By Ziauddin Sardar

ISBN-10: 0199836744

ISBN-13: 9780199836741

"I grew up examining the Qur'an on my mother's lap," writes Ziauddin Sardar. "It's an event I percentage with so much Muslim kids. And so it really is that our connection to the Qur'an is infused with institutions of the warmest and such a lot enduring of human bonds."

In Reading the Qur'an, Sardar--one of Europe's prime public intellectuals--laments that for a lot too many Muslims, the Qur'an he had realized in his mother's lap has develop into a stick used for making sure conformity and suppressing dissenting perspectives. certainly, a few locate within the Qur'an justification for misogyny, validation for hatred of others, an obsession with gown and senseless ritual, principles for operating glossy states. Arguing passionately yet quite opposed to those traits, Sardar speaks out for a extra open, much less doctrinaire method of examining the Qur'an. He contends that the Qur'an isn't mounted in stone all the time, yet a dynamic textual content which each iteration needs to come upon anew, and whose relevance and implications for our time now we have but to totally notice. The phrases of the Qur'an indicate stream: the spiritual lifestyles, it tells us, isn't approximately status nonetheless yet consistently striving to make our existence, our society, the complete international round us a greater position for everybody. Sardar explores the Qur'an from numerous views, from conventional exegesis to hermeneutics, serious concept, and cultural research, drawing clean and modern classes from the Sacred textual content. He additionally examines what the Qur'an says approximately such modern themes as strength and politics, rights of girls, suicide, family violence, intercourse, homosexuality, the veil, freedom of expression, and evolution.

Ziauddin Sardar opens a brand new window in this striking Sacred textual content, in a publication that might interact all religious Muslims and may curiosity a person desirous about the Qur'an and Islam this present day.

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Extra info for Reading the Qur'an: The Contemporary Relevance of the Sacred Text of Islam

Example text

Why is there repetition of words or phrases? Does the verse continue to have a legal implication, or has it been abrogated? Renowned commentators such as al Tabari (838–923), who produced one of the earliest commentaries, and Fakhruddin Razi (1149–1209), start from the first verse and continue all the way to the last, interrogating each verse with these and other similar questions. Their explanations rely largely on one part of the Qur’an to explain another part, and, quite extensively, on the traditions of the Prophet.

There were also a number of scribes specially commissioned to write down the revealed verses who worked with Muhammad to arrange these written texts in the proper order. According to Muslim historians, Prophet Muhammad himself arranged the verses, as they were revealed, in the final structure, often instructing his scribes to ‘place this verse (or these verses) in the sura where such-and-such is mentioned’. But the Prophet died before he could bind all the chapters of the Qur’an into a written master volume.

We thus find ourselves in a situation where the text of the Qur’an and its interpretation are collapsed into a single discourse; criticism of the ulama and their interpretation then becomes criticism of the text of the Qur’an itself, and any attempt at new interpretation automatically becomes a violation of the Sacred Book. Total domination—of the Qur’an, its interpretation and religious knowledge—is thus clearly and cleverly maintained. Authority in the traditional framework is often acquired through the strict practice of working backwards.

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Reading the Qur'an: The Contemporary Relevance of the Sacred Text of Islam by Ziauddin Sardar

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