‘The Message of The Qur’an’, has been acclaimed as one of the best, English translations and commentary of Quran by ‘Leopold Weiss’ [Muhammad Asad]. It is based on his own knowledge of classical Arabic and on the authoritative classical commentaries, although it has been criticized by some traditionalists for its Mutazilite [rationalistic] leanings. He wrote “This Law of Ours “ where he sums up his views on Islamic law and rejects decisively the notion of ‘Taqlid’, or strict judicial precedent which has been accepted as doctrine by most Muslim groups. He also makes a plea for rationalism and plurality in Islamic law, which he sees as the true legacy of the earliest generations of Muslim.
‘Leopold Weiss’ was born in 1900 in what was then Austro-Hungarian Lwów in the Austro-Hungarian Empire, now Lviv in Ukraine; he died 1992. He was Jew who converted to Islam to become a great scholar. He was a descendant of a long line of rabbis. However, his father was a barrister. He received a thorough religious education. He was proficient in Hebrew from an early age and was also familiar with Aramaic. He studied the Old Testament, as well as the text and commentaries of the Talmud, the Mishna and Gemara. Furthermore, he delved into the intricacies of Biblical exegesis, the Targum. So, after abandoning university in Vienna, Asad (or Weiss, as he was then called) had drifted aimlessly around 1920s Germany, even working briefly for the expressionist film director Fritz Lang.
His traveled and sojourned through Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and Iran (he wrote many insightful articles on Schism), and also Afghanistan and the southern Soviet Republics, were viewed with great suspicion by the Colonial Powers. He took a close interest in the many liberation movements active at that time with the aim of freeing Muslim lands from colonial rule. He ended up in India where he met and worked alongside Dr. Muhammad Iqbal, the poet-philosopher, who had proposed the idea of an independent Muslim state in India, which later became Pakistan. Later he represented Pakistan in the UN, headed department of Islamic studies at Punjab University He also contributed in the formulation of “Objective Resolution”, part of Constitution of Islamic Republic of Pakistan.
1: “The Message of The Qur’an”, is available as PDF e-Book, Size: 8 MB, download@ https://docs.google.com/fileview?id=0B0Qfx8dX9TCvZWJjMjQ2ZjQtOWEzNS00MGIyLWJiZjItOTNmMWNiZTcyYWMw&hl=en
2: Quick Guide for the Study of the Qur’an: PDF e-Book, Size: 612 KB, download @ https://docs.google.com/fileview?id=0B0Qfx8dX9TCvM2IxNTE3YTUtZTM1NC00ZTYzLWEyNDMtOWRiNjM2MDNmODUy&hl=en