The Algerian Sheikh Abu Jarra Sultani recently announced the completion of his interpretation of the Holy Qur’an in 25 parts, entitled “The Glorious Qur’an Movement: In the Soul, Society and History.” The importance of the new intellectual effort, according to specialists, lies in the rich experience of its author for decades, between preaching, advocacy and university education His political, parliamentary and governmental work, in addition to his academic specialization in the Arabic language, his poetry, his previous writings, and his prolific writings in several intellectual and cultural fields, which made him one of the symbols of Islamic thought across the Arab world.
"Al-Jazeera Net" interviewed the Sheikh to find out the features and reasons for the demand for this effort, which took him 10 years, and what he can add compared to his previous works?
We also explored the author’s vision towards the legacy of the ancient and modern interpreters, and the prospects for open universal readings of the Holy Qur’an, in light of the scientific and social developments of the era, as well as his position on the claims of the Enlightenment in this regard. To the dialogue:
You recently published an experimental edition of the interpretation entitled "The Glorious Qur'an Movement: On the Soul, Society and History" (25 parts). What are the reasons for this huge effort?
In the name of God and after: Most of the interpretations are repetition in a language that many of my generation do not understand. One of the reasons for this effort was an attempt to read God’s words in a language that frees the mind from ready-made judgments and stereotypes by moving God’s words in the soul of man and in the society in which he lives by recalling the history that In it the best of a nation was brought out.
Accompanying the "History of Religiosity" and re-reading the Glorious Qur'an, a moving reading in time, place and man.
Do we know its methodology and its main features?
I did not adhere to a single method in understanding the surahs of the Noble Qur’an, because I believe that it is a book of guidance, a constitution for life, and a method of living, and each surah has its “soul”, movement, general atmosphere and field of action.
God’s word is a “unity of faith” divided into 114 chapters;
What was revealed before the Hijrah became known to the unseen and established the belief of the Last Day and linked man to his Creator (Glory be to His Majesty).
And what came down after that came to complement morality, establishing an ideal society, unlike a previous example.
Commitment to the arrangement of the surahs in the imam’s Qur’an revealed to me the “unity of the surah” within the faith unity of the entire Qur’an;
By identifying the reasons for its descent and knowing its characteristics.
It was a preaching interpretation in a moving style in the soul, society and history, and with a social depth whose aim is to search for the means to bring the nation of Islam back out with a renewed understanding that tries to transfer the words of God Almighty from history to the conscience of man by specifying the goal and not by restricting the will, and by clarifying the depth of the gap between the temporality of man and the vitality of the Qur’an, or between limited and absolute.
As a practitioner of politics at the popular and official levels, what has the management of public affairs and the entry into the wheels of the state benefited you in understanding the Qur’anic texts and bringing them down to reality locally and internationally?
There is a difference between a student of the Qur'an and a practitioner of public affairs, and a reader of books and a close observer of life's movement.
The one who did not practice the call, did not know the ruling, did not inform the corridors of politics, was not disturbed by the turbulence of events and did not mix with people.. he does not know the meaning of the glorious Qur’anic hadith about tyranny, tyranny, love for the king and immortality.
So I explained Surat Yusuf (peace be upon him) lessons in the mosque and wrote chapters about them that I published, but after I was challenged by politics and mixed with the "brothers of Yusuf" and listened to some of the decisions of Pharaoh and experienced the psychology of those who see the truth only what he utters by his tongue, I reinterpreted it in a manner contrary to what I understood From her verses before going through these experiences.
It is a ruling that applies to all Qur’anic stories and to many of the ready-made rulings that we have learned from the jurisprudence of the conqueror, the royal rulings, and the study of papers.
We understand from your words that the kinetic understanding of the Qur’anic text will be prominent in your work. What is the justification for that in the existing Islamic context?
This is the first purpose of this work;
The transmission of revelation from the Qur’an to the movement of life by following the paths at the closed doors of hearts and minds denying the call of God, who addresses man individually in his human capacity, inviting him to worship Him alone.
A thousand proofs are presented to him that his words are true, and that there is nothing after the truth but error.
In light of the abundance of ancient and modern interpretations of the Qur’anic revelation, what does your new interpretation add?
The previous meanings justify the emergence of a new interpretation, but rather necessitate its appearance;
An interpretation that benefits from what the human mind has reached from an invention that moves it in people’s reality by means of a living invocation of the Glorious Qur’an, convincing the mind that God’s words are life, movement, and balance.. and that he is required to reflect on it as he thinks about the universe around him.
Most of the modern exegetes are dependent on the previous ones from the predecessors, and most of the interpretations are cloning from those who preceded it under the pretext of leaning on the adage or fearing to implement the opinion in the word of God, or to depart from the platform of those who came from the pure fountain before it was disturbed by the buckets of the waders.
What we have before us are interpretations that did not depart from one of the five ways: either the way of summarizing and abbreviating the burden of lengthy readings for those who rush to understand and fry the fat readings.
Either a researcher of the scientific material or an auditor of the texts, sayings and effects that it contains.. and it is a scientific work that is indispensable to the nation.
As for a person with specialization who adapts the word of God to serve what he specializes in, his interpretation becomes a jurisprudence blog, an encyclopedia of science, a history book, a language book, a wonderful statement, and a pleasant formulation and aesthetics.
Or a disorganized person who does not see any scientific value for the predecessor, so he sets out from a vacuum to explain the words of God with his opinion, and his “interpretation” ends in a slow death with the emergence of an interpretation with a different opinion that is lacking.
Or a mujtahid mujtahid who adds to the foregoing the foresighted knowledge that he employs to understand the word of God, and adds with disciplined diligence what the predecessors neglected or what their time did not need.
I took a side from all of these, but I tended to lean on the adage as a basis for erecting a new building on old foundations from the logic that not everything old is original and not everything new is an outsider. And every generation has its gift of understanding and its share of God’s conquests of those who know.
The religion is one (creed) which is Islam and everything else is the desires of the soul and thoughts of a human being.
The universe is renewed every moment and its end to disintegration and demise, and only the face of God remains.
And that the movement of the world sow its harvest on the day of Al-Taghabun.
How do you view the legacy of the commentators in the light of your own Quranic experience?
Is it still valid, in your opinion, to interact with reality?
The effort of all the exegetes is an attempt to understand the words of God in the language of their time and the knowledge that came to the mind of each interpreter. It does not deviate from the human effort that each mujtahid adds a new one to those who preceded him. The districts are as much as they make themselves move.
The legacy of the interpreters is not religion and not the Qur’an, but rather it is a human effort taken from it and returned to the extent of humanity’s need for what the mind has previously achieved. Reason is God's gift and revelation is God's word.
Some "enlightenment" people want to establish a Qur'anic interpretation by breaking with the heritage, do you think this is possible?
This is absolutely not possible for 3 reasons that the “Enlightenment” do not like to hear or accept its authenticity. The first of them is that those who have lived through the revelation of revelation are better than others to understand it, because they know the reasons for its revelation and the time and place of the revelation of each verse or surah and where it was not revealed?
What are its major purposes?
The second is that the language in which the revelation was revealed is no longer used today. The glorious language of the Qur’an is clear Arabic, and the language of many enlighteners is a hybrid journalist, or a dry academic.
And the third: that the Qur’an is a book of guidance and a way of life, and guidance is certainty of the unseen, and the approach to life is coexistence, and not an “encyclopedia of knowledge.” Satan was well-versed in the jurisprudence of prostration and knew that after death there is a resurrection, a reckoning, a paradise and a fire, but he disobeyed the command of his Lord by thinking that fire is better than clay.
What the Enlightenment call a heritage is not all history, culture, arts and “folklore” and if there is something of this in it, most of it is an intellectual effort that in its time was a light on the path of guidance by which non-Muslims knew the greatness of this religion. From the foregoing, and to be sure that after a thousand years, “new Enlightenment” will appear who will break the foundations of their ancestors by breaking with them and confirming the Almighty’s saying, “Whenever a nation enters, it curses its sister.”
What is your scientific and intellectual position on the “linguistic root” approach of the advocates of enlightenment, which is based exclusively on Arabic dictionaries in interpreting the Qur’an and understanding its rulings?
Mastering the language in which the Glorious Qur’an was revealed is an unavoidable means of understanding its meanings, but the Qur’an was revealed in a broader language than the language, so it is not enough to follow the “linguistic root” to understand the metaphor, and it is a lot in the Book of God Almighty. If it is attributed to God (Glory be to Him), it is carried on the problem and metaphor, and not on the truth of what is indicated by the origin of the word, its origin, or its root.
The linguistic interpretation of God’s words is an explanation of His words, similar to its translation into a language other than Arabic, so it is said: These are the meanings of the Qur’an in French, English, Russian or Chinese...etc. It is not said: This is the translation of God’s words (may His Majesty the Almighty).
The words of the Qur’an are not lexical, morphological, phonetic, or syntactic roots that are included in the structures of words. Rather, they are life, movement, light, and healing for what is in the hearts.
And his understanding is broader than being limited to checking the origin of the word because it is an observation that embraces, sympathizes, and attracts to the point that it is impossible to replace a word with its synonym.
Symbols from the current of Islamic modernity call for the liberation of the Qur’anic text from the authority of jurists and fundamentalists in favor of thinkers, rationalist philosophers, and even history. Do you see this as justified?
The Qur’an is a sea of abundance, and among the exegetes it is swimming on its shore, diving in its depths, slipping on its page and drowning in its waves.
The text is free, and the jurist has no authority over it, nor is it a hostage to a fundamentalist, nor is it confined to a historian, linguist, or encyclopedic scholar.
And claiming to liberate him from the authority of these people is a call to occupy him from the advocates of his liberation, otherwise what is the reason to monopolize it from a stubborn sultan?
As for the dangers of this call, they are many, demonstrated by two dangers:
The danger of severing the nation’s connection with the tradition, which is the main entry point for understanding God’s words.
The danger of opening the door to hadiths in thought, understanding, and discourse.
And the Qur’an is free from exaggeration in religion in reading, understanding, interpretation and practice, which is what God (Glory be to Him) warned of the People of the Book.
In light of the developments of the era and its radical transformations, do you support the calls for open interpretations of the Holy Qur’an on universal values?
What are its anti-slip controls?
God (Glory be to Him) is the Lord of the worlds and not only the Lord of Muslims;
His discourse is for the two weights, and Islam is a universal call, and one of its realistic characteristics, its interpretation is only bearing human values such as freedom, immigration, human dignity, coexistence and citizenship... What is narrowed by blood brotherhood and faith, is expanded by “human brotherhood” unless it is corrupted by aggression that undermines its foundations or tyranny that destroys its structure.
As for the most important controls of what you call "open interpretation", they are three:
Proficiency in the language in which the revelation was revealed.
Review the opinions of the former and reflect on their efforts and correctness.
Avoiding exaggeration, contempt for opinion, and courtesy at the expense of truth.
What comes after this is human ijtihad governed by what the texts bear without exaggeration and does not escape.
This is what we tried to hum around by linking the utterance of revelation to the concept of the age to revive religion in the souls and minds with what the revival was done for the first time, in an easy language and a global tongue open to the age.Keywords: