A fresh look at the tales from the Quran and Hadith

Author and historian RANA SAFVI tries to rediscover the magic of the Quran and Hadith in her new book “Tales from the Quran and Hadith” published by Juggernaut Books. She talks to The Thumb Print about this exciting book

What made you write this book?

Frankly the idea wasn’t mine. I was approached by Juggernaut’s Publisher and founder Chiki Sarkar. She asked if I would be interested in writing stories from the Quran and Hadith for Juggernaut. I was very apprehensive since I’m not an Islamic scholar but just a writer who happens to be a practising Muslim. But I agreed because I felt we do need to re tell these stories from an ordinary believer’s  point of view and for everyone and not just Muslims. I researched quite a bit and and finally wrote them as I understood them and had heard and read them.

What are these 10 books of stories?

These 10 stories were chosen by me because I personally find them very interesting. They are universal stories of human emotions and experiences. They should appeal to everyone across faith, age and gender.

Are these stories going to change the way we look at the Quran and hadiths?

That would be too presumptuous of me to think that. All I can hope for is that they are easy to understand and relate to for everyone who reads them.

It is not a usual book. It is something that will be read in the form of an app. how do you find this new experience?

These days we are becoming more and more dependent on technology and especially the smart phone. Most of our travel time & we spend quite a lot of time in that is spent with our mobiles. I think this is a wonderful way to pass time by reading at any time and anywhere. It’s just a next step from the kindle.

Do you think there is a misuse of the hadiths and the sayings of the Quran?

Yes absolutely. I call it the Chinese whisper effect. We pay too much attention to Hadith which aren’t on a  very weak chain of narration and are wrongfully attributed to the Prophet. I have explained the difference between Hadith and Quran in the preface and what are weak Hadith. We have to be very careful which Hadith we accept and follow. The Quran has been interpreted differently by different people and asper their own ideology so traits being misused. Every verse in the Quran was revealed in connection to some event and is to be read in context of that and in relation to other related verses. We rarely do that  and squire random verses to suit our agenda.

Why is it so difficult to understand Islam?

The essence of Islam is belief in One God, submission to His will and universal brotherhood. Being good to each other, looking after the weak and poor, doing good to others. We have forgotten that and made it difficult. We stress on rituals instead of intention when the first Hadith clearly specifies that niyat or intention is very important. We have to understand that the Quran said to them their religion and to you yours. There’s no compulsion. We have to recall that the most important and first jihad is to fight the evil within ourselves. The faster we do that the better. Yet see what we have made of our beautiful religion! People associate it with terror instead of peace. That’s because we confuse a small percentage of Muslims with Islam  and we are all paying the price. We need to introspect, reform ourselves and educate ourselves on the true meaning of Islam. We have to raise our voices against the injustices which have crept into Islam, the lop-sided gender rules. The patriarchy which is killing the gender and social justice that our Prophet preached to us. The peace we wish when we say Salam. We have to reclaim that.