Chronicle of the Middle East and North Africa

Did Muslims Read the Quran?

Muslims Read the Quran
Afghan boys read the Quran at the Hazrat-e-Bilal madrassa (religious school), in Kabul, 12 September 2007, ahead of the start of the holy month of Ramadan. SHAH MARAI/ AFP.

Hakim Marzouki

“Did We Read the Quran?” is the Arabic version of the latest publication of the controversial Tunisian thinker Yusuf Al-Siddiq. This book bore the signature of the academic translator Munther Sassi.

Yusuf Al-Siddiq has been studying and translating the Quran into French for decades. He has also taught it to French speakers at the most prestigious universities in France. He did that by following the latest, most profound, and innovative curriculum.

He digested many cultures from east to west. He flew solo in the sky of thought, not belonging to any flock. However, this only made him more modest and earnest, more loving for the simple people, cherishing life as an epistemological and existential value.

“Did We Read the Quran?” is a book that shocks and slaps those who deceive people in the name of religion. It exposes the ignorant, the fanatic, the superficial, and the takfiris. Most of all, the book takes you on a confusing, arduous, and cognitive adventure with unpredictable consequences. Although the journey is breathtaking, it is an enjoyable one as it exudes brilliance with flowing ideas. It knocks on doors that we thought non-existent. Moreover, it opens paths far from the previously paved traditional ways of reading the Quran.

Do not be surprised if Yusuf Al-Siddiq told you that his explanation, teaching, and private reading of Surat Al-Nur at the Sorbonne University in Paris took three whole years.

In his book, the author reveals the truth of the indications and judgments in many verses with definite proof and irrefutable arguments. He does that with the help of a doctrinal culture that engages with the most complex theories of modern and ancient philosophy, thereby exposing the falsehood of the claimants of dark fatwas.

Interestingly, Yusuf Al-Siddiq wrote his book in a graceful French language. But at the same time, his writing was accurate, cautious and honest when it comes to the Quranic terms. Such a thing pushes readers to ask why the writer did not translate his book to Arabic, as he is proficient with the language to the point of astonishment.

The answer comes just as odd: the French version had the title “We never read the Quran,” a phrase that might be shocking and provocative to the prevailing Arab mentality. In addition, Al-Sadiq respects specialization, as the carpenter is not like the blacksmith, as he put it.

Yusuf Al-Siddiq is always accurate and professional in everything. On top of that, Al-Siddiq addresses Western thought in its backyard. At the same time, he alerts the people of his culture against the danger of slipping towards the unfair and blind readings of the Quran that motivate sedition. Nowadays, the moods of the ignorant and faqihs of darkness determine the interpretations of the Quran.

The author wanted to say that Muslims solemnly recited the Quran in prayers but did not read it in the deep sense of the word. If they did that, they would have tended towards the language of tolerance and the rejection of violence. All extremists want to subjugate Quran for the benefit of their goals to sanctify their hostile tendencies. To sum it up, a criminal can use any book to justify criminality, even if it is the teachings of Buddha, the commandments of Confucius, or the commandments of the Bible.


The opinions expressed in this publication are those of our bloggers. They do not purport to reflect the opinions or views of Fanack or its Board of Editors.

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