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Egyptian religious scholar, jurist, and liberal reformer. As a student in Cairo, he came under the influence of Jamal al-Din al-Afghani. He was exiled for political radicalism (1882–88); he began his judicial career when he returned to Egypt. He rose from judge to mufti (legal counselor) in 1899. In his Treatise on the Oneness of God, he argued that Islam was superior to Christianity because it was more receptive to science and civilization. He liberalized Islamic law and administration, promoting considerations of equity, welfare, and common sense, even when this meant disregarding the literal texts of the Qur'an.
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