Thursday, July 18, 2013



Liberal movements within Islam involve Muslims who have produced a considerable body of liberal thought on the re-interpretation and reform of Islamic understanding and practice. Their work is sometimes characterised as "progressive Islam" (Arabic: الإسلام التقدميal-Islām at-taqaddumī ), although some consider progressive Islam and liberal Islam to be two distinct movements.
The methodologies of liberal or progressive Islam rest on the interpretation and re-interpretation of traditional Islamic scripture (the Qu'ran) and other texts (such as the Hadith), a process called ijtihad (see below).This can vary from the slight to the most liberal, where only the meaning of the Qur'an is considered to be a revelation while its expression in words is the work of the prophet Muhammad at his particular time and context. As a consequence, verses from the Qur'an may then be interpreted allegorically or even set aside.
The most liberal Muslim intellectuals who have focused on religious reform include Muhammad Ali, Sayyid al-Qimni, Nasr Abu Zayd, Khalil Abdel-Karim, Abdolkarim Soroush, Mohammed Arkoun, Mohammed Shahrour, Ahmed Subhy Mansour, Edip Yuksel, Gamal al-Banna, Abdullahi Ahmed An-Na'im, Muhammad Tahir-ul-Qadri, Javed Ahmad Ghamidi, Ahmed Al-Gubbanchi, Mahmoud Mohammed Taha, and Faraj Foda. The last two of these, Taha and Foda, were killed in the wake of claims of apostasy, while most of the others have been accused of apostasy by traditional Islamic scholars.
Some liberal Muslims claim that they are returning to the principles of the early Ummah and to the ethical and pluralistic intent of their scripture, the Qur'an. They distance themselves from some traditional and less liberal interpretations of Islamic law, as they consider these to be culturally based and without universal applicability. The reform movement uses monotheism (tawhid) "as an organizing principle for human society and the basis of religious knowledge, history, metaphysics, aesthetics, and ethics, as well as social, economic and world order."



These are movements within Islam, rather than an attempt at schism. As such, they believe in the basic tenets of Islam, such as the Six Elements of Belief and the Five Pillars of Islam. They consider their views to be fully compatible with the teachings of Islam. Their main differences with more conservative Islamic opinion are two, the first is, in differences of interpretation of how to apply the core Islamic values to modern life, the second includes a more reactionary dialectic which criticizes traditional narratives or even rejects them, hence, denying any obligation to follow them while also allowing greater freedoms in interpreting Qur'an regardless of the hadith.
Muslim liberals focus on individual autonomy in the interpretation of the Qur'an and ethics rather than focusing on the literal interpretation of the Qur'an. This thinking may have a precedent in the traditions of Sufi and Islamic mysticism although different in many ways, including the purpose of interpretation.

Central tenets

Several generally accepted tenets have emerged:
  • The autonomy of the individual in interpreting the Qur'an and Hadith. More liberal trends include rejecting Hadiths completely (like Qur'an Alone Muslims) or partially (including hadiths considered authentic (Sahih) by traditionalists) like Gamal Al-Banna.
  • A more critical and diverse examination of religious texts, as well as traditional Islamic precedents.
  • Complete gender equality in all aspects, including ritual prayer and observance.
  • A more open view on modern culture in relation to customs, dress, and common practices. Certain rules on modesty amongst men and women are still self-enforced in response to the Qur'an's injunction against immodest dress.
  • The individual use of ijtihad (interpretation) and fitrah (natural sense of right and wrong) is advocated.

Contemporary and controversial issues

Over the course of the 19th and 20th centuries, in accordance with their increasingly modern societies and outlooks, liberal Muslims have tended to reinterpret many aspects of the application of their religion in their life in an attempt to reconnect with the original message, untouched by harmful cultural influences. This is particularly true of Muslims who now find themselves living in non-Muslim countries.[11]
Such people may describe themselves variously as liberal, progressive, or reformist (in application but not in the tenets of the faith); but rather than implying a specific agenda, these terms tend to incorporate a broad spectrum of views which contest conservative, traditional interpretations of Islam in many different ways. Although there is no full consensus amongst liberal Muslims on their views, they tend to agree on some or all of the following beliefs:


Ijtihad is the questioning of traditional interpretations of the Qur'an which are found to be intellectually stifling in the light of modern wisdom and scientific knowledge. Most liberal Muslims reject the derivation of Islamic laws from absolute literal readings of single Qur'anic verses. They generally claim a holistic view which takes into account the 7th-century Arabian cultural context and then allows deeper insight into the manner in which the commands of God (Allah) are carried out.

Human rights

Moderate Islamic political thought contends that the nurturing of the Muslim identity and the propagation of values such as democracy and Human rights are not mutually exclusive, but rather should be promoted together.
Most liberal Muslims believe that Islam promotes the notion of absolute equality of all humanity, and that it is one of its central concepts. Therefore, a breach of human rights has become a source of great concern to most liberal Muslims Though Human Rights is perceived to be of the utmost concern of all devoted adherents to the Islamic faith, liberal Muslims differ with their culturally conservative counterparts in that they believe that all humanity is represented under the umbrella of Human Rights. Many Muslim majority countries have signed international human rights treaties, but the impact of these largely remains to be seen in local legal systems - a point highlighted by the fact that most countries which impose conservative interpretations of Shariah law are amongst the most repressive countries in the world, while secular states are often the most open and tolerant[14]
Muslim liberals often reject traditional interpretations of Islamic law, which allows Ma malakat aymanukum and Slavery. They say that Slavery opposed Islamic principles which they believe to be based on justice and equality and some say that verses relating to slavery or "Ma malakat aymanukum" now can not be applied due to the fact that the world has changed, while others say that those verses are totally misinterpreted and twisted to legitimize slavery.
Within the framework of justice and equality for all, Muslim liberals include gay rights as a human right.


Islamic feminism symbol.
The place of women in Islam, traditional gender roles in Islam and Islamic feminism are likewise major issues.[18] For this reason, liberal Muslims are often critical of traditional Islamic law interpretations which allow polygyny for men but not polyandry for women, as well as the traditional Islamic law of inheritance under which daughters receive less than sons. Traditional Muslims believe this is balanced by the right of a wife to her husband's money, whereas the husband does not have a right to his wife's money.
It is also accepted by most liberal Muslims that a woman may lead the state, and that women should not be segregated from men in society or in masjids. Some traditional Muslims also accept a woman as a leader of state so long as it does not conflict with her obligation to family. A small minority of liberal Muslims accept that a woman may lead a mixed group in prayers, despite the established custom for women to pray behind or in a separate space. However, this issue remains controversial; see women as imams. Some Muslim feminists are also opposed to the traditional dress requirements for women (commonly called hijab), claiming that any modest clothing is sufficiently Islamic for both men and women.
Other Muslim feminists embrace hijab, pointing out its tendency to de-sexualize women and therefore assist them in being treated less as an object and more as a person. Furthermore, some Muslim feminists prefer to wear the hijab as an obvious sign that they are indeed Muslim, while also feminists. The four schools of Islamic law require women to cover all but the hands and the face, following several ahadith to this effect, while men are only required to cover from the navel to the knee. Traditional reports of the prophet, called hadith, are used to support the idea of covering everything on a woman except her face and hands. The reported story is told that the prophet saw Asma clothed in a thin garment, at which he proclaimed: "when a woman reaches the age of menstruation, she should cover everything but"- and he then pointed to his face and hands. The Qur'an itself requires men and women to dress modestly (see: Qur'an 24:30-31). The words "bosom/chest" and "modest" are found in 24:31, however the word "hair" is absent. In the same verse woman are advised to not "strike their feet" as to draw attention to their hidden adornment. This leaves "adornment" (sometimes translated as beauty) open to interpretation, as to whether it includes the hair.


Some liberal Muslims favor the idea of modern secular democracy with separation of church and state, and thus oppose Islam as a political movement.
The existence or applicability of Islamic law is questioned by many liberals. Their argument often involves variants of the Mu'tazili theory that the Qur'an was created by God for the particular circumstances of the early Muslim community and that reason must be used to apply it in other contexts.

Tolerance and non-violence

Tolerance is another key tenet of liberal Muslims, who are generally open to interfaith dialogue and conflict resolution with such communities as Jews, Christians, Hindus and the numerous factions within Islam.
Liberal Muslims are more likely to reflect the idea of jihad in terms of the widely accepted "internal spiritual struggle" rather than an "armed struggle." The ideals of non-violence are prevalent in Liberal Muslim ideology and backed by Qu'ranic text; "permission to fight is given only to those who have been oppressed... who have been driven from their homes for saying, 'God is our Lord'" (22:39)

Reliance on secular scholarship

Liberal Muslims tend to be skeptical about the validity of Islamization of knowledge  (including Islamic economics, Islamic science, Islamic history and Islamic philosophy) as separate from mainstream fields of inquiry. This is usually due to the often secular outlook of Muslim liberals, which makes them more disposed to trust mainstream secular scholarship. They may also regard the propagation of these fields as merely a propaganda move by Muslim conservatives.



Quranism (Arabic: قرآنيونQurʾāniyūn) is an Islamic movement that holds the Qur'an to be the most authentic criterion in Islam. Quranists generally reject the religious authority of Hadith (catalogued narratives of what the Prophet Muhammad is reported to have said and done), as they consider it inconsistent with the Quran. This in contrast to the Sunni, Shia and Ibadi doctrines which consider hadith essential for the Islamic faith.




Quranists may be referred to in various ways, for example Qurʾāniyūn (Arabic: قرآنيونQurʾāniyyūn) and ʾAhl al-Qurʾān (أهل القرآن) / Ahle Qur'an, both translating to "Quranites" (which is also used in English), Submitters, and usually by their opponents munkirū al-ḥadīṯ (منكروا الحديث) (i.e. "negators of Hadith" / "hadith rejectors"), or Quranism, or Quran aloners, as well as other terms. Quranists may deride Sunni and Shia Muslims by referring to them as 'hadithists' and 'hadith-followers'.
Quranists generally consider themselves to simply be "Muslims", a term directly from the Quran. Some adherents refer to themselves as Quranists or Ahle Quran. They do not think of themselves as belonging to a sect, like Sunni or Shia, as they do not accept any source beside the Qur'an, thereby universally rejecting the authoritative status given to hadith by Sunni, Shia and other hadith-following sects in Islam. A Pew poll found that many Muslims worldwide choose not to affiliate with a specific sect but volunteer that they are "just a Muslim":
This affiliation is most common in Central Asia and across Southern and Eastern Europe; in both regions, the median percentage stating they are "just a Muslim" is half or more. In Kazakhstan, nearly three-quarters (74%) of Muslims volunteer this response, as do more than six-in-ten Muslims in Albania (65%) and Kyrgyzstan (64%).
In sub-Saharan Africa and Southeast Asia, substantial minorities also consider themselves "just a Muslim" (medians of 23% and 18%, respectively). And in three countries – Indonesia (56%), Mali (55%) and Cameroon (40%) – "just a Muslim" is the single most-frequent response when people are queried about their sect. Identification as “just a Muslim” is less prevalent in the Middle East and North Africa (median of 12%) and South Asia (median of 4%).
It's not known what percentage of Muslims who don't identify with a sect also espouse Quranists beliefs. As many Quranists have a very individualistic interpretation of the Qur'an, rejecting sectarianism and organised religion as a general rule, it is difficult to gather an accurate estimate of the number of Quranists in the world today by doing a study of the Quranist organisations that exist. Another difficulty in determining their prevalence is the possible fear of persecution due to being regarded as apostates and therefore deserving of the death penalty by many traditional scholars like Yousef Elbadry, Mahmoud Ashour, Mohammed Ra'fat Othman and Mustafa Al-Shak'a.
Liberal movements within Islam include Quranists who interpret Islam as "a belief system committed to the liberal values of a democratic world". Quranism is similar to movements in other religions such as the Karaite movement of Judaism and the Sola scriptura movement of Christianity.Similarly, the Mu'tazila were also described as hadith rejectors and comparisons have been drawn. Hadith rejection has also been associated with Muslim modernists. A minority of Quranists use tafsir commentaries to understand the context of a Quran verse.


Quranists reject the authority of hadith on theological grounds, pointing to verses in the Quran itself declaring that all necessary instruction can be found within the Quran, without reference to the Hadith:[14]
We have cited in this Quran every example for the people. But the human being is always most argumentative. [Quran 18:54]
"Shall I seek other than God as a judge when He has sent down to you this book sufficiently detailed?" Those to whom We have given the book know it is sent down from your Lord with truth; so do not be of those who have doubt. The word of your Lord has been completed with truth and justice; there is no changing His words. He is the Hearer, the Knower. [Quran 6:114-115]
Within the Quran itself, a number of verses that mention hadith are used by Quranists to support their beliefs:
The revelation of the book is from God, the Noble, the Wise. . . . These are God's signs that We recite to you with truth. So, in which hadith, after God and His signs, do they acknowledge? [Quran 45:2-6]
It is an honorable Quran. In a protected record. None can grasp it except those pure. A revelation from the Lord of the worlds. Are you disregarding this hadith? [Quran 56:77-81]
So in what hadith after it will they acknowledge? [Quran 77:50]
Quranist groups are increasingly translating the Arabic Quran themselves into other languages, because most translations by Sunni Muslim groups contain perceived innovations and mistranslations to fit the Sunni ideology. Some Sunni translations are replete with bracketed comments — based on the hadiths — throughout the verses that lead the reader to interpret the Quran in the traditional way, even though the bracketed comments are absent from the Arabic Quran. Such bracketed comments appear less frequently — if at all — in Quranist translations.
The extent to which Quranists reject the authenticity of the Sunnah varies, but the more established groups have thoroughly criticised the authenticity of the hadith and refused it for many reasons, the most prevalent being that hadith is not mentioned in the Quran as a source of Islamic theology and practice, was not recorded in written form until more than two centuries after the death of the prophet Muhammed, and its perceived internal errors and contradictions.[15] Because of a lack of authoritative clergy in Quranism, ijtihad (independent reasoning) rather than institutionalised taqleed (imitation) is the most common method used by Quranists.
Some Quranists have suggested that the original prohibition against Hadith led to the Golden Age of Islam, as the Quran was able to stand up to critical thinking and questioning; and Muslims were thus schooled to be inquisitive and seek answers to every quandary. They posit that the increased reliance on Hadith, which was allegedly illogical and required the suspension of disbelief, led to the eventual downfall of scholastic pursuits in the religion.[


Article of faithSunni or Shia doctrineQuranism
Prayer (salat)Sunni pray five obligatory prayers a day, optional prayers such as those prayed by Prophet Muhammad know as sunnah salat or extra prayers known as nafl salat may be offered. Sunni Muslims touch their heads directly to the floor in contrast to Shias in prostration and fold their arms while standing in prayer. Shia Muslims pray three times a day as they join two prayers such as the evening prayer (Maghrib) and the night prayer (Isha) salat together. Shia Muslims use a plank of wood or a hard tablet made of clay from karbala to rest their heads during prostration.Shia and Sunni Islam says menstruating women should not pray.Regarding prayer Quranists fall into a few categories.[17] There is a group who combine the five prayers into three prayers like Shias.[18] There are those who pray five times a day like Sunnis. There are those who pray 2 times a day (dawn and dusk to include the times of night closest to these) because the Quran only mentions two prayers in the Quran by name. There are also the fringe groups who redefine the Arabic term used for prayer (salat) as something other than prayer. Quranists who follow Sunni forms of prayer cite the ayah 3:96 and its call for a Meccan guidance. Night prayer, often referred to as tahajjud is encouraged in the Quran but not in a specific formula as with the Sunni salat in general. See Quranic references: 17:79, 32:16-17, 51:16-19, 52:49, 73:6, 76:26. Menstruating women can pray according to many Quranists due to the reasoning that surah 4:43 does not mention menstruation in its criteria.
Charity (zakat)Sunni Muslims provide 2.5% of their wealth in a prescribed manner with formulas based on the sayings of prophet Muhammad.Quranists give the "excess" that they have according to what the Quran states.[19]
Pilgrimage to Mecca (Hajj)Pilgrimage to Mecca is performed from the 8th to 12th day of Dhu al-Hijjah, the 12th and last month of the Islamic calendar.Many Quranists object to touching the black stone of the kaaba during hajj or umrah, however all Quranists agree that it is not to be accorded any sort of special veneration or respect apart from the rest of the Ka'bah. Hajj according to some Quranists is a four month long season. This idea is held mostly by the submitters group[clarification needed].[20] Pre-islamically the hajj was a three month season beginning at the end of Ramadan,.[21][22] These three months are the "known months" that the Quran sanctions for the undertaking of pilgrimage. They are known in Arabic as 'Shawwal', 'Dhul-Qi'dah' and the entire month of 'Dhul-Hijjah.' The tradition of only performing pilgrimage during the first 10 days of 'Dhul-Hijjah' comes from the literature of hadith ascribing this practice as the preferred practice of the prophet Muhammad.
Friday congregational Prayer (Jumu'ah)Sunni Muslims attach special importance to the Friday congregational prayers and consider it to be obligatory on every healthy Muslim male.Not all Quranists attend the Friday prayer or believe it to be obligatory, even if they may not object to the practice. The modern Arabic term for Friday among Quranists is commonly understood as Day of gathering, and not just 'Friday.' The reputable Classical Arabic lexicon by Ibn Manzur Lisān al-ʿArab (لسان العرب, The Arab Tongue) states that Friday was originally known to the Arabs as "Yawm-ul-'Aruba" and not "Yawm-ul-Jumu'ah." Ibn Manzur quotes the lexicographer and historian Tha'lab who states that the first one to name Friday by the name Yawm-ul-Jumu'ah was the maternal grandfather of the prophet Muhammad, Ka'b bin Lu'ayy. As-Suhayli in his work 'Al-rawdul-unuf: Land Verdant and Pristine states "Ka'b Ibn Lu'ayy was the first person to make friday (Yawm-ul-Arbuba) a gathering. Friday was not called Yawm-ul-Jumu'ah until the advent of Islam. He was the first to call it 'Al-Jumu'ah' or 'The Gathering. The tribe of Quraish would gather around him on this day and he would address them and make mention of the advent of the prophet, making them aware that he had sired the prophet (s.a.w) and commanding them to follow him and to have faith in him (s.a.w).".[23]
Women as ImamsSome Sunni scholars believe a woman cannot lead a mixed gender congregation.Quranist scholars believe a woman can lead a mixed gender congregation.[24]
Domestic ViolenceSome Sunni and Shia scholars interpret and translate the Quran 4:34 to allow men to beat their wives.Quranist scholars reject this interpretation and translation.[25]
Tribute (jizya)Sunni scholars believe a tribute can be taken from non-Muslims living in Muslim lands.Qur'anist scholars believe this practice has no support from the Quran.[26]
"Holy War" (jihad)Some Sunni scholars believe jihad can be understood as an offensive "holy war" against non-Muslims.Some Quranist scholars believe jihad is defensive warfare.[27][28][29][30][31] They support their position with the following verses: Fight in the cause of God against those who fight you, but do not transgress, God does not like the aggressors. [Quran 2:190]
Perhaps God will grant compassion between you and those you consider enemies; and God is Omnipotent. God is Forgiving, Compassionate. God does not forbid you from those who have not fought you because of your system, nor drove you out of your homes, that you deal kindly and equitably with them. For God loves the equitable. But God does forbid you regarding those who fought you because of your system, and drove you out of your homes, and helped to drive you out. You shall not ally with them. Those who ally with them, then such are the transgressors. [Quran 60:7-9]
SlaverySome Sunni and Shia scholars believe that slavery is permissible if the slaves are non-Arabs and they are treated "kindly". They believe that slavery should not be abolished. Other Sunni and Shia scholars believe that slavery was permissible during Muhammad's lifetime, but that now it should be gradually abolished where it exists.Quranists believe that slavery is never permissible and that it should be immediately abolished where it exists. They believe that the abolition of slavery where it exists is not a mere suggestion (as some Sunni and Shia believe), but a command. They believe the master-slave relationship is a form of polytheism and violates Islam's strict monotheism. For example, one Quranist scholar felt that his original name, Qazi Ghulam Nabi (Ghulam Nabi means slave, or servant, of the Prophet), was polytheistic so he changed it to Abdullah Chakralawi (Abdullah means slave, or servant, of God) .[32] They've criticized their Sunni and Shia counterparts for ignoring the numerous commands in the Quran to emancipate slaves, like the ones below: Piety is not to turn your faces towards the east and the west, but piety is one who acknowledges God and the Last day, and the angels, and the book, and the prophets, and he gives money out of love to the near relatives, and the orphans, and the needy and the wayfarer, and those who ask, and to free the slaves, and he observes the Contact prayer, and contributes towards betterment; and those who keep their pledges when they make a pledge, and those who are patient in the face of good and bad and during persecution. These are the ones who have been truthful, and they are the righteous [Quran 2:177].
He should choose the better path. Do you know which the better path is? The freeing of slaves. [Quran 90:11-13]
They've also criticized their Sunni and Shia counterparts for manufacturing hadiths (like the contradictory accounts concerning Rayhana) that attribute the practice of inheriting slaves and acquiring them through warfare to Muhammad. They believe that these hadiths contradict other hadiths that say that he emancipated the slaves that he inherited from the pre-Islamic period (like Zayd ibn Harithah and Barakah) and that they contradict the Quran, like the verse below:
It is not for a human that God would give him the book, the authority, and the prophethood, then he would say to the people: "Be servants to me rather than to God!", rather: "Be devotees to what you have been taught of the book, and to what you studied." [Quran 3:79]
The Quranist scholar, Edip Yuksel, asserts that Sunni and Shia scholars mistranslated the phrase ma malakat aymanukum in order to justify slavery and concubinage (see footnote for 4:3 in Quran: A Reformist Translation). Ghulam Ahmed Pervez also asserted that Sunni and Shia scholars mistranslated the Quran in order to justify slavery. He argued for the abolition of slavery. Syed Ahmed Khan argued for the abolition of slavery in his book risala ibtal-i-ghulami (The Refutation of Slavery).[33] And Chiragh Ali argued for the abolition of slavery in his book The Proposed Political, Legal, and Social Reforms in the Ottoman Empire and Other Mohammadan States.
Stoning (rajm)Some Sunni scholars believe that married adulterers should be stoned to death.Some Quranists scholars believe that Quran 24:2 prescribes a punishment of 100 lashes for adultery. Additionally, they point out that, in the Quran, rajm was a pagan practice that Muslims were often threatened with (see 11:91, 18:20, 19:46, 26:116, and 36:18).[34]
Abrogation (naskh)Sunnis believe that verses of the Quran can be abrogated by other verses or by hadiths.Quranist scholars disagree. They point to verses that say that the Quran can't be abrogated:[34][35] "Shall I seek other than God as a judge when He has sent down to you this book sufficiently detailed?" Those to whom We have given the book know it is sent down from your Lord with truth; so do not be of those who have doubt. The word of your Lord has been completed with truth and justice; there is no changing His words. He is the Hearer, the Knower. [Quran 6:114-115]
When Our clear signs are recited to them, those who do not wish to meet Us said, "Bring a Quran other than this, or change it!" Say, "It is not for me to change it from my own accord, I merely follow what is inspired to me. I fear if I disobey my Lord the retribution of a great day!" [Quran 10:15]
Recite what has been inspired to you from your Lord's book, there is no changing His words, and you will not find besides Him any refuge. [Quran 18:27]
EvolutionSome Sunni scholars like Adnan Oktar, Fethullah Gülen, and Yasir Qadhi have argued against evolution.[36]In the history of evolutionary thought, the Quranist scholar Ibrahim an-Nazzam, and his student al-Jahiz, were some of the earliest Muslims to argue in favor of evolution. Modern Quranist scholars like Ghulam Ahmed Pervez,[37] T.O. Shanavas,[38] Caner Taslaman,[39] and Edip Yuksel have also argued in favor of evolution.[40][41]
CalendarSunnis follow a lunar calendar and believe that the previous luni-solar calendar was abolished.Some Quranists still follow the luni-solar calendar.[42][43]
CircumcisionSome Sunni scholars do not consider circumcision to be necessary to be a Muslim but it is highly recommended as part of Fitra, other Sunni scholars consider it obligatory. Most Shia traditions regard the practice obligatory.Circumcision, either male or female, plays no role in Quranist theology, per ayahs 95:4 and 4:119.
DressSunni Muslims are encouraged to dress in the way of the prophet Muhammad or his wives. Some Sunni scholars emphasize covering of all body including the face in public whereas some scholars exclude the face from hijab. Shias believe that the hijab must cover around the perimeter of the face and up to the chin.Clothing rules plays no part in Quranist theology other than that the person dress modestly as surah 24:30–31 says. For example hijabs or beards are not necessary.[44]
Emergence of Anti-Christ (Dajjal) and the MahdiSunni Muslims believe that when the world has widespread corruption, the Mahdi will come and fight the Anti-Christ. Shias also believe in the emergence of the Mahdi, but unlike the Sunni doctrine, they claim that the Mahdi has already been born. Shia Muslims believe that the Mahdi is hiding for a period known as the occultation, and will emerge and fight the Anti-Christ (Dajjal) at a time prescribed by God.Quranists generally do not believe in the emergence of the Imam Mahdi or dajjal, since they're not mentioned in the Quran.[45]
FoodSunni Muslims consider food slaughtered by the Christians and Jews, to be religiously consumable. Some Sunni Muslims who generally forbid using the left hand. This is because the right hand is considered cleaner due to the tradition of using the left hand in order to clean oneself after having used the toilet.Quranists can eat food produced by Christians and Jews, as instructed in the ayah 5:5. Some believe that animals produced by them still must be slaughtered with a blessing, prayer or praise to God alone before being slaughtered as is shown in the ayat 6:138. The Quran forbids that animals die by a blow, so techniques for animal slaughter common in Western countries are regarded as by Quranists as unlawful. Also Quranists can consume food with both hands, as there are no prohibitions on eating with the left hand in the Quran.


Contemporary scholars such as Gibril Haddad have commented on the apostatic nature of a wholesale denial of the probativeness of the Sunnah according to the Sunni sect, writing "it cannot be imagined that one reject the entire probativeness of the Sunna and remain a Muslim".[46] In his essay, "The Probativeness of the Sunna", Haddad explains that the foundation of Islam is the Qur'an, which cannot be described as God's word when one unconditionally rejects the probativeness of the Sunna (since the fact that the Qur'an is God's Word was not established by other than Muhammad's explicit statement that this was God's Word and His Book). As this statement is part of the Sunna/Hadith Literature, to say that the Sunna is no proof is no different than a denial of an integral part of the religion according to Haddad. He also quotes from Yusuf ibn abd al-Barr, Ibn Hazm as well as other renowned early traditional scholars such as al-Shafi'i, al-Nawawi, Qadi Ayyad and Ibn Hajar.
The Grand Mufti of Pakistan Muhammad Rafi Usmani has also criticised Quranists in his lecture Munkareen Hadith (refuters of Hadith); he states:
The Qur’aan, which they claim to follow, denies the faith of the one who refuses to obey the Messenger (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) and does not accept his ruling: “But no, by your Lord, they can have no Faith, until they make you (O Muhammad) judge in all disputes between them, and find in themselves no resistance against your decisions, and accept (them) with full submission.” [al-Nisa’ 4:65 – interpretation of the meaning]


Quran manuscript from the 7th century CE, written on vellum in the Hijazi script.
Some scholars believe, based on numerous historical accounts, that the Quranist sentiment dates back to the time of Muhammad.[47] According to one account, Muhammad said:
Do not write anything from me except the Qur'an and [if] someone writes anything from me other than the Qur'an, destroy it.[48]
Another account says:
It was reported to the Prophet that some individuals had put his traditions into writing. He mounted the pulpit and after praising God he said, 'What are these books that you are writing as reported to me? I am only a human being. Anyone who keeps such traditions must destroy them.' We collected those traditions and asked, 'O Messenger of Allah! shall we narrate hadith from you?' The Prophet said, 'Sometimes, you narrate hadith from me; there is nothing wrong with it. Anyone who intentionally attributes a lie to me has certainly prepared for himself a place in the hellfire.[48]
Muhammad's prohibition of hadith was continued by his successor, Abu Bakr. According to one account, Aisha said:
My father compiled 500 sayings of the Prophet. One night he was sleeping but he was not at ease. I was sad and I asked him about the reason behind his uneasiness. As the sun rose up, he said, 'My daughter, bring out the traditions in your possessions. I brought them. He asked for fire and burned them.
According to another account, Abu Bakr said:
You report certain statements from the Messenger of Allah and on which you differ among yourselves. After you the differences will multiply. Do not narrate anything from the Messenger of Allah and if someone asks you, tell them, 'There is the Book of Allah between you and us; let us take as lawful (halal) whatever it permits and unlawful (haram) whatever it prohibits.
Muhammad's prohibition of hadith was continued by Abu Bakr's successor, Umar. According to one account:
'Umar ibn al-Khattab wanted to record the traditions (sunan) and for this purpose he consulted the Prophet's Companions who also encouraged him to do so. 'Umar reflected on this work for a month, asking for guidance from God until his resolve became stronger and said, 'I wanted to put the sunan into writing but I remember that communities (aqwam) before you compiled a book [regarding the sunnah of their respective prophets] and focused their attention to it while disregarding the Book of God. By God! Indeed I will never mix the Book of God with anything else!
According to another account:
It was reported to 'Umar ibn al-Khattab that there were written traditions and collections of traditions among the people. He considered it unfavorable and said, 'O people! It was reported to me that book [of hadiths] exist in your midst. [Be it known that] the firmest of them is the most beloved in the sight of God. When they brought the books to me so that I could express my opinion about them, the people thought that I would review and modify them according to textual differences and variations. However, as soon as the books were brought to me, I put all of them on fire.[48]
According to another account, Muhammad's companion Zayd ibn Thabit said:
The Prophet commanded us not to write down hadith.
Quranist scholars believe the prohibition of hadith is permanent; however, some Sunni scholars believe it was only temporary. According to them, the prohibition was so that people wouldn't confuse the Quran with the hadith during the compilation of the Quran. They believe that once the compilation of the Quran was completed, the prohibition of hadith was abrogated. Other Sunni scholars don't find this explanation for the prohibition of hadith convincing. Muhmud Abu Rayyah said concerning this explanation:
This justification cannot convince any scholar or man of intellect, nor is it acceptable to any inquisitive researcher unless we regard the traditions as of equal elegance with the Qur'an and believe that the hadith's mode of inimitability (a'jaz) is the same as that of the Qur'an – a claim which will be unacceptable even to the proponents of this theory because this is tantamount to the invalidity of the Qur'an's inimitability and the breaking down of the foundation of the Qur'an's miracles.
During the Abassid Caliphate, the poet, theologian, and jurist, Ibrahim an-Nazzam founded a madhhab called the Nazzamiyya that rejected the authority of hadiths and relied on the Quran alone.[49][50] His famous student, al-Jahiz, was also critical of those who followed hadith, referring to his traditionalist opponents as al-nabita (the contemptible). But unlike his teacher, he didn't completely reject the authority of hadith. The 13th century scholar Izz al-Din ibn Hibatullah ibn Abi l-Hadid questioned the authenticity of many hadiths but, like al-Jahiz, didn't completely reject its authority. A contemporary of an-Nazzam, al-Shafi'i, tried to refute the arguments of the Quranists and establish the authority of hadiths in his book kitab jima'al-'ilm.[52] And ibn Qutaybah tried to refute an-Nazzam's arguments against hadith in his book ta'wil mukhtalif al-hadith.
In South Asia during the 19th century, the Ahle Quran movement formed partially in reaction to the Ahle Hadith whom they considered to be placing too much emphasis on hadith. Many Ahle Quran adherents were formerly adherents of Ahle Hadith but found themselves incapable of accepting certain hadiths. In Egypt during the early 20th century, the ideas of Quranists like Muhammad Tawfiq Sidqi grew out of Salafism - i.e. a rejection of taqlid.

Quranist organisations and branches

The Ahle Qur'an

"Ahle Qur’an" is an organisation formed by Abdullah Chakralawi, who described the Quran as "ahsan hadith", meaning most perfect hadith and consequently claimed it does not need any addition. His movement rely entirely on the chapters and verses of the Qur’an. Chakralawi's position was that the Qur’an itself was the most perfect source of tradition and could be exclusively followed. According to Chakralawi, Muhammad could receive only one form of revelation (wahy), and that was the Qur'an. He argues that the Qur'an was the only record of divine wisdom, the only source of Muhammad's teachings, and that it superseded the entire corpus of hadith, which came later. Ahle Quran scholars may use Tafsir when pursuing the interpretations of the Quran.


Tolu-e-Islam ("Resurgence of Islam") is an organization based in Pakistan, with followers throughout the world. The movement was initiated by Ghulam Ahmed Pervez, a Qur'anic scholar. In his writings and speeches, he re-interpreted Qur'anic verses with little or no emphasis on hadith.[citation needed] Tolu-e-Islam followers do not reject all hadiths; however, they only accept hadiths which "are in accordance with the Quran or do not stain the character of the Prophet or his companions". The organization is loosely controlled. The organization publishes and distributes books, pamphlets, and recordings of Pervez's teachings.[60]


In the United States it was associated with Rashad Khalifa, founder of the United Submitters International. The group popularized the phrase: The Qur'an, the whole Qur'an, and nothing but the Qur'an.[15] After Khalifa declared himself the Messenger of the Covenant, he was rejected by other Muslim scholars as an apostate of Islam. Later, he was assassinated in 1990 by a sunni terrorist group. His followers believe that there is a mathematical structure in the Qur'an, based on the number 19. A group of Submitters in Nigeria was started by Isa Othman.


The Kala Kato are a Nigerian group of Quranists. Their name means "a mere man said it" in the Hausa language, referring to the hadith attributed to Muhammad. The Kala Kato rely entirely on the Quran and they are found among poor communities across northern Nigeria.

Notable Quranists

  • Kassim Ahmad (1933–present) – a Malaysian Muslim reformer and philosopher. He received his Bachelor of Art’s degree in Malay language and literature, but also read widely in political science and Islamic philosophy. He taught Malay language and literature for a time in the London’s School of Oriental and African Studies and then in a secondary school in Penang. His 1986 Malaysian book "Hadith: A Re-evaluation" was met with controversy and some scholars declared him an apostate from Islam for suggesting that "the hadith are sectarian, anti-science, anti-reason and anti-women". He is also the author of the book "Islamic Renaissance: A New Era Has Started". His students currently run a Qurʾāniyūn magazine.[63]
  • Shabbir Ahmed (1946–present) – a Pakistani American physician. He is author of “The Qur’an As It Explains Itself”, or QXP, a non-literal translation of the meaning of the Qur'an in plain English. He interprets the meaning of the words and phrases in Quran by comparing them to other instances where they are used elsewhere in the Qur'an.
  • Chiragh Ali (1844–1895) – an Indian Muslim scholar. As a colleague of Sir Sayyid Ahmad Khan, he made a contribution to the school of Muslim Modernists and presented reformative thinking about the Qu'ran. He is author of the books "A Critical Exposition of the Popular Jihad" and "The Proposed Political, Legal, and Social Reforms in the Ottoman Empire and Other Mohammadan States".
  • Ruby Amatulla (?–present) – an American business woman who is an activist promoting understanding and constructive engagements between the West and the Muslim world. She is a writer and a speaker for the cause. She is president of the non-profit organization, Muslims for Peace, Justice and Progress (MPJP).
  • Khwaja Ahmad-ud-Din Amritsari (1861–1936) – an Indian Muslim reformer. He was founder of the Anjuman-i-Ummat-i-Muslima and author of the book "Mu'jizat al-Quran".
  • Gamal al-Banna (1920–2013) – an Egyptian author, and trade unionist. He is the youngest brother of Hassan al-Banna (1906–49), the founder of the Muslim Brotherhood. Unlike his brother, however, Gamal al-Banna is a liberal scholar and well known for his criticism of Islamic traditional narratives rejecting 635 Hadiths of Bukhari and Muslim which he finds contradictory to Qur'an and its message of justice, freedom, and tolerance. Gamal al-Banna is also the great-uncle of the well-known Swiss Muslim Tariq Ramadan.
  • Ali Behzadnia (1941–present) – an Iranian American physician. He is a lifetime student of Islam and is interested in Quranic research and Interfaith Dialogue. He is socio-politically active and was a member in the first cabinet after the revolution in Iran, as Deputy Minister of Health and welfare, acting Minister of Education and associate professor in Medicine at Tehran University. He opposed the non-democratic religious regime of Iran, and returned to the United States, after nearly two years.
  • Maurice Bucaille (1920–1998) – a French physician, member of the French Society of Egyptology, and an author. Bucaille practiced medicine from 1945–82 and was a specialist in gastroenterology. In 1976 Bucaille published his book, "The Bible, The Qur'an and Science" which argued that the Qur'an contains no statements contradicting established scientific facts.
  • Tawfik Hamid (1961–present) – an author from Egypt who opposes Islamic fundamentalism.[69][70]
  • Aidar Kaipov (?–present) – a Kazakh journalist and Islamic reformer.
  • Rashad Khalifa (1935–1990) – an Egyptian-American biochemist and Islamic reformer. In his book "Quran, Hadith and Islam" and his English translation of the Quran, he argued that the Quran alone is the source of Islamic belief and practice. He was also the initial discoverer of the numerical structure of the Quran.
  • Sam Khalifa (1963–present) – a retired American infielder who spent all of three seasons in Major League Baseball (MLB) with the Pittsburgh Pirates (1985–1987). He is currently the only Muslim of Arab descent to have played in the Major Leagues. His father, Rashad Khalifa, was murdered on January 31, 1990
  • Syed Ahmed Khan (1817–1898) – an Indian scholar. He is often considered the founder of the modernist movement within Islam, noted for his application of "rational science" to the Quran and Hadith and his conclusion that the Hadith were not legally binding on Muslims. His student, Chiragh Ali, went further, suggesting all the hadith were fabrications.
  • Cesar Adib Majul (1923–2004) – a Filipino American philosopher and scholar. He was educated at the University of the Philippines and Cornell University. He was Professor Emeritus and former Dean at the Institute of Islamic Studies at the University of the Philippines. He was the author of the books "Muslims in the Philippines," "Muhammad Iqbal and his philosophy of the ego," "The Names of Allah in Relation to the Mathematical Structure of Quran," and co-author of "Islam and Conflict Resolution: Theories and Practices". He was acknowledged by Rashad Khalifa for discovering parts of the numerical structure of the Quran.
  • Irshad Manji (1968–present) – a Canadian author, journalist and an advocate of a "reform and progressive" interpretation of Islam. She was a participant of the Muslim Heretics Conference and the author of "Allah, Liberty and Love". Drawing extensively on the Qur'an, Manji describes a universal God that loves us enough to give us choices and the capacity to make them.
  • Ahmed Subhy Mansour (1949–present) – an Egyptian American scholar. He is a recognised Islamic scholar and cleric, with expertise in Islamic history, culture, theology, and politics.He founded a small group of Quranists, but was exiled from Egypt and is now living in the United States as a political refugee. One of his followers, Egyptian blogger Reda Abdel-Rahman was freed on January 2009 after being detained for a year. Abdel-Rahman was imprisoned for writing blogs that reject the sunnah and hadith, and claimed he was tortured in order to reveal the password to his e-mail. Sheikh Mansour was fired from Al-Azhar University after expressing his hadith rejector views.
  • Arnold Mol (?–present) – a Dutch theologian. Born and raised in the Netherlands as a Catholic, he converted to Islam at the age of 20. He is a co-founder of the Deen Research Center.
  • Aisha Y. Musa (?–present) – an American Islamic scholar. She received her Ph.D. in Arabic and Islamic Studies from Harvard University. She is Assistant Professor of Religion and Middle Eastern Studies and Islamic Civilization at Colgate University and author of “Hadith as Scripture: Discussions on the Authority of Prophetic Traditions in Islam” and “A Quranically Based Vision of Multiculturalism and Inter-Religious Relations”.
  • Martha Schulte-Nafeh (1953–present) – an American Islamic scholar. She received her Ph.D. in Near Eastern Studies - Arabic Language and Linguistics from the University of Arizona. She was the former Director at the Center for Arabic Studies Abroad (CASA), and is current Lecturer III, Arabic at the University of Michigan. She is a co-author of "Quran: A Reformist Translation".
  • Ibrahim an-Nazzam (775–845) – an Afro Iraqi philosopher, theologian, jurist, historian, and poet. He founded a madhhab called the Nazzamiyya. He was a nephew of the Mu'tazilite theologian Abu al-Hudhayl al-'Allaf, and al-Jahiz was one of his students.
  • Justice Isa Othman (?–?) – a Nigerian High Court judge from Maiduguri. Until his death, he was a leader of the Quranists in Nigeria. He was influenced by the ideas of Rashad Khalifa, which were brought to Nigeria by Alhaji Mohammed Alabe.
  • Yasar Nuri Ozturk (1951–present) – a Turkish theologian, lawyer, columnist and a former member of Turkish parliament. He is the founder of the People's Ascent Party. He has served as both faculty member and dean at the Istanbul University for over 26 years and taught Islamic thought at the Theological Seminary of Barrytown in New York for one year as a guest professor. He is the author of the book "The Islam of the Qur'an" and a Turkish translation of the Quran.
  • Ghulam Ahmed Pervez (1903–1985) – a prominent Pakistani Islamic scholar, famous in the area around Lahore. He urged the Muslims to ponder deeply over the Message of the Quran. He was the founder of Tolu-e-Islam.
  • Ma Qixi (1857–1914) – a Chinese Islamic scholar and reformer. In 1901 he started a movement that emphasized the study of the Quran as the only scripture as opposed to other Sufi texts. Like the Chinese Muslim reformer, Hu Songshan, he also advocated modern education and study of the Chinese and Arabic languages for men and women.
  • Abdur Rab (?–present) – a Bangladeshi economist. He received his Bachelor and Master degrees from the University of Dhaka and a doctorate from Harvard University. He is author of the book "Exploring Islam in a New Light: A View from the Quranic Perspective".
  • Anisur-Rahman (?–present) – a Bangladeshi physicist. He is author of the books "Why Quran alone," "The Glorious Quran and Modern Science: The Greatest Surprise," and "God and Natural Disasters".
  • Ahmad Rashad (1949–present) – an American sportscaster (mostly with NBC Sports) and former professional football player. An All-American running back and wide receiver, he was the fourth overall pick in the 1972 NFL Draft, drafted by the St. Louis Cardinals. He also played for the Buffalo Bills (1974–1976), the Seattle Seahawks (1976), and, most notably, the Minnesota Vikings (1976–1982), where he earned four Pro Bowl selections from 1978 to 1981. He converted to Islam in 1972. His last name comes from his mentor in St. Louis, Rashad Khalifa.
  • Malam Isiyaka Salisu (?–present) – a Nigerian Islamic scholar and reformer. He is one of the most well-known Quranist leaders in Nigeria. His group, called Yan Kala Kato, is often mistaken for a militant group called Yan Tatsine (also known as Maitatsine), an unrelated cult-like group founded by Muhammadu Marwa. Marwa was killed in 1980. Marwa's successor, Musa Makaniki, was executed in 2006. And another leader of Yan Tatsine, Malam Badamasi, was killed in 2009.
  • Mohammed Shahrour (1938–present) – a Syrian reformer and Emeritus Professor of Civil Engineering at the University of Damascus who writes extensively about Islam. Shahrour was trained as an engineer in Syria, the former Soviet Union and Ireland. Like other Quraniyoon Muslims, he does not consider Hadith, however, he does not belong to the same school as Ahmed Subhy Mansour.
  • T.O. Shanavas (?–present) – an Indian American pediatrician. He is author of the book "Islamic Theory of Evolution: The Missing Link between Darwin and the Origin of Species" and co-author of "And God said, 'Let there be evolution!': Reconciling the Book of Genesis, the Qur'an, and the Theory of Evolution".
  • Muhammad Tawfiq Sidqi (1881–1920) – an Egyptian physician and reformer. In his essay in al-Manar (magazine), "al-islam huwa al-quran wahdahu," he argued that Islamic thought and practice should be based on the Quran alone.
  • Edip Yuksel (1957–present) – a Kurdish American philosopher, lawyer, and advocate of the Qurʾāniyūn movement. He received his B.A. degrees in Philosophy and Near Eastern Studies and J.D. degree from the University of Arizona. He is the author of "NINETEEN: God's Signature in Nature and Scripture," "Manifesto for Islamic Reform," and a co-author of "Quran: A Reformist Translation". He currently teaches philosophy and logic at Pima Community College and medical ethics and criminal law courses at Brown Mackie College.

Friday, July 24, 2009

R.I.P. >> Teoh Beng Hock

There is need to find out for certain what happened in the case of Teoh Beng Hock and to punish those who are responsible.
I HOPE there will be an independent Royal Commission of Inquiry formed to investigate the tragic death of Teoh Beng Hock. Anything less will simply not satisfy our demand for the truth.
Unfortunately for the nation, faith in the legal system of this country is very low. Therefore, for the sake of answering the many questions surrounding this young man’s death, a body which is outside the system and is trusted to be impartial must be created and left alone to do its job.
There is absolutely no point in telling the people to place their trust in the police investigation. In high profile political cases like these, the police are, rightly so, seen as little more than the servant not of the people but of the government of the day.
The MACC interrogated this young man for hours. He was not even a suspect, merely a witness. Yet they kept him in custody into the early hours of the morning.
This may appear to be a determination to do one’s duty to the utmost (after all corruption is corruption even if it involves RM10).
But the issue is not simply about fighting corruption, it is about double standards.
The victim was a worker for the Selangor Pakatan government. Specifically, he was working for a DAP member of the state legislative body.
There are huge cases of supposed corruption in Selangor, yet, the MACC or its previous incarnation the ACA has not tackled these cases with even the slightest bit of enthusiasm as they have with the DAP state legislators accused of wrong doing.
Why is this so? It is because this is a political case and if Teoh had not been working for who he did, he would not have been in that building at all.
It is, however, not a racial case. At the small vigil held at the MACC building the day Teoh died, and at the Kelana Jaya rally, not once did anyone mention race.
Not one person accused the MACC of being Malay bigots. It was not mentioned by the speakers or even people in the crowd.
People were angry, yes, but they were angry over the needless death of a young Malaysian man, not a young ethnic Chinese man.
They were angry at what they think was the abuse of power by MACC officers, not the abuse of power by Malay officers.
And here you have some saying that the outrage felt by the people is racially based and an attempt to topple a Malay institution.
Malay institution? The MACC stands for Malaysian Anti-Corrup-tion Commission, not Malay Anti-Corruption Commission. Either these people are too moronic to see the difference, or they are up to something more insidious.
By painting this as a race issue instead of what it truly is, a human rights and democracy issue, they seek to divert attention from the crux of the matter.
It is also possible that they truly believe that government institutions like the MACC are supposed to be Malay institutions, in which case they show themselves to be the utter racists that they are and, if this is so, they should be treated with nothing but the utmost contempt.
A young man with his entire future ahead of him died needlessly last week. He leaves behind a grieving family, a devastated fiancée and an unborn child who will grow up without a father.
On the most basic compassionate level, the need to find out for certain what happened and to punish those who are responsible is imperative.
But the death of Teoh Beng Hock is more than just about the death of one man. It is about the future of democracy in this nation.
At a time when young men and women feel the change in the air, when they feel a difference can finally come and they seek to do nothing more than serve the public in thankless tasks, they see that this desire to do good can be rewarded with death. What does this bode for the future?
Teoh’s story is a tragedy for those who loved him and those who knew him.
It is also, sadly, a tragedy for the entire nation; a tragedy made all the worse if we do not go on striving for the values and ideals that this young man obviously believed in.
The creation of an independent investigative body is necessary.