He was an islamic scholar from Egypt and lived from 1865 to 1935. Rida was born near Tripoli in Al-Qalamoun, (now in Lebanon but then part of Ottoman Syria within the Ottoman Empire). His early education consisted of training in “traditional Islamic subjects”. In 1884–5 he was first exposed to al-`Urwa al-wuthqa, the journal of Jamal al-Din al-Afghani and Muhammad Abduh. In 1897 he left Syria for Cairo to collaborate with Abduh. The following year Rida launched al-Manar, a weekly and then monthly journal comprising Quranic commentary at which he worked until his death in 1935, gradually distancing himself from the teachings of Abduh and adopting a Salafism closer to Saudi Wahhabism.
Rashid Rida’s controversial beliefs
One of his controversial views was his support of Darwin’s theory of evolution. To justify Darwinism, Rida considered it permissible to “interpret certain stories of the Qur’an in an allegorical manner, as, for example, the story of Adam.”. He also believed that the origin of the human race from Adam is a history derived from the Hebrews and that Muslims are not obliged to believe in this account.
Other controversial beliefs held by Rida included:
– His view that usury (riba) may be permitted in certain cases 
– His idea that building statues is permissible in Islam as long as there is no danger of their being devoted to improper religious uses.
– His support of the British against the Ottomans 
– His view that “the minute living bodies which today have been made known by the microscope and are called microbes, may possibly be a species of Jinn“
His beef with MGA started in 1901
In MGA’s arabic only book, “I’jaz ul Masih”, he wrote about Rashid Rida as follows:
After Sheikh Mohammed Rashid Rida expressed his opinion on MGA’s book “إعجاز المسيح”, where he said that the non-arabic words and rhetoric are clear in it, MGA attacked Egypt, the Egyptians, their Arabism and their dialect.
بعد أن أبدى الشيخ محمد رشيد رضا رأيه بكتاب الميرزا “إعجاز المسيح”، حيث ذكر أنّ العُجمة فيه واضحة،
هاجم الميرزا مصرَ والمصريين وعروبتهم ولهجتهم وقال:
“The Messenger of Allah and the Lord of الورى did not call your land [meaning Egypt] the land of the Arabs, so do not slander to Allah and His Messenger, the slanderous has been disappointed”.
MGA also said this about Rashid Rida
MGA depicted Riḍā as a “jealous” and “arrogant” scholar who, like many others, not only rejected the message, but fueled the dislike of Indian Muslims against him and his followers (See Salafiyya, Ahmadiyya and European converts during the inter war period (2016) )
1912, Rashid Rida comes to British-India
In 1912, Rashid Rida seems to have traveled to Lucknow, British-India and held a debate with the local Ahmadi’s there (see Salafiyya, Ahmadiyya and European converts during the inter war period (2016)).
1923, Rashid Rida and the Lahori-Ahmadi’s
See “””Salafiyya, Ahmadiyya, and European Converts to Islam in the Interwar Period””
Author(s): Umar Ryad
“”””After MGA died and by 1923, in general, Riḍā agreed with Khwaja Kamal-ud-Dinʼs “friends” and followers in Egypt and considered him a “moderate” follower of the Ahmadiyya. In 1923, Lord Headley, Kamal-ud-Din, and Abdul Mohye, the Arab mufti of the Woking Mosque (the Arab press gave him the title of the Mufti of the English Lands), passed through Egypt on their way to hajj. The trip was covered in a favorable light in the Islamic press in Egypt, including al-Manār. In Egyptian newspapers, Kamal-ud-Din found a suitable opportunity to defend the Lahore branch
of the Ahmadiyya and their faith as being a trend close to “mainstream” Islam. Riḍā was not able to meet them in order to discuss his doubts regarding the Ahmadiyya with Kamal-ud-Din in person. At this point, Riḍā found that Kamal-ud-Din’s consideration of Ghulam Ahmad as merely a “reformer” was a good step by the Lahore branch towards the “true” Islam (Al-Manār 24, no. 8 (Aug. 1923), 583).
Meanwhile, despite Riḍā’s appreciation of the Lahore Ahmadiyya missionary work in Europe, he was critical of their translation of the Qurʾān into English. The Lahore Ahmadiyya tried to circulate Mawlana Muḥammad ʿAlīʼs English translation of the Qurʾān in Egypt and Syria, but their attempt was resisted by the religious institution of al-Azhar, Riḍā himself, and his friend
Shaykh Muṣṭafā Najā (1852–1932), the mufti of Beirut. In his fatwā, Riḍā saw it as a “deviant” translation that contradicts the principles of Islam. He stated that the translation attempts to destroy Islam from within by disseminating the Ahmadiyya’s “false” doctrines on revelation and by abrogating Qurʾānic rulings, such as jihad (al-Manār 25, no. 10 (March 1925), 794–796). In his view, Riḍā emphasized that Muḥammad ʿAlī intentionally distorted some verses related to the Messiah (al-masīḥ) in order to argue, based on these verses, that Ghulam Ahmad is the promised Messiah. Riḍā urged Muslims not to rely on this translation, or on any other, to understand the Qurʾān, but rather to act according to its rulings in a direct manner. However, Riḍā did believe that this translation and other Qurʾān translations could be used to invite non-Muslims to Islam, particularly those without knowledge of Arabic (al-Manār 29, no. 4 (July 1928), 268–271. See Mohamed Ali Mohamed Abou Sheishaa, “A
Study of the Fatwā by Rashid Riḍā on the Translation of the Qur’an,” Journal of the Society
for Qurʾānic Studies 1, no. 1 (Oct. 2001), available online: (http://www.islamicwritings.org/
Cf. Moch Nur Ichwan, “Differing Responses to an Ahmadi Translation and Exegesis: The
Holy Qurʾān in Egypt and Indonesia,” Archipel 62 (2001): 143–161).
Riḍā’s tone was inconsistent. With regard to the differences between the Lahore and Qadiyani branches in matters of creed (ʿaqīda) and their religious work in Europe, Riḍā argued that the Lahore movement agrees with other Muslims in general, except in specific issues related to the death of Jesus and the abrogation of certain verses of the Qurʾān. Despite their “great” sacrifices for Islam in India and Europe, Riḍā finally concluded that the Ahmadis of both
branches were followers of falsehood (bāṭil) (al-Manār 28, no. 7 (Sept. 1927), 543–550).
Nevertheless, it is strange that Riḍā utterly dismissed Kamal-ud-Din from the Ahmadiyya movement. After Khawaja Kamal-ud-Din’s death, Riḍā eulogized him for his service for Islam in Europe. A brief biography of Kamal-ud-Din was soon published in al-Manār by Khwaja Abdul Ghani, secretary of the managing committee of the Woking Muslim Mission and Literary Trust in Lahore, as a token of appreciation. Riḍā considered Kamal-ud-Din “the greatest missionary to Islam” in their age. Through his mission, he provided a great service to Islam by converting many high-class British, the most refined of them being Lord Headley. Although Kamal-ud-Din was known as a “moderate” follower of the Ahmadiyya, Riḍā was told by many friends who were familiar with his work in Europe, that his activities and writings did not actually reflect any inclinations to the Ahmadiyya convictions as such (al-Manār 33, no. 2 (April 1933), 138).”””””
Links and Related Essays
#ahmadiyya #ahmadiyyatrueislam #ahmadiapartheid #Ahmadiyyat #rabwah #qadian #meetthekhalifa #muslimsforpeace #ahmadiyyafactcheckblog #nolifewithoutkhalifa #AhmadiMosqueattack #AhmadiyyaPersecution #Mosqueattack #trueislam
- Encyclopedia of Islam and the Muslim World, Thompson Gale (2004), p.597
- Ana Belén Soage, “Rashid Rida’s Legacy”. The Muslim World 98/1 (Jan. 2008), pp. 1-23.