He completed his primary education in the city of Quneitra, then his father sent him to continue his studies in Egypt Al-Azhar in , where he completed the secondary studies. He studied in the Faculty of Arabic Language, and got a degree in Arabic language. On he encountered Professor Malek Bennabi in the last stages of his presence in Egypt through the book rebirth. He immediately felt that Malik had something different, soon he had the opportunity to meet him personally before leaving Egypt for good. Said left Cairo for Saudi Arabia , where he lived almost a year, during which the United Arab Republic by the union between Syria and Egypt came into existence. Said then returned to Syria known then as the Northern Region of the United Arab Republic to complete military service; while he was in the army, the separation of the union took place.

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Now in its fifth edition, the book is still available today. It was written by Jawdat Said, born in Syria in , who moved to Egypt at a young age to study the Arabic language at Azhar University. While there, he took an active part in the cultural life of Egypt. He was also closely connected to the Islamic movement of that period.

Even then, Said warned against the negative effects of the violence being carried out by the Islamic movement in Egypt, and wrote his book as a direct response to the writings of Sayyid Qutb, who died in and is considered the father of militant Islam. Other intellectuals of the Islamic world also turned against Qutb at the time, including for example Hasan al-Hudaybi, the leader of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood. In the early s, the Muslim Brotherhood in Syria began — in spite of Said's warnings — to rebel against the government of Hafez al-Asad.

However, the revolt was put down with much bloodshed, and ended in with a massacre in the city of Hama. Following this defeat, the movement began seriously entertaining the idea of demilitarization. At the time, the writings of Jawdat Said became increasingly popular in Islamic activist circles. In the introduction to his book "The Doctrine of the First Son of Adam," Jawdat Said places himself in the tradition of Islamic reformers such as Abd al-Rahman al-Kawakibi who died in and Muhammad Iqbal who died in , the mystic poet and philosopher from India.

Said also stressed the importance of the Algerian writer Malik bin-Nabi who died in and his book, "The Conditions of Renaissance. What these philosophers have in common is an emphasis on reformation within Islamic societies.

They see the problems in their societies as the result more of unfortunate internal developments than of colonial intervention. Said's works about non-violence are part of a series of writings that deal with personal and societal problems, and that serve as a guidepost for Islamic activists.

They primarily address Islamic youth, and present an Islamic way of life that eschews violence. Said sees this approach as grounded in the Koran. In Sure 5, verses 27—31, one can read how the "God-fearing Abel" even declined to defend himself against his brother, although in the end, Cain murdered him.

Said sees this is a quest of mankind, to react "like Adam's firstborn son, who did not defend himself against the attacks of his brother. In addition, Said refers to the stories of the various different prophets in the Koran and points out that the only charges they were accused of was their belief in the one God of creation. None of them, however, attempted to spread his ideas by means of violence. Said sees this is a clear indication that the practice of violence is incompatible with the core faith of the Koran.

But how does Said explain the other verses of Koran that call the faithful to battle? According to Said's view, the Koran specifies two prerequisites for a legitimate war. First, war may only be declared if the opponent defies the fundamental Koranic principle of "no coercion of religion," i.

In his book "Read! For The Lord Your God is Benevolent," Said supports his view of an Islam free of violence by developing an important approach to the interpretation of the Koran. Said points out that the various different interpretations of the text of the Koran presented a challenge even for the early followers of the Prophet Mohammad. He quotes the fourth Caliph, Ali ibn Abi Talib, who in a disagreement with his opponents the Kharijites demanded disregarding the texts because each group had its own way of interpreting them.

Instead, practical aspects should be discussed in an effort to reach a satisfying conclusion. Said concludes from this that the Koran challenges people to search for truth in the real world and not in the texts of the Koran. The call to "wander the earth" is repeated 13 times in the Koran.

Said thus concludes that this is a part of the divine revelation: to search for knowledge about the world, its history and its societies. Therein lies for him the "profound meaning and wonder of the Koran.

The demand to "wander" is coupled with the demand to read. After all, "Read! Said interprets this as a call to become familiar with the history of the human experience, which is primarily accessible through reading. Supporting his view with approaches from the Islamic tradition, Said thus paves the way for a new interpretation of the Koran that no longer emphasizes the analysis of the sacred texts but rather places human experience in the forefront.

For this reason, Said's interpretations were sharply attacked by conservative thinkers. One of them, Adel al-Tal, wrote a book in in which he accused Said of being a "materialist in an Islamic disguise. But to this day, Said has remained true to the text of the Koran. He quotes the Koran often to support his view of non-violence. The passage he quotes most often is Sure 2, verses , in which the angels protest God's decision to put a successor on earth. Their argument: This representative will do nothing but create trouble and spill blood.

In response, God teaches Adam "all things and their names. Said understands this passage as a symbolic dispute between science and violence. In the language of the verses of the Koran, this means a dispute between "naming names" and "creating trouble and spilling blood. Mankind, Said concludes, should and can use its God-given ability to reason to achieve peace on earth.

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