This article contributes to an emerging scholarly debate over the support displayed by key Azhari ʿulamaʾ for the 3 July 2013 coup in Egypt and the subsequent massacres of anticoup protesters. I focus on the Islamic legal justifications articulated by the former grand mufti of Egypt ʿAli Jumʿa, which academics have contextualized primarily in relation to quietist precedents from late medieval Islamic political thought or his Sufi background. By contrast, I consider Jumʿa's justifications as representative of a nationalist discourse that has its historical origins in the protonationalism of Rifaʿa al-Tahtawi (d. 1873). My argument has wider implications for our conceptualization of the contemporary Islamic tradition. If, as scholars have argued, the Islamic tradition is a framework for inquiry rather than a set of doctrines, then in the 19th century a concern for the nation and its future became a key part of that framework. I contend that these additions came to redefine the worldview and politics of the ʿulamaʾ in terms of national progress and its horizon of expectations.
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