Birt saw it coming

I found an interesting article written by Yahya Birt, where he speaks about how the Internet has changed the way Muslims access information and what he sees as the future for Islamic material online:

A study by Nature magazine surveyed forty two corresponding articles in both and found 162 factual errors in Wikipedia and 123 in Britannica, so the difference is less than we might think. Yet Wikipedia, with greater resources of peer review, has been shown to correct itself more quickly. And it is – unlike Britannica – making the inheritance of human learning available to the world for free.

So rather than Sheikh Google, Wiki-Islam provides a better possible future for Islam online, amenable to its unchurched nature. Creative collaboration between scholars, experts, intellectuals and Muslim publics would allow for the social and intellectual process of ijma and ijtihad to become dynamic, relevant and infinitely refinable. The internet is no panacea: real-world conditions of authoritarianism in the Muslim world, the war on terror and intellectual conservatism may stymie unlocking the true potential of Wiki-Islam. But a crucial first step nonetheless to unlocking that potential is to recognize the collaborative creativity the digital age offers to the Muslim.

Our very own Quranist Matrix is an attempt at doing exactly what Yahya Birt envisaged back in 2008 🙂

Free-Mind’s ‘Monotheist’ Translation

Free-minds recently had a poll where they asked what’s the best name for their translation. You can read the entire thread here. The overwhelming opinion on this issue is that it should be called ‘The Quran – A Monotheist Translation’.

How arrogant can you get! Are you REALLY a monotheist? Ibrahim who is said to have ‘deeni haneefa’ (the peak of deen) fulfilled all the concepts of his lord (2/124) and was made imam to mankind (2/125).  Ibrahim did not call himself a ‘muwahid’ (monotheist in Arabic). Are these guys anywhere close to Ibrahim’s status? I know I’m not and I don’t see any of them even speaking publically beyond cyberspace. How on earth are they monotheists then? Ibrahim’s status is an ATTAINMENT not simply something one says and makes it so.

And what of the insinuation that other translations are NOT monotheist? By other translations, we mean of course those by Traditionalist Islam. Are they not monotheist? From Free-minds discourse, we know they are called ‘sectarian’ and ‘polytheists’ (by taking hadith as a source of law). This is the most superficial nonsense I’ve ever heard.

One does not become a monotheist by dropping hadith. I hope the free-minds folks would admit their own subjectivity. Call it ‘Free-minds’ translation – that’s what it is

October Newsletter and Conference Announcement

The October edition of QNN (Quranists Network Newsletter) is out now! Subscribe here to receive it: This issue includes: Quranists Network Winter Conference announcement and the first article in our Typology Series.

Notes on bayt and buyūt

… In houses which God permitted their raising, and therein His name is vivified…


A just society, one based on the guidance found in chapter 24, promotes good social organisation, interaction and laws.  In this pursuit the light mentioned in 24/35 – where God is the light of the heavens and the earth – is found in buyūt (houses) that bring to life [dhik’r] the attributes of God.  Raising these buyūt is essential to bring about the society envisioned by the Quran, as reflected in 2/189:

… it is not the righteousness that you bring the buyūt from their backs but the righteous is one who takes guard.  And bring forth the buyūt from their gates…

This bringing forth of God’s buyūt, (institutions and systems that vivify His names), is seen in the stories of several Prophets.  Musa rejected the nourishment of Firawn when he was young and was instead given wisdom and knowledge by the people of God’s bayt (28/12-14).  We then see him and his people, having escaped the Firawnic system later, focus [qib’lat] on their buyūt (10/87) in their efforts to create an islamic society.

There’s also an important contrast and relationship found in the stories of Lut and Ibrahim and their respective buyūt.  Lut’s society failed because there was uninhibited immorality and only a single bayt (51/36), and even then, it was weak (11/80).  Conversely, Ibrahim’s bayt was successful, where God’s bounty was to be witnessed (22/26-28).

There are several other verses we can draw on, but I think our ultimate goal is to raise our buyūt that vivify God’s names until our society as a whole becomes the bayt achieved by the people of Ibrahim.  A social system that is completely free from shirk, is rewarding and gives security to mankind.