Sheikh Prof.Dr.Mohammad Said Ramadhan al-Bouti
Sheikh al Bouti is the leading Islamic scholar in Syria. He is the head of the Theology Department in the faculty of Islamic Law at Damascus University. Al Bouti preaches very often and is highly respected by many of the leading scholars in the Muslim world. In the past year, his influence has grown significantly in the Muslim world and particularly with young Muslims.
Al Bouti is the scholar’s scholar, and the bulk of his influence comes from his position of respect and authority among the leading thinkers in Islam today. Bouti has written close to 50 books that have garnered considerable critical acclaim.
Passionate Advocate of Mazhabs
Al Bouti is a keen supporter of madhabs (traditional Islamic schools of law), and is one of the leading critics of the significant movement to abandon these schools. He is particularly influential because this movement has led to groups in which extremist behavior is condoned as Islamic. Al Bouti has referred to the abandonment of madhabs as the ‘most dangerous bid’a [innovation] threatening the Islamic shari‘a.’ His view is critical because he says it gives individuals without knowledge the ability to decide what is and is not Islamic.
A Critic of Salafism
Al Bouti has considerable sway over the theological and legal merits of Salafism versus traditional Islam. He has held important debates with leading Salafi scholars and has performed well, highlighting to his audience the importance of knowledge in Islam. In one of his most noteworthy books on this issue - Jihad in Islam: How to Understand and Practice it - Al Bouti shows how a poor understanding of the term jihad has led to its abuse by both Muslims and non-Muslims. His view is that those who are unaware of the basis of fiqh have manipulated the idea of jihad for their own benefit, underlining that jihad must be conducted, according to the basis of Islamic fiqh.
Shiekh al Bouti has made an impact on the Muslim world, in particular through his scholarly outreach. He writes for news publications and journals. He has also developed a reputation for his ability to address and respond to queries regarding Islamic jurisprudence, and personal issues from visitors to his comprehensive website, bouti.net.