Rome (AsiaNews) - Rethinking fraternisation between the sexes; opening the doors to women right up to the Presidency of the Republic, guaranteeing the right of Christians to have access to positions of prestige (even the presidency), purifying and reinterpreting the sayings of the Prophet (the Hadith) ; bringing people to God through wisdom and thanksgiving and not with the threats ... these are just some of the – truly revolutionary - proposals that a group of professors, theologians and Egyptian imams are putting to their communities. The attempt to modernize the lives of Muslims, to put a halt to (and even stop) the fundamentalist influences that come from Saudi Arabia. The group of scholars holds the renewal of Islamic teaching at heart, as well as a relationship of harmony with Christians.
A score of intellectuals and theologians of Al Azhar have issued a text of enormous importance, entitled "Document for the renewal of religious discourse." The text was "posted" on the Internet on 24 January at 18:27, on the website of the weekly magazine Yawm al-Sâbi’'("The Seventh Day"). The importance of the document also derives from its signatories, all noted scholars and profoundly committed Muslims.
Among these it is worth mentioning: Dr. Nasr Farid Wasel, former Grand Mufti of Egypt, the imam Safwat Hegazi, Dr. Gamal al-Banna, brother of the founder of the Muslim Brotherhood, the professors Malakah Zirâr and Âminah Noseir the celebrated Islamist writer Fahmi Huweidi; Dr. Mabruk Atiyyah, a large number of preachers (du'ât), responsible for Islamic Propaganda, such as Khalid al-Gindi, Muhammad Hedâyah, Mustafa Husni, etc..
It is the first time that such an attempt has been made by recognized Islamic figures. On being posted, the document received 153 comments in the same day. The majority (88.25%) condemned the text, saying it distorts Islam or tries to establish a new religion. Only 18 people congratulated the authors. This means that the path of renewal will be long and require much time and effort.
The original text of the document (in Arabic) and comments can be found at: http://www.youm7.com/News.asp?NewsID=343007.
Here we publish a draft translation of the document, which will probably need to be reviewed. In the coming days we will also comment on some of the proposals.
Document for the renewal of religious discourse