Jumping to conclusions

I saw a post this morning in an FB  group entitled Sisters Adhering to Aĥsana Al-Ĥadīthi (The Best Hadiyth) – THE QUR’AN ALONE (Closed group, link removed)

A new thread was started by someone with this post:

“What a cult. You follow a person who called himself a prophet of god-Rashad Khalifa. He created this stupidity of hadith being rejected. Good thing he was assasinated. And now he’s burning in hell. I suggest you all comback to the ONE TRUE REAL Islam. Unfortunately Satan has gotten to you all. Remember Rashad Khalifa was an idiot moron. Follow Muhammed pbuh.”

My response :

“Quranists believe that the Quran is the sole source of divine guidance as opposed to there being any 2nd or 3rd sources. This term is not to be confused with following the teachings of Rashad Khalifa. Rashad Khalifa claimed to be a messenger and rejected 2 verses of the Quran, presented a “miracle code” using the number 19 and his teachings (it seems to me) usually accuse the ones who do not agree with his approach as disbelievers or polytheists. In my honest opinion, his translation is also biased to fit his beliefs, and the translation of the Arabic to English is not consistent within itself (as is the case with most translations, unfortunately). 

Quranists on the other hand do not reject 2 verses and have a more inclusive attitude which does not seek to label other approaches to islam as wrong, heretical or blasphemous. They will also usually endeavour to investigate the original Arabic words in the Quran and the context of the verses, chapters, examples and parables to strengthen their own personal understanding of the text. Please also see “A Quranists response to the term ‘Hadith Rejection‘ ” for more info. 

Furthermore Quranists believe that we are to take examples from the Prophets as described in the Quranic stories. A fantastic article about the “Prophetic Examples from the Quran” can be found here, which discusses the premise that “the only thing containing the example of the Prophet is the Quran itself”. “

Definition of a Sect

Here is my reply to a thread on FB seeing as it is too long to put on the group.

Salaam Aleykum

It sounds like your understanding of what the definition of a sect is, and my understanding of it is different. As a Quranist, I welcome differing understandings and am motivated to learn more, especially in terms of what the Quran’s definition of a sect is. In fact I did do some research on the different words used in the Qur’an for sect, party, faction, group etc (more on this can be found in “justifying the Quranist / Quranism terms”  and on this word study which I think you might find to be of interest.

I do believe there is a difference between what a sect is defined as in English and what the “arabic word that is translated as sect” is from the Quran. I think the most important thing is to find out what the Quran says.

I will comment on your comments (not to argue, just to give my reply) 🙂

//1. A sect is a group with distinctive religious beliefs.

Quranists believe the Quran is the book of God, that it’s the perfect words and laws sent down to man. In addition to this they reject the historical recordings and doctrines that the other sects within islam follow. This is a very distinctive belief.//

What Quranists reject can be seen here: http://www.quranists.net/2011/05/11/the-term-hadith-rejector/

//2. It can refer to any organization (not necessarily religious) that breaks away from a larger one to follow a different set of rules and principles.

– This is exactly what the quranists do.//

It’s all relative. At some point the majority were technically quranists following the Quran because the Bukhari’s Hadiths hadn’t come along yet. So the ones who “broke away” (or started using a different approach!) to start with have now become the majority. If that is used then as a definition of “breaking away” even though the intent is to go back to the original method, then it seems like an improper use of saying they are a sect. Maybe it’s just because the word “sect” has negative connotations. It’s a bit like telling the bird whose eggs were thrown out of the nest by a cuckoo that she has no right to claim her nest back because it means she will become labelled as a “sectarian” for being the one who creates a fuss to stand up for her rights. But in the case of the Quranist bird, the view is that there’s room in the nest to share peacefully. It seems that at every twist and turn and every opportunity there will be some way to justify that upholding the truth and turning away from falsehood means you are in sect.

//3. It can be described as newly formed religious groups that form to protest elements of their parent religion.

– Also, exactly what quranists do.//

Parent religion – not sure I agree with this term seeing as I converted to islam based on the Quran not based on Sunni doctrine. I don’t believe Traditional Islam to be the parent religion. It is however the more well known, and is recognised as the face of Islam. However I can see the analogy of Sunni islam being seen as the Parent Religion due to its centre stage presence. I like to think that the Grandparent religion takes precedence though!

Of course if it were not for Traditional Islam, Quranism would not exist – it would simply be called islam, as defined by the Quran. Traditional Islam has taken centre stage and that means that by calling myself a Muslim it will be understood that I am a Traditionalist who follows Quran AND extra-Quranic sources eg Hadiths and that I agree with the Man made Sharia laws whereas I am not and I do not. I am a Quranist. I could just carry on saying “I am not in any sect, I am just a muslim” and conceal my approach and end up confusing and misleading people. But I prefer honesty. A couple of articles about the “Just Muslim term”  and Upfront and Honest  

//4. Their motivation tends to be situated in accusations of apostasy or heresy in the parent denomination.

– This is also what many quranists do. Maybe not condemning the sunnis and shi’ites but they most certainly say they are the “wrong path” and in this manner claims they are on the “right” path.//

I agree that not all attitudes are representative of the ideology. I guess the best answer would be to not judge Quranism by quranists! 🙂 Certainly this attitude you described is discussed in this article: An Analysis of Quranic Fundamentalism 

If my understanding of what the Quran says led me to believe that the Quran is not the sole source of Divine guidance, then I would agree that it would be an indication that being a Quranist is not the correct way, due to the definition of a Quranist being one who does believe that the Quran IS the sole source of divine guidance.

However it would be hypocritical of me to believe that the Quran says it is not the sole source and then still carry on using only the Scripture to judge by.

So from my own understanding, the Quran DOES lead me to believe there are no second or third sources. And that’s why I am a Quranist. Just because I believe what I believe does not make someone else’s belief any less valid or any better.

There are a couple of good articles about variation : Multiple paths to salvation  and On the name Quranism

I am not saying I’m right and you are wrong or anyone else is right or wrong. I just acknowledge my beliefs and understandings may differ from others. Not just in my understanding of the Quran but in my understanding of the best way to (for example) be a parent, the best way manage one’s time, the best way to chop onions etc etc – I think these are all approaches based on thinking and reasoning and using logic. If semantics have their way and by the English dictionary definition of a sect it can be proven without a doubt that I am a sectarian because I believe the Quran is the sole source of divine guidance, then I can either accept it or refute it. To me it seems that whether I accept it or not doesn’t really make that much difference to be honest, for the following reasons:

There are enough verses in the Qur’an which justify making choices (judging) according to what the scripture says 5:45 wamanlam yahkum bima anzala Allahu faola-ikahumu alththalimoona (not quoted the full verse – please check all the refs and see the whole verse and context to verify – don’t take my word for it!) and enough verses pertaining to the groups who obey God 34:20 fareeqan mina almu/mineena and the groups who are the party of God 5:56 and 58:22 hizba Allahi and the one about Musa coming back down the mountain and his brother begging him not to seize him by his beard for not getting involved and telling the bani israel to stop worshipping the calf 20:94 khasheetu an taqoolafarraqta bayna banee isra-eela  and Musa’s own “shīʿatihi” (28:15 ) Also 37:79 – 83 is referring to Nuh, in a positive way – that peace is to be upon him and the good doers are to be rewarded, – he was of the believing slaves/servants and the others were drowned and indeed from among his shīʿatihi was Ibrahim.

Negative uses of the word shiya’an :
30:32 – do not divide the deen (farraqoo deen) and become shiya’an. My understanding is that if I hold fast to the Scripture (like John was instructed to do in 19:12) then that seems a good way to not break away. (61:9 – He is the One who sent His Messenger with the Huda and the deen l-haqq… so I understand this to be that the deen is in the Message that the Messenger brought which is the Quran. So again by saying I am a Quranist who holds fast to the Quran then this is not dividing the deen. My understanding of “dividing the deen ” is to accept parts of the Quran and reject parts of it or say that a second divine source abrogates part of the Quran or adds to it. Just my understanding. I could be wrong. (Farraqoo al-deen is discussed in depth here: Farraqoo al-deen)

28:4 Firawn exalted himself in the land and made his people into shiyaʿan. So Firawn gave each people a different set of religious beliefs? I don’t see it as that given the context so the English definition of sect does not fit here. He actually divided up the people into ones who would be slaughtered and ones who would be spared/let live.

54:51 ashyāʿakum – this is addressing the ones who disbelieved and the criminals. So again a sect with a set of religious beliefs doesn’t seem (to me) to apply here for the definition of ashyāʿakum.

Just my understanding, which could be incorrect. InshaaAllah we will all be guided and increased in knowledge. Allah knows best and it is He who I fear. If Allah does not want me to be in a sect then of course I will hope that I will not be judged to have been in one. If Allah wants me to be in the Party of God, then by doing what I’m doing I hope I will be judged to have done the best I can to be in it. We are all in the same boat trying to get it right, the only way we know how. InshaaAllah (God Willing) there are enough SUBUL (paths) along the Siratal Mustaqim (Straight way) that we can all be right. I have faith in God’s Words from 2:112.

Salaam Aleykum

The False Justifications for a Sunni Khilafah

I was astounded today when I read a response to justify the Sunni institution of the Khilafah (Caliphate):

Evidence 1

“And rule between them by that which Allah revealed to you, and do not follow their vain desires away from the truth which came to you”. [ 5:48]

Allah (swt) has ordered the Prophet to rule between Muslims by that which He (swt) revealed to him and has obliged Muslims to restrict themselves to all the rules of the Shari’ah. An order of Allah (swt) to the Prophet is an order to the entire Ummah, unless there is evidence which limits the order to him. In this case there is no such evidence, so the order to rule by all that Allah has revealed is binding for all the Muslims.

Because the word Ma (what) is general in its meaning, it signifies that the order refers to all of the aspects of governing that have been revealed, and not merely a part of it.

This order to the prophet has been given in a decisive manner, and does not leave room for doubt or alternative meanings orunderstandings.

Evidence 2

“..Verily the ‘Hukm’ (command, Judgment) is for none but Allah..” [12:40]

This ayah states that the privilege of rule is reserved for Allah alone. In fact, it is an aspect of tauhid to refer to Allah for solutions to all of life’s affairs, and one of the names of Allah is “The Legislator”.

Evidence 3

“Whoever does not judge by that which Allah has revealed, they are disbelievers” [5:44]

“Whosoever does not judge by that which Allah has revealed, such are oppressors” [5:45]

“Whosoever does not judge by that which Allah has revealed, such are transgressors” [5:47]

Whoever does not govern with what Allah has revealed is of the disbelievers, or oppressors, or transgressors. Again, because the word Ma (what) in this verse is general, so it includes everything that Allah has revealed.

Anyone who knows the above ayat would be sad at their miscontextualised use. Lets begin with 5/48. The author starts his quote with ‘And rule between them by that which Allah revealed to you’ . How do you apply a verse which begins with an ‘and’? Obviously you must read 5/48 in full and when you do you will see this:

And We have revealed to you,the Book in truth, confirming that which preceded it of the Scripture and as a criterion over it. So judge between them by what Allah has revealed …

As you can see, the author’s allegation about the ‘maa’ and general use is patently false. It is not general, it refers to the Quran. Nothing else is mentioned. You should write the author to withdraw such a poor use of the Quran.

As for the khilafah, it is an institiution which has no basis in the Quran. It’s not that the Quran rejects the notion of a government. Rather it rejects the ideas of classical Sharia law. A great example would be blasphemy and apostasy. The Quran simply has no provisions for the two and whatever punishment stipulated is therefore unquranic.