Vol.12, No.1 | [Article] Tajdīd (Renewal) in Sufism An Examination of Khālid al-Baghdādī’s Thoughts and Practices from the Perspective of Social Capital Theory



Renewal (tajdīd) has been one of the most controversial issues in the Islamic world. Throughout Islamic history, and especially since the Ottoman Empire started to lose ground to the West, there has been much debate about matters that need changing and how change should happen.
One group that was both the subject and the agent of the change was the Sufis. One such influential Sufi mujaddid (innovator) was Khālid al-Baghdādī (d.1827). His innovative approaches have allowed Sufism to transform into activism, serving as a model for Sufis as well as for non-Sufi movements across all sectors of life.
This study, which explores some conceptual similarities between Khālid al-Baghdādī’s innovative practices and social capital, analyzes his thoughts, and offers a conceptual framework in order to explain the complexity of the activities of the organizations he influenced, and to describe the process of producing social activism out of Sufism and the Sufi orders (ṭarīqa).
It is hoped this study, by being the first attempt to look at Sufism from the perspective of social capital theory will serve as a starting point for further research.

Sufism, tajdīd (renewal), mujaddid (innovator), Khālid al-Baghdādī, social capital theory