04 July 2016

Rewriting the Qur'an: Kader Abdolah and his controversial interpretation of Islam's holy book

.... As time passes, Muhammad the prophet becomes a politician, a warlord, a conqueror. Abdolah does not deny Muhammad’s violence, instead arguing that such violence is inherent to political leadership. “[Muhammad] has done the same thing many leaders do. The same as Bush, […] Obama, […] Churchill,” he told the Guardian. “Even if they are good people, they have [started] big, big wars and they have used violence.”

The controversies of Abdolah’s project cannot be denied and have not been: in many countries, publishers have published The Messenger but rejected Abdolah’s Qur’an, for fear of a backlash. But considering the increase of Islamophobia in the West, there has arguably never been a more important time for moderate, analytical Islamic voices to be heard. Abdolah says he is “not afraid” of reprisals by extremists: “If those crazy people want to kill me, let them kill me. It is an honour to be killed for literature.”

Abdolah believes that the Qur’an, like other holy books, is not inherently violent or dangerous. “It is a dangerous book if you use it as [a set of] rules,” Abdolah says, but as literature, it is “beautiful.” [The Guardian] Read more