Meaning vs Metaphor

As Quranists, many of us were often accused of taking the Quran to an excessive, over-metaphorical level. You would think this accusation came from anti-Quranic (and NOT Sunni, Shitte of other) parties, yet instead it came from fellow Quranists who first refused the name at the time Farouk was launching the website and forum (!

I can hardly say I’m religious in the terms of organized religion. My belief in God is still natural rather than based on a sacred text, which is safe for now. I figured that before reading the Quran again, I had to establish a mechanism, a way, a more appropriate language than the currently dealt-with Arabic, and a new (yes! brand new) mentality… and probably more age since I doubt my brain is developed enough for all this.

Many things in organized religion never appealed to me. The constant call for rituals that I did not understand (although I don’t deny the beauty of rituals), the unnecessary-seeming Quranic details (for example, why it was so important to say that Abraham offered his Angelic guests roasted beef, or why Moses was traveling with a Whale, he lost for some reason etc), and the constant call for fundamentalism – all these seemed of no value whatsoever.

So, many Quranists began to question these details. They were NOT questioning Allah SWT, and NOT questioning the validity of the Quran, but they were questioning the Quranist-Traditional (which Farouk might like to call QFists) understanding of Quranic verse.

Based on many Quranists challenging the current “silly” (oh, yes it is silly!) understanding of many well-known Quranic verses, other fellow Quranists accused them of exaggerating in extracting a metaphorical, symbolic, “wider” meaning, and by that “drifting away” from God, trying to “make our life easier by eliminating rituals”.

What is worse that all this is that these Quranists deny the title and study approach “Quranist”, prefer to be called on Muslims AND call any those who have tried to think harder, dig deeper and find another way “Quranists”, and by that refusing us, dividing the ummah on a mini-scale on the internet. I have absolutely no issue with people calling themselves “Muslims”. That is simply beautiful and up to them, but to entirely separate themselves from those who seek a wider Quranic meaning (which doesn’t include all Quranists) in the name of God? Why, any 17-year-old can spot the intolerance there!

In response, many Quranists stood up to say, “Yes, we do take the Quran metaphorically and we believe many verses were meant to be understood metaphorically!”

Here is where I highly disagree. There is no “metaphorical” meaning, but the words are deeper and have more angles than we assume. We’re not trying to find a metaphorical meaning in the Quran, but we’re trying to find the actual meaning!

Once you reach the point of realizing Salaat cannot be a ritual, you start wondering what ablution is for. Then you follow a trace, and you discover that “ablution” has much greater angles. Later on, you discover that the “whale/hoot” means something “unstable” and that this instability would visit The People of the Sabbath on the Day of “Sabbath” – the Day of “Rest” when they are under-equipped and unprepared for trouble.

I doubt the Quran is a life schedule, but it’s a grand philosophy by which Allah teaches those who seek guidance the means to patience, balance, “prayer” and life.

Traditional Islam created a whole new language called “al-mustalahat ash-sharia”, where (ironically) every Arabic word connected or found in the Quran has a “sharia” meaning and an “actual” meaning. For example, “safira” is a word Islamists use to describe an “exposed” hijabless woman, but they don’t tell you how it’s from the same root as the word “safar” which is found in the Quran,  roughly translated as “traveling”. Now, everything has a twisted sharia meaning to fit into a religion that aims to drown you in sunnah details of eating with your right hand and entering the bathroom with your left foot.

I highly disrespect those who say Quranists joggle with root words (as if it’s a sin to brush up on our Arabic!). They would tell me the Quran is easy to understand which to them means that words have a limited range of meanings as long as the majority of translators agree to deliver to us, (good enough for any mediocre thinking style), EVEN if these words were based on hadith, historical sources and other things they themselves consider to be “dogmas”. Due to this faulty understanding of the Quran, they themselves end up relying on outside sources to complete their religion, such as using a calendar to know when Ramadaan is, although we made that calendar with our own hands.

God’s word is clear. Sure, but do your eyes know clarity? Are you not looking through the eyes of traditional, intolerant, “ban-thinking” people?
– Take the word “nisa'” for example, which, root-wise, has nothing to do with women! Can you find anyone who ever translated “nisa'” as anything beside “women”?

– Take the word “rajeem” (a word used in the Quran to describe the Devil) that everyone flipped from “the oft-banishing” to “the banished one”.

– Take how “fatayat” and “banat” are both translated as “daughters”, or how both “zawj” and “imra’a” are both translated as “wife”.

– Take how Satan is The Devil although the two concepts are different and featured separately in the story of Adam.

– Take how “jald” could mean many other things beside flogging and whipping.

– Take how Sujjud (prostrating) does not fit as “physical prostration” in many verses and means “submission” at the same time. Do you see how many people are afraid to give up the meaning stuck in their head (that sujjud is about kneeling and lowering your forehead to the ground) although it doesn’t always fit?

Understanding God’s word cannot and will not happen overnight. It’s a life-long journey of giving and taking.

The concept of “hijab” and veiling in the Quran and quranists.

I saw this post on one quranist FaceBook group, which I found honest and intriguing.

“I use to wear hijab and even defended the practise of doing so. I was adament that wearing hijab was part of the law. Well until I looked further into this practise using the Quran alone and not being influenced by the practices of my father’s beliefs. I was shocked at how negatively the Quran portrays those who cover their heads with veils or their outer garments as is stated in the Quran.

Allah makes numerous examples of those who veil and when things are veiled as being in darkness, not guided, in doubt and the list goes on and on. It is only when this veil, garment is removed from our heads, ears, eyes that we clearly see the message. Now this could be a metaphorical meaning but from most of the verses it is clear that covering any part of our heads is always used with negative connotations in the Holy Quran.

I will only quote a few verses so the reader must decide for themselves which meaning is best for them, to cover with a veil or not to cover Insha’Allah

Dress code for women using the Quran, there is no mention of a head cover:

33:59 O prophet, tell your wives, your daughters, and the wives of the believers that they should lengthen upon themselves their outer garments. That is better so that they will not be recognized and harmed. God is Forgiver, Merciful.

If this head cover was a law for women I ask you, why would God use it so negatively?

Negative usage of the veil (head cover or hijab) in the Quran:

71:7 “And every time I called on them so that You may forgive them, they put their fingers in their ears and they covered their heads with their outer garments and they insisted, and they became greatly arrogant.”

2:7 GOD seals their minds and their hearing, and their eyes are veiled/covered. They have incurred severe retribution.

50:22 “You were heedless of this, so now We have removed your veil, and your sight today is iron/sharp!”

10:27 But us for those who have done evil deeds – the recompense of an evil, deed shall be the like thereof: and – since they will have none to defend them against God – ignominy will overshadow them as though their faces were veiled by the night’s own darkness: it is they who are destined for the fire. therein to abide.

Allah says we must cover except that which is apparent:

24:31 Tell the acknowledging women to lower their gaze and guard their private parts, and that they should not show off their attraction except what is apparent, and let them cast their clothes over their cleavage. Let them not show off their attraction except to their husbands, or their fathers, or fathers of their husbands, or their sons, or the sons of their husbands, or their brothers, or the sons of their brothers, or the sons of their sisters, or their children that come after them, or those who are still their dependants, or the male servants who are without need, or the child who has not yet understood the nakedness of women. Let them not strike with their feet in a manner that reveals what they are keeping hidden of their attraction. Repent to God, all of you acknowledgers, so that you may succeed

Hearing is as important as with our other senses. If we can’t hear, how can we enjoy the sounds of nature, the music that uplifts our soul, or hear the kind and loving words from our loved ones, and many other things. It is thru hearing that we communicate and become productive. As we age our hearing starts to deteriorate.”

I saw this video today posted in another FaceBook group, which contains some useful information from the Qur’an regarding the words “hijab” and “hijaban” . To be honest though it seems to be a little extreme where the video producer says that those who DO choose to wear a head-covering are performing Idol Worship. This is an extreme contrast to this video, which belittles even the efforts of those who try to wear a head covering of some kind in the belief that it is God’s command, only to point out to them that they are doing it wrong if it is not the correct exact amount of coverage, the correct fabric, the correct colour EVEN THE CORRECT SMELL!! (seriously!), and they go on to accuse those who wear perfume of being Adulterers!

Is there no middle ground? Talk about damned if you do, damned if you don’t! It seems to me that when it comes to the concept of “Hijab” the way the term is used today to mean basically covering all the body apart from the face and the hands (and in some cases even the face is covered too), not all is as it seems. Trying to think reasonably and logically about this: surely if there is no command in the Qur’an to cover your hair,/neck/ ears/face etc, then it’s not wrong to leave your hair /neck/ears/face showing? Likewise, if there is no command to NOT cover your hair, then if you choose to wear something that resembles some form of head covering for whatever reason you may have, or whatever style that is your personal preference – hat, pashmina, scarf – be it small, large, loose, tight, short, long, full cover, half cover, bright, sparkly, plain etc then what’s the problem?

It has really saddened me that these extreme attitudes in the videos I’ve mentioned just turn people off. It seems to me, such extreme attitudes, forms of either Islamic Fundamentalism or Quranic Fundamentalism do not leave any allowance for Qur’an 2:143.

More reading: Hijab word study from Quran
veil in the Quran
hijab in the Quran
Video from IIPC speaker Mohammad Shaikh – lecture on Hijab / veil
Hijab and Niqab in the Quran on

Read articles about the Quranist Identity here:

This section explains who we are as an association. Since there are numerous misunderstandings that we are a sect, we will attempt to correct that with the articles below. Who are Quranists? Please read below:

1. Quranists and the term ‘Quranists’ by Farouk A. Peru

2. An Analysis of Quranist Fundamentalism by Farouk A. Peru

3. Quranism: The Metaphor of the House by Farouk A. Peru

4. Quranists: Between Reading and Interpretation by Farouk A. Peru

5. Submitters and Quranists by Asfora

6. Quranism is not a Sect ! Here is Why by Farouk A. Peru

7. Justifying the Quranism / Quranist labels by Asfora

8. Quranism and Traditionalism: Not Mutually Exclusive! by Farouk A. Peru

9. Who are the Real Sectarians? by Farouk A. Peru

10. A Quranist’s Response to the term “Hadith Rejector” by Asfora

11. “Quran Alone-ism” and Quranism by Asfora

12. Multiple Paths to Salvation by Darcus

13. The Deceptive “Just Muslim” Label by Farouk A. Peru

14. Who is a Kaafir? by Kashif Shahzada

Upfront and honest

I found this post on a forum:

entitled “Some of our Quran-alone speakers need to be more upfront”

“To be a Quran-only follower means to follow the authentic traditional Islam adhered to by our Prophet (SAAW), minus all later-time annexations in the form of Hadith, fatwas etc. not included in the Quran nor warranted by the Quran.

By the Grace of Allah, there are folks who are waking up to this truth and coming to the path of the Quran-alone, putting aside all man-made stories and ideologies. Many of them are also inviting others to this path. May Allah Almighty reward their efforts and grant them success.

Much to our pleasure, the Quranic lectures of our Quran-only brothers and sisters speak extensively on various Quranic topics. How much of their talks interpret the Quran correctly or otherwise is another matter which I will not discuss now. However, I repeat, may Allah bless their efforts.

Unfortunately there is a problem which is constantly causing a setback to the hard work of many of our Quran-alone speakers. The problem sprouts from their own mindsets. Majority of them seem too infatuated by the notion of attaining a ‘celebrity status’ within their small or large groups of fans instead of winning the admiration of Allah Almighty. While speaking directly on Quranic issues, our enlightened speakers hesitate to forthrightly expose those aspects within the Muslim spiritual world that distract believers from the Glorious Quran. These aspects and issues are the widespread corruption infused by the Hadith literature and fatwas galore! Thus, the efforts of our insightful speakers are left incomplete because of their wariness and evasion to directly highlight these issues and the necessity of their exclusion. Reason? The uneasiness caused by the possibility of losing their audience.

Alongside Quran followers, the Quranic lectures are also attended by many Hadith followers or ‘quasi’ Hadithers who have little or no idea of the speakers’ stance toward Hadith. Hence, they take it for granted (more or less) that these speakers accept Hadith as a source of law like the mainstream “scholars.” These attendees appreciate the Quranic lectures they hear. Then, when they prepare their own words – written or vocal – they quote the contents of these Quranic lectures and gradually spice them up with the stories and ‘chinese whispers’ of the Ahadith / fatwas which is a customary practice of the mainstream, thus once again contaminating the purity of the Quran and wasting the efforts of our Quran-only speakers. This brings everyone back to square one.

The fault here lies squarely on our orators. They intelligently uphold the Truth but cowardly conceal the evil forces that are hellbent upon hurting the Truth.

Just think of it this way. After beginning to receive the Divine Message, the Prophet (SAAW) invited the Makkans to submit to Allah Almighty alone, which means, the Quran alone. This was Allah’s command. Allah did NOT tell the Prophet in the Quran to nurture the sentiments of the idolaters and merge pagan values with Allah’s Commandments. NO question about that.

Unlike the wisdom and courage of our Prophet (SAAW), our present Quran-alone speakers aka “scholars” are working with a HIDDEN AGENDA. While their mission is to promote the Quran, their strategy is to observe silence towards the enemy of the Quran. May Allah (The Highest) grant them greater fortitude and a desire for a ‘celebrity status’ in the Hereafter rather than this fleeting earthly life.”

Of course this is one quranist’s opinion. It seems to me that the terms Quranism and Quranist not only aid effective communication, but can also prevent misunderstandings and address the issues presented above.

related posts:

Justifying the Quranist / Quranism labels
Quranism is not a sect, here’s why
Multiple paths to salvation

People still dont get it!

Marisa posted something about setting up a Quranist conference and true to form, some person started frantically yelling that we are all part of the ummah and we should be only using the term Muslim. Here’s my response to him:

Lets say Marisa advertised ‘The Muslim Conference’ (not even American because that must be haram as well, yeah?).  Just simply the Muslim conference. There would be 2 kinds of respondents:

1. People who say ‘wait a second, look at the programme, its all quranic stuff. These people are anti-hadith. Quranists! and they wanted to CON us into joining!’

2. People who dont actually read the programme and go. Then when they see actual Quranists debating the number of salat, they go beserk and ruin it for everyone.

This is why we have the name Quranists. Love it or hate it, you will at least KNOW it. People who oppose this term must look at the 1.2 BILLION Muslims of the world and ask themselves ‘does the world acknowledge the existence of these people?’.

The Deception of ‘Sufism in Light of Quran and Sunnah’

I remember when I first came to England. I was a Traditional Muslim then, a Sunni with strong Sufi leanings. I believed that Islam (as I knew it) had the solution for the worlds problems and that only by the global caliphate can the world be in a positive state.  Conveniently, I had forgotten that Muslims (the companions, not just ordinary Muslims) were killing each other by the thousands not 30 years after the death of the Prophet.

Anyway, here I was, in a city all by myself and I went to an Islamic bookshop and the first book I got was Sufism in Light of Quran and Sunnah. It was mentioned to me by my best friend the previous year and the title itself was so inviting. I was very passionate about Sufism at the time and so, a book such as this was very inviting.

The book was nothing like what I expected. Instead, it was a Wahabi attack on Sufism (A Wahabi?! what’s that? I didnt even know back then). The attack was nowhere near effective. It was just convoluted reasoning with half-verses and vague hadiths.

The whole point of this muse though, is about honesty. Was the author of this book right to call it ‘Sufism in light of Quran and Sunnah‘ ? I dont think he was. I think he was dishonest. He should have stuck to the Wahabi’s moniker for themselves , the ‘Salafiyah’. I would then be made to ask, who are these Salafiyah and then I would know exactly who they were.

Quranists must never fall into this strategy of deception. By calling ourselves ‘Muslim’ without any qualification (like ‘Quranic Muslims’ or ‘Quranists’), we are fixing to decieve others into ‘sampling our product’, whether we intended it or not.