Angelika Neuwirth: The scholar’s touch

Angelika Neuwirth: The scholar's touchThe Islamic scholar Angelika Neuwirth has had a greater impact on Koranic research in Germany than anyone else in recent decades. What she has to say is revolutionary – not only for Muslims, but also for Europe. Salafists, in particular, could learn a great deal from her.

By Navid Kermani

Some time ago, a group of devout Muslims announced that they intended to give every German a generally-intelligible edition of the Koran. To invite their fellow citizens to read the Koran, these devout Muslims planned to stand about in pedestrian precincts and go around ringing people′s doorbells. At the same time, they also intended to run a poster campaign bearing the slogan: ′Read!′ – Read!

In the generally-intelligible translation that was to be distributed in the pedestrian precincts, this constituted both the opening of Sura 96 and also, according to these devout believers, the very first word God said to the Prophet: iqra` bismi rabbika lladhi chalaq / chalaqa l-insana min ‘alaq – Read! in the name of your Lord, who created / Created man from a clot of blood′. […]

Why shouldn′t one read the Koran just as one reads the Bible?

Yes – why not?

Like so many debates that are whipped up into minor hysteria by the constant noise from all sides that constitutes the shaping of public opinion nowadays, the one about handing out Korans also died down quickly. The devout Muslims didn′t have enough money to print eighty million or fifty million or even one million copies of their Koran, nor were there enough volunteers all over the country to invite people to read it.

[…] But philology can give answers that are more exciting, more logical, even more politically relevant – that is, exemplary philology like that of Angelika Neuwirth. If one wished to reduce her research to a single denominator, a single statement, a fundamental theme, it would be this: the Koran itself is the reason why it shouldn′t be read like a Bible.

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Author: ismailimail

Independent, civil society media featuring Ismaili Muslim community, inter and intra faith endeavors, achievements and humanitarian works.

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