Persecuted for my Qur’an

The Egyptian philosopher and theologian Nasr Abu Zayd, participated at the event “The Dialogue Among Cultures” organized by Sant’Anna School of Advanced Studies and Reset-Dialogues on Civilizations the 2nd of March in Pisa, Italy. Abu Zayd proposes a humanistic interpretation of the Qur’an challenging the fundamentalist and dogmatic interpretation of the holy book. Due to his position, he had to abandon Egypt and move to The Netherlands where he teaches at the university of Utrecht. Abu Zayd’s thesis is that the Qur’an is not just a text, but mainly a plurality of discourses that need to be interpreted. The Qur’an, from his point of view, is a recitation and, as such, it was originally addressed to a multiplicity of recipients and is constituted by a plurality of voices. Moreover, it encompasses different types of discourses: dialogical, polemic, exclusive, inclusive and many others. He claims that overemphasizing the divine element brought to the preponderance of the literal interpretation in light of which many historical decisions were taken for divine injunctions. He defends the human dimension incorporated in the structure of the Qur’an and, consequently, a humanistic hermeneutics of it. Adopting this perspective will demonstrate to Muslims that issues such as modernity and democracy should be discussed independently from theological or juridical limit. At the moment, he is committed in setting up a net of people, intellectuals and not intellectuals, devoted to encourage autonomous thinking in the Muslim world.