President Bashar al-Assad releases “updated” Quranic tafsir

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has ordered the release of a new “revised” version of the Quran with an updated and controversial tafsir, or interpretation, in order to correct “distortion” and “misleading” lessons, state television reports.

The president, currently involved in a brutal war in a vicious civil conflict, authorised the publication of the “new standard version” of the Islamic holy book.

He announced the change on television with Mohammad Abdul-Sattar al-Sayyed, the Minister of religious endowments (Awqaf), and members of the Ministry’s Permanent Committee for the Holy Quran Affairs on Monday.

Official state reports indicate the new version will contain simplified letters standardised by official “accredited standards” set by Quranic scholars. Media reports coming out of Syria are vague but it is not thought that the Quran itself has been changed but rather the tafsir agreed by classical Islamic scholars has.

“We truly need such acts at this critical stage of distortion and misleading,” the President told state media.

The new version will be printed and distributed throughout the now-fractured state.

Assad and the pro-government Syrian religious establishment have long argued that hardline extremists supported by Saudi Arabia and espousing Wahabism have distorted the message of the Quran and Islam itself. On the other hand, Assad’s opponents have accused him and his secular supporters of being the real enemies of Islam.

Meanwhile, associate professor of Islamic Studies at the University of Nottingham Dr Jon Hoover cautioned that it was hard to assess how controversial the new version may be without examining it.

“I would have to see this new edition of the Quran to judge its significance. It is impossible to tell what the project has done with the Quran,” he told Newsnight.

He also said there was not likely to be “much significance” that Mr Assad, a member of the minority Alawite Syrian community, had been involved in the project.

The president and his father, Hafez Assad, developed close ties with the Sunni religious elite, allowing them the upper hand in religious matters in exchange for political hegemony.

Meanwhile, President Assad, who is backed by Russia and Iran, continues wage a brutal war against his enemies who are backed by Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar. Hundreds of thousands are estimated to have died in the bitter four-year conflict that has fractured the local region and created millions of refugees.

As you’re here…

5Pillars have one humble request from you…

Thousands of Muslims around the world visit our website for news every day. Due to the unfortunate reality of covering Muslim-related news in a heightened Islamophobic environment, our advertising and fundraising revenues have decreased significantly.

5Pillars is editorially and financially independent, with no sectarian or political allegiance to any particular group or movement. Our journalism has been exclusively grassroots focussed and our sole purpose is to defend Islam and Muslims in the media.

This makes us unique in comparison to other online Muslim media outlets who are neither independently regulated by a reputable body nor are they managed by qualified journalists.

Our journalism takes time, money and effort to deliver. But we do it because we believe we have a duty to Allah (swt).

You may not agree or like everything we publish. However, which other Muslim news site that is run by experienced journalists will take on the responsibility of being a shield for Islam and Muslims in the media?

If you follow 5Pillars, and you understand its importance in today’s climate, then please support us for as little as £5 a month, it only takes a minute to make a donation. Jazakallah khayran.

Our beloved Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said:“The best deeds are those done regularly, even if they are small.” [Ibn Mājah]



Add your comments below