InÂ Reading the Quran, Sardar--one of Europes leading public intellectuals--laments that for far too many Muslims, the Quran he had learned in his mothers lap has become a stick used for ensuring conformity and suppressing dissenting views. Indeed, some find in the Quran justification for misogyny, 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 Quran. He contends that the Quran is not fixed 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 Quran imply movement: the religious life, it tells us, is not about standing still but always striving to make our life, our society, the entire world around us a better place for everyone. Sardar explores the Quran 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 also examines what the Quran says about such contemporary topics as power and politics, rights of women, suicide, domestic violence, sex, homosexuality, the veil, freedom of expression, and evolution.Â
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 Quran and Islam today.
"This lucid, scholarly and exciting book could not be more timely; it takes the reader on a spiritual and intellectual journey that is essential for Muslim and non-Muslim alike and addresses some of the most pressing needs of our time." -Karen Armstrong, author ofÂ A History of GodÂ andÂ Muhammad: A Biography of the ProphetÂ
"If one could pick just one book to connect the Muslim past with its complex present and future potential,Â Reading the QuranÂ would be that book. To use a metaphor from the eleventh-century exemplar of rational mysticism, Imam Ghazzali, both Muslims and non-Muslims must sail into the endless ocean of its meanings, with Ziauddin Sardar the nimble captain on that voyage of hope and discovery." -Professor Bruce Lawrence, Duke UniversityÂ
About the Author(s)
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 UKs BBC and Channel 4. He recently wrote a year-long blog on the Quran forÂ The Guardian. Reading the QuranÂ is adapted and expanded from those blogs.