博主新書《Reading the Qur'an》

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CUHK Press
Book Depository

About the book:
Is Islam necessarily against women’s rights? Is Islam at odds with liberal ideals? Dr Alicia Lie argues that neither is true, through a carefully argued textual discussion of the Qur’an.

The aim of Reading the Qur’an is to rethink Islam and to fight extremism. Dr Lie argues against literal interpretations of the Qur’an and puts forward a methodology for the interpretation of this key religious text.

The gist of Dr Lie’s argument is that many of the Muslims who follow doctrines derived from the Qur’an and the Hadiths have not given enough consideration to the issues involved in interpreting these texts. She gives textual evidence that Qur’anic passages were not intended to be perfect guidance suitable for all places and all times, and argues for the importance of independent thinking in following Islam.

In her Introduction [Chapter 1] she explains the motivations for writing the book.

In Chapter 2 she argues that Islam needs reformation, that we urgently need to fight against regressive trends.

In Chapter 3 she sets out her principles for a different reading of the Qur’an. She puts forward a methodology for interpreting the Qur’an, consisting of five principles, namely uncertainty, non-literality, contextuality, individuality, and rationality. She argues that there are many uncertainties surrounding the exact meaning of many passages in the Qur’an and the Hadiths (records of prophet Muhammad’s words and actions), so for the avoidance of error people should be given maximum freedom. We should leave it to Allah to judge them at the last judgement. Lie contends that religious texts are often allegorical, because the subjects discussed are frequently beyond the experience of their readers. We cannot take such passages literally in contemporary life. She stresses the historical context of Islamic texts. She argues that one should critically and independently review religious texts, not accepting the views of religious scholars or officials blindly. Lie argues that one should reach a reasonable interpretation of Islam by means of modification and extrapolation, to decide which are key tenets and which are age-specific and non-essential.

In Chapter 4, Lie reviews passages in the Qur’an that have to do with the main tenets of Islam and reaches liberal interpretations according to the principles she has already given in Chapter 3. She argues that the main criterion for being a Muslim should be moral action rather than a confession of faith.

In Chapter 5, Dr Lie reviews passages in the Qur’an that have to do with women, giving interpretations and unearthing passages compatible with feminism and gender equality. She contextualises the Qur’anic passages about women and argues that we should act in the spirit of improving women’s status rather than follow exact but obsolete practices found in the Qur’an.

These arguments culminate in a discussion of liberal reform in Chapter 6. Here, Dr Lie argues that we should leave judgment to Allah and take for the guidance of our lives those passages in the Qur’an that are the most spiritually exalted.

In the last chapter, Chapter 7, Lie talks about the concept of philosophical religion. She argues that if we follow the position of the book, then there would be a rebirth of religion, including Islam.








但不想自己寫,想找現成的。可是現成的多語言字典通常是幾個歐洲語言,網上找到的生字表要整合也很麻煩,想到用Google翻譯將網上找來的生字列表同時譯幾個語言再改正,發現Google試算表有翻譯功能,函數式是例如 =GOOGLETRANSLATE(A1, "en", "zh-tw"),於是可以自動生成多語言生字表,很方便,但當然會有錯。細看錯得很有趣,尤其是親戚叫法中不對應的詞:有些語言有分男女,有些沒有;中文有分長幼,其他沒有;翻譯就會出問題。




在深水埗不只一間文青咖啡廳發現Shakshuka,北非菜色蕃茄蛋,覺得非常奇怪,有間還將Feta cheese搞笑地譯成發達芝士。


深水埗文青咖啡廳的Shakshuka是怎樣來的呢?我最初猜想是由前法國殖民地傳到法國再傳到香港(突尼西亞和摩洛哥都曾經由法國統治),或由北非移民傳到北美再傳到香港。去Google map看法國咖啡廳的菜單,有些咖啡廳有Shakshuka,但不算多。

再查下去,還有另一條路線:是由北非猶太人傳到以色列再以「以色列菜色」的名義出現在其他地方。維基百科說是因為2012年猶太人Yotam Ottolenghi和巴勒斯坦人Sami Tamimi在英美出的烹飪書《Jerusalem》,於是Shakshuka開始在西方變得常見。Shakshuka早就傳到法國,不過在咖啡廳出現也可能是學英美。

我在埃及街坊小店常吃的Shakshuka只是蕃茄炒蛋,但在講究點的餐廳是濃味蕃茄蓉和半熟蛋。Feta cheese不是原有材料,但有些版本會加其他東西如矮瓜和Feta cheese。Shakshuka真是很適合拿麵包沾來吃,怪不得受歡迎,但請不要叫「以色列菜色」。