By Nicola MissagliaFrom a scientific and philosophical perspective, Al-Jabri believes that the Arab-Islamic school of thought’s current problems in entertaining a harmonious and balanced relationship with the demands of the contemporary world depend on the progressive loss of a rational and scientific dimension that had instead inspired philosophers such as Averroes, Ibn Hazm and Avempace and with which the Islamic religion is, in his opinion, intimately permeated.
Philosophy and Religion
Written on the occasion of his birthday (b. 27 December, 1936, in Figuig, eastern Morocco, d. 3 May 2010), this piece is an homage to a towering figure in modern Arab-Islamic thought, a figure that any serious scholar in the field cannot do without: Mohammed Abed Al Jabri. One has either to build on the heritage he has left, or overcome it with a more challenging one. In both cases, one cannot escape reading him. In the age of Arab turmoils, al Jabri must be in the library of every Arab house for one simple reason: he genuinely managed to classify Arab-Islamic thought, a thing that is still missing from Arab socio-political life.
By Giancarlo BosettiBorn in Sudan in 1909, Mahmoud Mohammed Taha, was sentenced to death having been charged with apostasy by the Nimeiri regime in 1985 because of his ideas.
By Nicola MissagliaAs for the Sudanese philosopher Abdullahi al-Na’im, issues linked to democracy and human rights in Islam are central in the ideas expressed by Ahmad Moussalli, a professor of Political Science and Islamic Studies at the American University in Beirut.
Nina zu Fürstenberg and Giancarlo BosettiSoheib Bencheikh was born in Saudi Arabia to Algerian parents in 1961 and was educated in Algeria, at Cairo’s Al-Azhar University and at the Sorbonne. He has been the mufti of the mosque in Marseille and a consultant on Islamic law as well as a judge.
"Are we perhaps condemned to remain prisoners of the logic of war that cannot perceive relations with others if not in terms that bring to mind hostility, such as peril, counter-position, conflict, threat etc.? In Western countries voices are raised almost everywhere against this way of seeing future relations between the West and other countries. People are starting to question the real meaning of this unfortunate dichotomy, as well as the reality it proposes to conceal. What does the East/West duality really mean through the history of European expansion, from Rome to the empires of modern colonialism? What does its current North/South replacement mean?" Part of this interview with Mohammed Abed Al Jabri was published in Fall 2006 by our Italian magazine Reset. On the occasion of the commemoration of the philosopher's fifth anniversary (d.2010), we are pleased to publish the full interview for the first time.
The last two centuries (since 1798) have witnessed a lively intellectual revival in Islamic thought, a fact that has impacted all sectors of life, without, at the same time, forming a clear line of thought or a “new paradigm” that overcomes the malaise of either/or, modernity or traditionalism, change or conservatism. Medieval Islam managed to construct a dominant and prosperous “sharia paradigm” for some centuries, a paradigm in which reason and revelation generally worked together. This paradigm was especially enforced politically, and that is how it rooted itself in Islamic history, and medieval history in general.
By Nicola MissagliaThe Egyptian philosopher insists that an intellectual “renaissance” in the contemporary Arab world, similar to the one that influenced the western world in the 15th and 16th centuries, would necessarily have to involve the Muslim’s re-appropriation of their own historicity, opposing the “hypostatization” of the past and the Islamic legacy.
By Giancarlo BosettiArkoun possessed a rhetorical passion capable of enchanting his listeners. He powerfully laid claim to the internal resources of a tradition he never ceased to belong to, such as the Muslim and Arab humanism of the golden age of Islam (12th century) that could have flourished and produces its own Enlightenment in the sciences, the arts and critical thought, if it had not been destroyed at birth by political circumstances.
By Nicola MissagliaJurist and Nobel Prize winner Ebadi took the lead in sponsoring an International Women’s Day in Iran, as well as a series of protest events against Iranian family law. In addition to having published numerous books, among them, Iran Awakening, A Memoir of Revolution and Hope (Milan 2006), as well as The Golden Cage, Three Brothers, Three Choices, One Destiny (Milan 2008), Ebadi founded the Defenders of Human Rights Centre in Iran and the Society for Protecting the Child's Rights. These two organizations are NGOs for the defence of human rights, which focus on strengthening the legal status of women and children in Iran.
«Is it possible to grasp the ‘objective’ historical meaning of a text? Or is the process of textual understanding intrinsically connected with the role of the interpreter? This is the core question of hermeneutics. And it is precisely this question which – in different formulations – permeates the Arabic-Islamic tradition, ever since the beginning of Qur’anic interpretation and of ta’wil. Thus, the guiding question of the Mu’tazilites was: Is it possible to understand the divine meaning of the Qur’an without having a pre-understanding of justice or the unity of God? If we approach the Qur’anic text starting from the presumption of its divine nature but without having an intelligible pre-understanding of divine truth, how can we know that this text is not a lie or falsehood??»nasr Hamid Abu Zayd