The Answer to a Question
I do not have the time to weigh up the ideas of Mustafa Sabri1 and those of Musa Bekûf.2 I shall only say this much, that the one went to one extreme and the other, to the other extreme. Mustafa Sabri was right relatively to Musa Bekuf, but it is not right to denigrate someone like Muhyiddin who was a miracle of the Islamic sciences.
Yes, Muhyiddin was himself rightly-guided and acceptable, but should not be the guide and instructor with all his works. Since he very often proceeded in the realities without balance, he opposed the rules of the Sunnis and some of the things he said apparently denote misguidance. However, he himself was free of misguidance. A word may sometimes appear to be unbelief, but the one who speaks it is not an unbeliever. Mustafa Sabri did not take these points into consideration; he was extreme concerning certain points of Sunni law, due to bigotry.
As for Musa Bekûf, he was excessively in favour of renewal; because of this and the concessions he made to modernity in respect of his ideas, he was very much in error. He corrupted some of the truths of Islam with his false interpretations. He went far to excess by maintaining that someone rejected like Abu’l-A‘la al-Ma‘arrê was superior to authoritative scholars, and favouring disproportionately matters stated by Muhyiddin which oppose the Sunnis because they suited his own ideas.
Muhyiddin said: “Other people who are not one of us and do not know our station should not read our books, for it may be damaging for them.” Yes, it is harmful to read Muhyiddin’s books at the present time, especially the matters related to the Unity of Existence.
S a i d N u r s i
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Mustafa Sabri (1869-1954). A leading religious scholar and public figure in the last decades of the Ottoman Empire, he was publisher of the journal Beyanu’l-Hak, and Shaykh al-Islam 1919-1920. He left Turkey in 1922 and remained in exile in Egypt till his death.
Mûsa Jarullah Bigi(yef) was a native of Turkestan and a reformist Islamic scholar and prominent figure. He was sent into exile by the Russians in 1904 together with Abdurrashid Ibrahim, and was the author of many works.