1900 - 1992
Burial Location : Grenada-Spain
This memorial has been visited 638 times.
He was born Leopold Weiss in Lwow, Galicia now in Poland the son of a Jewish barrister and grandson of an orthodox rabbi. He studied history of art and philosophy at Vienna University then went to Prague and later Berlin. Invited to Jerusalem by his uncle, Dorian Weiss, a prominent psychiatrist and early pupil of Freud, he encountered the Zionist Committee of Action but from the outset conceived a strong objection to Zionism an objection which he personally conveyed to Dr Chaim Weizman, the leader of the Zionist movement.
He traveled extensively in the Mashreq and Maghreb... The turning point came in 1926 when he converted to Islam. Asad enjoyed a close friendship with King Ibn Saud. His love affair with Arabia was more intense than those of his European predecessors.... After more travelling, Asad went to British India and befriended Muhammad Iqbal, the spiritual father of the idea of a separate Pakistan, whom he admired greatly. Iqbal persuaded Asad to abandon plans to travel to eastern Turkestan, China and Indonesia and to help elucidate the intellectual premises of the future Islamic state.
However, Asad's chief ambition was to translate the Koran into English. The Message of the Qu'ran (1980), dedicated to "people who think." In its intellectual engagement with the text and in the subtle and profound understanding of the pure classical Arabic of the Koran, Asad's interpretation is of a power and intelligence without rival in English.
Asad was saddened by the intellectual insularity of the Muslim world, the intolerance of the extremists, and was a powerful advocate of the rights of Muslim women. He once explained, "is that most of these leaders start with the hudud, criminal punishment. This is the end result of the sharia (Islamic Law), not the beginning. The beginning is the rights of the people. There is no punishment in Islam which has no corresponding right.