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Announcement: The Deen Research Center website is going to be completely revised and updated in the upcoming months. Our research focus will be reformulated into "Research into the humanistic elements in classical and comtemporary Islam", whereby we try to make our own and other writings available of the (semi-)academic study of Islam and especially the contemporary developments in Islamic thought.
   
  
 

                                                                                                         

 

Deen Research Center

Modern Islamic Think Tank

 

 

 

Research of the Qur'an, Islamic theology, and Comparative theology and scripture in pursuit of a rational worldtheology that supports human development, rights and welfare.

 

Welcome to the Deen Research Center. We are a think tank that researches the workings of the universe, how mankind fits into this cosmic system, and the ways to develop ourselves further in positive and progressive ways as a species. Mankind must research the universe through scientific and existential-hermeneutical (theological & philosophical) methods to attain a realistic and holistic view of the universe and pursue a peaceful and providing world-society for all individuals. Only in this manner will humanity evolve further. With mankind's complexity in different cultures and beliefs, it is vital to create a democratic, pluralistic global ethical system wherein every individual can live in peace, freedom and prosperity regardless of background or understanding of reality and have their human rights protected and ensured.

 

  

This complex and beautiful universe contains countless celestial phenomena, stars and planets. On one such planet, the human species has emerged through millions of years of evolution to form cultures, each with its own respective language, expression and understanding of the universal framework. This diversity has resulted in the most beautiful achievements of mankind; however it has also caused conflicts that spring from a difference in their worldview still prevalent today. Within the history of mankind a leap was taken 1400 years ago creating one of the most developed societies in earth's history in the fields of science, philosophy and humanism. The main source of this leap was a message collected into a book called the Qur'an, which is claimed to come from the Absolute Creator of all reality.

The main focus of DRC is to study this claim by researching the Qur'anic theology and cosmology. This can be achieved through systematic investigation of the language, structure, terminology, themes and historical context of the Qur'an and its relation with all fields of modern science, sociology, philosophy, religious sciences, theology, hermeneutics and humanism. One of our main observations in the Qur'anic message, which we present in our research publications, is it's call to every individual on earth to unite, whatever be their understanding of the universe, towards achieving a common goal: A cooperation towards peace and justice to benefit all; regardless of ethnicity, religion or status. As stated by the Qur'an: 

 

 

ولكل وجهة هو موليها فاستبقوا الخيرت اين ما تكونوا يات بكم الله جميعا ان الله على كل شىء قدير 

And for everyone there is a direction to which he turns. Then strive together toward all that is good for all (al-Khayrat: to surpass in goodness). Whatever stand you take, God will bring you all together. Indeed, God has infinite Potential over all things (2:148).

 

 

As God is the Absolute Source of creation (28:88, 6:103, 112:4, 42:11) and Free of any Need (al-Ghaniyu, 10:68. al-Samad, 112:2), revelation can only been sent for the benefit and welfare of mankind. Thus we interpret the Qur'an as presenting a liberation process theology which assists mankind in its self-liberation of the obstacles in their evolution as a species.

 

 

انزل الله من كتب وامرت لاعدل بينكم

"I acknowledge all that God has sent down of revelation (Kitab), and I was commanded to create equality between you (umurtu li-‘Adila baynakum) (42:15)."

 

 

يضع عنهم اصرهم والاغلل التى كانت عليهم

The Prophet was sent "To free people from their confinements/burdens and shackles (yadAu Anhum israhum wa al-Aghlala) that were imposed upon them [by oppressive traditions and society structures] (7:157)."

 

 

لمن شاء منكم ان يتقدم او يتاخر

The Qur'an gives insights "for any among you who wishes to progress or regress (yataqaddama aw yatakhara) (74:37)."

 

 

"Whenever God speaks (i.e. communicates with Revelation), He does so for the welfare of mankind." [famous Mu'tazilah scholar Abd al-Jabbar, al-Mugnhi. b.414 AH]

 

 

"The revealed laws and ways (of the Qur'an)[...] are intended for the welfare of this world." [famous Hanbali scholar Ibn Aqil, Muntazam, b.431 AH]


 

By researching the universe, sharing resources for society's betterment, and creating global bodies to effectively manage conflict and justice. Our research has thus far reinforced our understanding that the Qur'an presents us with a pluralistic ethical worldview (6:151-153, 3:110-114) whereby almost every religious tradition is acknowledged as being originally revealed by God (5:48,16:36&89), whereby any theological and social matters are discussed through peacefull dialogues in the search for truth (29:46), and thus expounds the universal concept of unity in diversity (49:13), with a democratic peace and justice management framework (5:8, 4:58, 42:38-43). It does not present an exclusive dogmatic religion, but is an inclusive universal message to all of mankind in its diversity. It is a guide in our constant development and evolution as a species. Through this research we try to see how the Qur'an can serve mankind into achieving an ethically-based pluralistic unity of mankind, where resources are shared equally, every human's basic needs are fulfilled, the universe is researched through scientific and philosophical means, and wherein human rights of freedom of thought, development, movement, speech, beliefs, occupation, and rights of education, welfare, free governments etc. are upheld and protected, so each human can develop their potentials to the fullest.

  


 اولئك يسرعون فى الخيرت وهم لها سبقون

"It is those who race with one another to improve the quality of life for humanity (al-Khayrat: to surpass in goodness), and it is those who are the forerunners (of mankind)." (23:61)

 

 

The theologies and dogma's of 10-15th century orthodox schools that have determined Islam as a religion ever since, were developed under the influence of the social, political (patriarchical & imperial) and religious (dogmatic & prescientific) environments, and were on many issues very different from its intended message. We also see in the Qur'an a demand that each new generation must research it on their owns terms because our horizons and understanding of reality, nature and existence expand with every age:

 

سنريهم ءايتنا فى الءافاق وفى انفسهم حتى يتبين لهم انه الحق اولم يكف بربك انه على كل شىء شهيد

"We will show them [mankind] Our signs/messages ('ayatina) in the horizons (al-'Afaqi), and within themselves/their own being (anfasikum), until it becomes clear (yatabayyana) to them that this is the Truth (al-Haqq). Is it not enough that your Developer is witness over all things? (41:53)"

 

 

"The Koran may be regarded in a certain sense as a grand hymn in honor of Divine Creation. [T]he whole Koran is literally impregnated with the thought of Creation and a feeling of profound admiration for it." [p.120, T.Izutsu, God and Man in the Koran]

 

"With the new perspectives we (mankind) have gained, the Koran can be heard to say things that were previously impossible to hear." [p.203, Felix Korner, Revisionist Koran Hermeneutics in Turkey]

 

 

To refresh and expand our vision of the Qur'an, to clear up misunderstandings and to understand its neglected potentials and messages, an objective, rational and critical approach must be undertaken. To facilitate this enterprise, the DRC website contains numerous tools in the form of research papers, short articles, books, exegeses (tafsir), blogs coming from multiple viewpoints. These are available for everybody to use and research the Qur'anic message and to see the most up-to-date understandings on the Qur'an. We also invite to send in articles, papers and books that can enhance our understanding of the Qur'an, Islamic theology and Comparative scripture and theology, and work with scholars and organisations to cooperate in creating a worldtheology with a pluralistic global ethical framework.

 

 

Update March 2013: The whole library is being updated and expanded into several subjects, this will take many months to fill them all. Dead links will also be updated. Any suggestions or comments, please mail us at contact@deenresearchcenter.com.

 

 

      

State of Mankind: Introduction in Qur'anic Universalism
by Arnold Yasin Mol

A detailed study of the Qur'anic inclusive message which calls for a cooperation between all people on earth who want to create and maintain peace and welfare. The Qur'an induces people on two levels. Al-Islam is the universal and natural thought and behaviour system (al-Deen 30:30, 2:62, 41:33, 3:64) which represents a pluralistic ethical value system that induces cooperation between different groups among mankind. While al-Iman is the system of the people who accept the truthfull origins of all religions and the Qur'an, are responsible for maintaining peace (amina) and encourage dialogue and justice among all the groups. As expressed in this essay:

"The potential of the Qur’an as a universal guide towards peace and progress can thus manifest itself more clearly. It unites mankind in purpose and direction, while respecting their differences."

The essay can be read in full here:

State of Mankind Quranic Universalism (PDF)
   
  
      

Rethinking the Qur'an: Towards a Humanistic Hermeneutics

by prof. Nasr Abu Zayd

This ingenious study shows the importance of the Qur'an being expressed to mankind as an oral communication. Using the prophet Muhammad as a vehicle for His revelation, God addressed several audiences: mankind as a whole, the Arab polytheists, the Arab jews, the Arab christians, muslims in the Meccan stage, muslims in the Medinan stage etc. To understand the Qur'an correctly, we must understand how these plural audiences were spoken to and what God tried to change or discuss with them. Abu Zayd's study makes us understand the Qur'an again not only as God's speech, but as God's conversations.

Read the book here:

Rethinking the Quran (PDF)
   
  
      
QXPiv: The Qur'an as it Explains Itself
by Dr.Shabbir Ahmed

As the title suggests, this book is an understanding of the Qur’an from within itself. Using a scientific, rational and social approach towards the text, this translation and explanation of the Qur'an is the most modern today. It presents the message of the Qur'an in a revolutionary way and shows the importance of the message for the world present and future.

The translation can be viewed in full here:

QXPiv (The Qur
   
  
      
Islam: A Challenge to Religion
by G. A. Parwez

A deep research and explanation of the universal and Qur'anic worldview. This groundbreaking philosophical presentation of the Qur'anic cosmology is unparalleled in history.Parwez understands the Qur'anic message not as bringing a dogmatic exclusive religion, but as a divine guide being in harmony with the nature of the universe and mankind. Thus it explains the universal framework, nature of the Absolute and how mankind should act on a global scale concerning sharing natural resources, maintaining peace and prosperity and freedom. Thus the Qur'an cannot be understood as presenting a religion, but as a true message from the Absolute who is not concerned with dogmatics, but with helping mankind progress further.

Read the full book here:

Islam: A Challenge to Religion by G. A. Parwez (PDF)
   
  
      

The Islamic Roots of Democratic Pluralism
by prof. Abdulaziz Sachedina

This study tackles the most significant issues facing Muslims today. As Islam and Muslims enter the 21st century, Sachedina argues, it is necessary to re-open the doors of religious interpretation - to re-examine and correct false interpretations, replace outdated laws and formulate new doctrines that respond to changing social contexts. Always using the Quran as a yardstick, Sachedina demonstrates how and why Islamic law came to reflect political and social influences, leading to regulations that violate the spirit and the letter of the Quran. He critically analyzes Muslim teachings on issues of pluralism, civil society, war and peace, violence and self-sacrifice, the status and role of non-Muslims, and capital punishment. He show how the Qur'anic philosophy is democratic in its nature, but also completely pluralistic and universal.

To purchase the book, go to:


The Islamic Roots of Democratic Pluralism by Abdulaziz Sachedina


   
  
      

Inside the Gender Jihad: Women's Reform in Islam
by Dr. Amina Wadud

This book is a result of Dr. Wadud's more then 20 year long participation in the feminist movement of Islam. Herself being one of the founders of using Islamic reasons, and not Western ones, for reform, her books stand as the foundation of the modern movements. In this study, Dr. Wadud explains her own journey as a woman, wife, mother and more then all, as a human, how she has explored Islam and how she uses Islam to explore itself. Her insights into the Qur'anic purposes, historical limitations and unlimited potentials as being a guide beyond the text itself, are fascinating and show a deep and long experience of her engagement with the text. The "Tawhidic Paradigm" which she presents in the book, is that all humans are equally united with Allah. The Tawhidic unity thus means that no one is more or a lesser human then anybody else, since all are part of the same unity. The implications of this insight on Qur'anic interpretation and human rights are enormous and groundbreaking. This book is an important introduction into the feminist movements, the personal life experience of an important scholar and new insights into the study of the Qur'an.

To purchase the book, go to:


Inside the Gender Jihad: Women's Reform in Islam by Amina Wadud


   
  
      

Exploring Islam in a New Light: An Understanding from the Quranic Perspective
by Dr. Abdur Rab

This Islam is spiritual, humane, and scientific, far from its fanatic and militant image it carries in the West. It shows how man can evolve spiritually to lead an enriched, progressive, and blissful life. It advocates tolerance and peaceful co-existence and disapproves of gender or human discrimination and harsh punishments. The topics are laid out well and the author's approach is very professional. Next to laying out some well-known issues, Abdur Rab also brings in some fresh ideas on Qur'anic interpretation. Good use of footnotes and quoting of Qur'anic verses makes this a very good work and important for Muslims to have.

To purchase the book, go to:


Exploring Islam in a New Light: An Understanding from the Quranic Perspective by Abdur rab



Read an article by Dr.Abdur Rab on being tolerant according to Qur'anic teachings:

On being Tolerant (PDF)
   
  
      

Islamic Human Rights Project (IHRP)

 

DRC is leading a groundbreaking project in which we are creating an Islamic philosophy of human rights, to create a new Islamic declaration of Human Rights. We will base this on the Qur'anic ideals of peace, freedom and impartial justice. The declaration is created by an international team of Islamic scholars, including several DRC researchers, and will be part of a worldwide campaign to create awareness of human rights across the world.

 

See the Islamic Human Rights Project

 

We at DRC are also active in addressing human right violations across the world. People can contact us (contact@deenresearchcenter.com) if they need help with defending their human rights in their countries. If you are a scholar or lawyer willing to participate, please contact us.

 

 

   
  
      

Nasr Hamid Abu Zayd    

نصر حامد ابو زيد

July 10, 1943 – July 5, 2010

 

In 2010 the great Qur'an scholar, inspiration, DRC researcher and dear friend, professor Nasr Abu Zayd passed away. Professor Abu Zayd was a couragious and groundbreaking voice, calling for a new appriciation and insights of the Qur'anic message, so its intended pursuit of justice and human equality could be rediscovered in its original historical context. He was a true academic, searching for the truth, dedicated to his students, and always made his knowledge available to everyone. DRC will keep pursuing his legacy of Islamic reform and enhancing his groundbreaking insights.

 

See here his legacy page, with all his writings and articles, memorials, video's and studies on Nasr Abu Zayd.

   
  
      

The Qur'an, Morality and Critical Reason: The Essential Muhammad Shahrur

Dr.Muhammad Shahrour is one of the most important modern thinkers in Islam. His analytical and systematic research on the Qur'an has showed the many important, and also many times, neglected messages and potentials of the Qur'an. His scientific, pluralistic, ethical and universal approach to the Qur'an is groundbreaking and has opened new doors for understanding the Qur'an as a guidance for mankind. This book is the first in English to present Shahrur's main ideas and discoveries in detail. It is a complete summary of his 3 books translated and edited by Dr.Muhammad Shahrur and prof. Andreas Christmann. It is the most comprehensive and evidence supported scientific approach to Islam as a universal guidance for mankind.

To purchase the book, go to:


The Qur'an, Morality and Critical Reason by prof. Andreas Christmann



Read the full book here:

Quran-Morality-Critical-Reason.pdf
   
  
      

Islam and the Challenge of Human Rights
by prof. Abdulaziz Sachedina

"A searching investigation questioning the dilemmas facing Muslim thinkers with respect to human rights and a critique of the Western configuration of human rights as universal. Sachedina explores the possibility of an inclusive doctrine of human rights and he does so with passion and sensitivity. This book deepens our appreciation of human rights and also opens new frontiers of inquiry." --Ebrahim Moosa, Associate Professor of Islamic Studies, Duke University

To purchase the book, go to:


Islam and the Challenge of Human Rights by Abdulaziz Sachedina



Read an article here by prof.Sachedina on Islam and the Common Good:

A Vision of Inclusivity: Islam and the Common Good of Humanity
   
  
      
The Qur'an; A Reformist Translation
by Dr.Edip Yuksel
Layth Saleh al-Shaiban
Dr.Martha Schulte-Nafeh

A modern and social scientific translation of the Qur'an by a Turkish-American Muslim reformer and philosophy professor, in cooperation with Muslim reformer Layth As-Shaiban and professor of Arabic Martha Schulte-Nafeh, thus making this unique translation a result of 2 males and 1 female. Many of its commentary deals with controversial issues and misunderstandings of Quranic verses. A very good presentation and one of the best translations of the Qur'anic text.

The translation can be read in full here:

The Qur
   
  
      

Critical Thinkers for Islamic Reform 2008: A Collection of Articles from Contemporary Thinkers on Islam


Editors: Edip Yuksel
Arnold Yasin Mol
Farouk A Peru

This important book is a collection of writings of more then 30 modern writers on Islam that were present at the 2008 conference bearing the same name. From professional Islamic scholars to individuals writers and thinkers, this collection is unique as a serious collection of 21st century Islamic thought on critical research, reform and renewal in Islamic and Qur'anic interpretation. With diverse subjects on the interpretation and message of the Qur'an and its relation to human rights, freedom and wellfare. History of Islam, society and thought. Modern experience of being a Muslim, the concept of gender and needed actions for reform.

To purchase the book, go to:


Critical Thinkers for Islamic Reform by Edip Yuksel, Arnold Yasin Mol, Farouk A Peru (Editors)



Read the complete book here:

Critical Thinkers for Islamic Reform 2008 Book (PDF)
   
  
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