LONDON – A young Londoner Muslim has launched a new platform which helps users navigate belief systems using a “living Qur’an,” in an ambitious project to end misinterpretation of the sacred text.
“It will expand and collapse — you’ll be able to dive in with as much depth as you want and see it from different schools of thought and in different translations,” explains Ananas’s chief executive and co-founder Zeena Qureshi, in an interview with the London Evening Standard.
“You can even see it from a Sufi or non-Muslim perspective. We’re trying to build a platform that provides context to subjective information.”
Not limited to usual Qur’an translations, Qureshi’s upcoming platform will provide additional information on each verse.
Users will be able to read what different denominations believe, what research on the text is available and the religious text will be searchable by theme or word.
Ananas, which is also a charitable foundation, hopes the project will work to reduce Islamophobia and to tackle terrorism in the hopes that the living Koran will reflect the true nature of Islam by providing context.
“Information without context isn’t knowledge,” says Qureshi.
“Extremists have so many people marketing for them online. They target vulnerable, isolated individuals. If these people are looking for answers, they need to come to a place where this information is outlined.
“Things like Charlottesville are happening because people don’t have the information or understanding. Information feeds empathy”, she added.
The website explains: “Our Living Qur’an project allows people to dig into the core text of Islam. With the help from knowledgeable individuals, religious communities are empowered to reclaim ownership of their holy text, and society is liberated from a dependence on biased sources and emotional volatility.
“We believe this will lead people to make better-informed decisions about their own beliefs, by providing contextualized and authoritative information, that prevents distortion and exploitation of ignorance.”
Ananas uses artificial intelligence to organize the data, and knowledge graphs to explore the relationships between different groups’ beliefs, but the most innovative part is the cryptocurrency.
Qureshi calls the Ananas token, the “Anacoin”, a “cryptocurrency for peace”.
“We want to give people a reward,” she explains.
“If the value of the information goes up, the token will go up. You can use the cryptocurrency to sponsor a verse, gain rewards by moderating or adding information, and you can trade it. Whenever someone trades it, if it’s gone up in value, half the proceeds go to the foundation, the other half goes into someone’s pocket.
“People should be rewarded for the good things they do,” she added.
The partially Google-funded platform was the idea of Emad Mostaque, co-chief investment officer at a hedge fund and Qureshi’s brother-in-law.
The Qur’an is a revelation from God, the creator of the worlds, so He is the original author.
There is only one Qur’an which is in Arabic and many translations of the Qur’an in several languages.
There could be multiple translations by different authors in the same language such as English.
The Qur’an was revealed to Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) through the archangel Gabriel who used to make the Prophet memorize the Qur’an and made him revise it every year in the month of Ramadan, the fasting month.
Memorizing the Holy Qur’an is one of the most important ways to preserve Allah’s message.
The others are to publish and distribute the book, or the text on the Internet and to recite the parts that one knows to other people.