White House renews virus briefings: Many more still will die    Emigration minister calls on Egyptian expats to participate in rehabilitating poorest villages under Decent Life initiative    In Photos: 5,000 stolen artefacts returned to Egypt    Oil slips as COVID-19 and demand concerns weigh ahead of supply report    Egypt FM, EU Special Representative discuss efforts to revive Israeli-Palestinian peace process    Egypt's stocks end higher, benchmark EGX 30 gains 0.45% on Wednesday    UNCTAD: Egypt remains Africa's top destination for FDI despite pandemic    Egypt contracts French RATP to manage Cairo's new electric train line    Mali army and French forces kill 100 extremists this month    Arsenal signs midfielder Odegaard on loan from Real Madrid    Egypt's TAQA Arabia IPO may be delayed to beyond Q1-2022    Tunisian press syndicate criticise police over night arrest    EU meeting with Astra on vaccine supplies canceled after firm pulls out: EU official    Asian Champions League holders Ulsan to face debutants in group phase    Tennis: Nadal, Serena support strict COVID-19 protocols in Australia    Egypt reports 643 new coronavirus cases, 55 deaths on Tuesday    Cabinet under fire    Rana Haggag's jazz concert at Room Art Space & Café is a must go    Scheherazade retold    Cabinet building    Egypt announces resumption of maritime navigation with Qatar    Egyptian FM to deliver statement on foreign policy before parliament Tuesday    Egypt confirms 669 new coronavirus cases, 53 deaths on Monday    Egypt launches website for vaccination registration    Egypt joins Netherlands, Malawi in supporting UK-led scheme to fight against climate change    New daily Coronavirus cases continued to fall over the weekend    BREAKING: Egypt resumes diplomatic relations with Qatar ending 4-year boycott    Egypt eyes gradual return for tourism after revenues fall to $4 bln in 2020    Seasoned Egyptian screenwriter Wahid Hamed dies at 76    Coronavirus strikes Egypt's youth team as 17 players, coach test positive    Nassef Sawiris plans to up his stake in owner of New York Knicks, Rangers    Cairo International Book Fair suspended for five months over coronavirus concerns    Egypt unveils largest archaeological discovery in 2020 with over 100 intact sarcophagi    Trump says won't blame Egypt for being ‘upset' over GERD dispute with Ethiopia    Egypt, Ethiopia, Sudan to resume Nile dam talks today    Global Finance: Egypt's Tarek Amer among the world's top 20 central bank governors    The Facebook Preacher's Search for Fame, and Egypt's Economy    Egypt calls on UNSC to address oil spill risks off Yemen coast    Egypt economically strong in face of COVID-19, reforms ongoing: International Cooperation Minister    Arafa Holding reports $144,000 COVID-19-related losses in April    Egypt's efforts in Libya to activate free will of Libyan people: Al-Sisi    Hyksos campaigns were internal takeover, not foreign invaders: study    COVID-19 affects Egypt sporting clubs    COVID-19 will soon turn to seasonal like swine flu: Presidential Health Advisor    ‘Egypt's Support' coalition convenes to discuss its Senate election list    Robbery attempt leads to discovery of Ptolemaic monuments in Qena    Flouting international guidance, Ethiopia unilaterally starts filling its Nile dam    Zaha speaks out after online racial abuse    







Thank you for reporting!
This image will be automatically disabled when it gets reported by several people.





COMMENTARY: Let the Quran define itself
Published in Daily News Egypt on 12 - 10 - 2008

KUWAIT CITY: In the Arab world, it is held as an unadulterated truth that the Quran is best read in its original classical Arabic. But is keeping it closed off to further translation supporting God's will or suppressing it?
Many believe that what differentiates the Quran from other holy books is that it is undiluted by translation, that once a word is translated it loses its original breadth and depth. But is that really the case? Can we not also make the argument that a word, once translated into 100 languages, expresses an even greater breadth and depth?
The Quran defines itself. Less perfectly, perhaps, in Swedish than in Arabic, but surely far more valuably to the Swedes. One cannot hold goodness hostage to perfection.
Life is all about the grey area. When I was growing up I wasn't sure where I belonged in the world of religion. The way religion was taught in the Arab world was always in absolutes. While I didn't know much when I was young, I knew that I could not live in a black and white, either-or world. This was made most clear through a sermon delivered by a young imam who was studying for his doctorate at the Harvard Divinity School.
Speaking to a group of Muslim students, Imam Talal Eid said, "If you ask me whether charging interest is haram (forbidden) in Islam, I would say 'yes' and I would quote chapter and verse from the Quran for you.
After a long pause, he went on to say, "But if I didn't pay for my car with an installment loan, I wouldn't be able to come here to talk to you about Islam.
With that simple, expressive example between the absolute and the relative, the imam carved out a place of tolerance and compromise for me. He made it safe for me to be the judge of my own actions, to set my own course, to walk to the beat of my own drum. He made it safe to make my own rules using the lessons I learned with the heart and mind that God gave me. No one could force me to walk away from my duty as a Muslim by insisting there was only one way to live my life and practice my faith.
Tolerance begins in the classroom. Tolerance begins when we are allowed to read any text from any source, in any translation, and offer our opinions. Tolerance is born when there are as many opinions as there are people and when the power of reason is what separates a good grade from a bad one. In an Arab education, the power of memory and repetition are too often rewarded, while the power of reason is reprimanded.
In our schools we get an "A if we can memories someone else's teachings but an "F if we dare to analyze it. Worse yet, we can be branded as heretics. I have heard many proudly say that one should value repetition over the use of one's mind.
But if God had wanted us to be parrots, he would have given us feathers and beaks instead of minds and free will.
We need to move on.
In Europe the Renaissance helped break the control of those who favored recitation over reason. Art played a huge part in that revolution. Suddenly, people were encouraged to have opinions about art and to discuss its implications. Meanwhile, art in our neck of the desert was, until recently, limited exclusively to the beautiful calligraphy of the Quran.
As beautiful as our art is, its meaning gave no room for openness of interpretation. How could one comment? I don't like the color purple on that verse? Maybe the writer should have used a larger font?
I once asked my 10-year-old son, Hamad, what he thought of Leonardo Da Vinci's painting, the Mona Lisa. He liked her smile but not the colours. "Too dark , he said.
I then asked him what he thought of a beautiful piece of Quranic calligraphy that honors a wall in our home. He looked at it and asked me what I meant. "Hamad, you just told me what you liked and didn't like about the Mona Lisa, I replied. "Why can't you tell me the same about this piece of art?
He looked at me confused and said, "It's the Quran. Of course it's beautiful. And indeed it is. But that is beside the point; someday he will know of his own intellect why it is beautiful.
Dr Naif Al-Mutawais the creator of The 99, the internationally acclaimed group of superheroes based on Islamic archetypes. For more information, please visit www.the99.org. This article is distributed by the Common Ground News Service (CGNews).


Clic here to read the story from its source.