Hamza Roberto Piccardo, the Italian Qur’an

This article is also available in: Italiano

On the occasion of Eid Al Adha, we are pleased to present Hamza Roberto Piccardo, for years one of the symbols of the Italian Muslim community

K: Who is Hamza Roberto Piccardo?

A: He is an Italian Muslim, born in 1952 and reborn in Islam starting in 1975, al hamdulillah. Ligurian-Sicilian, father of 5 children and grandfather of 6 grandchildren, he is a poet, writer, translator, publisher (ed. Al Hikma – Libreria Islamica.net).
For over twenty years he was a manager of UCOII, the main Italian Muslim organization.

K: How did you come to Islam?

A: The story is well told by a docufilm made for Al Jazira documents
In short, a crossing of the Sahara conceived as an adventure of a few weeks has turned into a spiritual and doctrinal journey that, in shâ ’Allah, earthly death will end in this life but by Allah’s mercy it will never end.

Idriss ela
Sahara, photo by Idriss Ela

K: What does it mean to be the only official translator of the Qur’an into Italian?

A: I want to say that there is no category of “official translation”. The fact that the one I worked on for five years from 1990 to 1994 (and on which I never stopped working) was accepted and published by Madina al Munawwarah’s Majamma Malik Fahd does not make it an official translation at all. Each translation is the result of the effort of the translator (s) and proofreaders. Some are reliable, others less so, others still unacceptable.

Hamza Piccardo

I am honored that my work has been accepted and appreciated by the overwhelming majority and the Islamic community in Italy, as well as by that institution in Saudi Arabia, by Diyanet (Turkish state religious agency published my version), but this does not. However an “official translation”.

K: What does the 3eid al adha festival mean and what does it consist of?

A: ‘Id adha is the celebration of the sacrifice of Abraham who, obeying Allah Most High, was about to sacrifice Ishmael his eldest until the moment when the Merciful miraculously replaced the boy with a ram. The festival takes place on the tenth day of the month of the Pilgrimage (Dhul Hijja) which includes several rites that culminate with the pilgrim station in the Arafah plain on the ninth day of the holy month. All over the world practicing Muslims who do not participate in hajj fast on Arafah day and the following day everyone celebrates the Feast of Sacrifice (precisely ‘id Adha).

Hamza Piccardo
In the early hours of the morning, people gather in a specially chosen space and perform two ritual prayer units (rakat) which are followed by a sermon given by the imam. It is sunna to sacrifice a lamb (not less than a year old) and give a part of it to the poor. In the West, given the difficulty of carrying out the sacrifice while respecting local laws, many Muslims pay the price corresponding to an Islamic humanitarian organization that does it in favor of destitute Muslims.

K: What hopes do you have regarding the Islamic community in Italy?

A: We Muslims have a difficult time in Europe. It began in the early 1990s, precisely in conjunction with the formation of our community in Italy. First Al Qaeda, then 11/09 and finally Daesh, the attacks in Europe and the tragedy in the Middle East. An infamous political and media game has corroborated an inauspicious narrative for us muslims. For our part, the low average cultural level and the objective difficulties of a recently immigrated, variegated and heterogeneous community did not help a peaceful insertion process.

Hamza Piccardo
Muslim girls in Milan

As for the “autochthonous” Italian Muslims, we are still very few, generally frowned upon and in any case we still need some luster to have a political and cultural weight in our country. It will take patience and work and may Allah protect and support us

Thank you very much for the interview, we take the opportunity to wish everyone a happy ‘eid to spend with your family in joy and serenity. Jazaka Allahu Khairan

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