Lucia Daramus









Violence and Islam


by Adonis and Houria Abdelouahed







The Arab world’s greatest living poet, declares New York Time.

The book is provoking. It opens with a hot topic: the failure of the Arab Spring.

The collapse happens because the revolution against tyranny prepared a place for another tyranny.

Moreover, this revolution has shown that it is confessional, tribal and not civil, Muslim and not Arab.

Revolutionaries, Adonis exhibits, had just a thinking, to overthrow the power. But they did not pay attention to the problem of institutions of education, family, women’s liberty and human being.

The Syrian- French philosopher, Adonis, explains in his book Violence and Islam that the woman’s liberty really is a problem in Islam. The intervention of religious principles in the Arab Spring created a chaos from revolutionary attempt.

Can we talk about an Arab revolution if women are still prisoners of Sharia Law ? Recourse to religion has transformed this spring into a living hell.

Houria Abdekouahed , psychoanalyst,  lets  you  understand that, in fact, Muslim clergies stole The Arab Spring, taking advantage of instability. Adonis confirms this fact , adding that Arab society is dominated by illiteracy , ignorance and religious obscurantism. More than that, in Islam political power is confused with religious power. Caliph is considered the representative of God on the Earth. The words of Houria Abdelouahed are very comprehensive:

To be discontent with the caliph means to be discontent with God.


The caliph has absolute power. He does not obey anyone. He does not obey the Law. About these Adonis said:

Its motto was: … no law, no plan can equal the vision of the representative of God.

Therefore, Islam through representative – caliph – has absolute power on the political regime , and on the individual human being. He has power over the life and he has power over the death.

By culture point of view, Adonis shows that the religious dogma kills the letter of creation. He exemplifies with Al- Ma’arri, poet and philosopher, which did not embrace religion because he was not faithful.

The free speech and  free creation give voice  outside the dogmas. In contrast, as extremist religious forms, Adonis talks about religious terrorist groups – Daesh (The Islamic State) and Al- Nușra (the Syrian branch of the terrorist group Al-Qaeda).


It is unfortunately the case that Arab thinking, even that which has been labelled modern, remains dogmatic and trapped within the tribal mentality.

Very pertinent, Adonis asked himself rhetorically why the Saudi Arabia leads the war against Yemen. The answer, as the book Violence and Islam shows, is in the tribal mentality, in the religious dogmatic mentality because:

In the traditionalist mindset, you have to be a ‘follower’ (tabi’) and not a ‘questioner’. We have to simply repeat and reproduce.

In the opinion of Syrian – French thinker no great poet or philosopher was a genuine Muslim because he did not embrace the dogmas who, in the Muslim culture, are identified with the Muslim human being.

I know of no great poet who is a believer, nor any philosophers who were fully dogmatic believers. Neither Averroes, Avicena nor Rawandi were really Muslim. Only Ghazali, who became a mystic.

Going through European philosophers, Adonis asked himself rightly:

Why wasn’t the poetic tradition instituted by Islam founded on creativity and imagination rather than on things that remained closely allied to religion and power.

The Islam, promoted by the fundamentalists, is a religion without culture. The Islam is limited by his own dogmas. The Islam does not need any others, neither the world, or culture because it considers itself an authority over the world, over everything that exists. And, because the Islam claims itself as an absolute authority, Adonis shows, the Islamic vision has eradicated existential problems such as love, death, freedom. Thus death, love, and freedom are considered or defined only within a strictly religious frame work. Any other way of addressing them is seen as heretical or infidel.


Being placed in the middle of Muslim culture, Adonis attacks the religious dogma, saying that the violence in Islam appeared from the birth of Islam. In Koran Hell is mentioned eighty times (…) yet there is not a single verse that urges  reflection, nor any verse that discusses the benefits or advantages of reason or the spirit, in the sense of the creative spirit.

In the Quranic text there is a theoretical violence and a practical violence.  The Quranic text is full of violence, hatred, torture and revenge. The Koran calls God as ‘Gabbar’ (almighty), associating Him the term ‘batsh’ (tyrant). This violence of the dogmas itself reflects in the history of the Arabian because the politics and the religious intertwine together in the Muslim culture, the dogma being a supremacy. The violence has a sacred origin in Islam.

Religion is synonymous with enclosure and imprisonment. When the Text speaks of tolerance, when it evokes ‘rahma’ (mercy), it adds another condition: absolute submission to Islam and its precepts. That’s the price of mercy.

In Islam the culture is missing as it is missing the concept of nature. Therefore, in Islam two basic concepts are missing: the aesthetics and the science.

The book Violence and Islam grants a special debate to the woman. The woman in Islam is disregarded. She is in a second plan. She is the possession of the man. She can not exercise the political power.


These are because the masculine becomes the symbol of God. The Quranic text says:

Your wives are a tilth (‘harth) for you, so go into your tilth when you like’.

The Islamic dogma is confusing with male supremacy. As an illustration in Arabic language there are no terms for the problem of sexism or misogyny. Woman has never been considered as being gifted with will, and ability to think. She is not perceived as an independent being, she is under masculine oppression, because she is a possession of a man.

The Qur’an says: men are the maintainers of women because Allah has made some of them to excel others.

In the chapter ‘ Beyond Economic and Geopolitical Interests: The Drives ‘, Adonis and Houria Abdelouahed are debating the political issues of Islam, exhibiting in particular the phenomenon of radicalization. Adonis explains that, for the understanding of this phenomenon, people need to come back to the historical beginnings of the Islam, the violence being tied to the birth of Islam.

Daesh takes us back to this time when people had to convert to Islam or die.

All of these can have a hope by the return at the culture, at the art. But, Islam killed poetry.

Talking about culture, language, poetry, about necessity of these in the city, Adonis touches the problem of exile, revealing that the exile has no connexion with these, but with politics, nationalism and ideology.

As long as I live in my language, as long as I have the feeling of this extraordinary mother tongue, I do not feel like an exile. Exile comes from politics, nationalism, and ideology. (…) As long as there is creativity, I don’t feel that I am in exile.

The last chapters of the book – Violence and Islam by Adonis and Houria Abdelouahed – are so beautiful as a poetry, using poetic language. The authors talk together about art, dance, poetry, about the beauty of the human being which can save the Universe in which we live.












Adonis – is a Syrian -French poet, translator and thinker. At fourteen, Adonis recited a poem to the president of Syria. Adonis enrolled in Damascus University. He becomes a powerful voice of the liberty of expression. Because of his political activity he spent one year in prison. After this, he moved to Beirut. He has a deep understanding of European philosophy, poetry and culture. Adonis is the author of numerous collections of poetry and books of thinking. He lives in Paris. He was nominated several time for Nobel Prize for literature.






Houria Abdelouahed – is an Arab – French psychoanalyst, translator, co-author with Adonis. She has translated a collection of poems from Arab to French (Gallimard). She wrote an important book –  Figures du féminin en Islam







Lucia Daramus – is a Romanian-Jewish writer and artist. She has been a teacher of Latin and Greek. She currently lives in Stroud, Gloucestershire, UK. She has published some books in English (‘Fly , Madness, Fly’ and ‘The Light ‘). She has exhibited in Cluj- Napoca (Romania), in Gloucester (UK )– Guildhall Gallery, and online Longfield Exhibition. Now she is preparing a new exhibition – Escape From Madness.



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