Oneworld Publications has just released a new book, Communities of the Qur’an: Dialogue, Debate and Diversity in the 21st Century, edited by IQSA’s own Executive Director, Emran al-Badawi (Associate Professor and Director of the Middle Eastern Studies Program at the University of Houston), and Paula Sanders (Professor of History and Director of the Boniuk Institute for Religious Tolerance at Rice University).
On numerous occasions throughout history, believers from different schools and denominations, and at different times and places, have agreed to disagree. The Qur’anic interpreters, jurists and theologians of medieval Baghdad, Cairo and Cordoba coexisted peacefully in spite of their diverging beliefs. Seeking to revive this ‘ethics of disagreement’ of Classical Islam, this volume explores the different relationships societies around the world have with the Qur’an and how our understanding of the text can be shaped by studying the interpretations of others. From LGBT groups to urban African American communities, this book aims to represent the true diversity of communities of the Qur’an in the twenty-first century, and the dialogue and debate that can flow among them.
From the Foreword by Reza Aslan:
“From the very beginning there were deep disagreements among Muslims over how to read and interpret the sacred text, to what degree it has been affected by the cultural norms of the society in which it was revealed, and whether historical context and independent reasoning should have a role in its interpretation. It’s just that the unique properties of the Qur’an, and the unique role it has had in the Muslim community, has, for the most part, excluded a large swath of Muslim voices from this fifteen-century debate.
This collection aims to remedy that situation by bringing together a diverse array of textual scholars who are engaging the Qur’an from perspectives that have been sorely lacking in Islamic scholarship for far too long. The inclusion of, for example, African-American, female, LGBTQ, Ahmadi, and even Baha’i voices to the centuries-long conversation about the meaning of the Qur’an is vital to ensuring the viability of this extraordinary text in the twenty-first century. Most importantly, by prioritizing engagement and disagreement, rather than the pretense of forced unity, this book is symbolic of the increasingly diverse Muslim community itself.”
Emran El-Badawi is Associate Professor and Director of the Middle Eastern Studies Program at the University of Houston.
Paula Sanders is Professor of History and Director of the Boniuk Institute for Religious Tolerance at Rice University in Houston, Texas.
Text and image accessed and reproduced with kind permission of Emran El-Badawi.
© International Qur’anic Studies Association, 2019. All rights reserved.