Define scholar. Usually when someone says “scholar” to me in this field, they usually mean the one who has been taught Traditional Islam and has studied at a name brand academy and has a certificate to prove it. I don’t believe there are “official” scholars in Quranism – sure, there are those who have studied Quran more than others and who have read the works of others who have studied the Quran in great depth but that does not mean they have the all the answers or that the ones who have studied less don’t have a very good understanding of the overall message of islam as described by the Quran. But anyway the ones who talk against one another will usually have the attitude of “My school of thought is right (or my opinion is right) and the others are wrong” which doesn’t seem very quranic to me (considering how the Quran talks of multiple paths). To me the Quran is shareware, public domain. No-one has a monopoly on it and no-one can say they know more about the meaning of it than anyone else, as we are all in the same boat. What I do think is encouraging is that there are projects that people can get involved in without having to prove your academic ability – in the Quranists Network there are no limits on who can contribute to theological, ideological and philosophical discussions about the Quran and islam!

Back to scholars – There is a difference between being able to reference facts and words and knowing where to find the themes, concepts and subjects in the Quran, and even then there will be verses that are subjective. When you adopt the premise that the Quran is to be read and understood on a personal basis, anyone else’s interpretation can either assist or cloud your OWN judgement about what the text is saying to YOU the reader. What I like is when people who have learned and studied and have tried to be unbiased and open minded without shutting out the possibility that the meanings are layered, share their views and knowledge and pass it on with the unwritten understanding that what they are saying is also just their own understanding and is of no more or less importance and correctness than anyone else’s take on things.

That is not to say that if you consider yourself to be a scholar (however you define it), that it is a negative thing, of course not – Reading, studying, learning, gathering knowledge, processing and reflecting are encouraged by the Quran afaics so there is no reason why each quranist could not be considered a scholar in their own right, if they want, but never that one is more entitled to be a scholar than the other nor that knowledge is power or control over others.

Intellectual equality is not the same as spiritual equality. By that I mean you could know everything there is to know about The Quran, and everything about Traditionalism and Quranism and all the other religions, doctrines, history, facts and theories etc. But if it is purely knowledge in the sense of facts committed to memory without a connection of how it affects you spiritually and being able to apply that knowledge and nourish your soul from it, and be motivated from within your heart to help others and benefit society with it, then it will all just be superficial. I imagine that there are people do become “scholars” (in the Trad. sense) for the fame and status and the power and the money (not always because I am equally certain that there are genuine people out there in the Trad. field who don’t desire the money/power/fame combo) and others who either claim to be a scholar or even do NOT claim to be a scholar but have become knowledgeable solely due to their own natural journey of curiosity, thirst for knowledge and hunger for the Truth.

An Introduction to the ‘Sciences of the Quran’

by Abu Ammar Yasir Qadi. This book is an excellent introduction to the Traditionalist ‘sciences’ which they use to understand the Quran. The only problem is, their claim to have been ‘taught by the Prophet’ seems to be quite tenuous if one goes by this book. There are so many contradictions in these sciences (all there, im not making this up!) that one must wonder, how on earth do they claim this?!

Whatever the case, this is a good book and i highly recommend it.

Shafiee’s Flawed Logic

Renae quoted Shafiee saying: Shafii…taking it beyond just Qur’aan…and Hadith. “Then I said to him: It is not for me, or for any knowledgeable person,
to hold that something is allowed or prohibited, nor to take something
from someone, or grant something to him, unless he has found a proof
text for that in the Book of God, or a Sunna, or consensus, or a legally
binding report.”

Here’s a problem , Shafiee. The ‘sunna’ here is according to your definition. So what you’re doing is setting a criteria then making information conform to your defintion. So where does Allah come in, if at all?

80 things to understand one verse ?!

Part of my research thesis is to understand how Traditionalist Muslims approach the Quran. Of course Sunni Islam has a very sophisticated method. They call this method ‘3ulum al-quran’ (sciences of the Quran). They amount to 80 sub fields of study! So to understand one verse you need to knw 80 things! Of course these things are instrinsically unknowable (one of them is the Prophet’s MOOD for god’s sake) . This is how they block people from studying the Quran.

The Quranists’ role in Combatting Islamic Fundamentalism

Some person asked on Yahoo Answers : What’s your opinion on Quranists? I said:

I am a Quranist and I believe that Quranism is the movement which will stop the advance of Islamic Fundamentalism for one very simple reason:Islamic Fundamentalism comes from hadith or hadithic interpretation of the Quran. Not all hadith promotes it of course but in general, hadith creates an artificial group which is the ‘saved sect’. This entitles them (in their estimation) to disallow any other approach to islam.

We need Quranism to overcome this menace because only Quranists have no reverence for the classical clergy.

Opinions of Scholars Vs Actually Reading?

Good discussiontoday in Rizwan Ahmed asked this thought-provoking question:

Is what scholars say and their “opinion” more important to what it says in the Quran?
My answer was:
I dont think this dichotomy exists. Your question constructs and ‘either or’ situation which I believe does not represent the situation. So it’s not between:
Scholar’s Opinion vs What the Quran Says
It’s rather:
…Scholar’s Opinion Vs Public Opinion about what the Quran says.Sorry to be pedantic, just need to be clear here.

As a Quranist (only speaking for myself here), I challenge Traditional Interpretations because I feel they do not represent the message and nor do they have the authority to do so. I offer my own interpretation as another option among many, not to be the final word in interpretation. I do not believe there should be any authority in Quranic interpretation whatsoever. Everyone should read and interpret for himself.

So not students learning at the feet of the scholar but rather travellers sharing notes.

Hope you’ll benefit from this…