin. he took the name Afghani in order to appear to Egyptians and to others as a Sunni. And Afghani operated in the main from Egypt. Afghani was a very important major catalyst for Islamic reform and change. Afghani was a great supporter of modern science and as one who portrayed Islam and presented Islam as a religion of progress and change. Correctly understood, Afghani argued, modernity posed no threat to Islam if it was only correctly interpreted and understood. This required the reopening of the gates of ijtihad. Ijtihad in Arabic, independent interpretation of Islamic law and jurisprudence. Reopening the gates of ijtihad meant allowing for more liberal interpretation of Islamic religion. The gates of ijtihad in the Sunni tradition had been closed in the tenth century. Leading Afghani to criticize the stagnation and the imitation of the past that was so customary. Afghani argued, Islam was a religion of reason and action. Muslims could claim now to reappropriate the sources of Western power, such as reason, science and technology. Because as he argued they were, in fact, part of the original Islamic heritage. In earlier times, indeed it was the contribution of Islamic civilization to philosophy, medicine, science and mathematics that had been so important for the evolution of these fields of modern knowledge. They were part of the Muslims' own glorious past, Afghani argued. And therefore they could simply reclaim what was originally theirs and handed over by them to the West. For Afghani, there is what he called a Pan-Islamic identity or solution. Pan-Islam was a form of national solidarity that united Muslim believers in their competition with the West. But speaking of pan-Islam as a form of national solidarity is a deviation from the traditional view of what being a Muslim is. Afghani was now arguing that being a Muslim is a form of national solidarity. Not just their belief in divine revelation and living in accordance with the Sharia. The traditional view was not about Islam as the basis for the unity of Muslims against the European threat. In Afghani's thinking, Islam had become a kind of nationalist ideology, of active solidarity. Albert Hourani, the British historian, writes :the following of Afghani "In Afghani's mind, Islam meant activity. "The true attitude of the Muslim," Afghani argued, "is not one of passive resignation to whatever might come as coming directly from God. It is one of responsible ,activity in doing the will of God which of course is something very different. Man's decisions were his own,, according to Hourani. But God had given man through reason and the revelation of the prophets, the indication of how these decisions should be made. Believing in predestination meant that God will be with man if he acted rightly. This belief encourages activism and initiative and not passivity. And this is what Afghani was trying to convey to the Islamic world to which he belonged. This was true not only for the activities geared towards attaining happiness in the next world as the religious ,people would believe but also for happiness and success in this world, which was really what Afghani was all about. The laws of Islam, Afghani argued, were also the laws of human nature. Therefore, if man obeys the teaching of Islam, he follows the rules of nature. In this way, he attains happiness and success in this world, and what is true for the individual, is also true for the society as a whole, and when societies follow the rules of Islam, they get stronger, and when they disobey, they get weaker. Islam, Afghani argued, requires solidarity and mutual responsibility. And these form the basis of the strength of nations. The importance of Afghani was not that he was a secular nationalist himself, which he wasn't really. His importance derived from the fact that he laid the ideological foundations for the penetration of secular nationalist ideas. The problem however of Afghani's :line of argument was this If there is an identity between the laws of Islam and the laws of nature, why not adopt the laws of nature in their entirety? Why not just become a secularist, and abandon Islam altogether? And Afghani and people like him opened the floodgates to questions just like that. Perhaps Afghani's most enthusiastic and important disciple was the Egyptian Muhammad Abduh, who lived from 1849 to 1905. Abduh's emphasis was constantly on human reason and the contention that there was no inherent ,conflict between religion and reason between religion and modern science. The adoption of the sources ,of Western power rationalism, science and technology, were all possible without really being in conflict with Islam, so he argued. Abduh's Islamic reformism meant the penetration of the belief in the rational activity of man. This was a dramatic shift in attitude, because it meant the legitimization of change and innovation, not only in military practices or in administration, but the legitimization of change and innovation in the awfully sensitive sphere of ideas. This emphasis on the compatibility of Islam and modernity was not an attempt to curb the process of modernization, but an attempt to control it. To have a process of modernization that would be placed within an Islamic framework that would tolerate Westernization and modernization without disrupting, without dissolving the Islamic identity of the community. For those who received Western style education in the new schools, Abduh's perception of Islam enabled them to adopt Western secular ideas without any sense of betraying their past or their collective identity. The renewal of Islam based on selective integration of modern ideas, rather than a wholesale unrestricted Western secular modernization was what Afghani and Abduh wanted to achieve. The controlled process of Westernization and modernization without losing the Islamic identity and values of the society. Abduh himself was not an Arab nationalist, but the ideas that he raised provided the foundations for Arab nationalism. Because Abduh, in his desire for reform, tended to emphasize both human wisdom and human reason, as well as the importance of returning to the first original Arabic Islamic ideal. That Islam of the Arabs, in the days of the Prophet, and shortly thereafter, was the ideal form of Islam, to which modern Muslims should aspire. This emphasis on the Arab nature of early Islam was later on a contribution as we will see to the emergence of Arab nationalism.