Religion and Civil Society
Qur’an and Qital. The violence against the Other in a historical critical deradicalizing perspective
The main target of this project, driven by the Marie Curie research fellow Marco Demichelis, is to provide a de-radicalized exegesis of violence against the non-Muslim in the Qur’an: from the first verse pronounced in chronological order to the last, without altering the historical reality and thus the cruelty of the Prophet Muhammad’s age, but deconstructing the sources of contemporary neo-Salafist fundamentalism.
Violence in its religious premise as well as its adoption in Islam, has become a normal praxis both in reference to a sharp increase in internal conflict: not only between Sunni and Shi’a, but among Muslims who support different radical points of view in relation to other religions: Christianity, Judaism, Hinduism, Buddhist and atheism.
This topic could be considered very popular; however, the exegetical studies that focus on each individual verse on the relationship between the Islamic revelation and the violence against non-Muslims, are limited and usually not linked to a historical-critical and metaphorical approach. This work raises the triple target of understanding, first of all, where and when every single verse of “violence” was pronounced, the historical exegetical interpretation in relation to a literary and metaphorical understanding and finally the trivialized deconstruction adopted by Islamic fundamentalism today.
However, before reaching this goal it would be also relevant to reconsider the concept of Jihad, in particular referring to the first century of Islam.
During the last forty years the historical comprehension of the first century of Islam has been deconstructed and analysed through a more interdisciplinary way; different sources: archaeological, numismatic, inter-religious etc., deeply reshaped a previous understanding which is bringing early Islamic history towards new insights.
Historians and experts in Islamic Studies as John Wansbrough, Patricia Crone, Uri Rubin, G.R. Hawting, Fred Donner, Robert Hoyland contributed, since the ‘70s, in showing a new imagery of early Islamic history, inasmuch reformulating it within a more inclusive monotheistic milieu than a clearly identified and structured new religion (Islam).
The early analysis would like to highlight the understanding and the effectiveness of Jihad in the first century of Islam debating with those scholars who in the last decades and with more impetus after 9/11 terrorists attacks, have advanced theoretical ideas about the early existence of Jihad Islamic-religious impact.
The necessity to reconsider early Islamic conquests through documents of Christian- Byzantine origin and not unequivocally written in Arabic highlights the historical unsuitability that early Jihadism, as it has surfaced in contemporary, emerged from the beginning. On the contrary this debate should bring us to reconsider the contemporary perspective that Islamic violence and conquering campaigns moulded from the beginning an Islamic caliphate with a broad religious identity.
Between June 2017 and May 2019, this project received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Sklodowska-Curie grant agreement (Ref. 746451).