The publication of this essay in Egypt in 1925 took the contemporaries of Ali
Abdelraziq by storm. It was the focus of much attention and the seed of a heated
debate. At a time when the Muslim world was in great turmoil over the question
of the abolition of the caliphate by Mustapha Kamal Ataturk in Turkey Abdelraziq, a religious cleric trained at Al-Azhar University, argued in favour of secularism. The abolition of the caliphate had re-ignited the issue of Islam and politics, as traditional political systems were dissolving under pressure from European powers while most Muslim countries had lost their sovereignty.
Abdou Filali-Ansary is Director of the Aga Khan University Institute for the Study of Muslim Civilizations. Maryam Loutfi formally worked in the Ministry of Finance and Economy and is presently working in the area of Education.