The Struggle over the Qur’an in Morocco (Video report)

In Morocco, as in most Muslim countries, there is a lively contest over the meaning of the Qur’an and Islam. The official government-approved Qur’an contains some commentary of a moderate, Sunni, sort, intended to combat narrow-minded Wahhabi interpretations emanating from Saudi Arabia.

(The reporter confuses some technical terms here; “warsh” is not commentary but a traditional vocalization of the text. Still, that a battle of the meaning of the text is being waged is clear).

France24 English does are really nuanced and careful report, of a sort it is hard to imagine on US television:

2 Responses

  1. If I’m hearing the voice over in that video clip correcttly, at 3.54 it says “It takes years to master the sixty-one chapters of the holy book…”

    Aren’t there 114 suras.

  2. Well, there are definitely not 61 Surah or Chapters of Qur’an. That’s what happens when people report on matters of which they have no knowledge. There has long been a difference of opinion or khilaaf as to whether the Fiqh or Jurisprudence derived from the Shari’ah (which includes Qur’an, but is not limited to it) should be based on literal interpretation of nusus (texts) found primarily in Qur’an and Hadeeth (narrations which depict the sayings, actions and acquiescence of Muhammad, AS). The Hanbali school of legal thought (madhab) has always been literal or what we call in America jurisprudence, black letter law. The other schools, particularly the Shafi’ee school, looks to Qiyas or legal analogy when the nusus or texts are unclear, cannot be explained by other texts or do not address new matters (an example is the prohibition against drinking khamir or wine and how it is extended to whiskey, beer, marijuana, narcotics, etc). The Salafis (Wahabbis is not really politically correct) are the primary proponents of the Hanbali Fiqh. Muhammad Abdul Wahab is the Saudi that called them back to the Hanbali teachings, but the strict interpretation given the Hanbali school’s Fiqh is largely promoted by the Salafis. So, what is being called Wahabbi and Salafi is little more than Hanbali). But they have to say Salafi because they criticize legal schools (there are 4 primary Sunni and 1 Shia). So, they cannot call themselves Hanbali because that is a recognized legal school. It’s nothing much more than a play on names or words. It would take a couple more paragraphs to explain it further, but this is what the piece is talking about when speaking of strict versus liberal interpretation. There are, of course, many sects, as predicted by the Prophet, AS, in Islaam. In fact, he said there would be more Muslim sects than either Christian or Judaic.

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