Reading the Quran: The Contemporary Relevance of the Sacred Text of Islam

Hardcover | August 4, 2011

byZiauddin Sardar

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"I grew up reading the Qur'an on my mother's lap," writes Ziauddin Sardar. "It's an experience I share with most Muslim children. And so it is that our connection to the Qur'an is infused with associations of the warmest and most enduring of human bonds." In Reading the Qur'an, Sardar - one of Europe's leading public intellectuals - laments that for far too many Muslims, the Qur'an he had learned in his mother's lap has become a stick used for ensuring conformity and suppressing dissenting views. Indeed, some find in the Qur'an justification formisogyny, validation for hatred of others, an obsession with dress and mindless ritual, rules for running modern states. Arguing passionately but reasonably against these trends, Sardar speaks out for a more open, less doctrinaire approach to reading the Qur'an. He contends that the Qur'an is notfixed in stone for all time, but a dynamic text which every generation must encounter anew, and whose relevance and implications for our time we have yet to fully discover. The words of the Qur'an imply movement: the religious life, it tells us, is not about standing still but always striving tomake our life, our society, the entire world around us a better place for everyone. Sardar explores the Qur'an from a variety of perspectives, from traditional exegesis to hermeneutics, critical theory, and cultural analysis, drawing fresh and contemporary lessons from the Sacred Text. He alsoexamines what the Qur'an says about such contemporary topics as power and politics, rights of women, suicide, domestic violence, sex, homosexuality, the veil, freedom of expression, and evolution. Ziauddin Sardar opens a new window on this remarkable Sacred Text, in a book that will engage all devout Muslims and will interest anyone curious about the Qur'an and Islam today.

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"I grew up reading the Qur'an on my mother's lap," writes Ziauddin Sardar. "It's an experience I share with most Muslim children. And so it is that our connection to the Qur'an is infused with associations of the warmest and most enduring of human bonds." In Reading the Qur'an, Sardar - one of Europe's leading public intellectuals - la...

Ziauddin Sardar, a writer, broadcaster and cultural critic, is visiting professor at City University, London. He has published more than 45 books, and made a number of documentaries for UK's BBC and Channel 4. He recently wrote a year-long blog on the Qur'an for The Guardian. Reading the Qur'an is adapted and expanded from those blogs...

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Format:HardcoverDimensions:424 pages, 9.25 × 6.12 × 0.98 inPublished:August 4, 2011Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199836744

ISBN - 13:9780199836741

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Table of Contents

PrefaceProloguePart One: Overview1. The Qur'an and Me2. Style and Structure3. Approach and Interpretations4. Questions of Authority5. The Limits of TranslationsPart Two: By Way of Tradition6. Introduction7. Al-Fatiha: Attributes of God8. Al-FAtiha: 'The Straight Path'9. Al-Baqara: The Qur'an and Doubt10. Al-Baqara: 'The Hypocrites'11. Al-Baqara: Paradise12. Al-Baqara: Fall and Evil13. Al-Baqara: 'Children of Israel'14. Al-Baqara: A 'Middle Community'15. Al-Baqara: Virtuous People16. Al-Baqara: Law of Equity17. Al-Baqara: Fasting18. Al-Baqara: War and Peace19. Al-Baqara: Hajj20. Al-Baqara: Apostasy and Migration21. Al-Baqara: Marriage and Divorce22. Al-Baqara: Qualities of Leadership23. Al-Baqara: Majesty of God and Freedom of Religion24. Al-Baqara: Arguing with God25. Al-Baqara: Charity and Usury26. Al-Baqara: Witness27. Al-Baqara: PrayerPart Three: Themes and Concepts28. Introduction29. Prophets and Revelation30. Abrogation and Change31. Time and History32. Truth and Plurality33. Humanity and Diversity34. Individual and Community35. Reason and Knowledge36. Crime and Punishment37. Rights and Duties38. Nature and Environment39. Ethics and Morality40. Reading and WritingPart Four: Contemporary Topics41. Introduction42. The Shariah43. Power and Politics44. Polygamy and Domestic Violence45. Sex and Society46. Homosexuality47. The Veil48. Freedom of Expression49. Suicide (Assisted or Otherwise)50. Science and Technology51. Evolution52. Art, Music and ImaginationEpilogueNotes and ReferencesBibliographyIndex