Nasr Hamid Abu Zayd – Egypt

Linked with The International Center for Islam and Pluralism ICIP, with The Qur’anic Concept of Justice, with Modernity, Democracy Are Only for the Privileged. See also Eugen Drewermann, Germany.

TV-Sendung auf SF1 (siehe Sendezeiten), Der Islamwissenschaftler Nasr Hamid Abu Zayd im Gespräch mit Norbert Bischofberger – Die islamische Aufklärung geht nicht auf den westlichen Rationalismus zurück, sondern gründet in der Auslegung des Korans und muss immer wieder gegen Islamisten verteidigt werden. Davon ist der ägyptische Islamwissenschaftler Nasr Hamid Abu Zayd überzeugt. Seine offene Haltung hat ihm in Ägypten den Vorwurf der Ketzerei und Morddrohungen eingebracht. Nasr Hamid Abu Zayd lebt seit 1995 in den Niederlanden im Exil. Er gilt als einer der bedeutendsten zeitgenössischen islamischen Denker. In der “Sternstunde Philosophie” erzählt er aus seinem Leben mit dem Islam und zeigt auf entwaffnende Weise, wie menschenfreundlich der Islam ist. Literaturhinweis: Nasr Hamid Abu Zaid: “Ein Leben mit dem Islam. Erzählt von Navid Kermani”. Verlag Herder, Freiburg im Breisgau 2006.

Nasr Hamid Abu Zayd, in Arabic …, (born October 7, 1943) is an Egyptian Qur’anic thinker and one of the leading liberal theologists in Islam. He is famous for his project of a humanistic Qur’anic hermeneutics. (full text).

He says: ”Now, the question is: Is it really possible to recognize the emergence of a world culture through the international criticism of globalization? In other words, would international criticism be considered as a form of cultural protest against the “culture of capitalism” which is inherent to globalization? And finally, does international criticism reflect the existence of a common culture, one which is the grounds for nurturing democracy/human rights and not only the economic needs of globalization?” (full text).

Nasr Hamid Abu Zayd - Egypt zwei.jpg

Nasr Hamid Abu Zayd – Egypt

The Nasr Abu Zayd case: Zayd suffered major religious persecution for his views on the Qur’an as a religious, mythical literary work. In 1995, he was promoted to the rank of Professor, but Islamic controversies about his academic work led to a court decision of apostasy and the denial of the appointment. A hisba trial was started against him by fundamentalist Islamic scholars, he was declared a heretic (Murtadd) by an Egyptian court, was consequently declared divorced from his wife (since she is not allowed to be married to a non-Muslim) and, in effect, forced out of his homeland. (full long text).

The 12th-Grade Schoolbook on Islamic Thought is divided into three main parts. The first part deals with the different means of interpreting revelation (wahy), namely, traditional exegesis (tafsir) and interpretation (or “allegorical interpretation” – ta’wil). The section includes a text titled “The Dialectics of the Text and Reality” by Nasr Hamed Abu Zayd, a reformist Egyptian professor known for his historical and cultural approach to Koranic interpretation – views that led an Egyptian court to rule him an apostate in 1995 and to force him to separate from his wife. (full text, March 30, 2007).

He says also: First of all, I started my academic career provoking the rational trend of Classical Islamic thought as expressed in the Mu’tazila writing as well as in Ibn Rushd and others, but gradually I applied my critical methodology realizing that neither the Mu`tazila nor Ibn Rushd’s discourse will sufficiently be able to address our present issues. The question became how to follow up and develop their achievements to address our own problems in the 21st century. The same critical approach should be applied to the modern Islamic reformists, such as Afghani and Abdu. So, it would be more appropriate to consider me a critical continuation of the Islamic rationalism, both classical and modern, in the present context. To answer your question about my present project: it is about the possibility to develop a hermeneutics of the Qur’an based on its spicifities as text; I mean its nature, its history of canonization, its structure as well as its language and the way it was received, appreciated, understood and lastly interpreted. Each of these issues needs a lot of work digging through all the literature produced about the Qur’an. I have to mention here that such a project is not to be isolated from the modern philosophy of hermeneutics, neither from modern linguistics, semantics, semiotics as well as the study of culture from an anthropological perspective. There is a project now in the Wissenschaftskolleg called ‘Islamic and Jewish Hermeneutics’ within the project ‘Modernity and Islam’. That is why I am now here in Berlin for five months till the end of February next year”. (full text of interview).

Nasr Hamid Abu Zayd quoted on some blogs:

The secular Syrian thinker Sadiq Jalal al-Azm says: “People like Abu Zayd are more honest in asking the question: What can the Koran mean to us today, in light of modern scientific knowledge? But what annoys me is that they keep speaking in the name of the ‘real Islam.’ Historically speaking, Muslims are divided among hundreds of groups who all claim that they possess the ‘real’ or ‘true’ Islam. As a critical intellectual you can’t seriously claim that you possess the ‘real Islam’. All you can say is: This is the way it makes sense to me personally”. (full text, scroll down, March 27, 2007).

Read: heresy or hermeneutics, the case of nasr hamid abu zayd.

De hervormingsgezinde islam verkeert in een impasse, waardoor het niet mogelijk is de fundamentalisten adequaat van repliek te dienen. Dat is de overtuiging van de Egyptische geleerde Nasr Hamid Abu Zayd, die in ballingschap leeft in Nederland. De enige uitweg is de koran te beschouwen als een product van de geschiedenis. (full text in nederlandse).

In 1991 Dr Nasr Hamid Abu Zeid was a little known university lecturer at the University of Cairo. His case exploded in 1993 when, on applying for an overdue promotion to Professor, Cairo University Board of Promotions flatly refused. The Board had relied on a report compiled by Dr Abdel Sabour Shahin,(2) who claimed that Abu Zeid’s work was not intellectually worthy of a promotion to Professor, and accused it of being against Islam. The case made newspaper headlines when he was taken to court by a group of religious scholars, who called for him to be separated from his wife, on the basis of his writings which allegedly contained “blatant disbelief (of Islarn)”. Despite Abu Zeid’s consistent denials of this charge, he was judged by a higher court in Cairo in June 1995, a murtad (apostate), who therefore has to divorce his wife. As a man who is no longer Muslim, he was ordered either to divorce or repent and 1 return’ to Islam. The court’s right to judge on a persons faith is apparently unquestionable. What is ‘graciously’ allowed is the right to appeal this decision. While the court cases drag on interminable, what is more pertinent is the impact this case has had on public opinion – and specifically on the ‘woman issue’ in Egypt. (full long text).

Nasr Hamid Abu Zaid (* 10. Juli 1943 in Quhafa bei Tanta, Ägypten), arabisch … ist ein ägyptischer Literaturwissenschaftler und einer der führenden liberalen Theologen des Islam. (viel Info auf dem deutschen wikipedia).

Nasr (Hamid) Abu Zayd (Tanta, Egypte, 7 oktober 1943) Arabisch … is een Egyptische professor in de islam die woont en werkt in Nederland. (Nederlandse wikipedia).

His huge publication work: on wikipedia (scoll down); on amazon; go to Google books and put ‘Nasr Hamid Abu Zayd’.

Koran, Hadith & Sharia;

Encyclopaedia Britannica online;

Dialogue on Civilizations;

on Britannica;

Feminism ala Nasr Hamid Abu Zayd, by Eva Fachrunnisa Amrullah;

on Free Encyclopaedia BETA.

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