Muslim as a description


Over the past 6 months or so, I have seen countless threads discussing the use of the term Quranists and the misconception that we were named “muslimeen” in 22:78 therefore labelling / naming / calling ourselves/ referring to ourselves / referring to ourselves as Quranists is not allowed.

33:35 seems to show there are lots of descriptive words for muslimeen, unless these are separate groups / types of people.

The debate seems to centre around who has best claim to the term “muslim”

Some people say a “Muslim” is one who believes in Quran and Sunnah (where Sunnah means the Example of the Prophet) and the Sunnah is achieved by following Hadiths

Some people say a “Muslim” is one who believes in Quran and Sunnah (where Sunnah means the Example of the Prophet) and the Sunnah is achieved by following what has been preserved for generations (actions not hadiths)

Some people say a “Muslim” is one who believes in Quran and Sunnah (where Sunnah is the Sunnah of Allah as stated in the Quran) and the Examples of ALL the Prophets are believed to be contained in the Quran without the requirement for other sources of info.

So it seems that to define Muslim in today’s day and age, we also have to define the “Sunnah”  Even that is disagreed upon in traditional circles.

If I tell someone I’m muslim – they will automatically associate me with Mainstream Traditional Islam, which is not what I mean when I say I am muslim. When I say I’m muslim, I mean it to mean muslim the way the Quran means it to mean muslim!!

With there being so much confusion surrounding what it means to be muslim, it seems the term is ambiguous.

If I was around in the 1940’s / 1950’s I would quite happily announce “I’m Gay!” meaning it to mean “gay” in the sense that Enid Blyton meant it to mean “gay” as was understood how we understand it to mean “happy” THESE DAYS.

Both terms where the word in the book has come to have other associated uses and meanings ascribed to it :

“muslim” in Quran means something different than “muslim” as used in present day

“gay” in Enid Blyton’s books means something different than “gay” as used in present day.

So the only way to avoid ambiguity is by stating what you mean to clarify after you used an ambiguos term OR don’t use an ambiguous term in the first place.

I’m gay (in the Enid Blyton sense) I’m muslim (in the Quranic sense)

I could just say I’m happy and I’m a Quranist.

See also : I’m Gay (in an Enid Blyton way)

which is an attempt to “claim back” the original meaning of gay to mean happy. Some quranists (people who believe that the Quran is the sole divine source of islam but do not use the term Quranist) argue for the same action – “Claim back the term Muslim”.

Whilst in principle I can sympathise with this position, it seems that changing new meanings back to old meanings is only going to create more confusion. We have to keep up with computer technology and names of parts and jargon and terminology. Floppy discs for example!  I remember when floppy discs were not even floppy,  I’m not really old enough to have seen the original floppy discs (in use). Surely the name stuck and people got the jist from the context if you talked about “save it to a “floppy”, but I would imagine at “changeover time” (when the new type of floppy disc that was not floppy came into use)  if you specified a “3.5” as a defining term for what you are talking about (as opposed to the original 8 inch) then it just saved time and confusion. You still KNOW they are talking about a disc. It doesn’t mean that one is a disc and the other is NOT a disc. No,  they are all discs they just get referred to with different “terms” or “names” or identifiers purely so people know what you are talking about.

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muslim to no one else


I posted this in Quranology Discussions today:

 

Very excellent point by a talented young quran student, Fahad Ali Khan from the IIPC FB group, who pointed out that the word ‘muslim’ is never explicitly connected to an ilah/authority other than Allah. This is somewhat disagreeing with the prevalent view (in the IIPC at least) that ‘muslim laka’ in 2/128 shows that it is possible to …be muslim (apparently submissive) to other than Allah.

I disagree.

I think the meaning of muslim is to be an agent of wholeness or soundness. muslim laka, muslim lahu and muslim lillah are levels of that agency. In other words, ibrahim in 2/128 was probably at the highest level.

Contrast this with ibada/worship. It IS possible to worship other than Allah but not to be muslim for other than Allah. I think 3/64 says it best:

Say: O followers of the Book! come to an equitable proposition between us and you that we shall not serve any but Allah and (that) we shall not associate aught with Him, and (that) some of us shall not take others for lords besides Allah; but if they turn back, then say: Bear witness that we are muslims

So here we can see that being muslim involves serving Allah and removing other ‘lords’ besides Allah. There is no laka/to you here. There is only muslim. muslim isnt for any other authority except Allah.

Interesting Fact about Ibada and Muslim


Very excellent point by a talented young quran student, Fahad Ali Khan from the IIPC FB group, who pointed out that the word ‘muslim’ is never explicitly connected to an ilah/authority other than Allah. This is somewhat disagreeing with the prevalent view (in the IIPC at least) that ‘muslim laka’ in 2/128 shows that it is possible to be muslim (apparently submissive) to other than Allah.

I disagree.

I think the meaning of muslim is to be an agent of wholeness or soundness. muslim laka, muslim lahu and muslim lillah are levels of that agency. In other words, ibrahim in 2/128 was probably at the highest level.

Contrast this with ibada/worship. It IS possible to worship other than Allah but not to be muslim for other than Allah. I think 3/64 says it best:

Say: O followers of the Book! come to an equitable proposition between us and you that we shall not serve any but Allah and (that) we shall not associate aught with Him, and (that) some of us shall not take others for lords besides Allah; but if they turn back, then say: Bear witness that we are muslims
 
So here we can see that being muslim involves serving Allah and removing other ‘lords’ besides Allah. There is no laka/to you here. There is only muslim. muslim isnt for any other authority except Allah.

Quranists and Submitters – The Difference


Interesting question in Yahoo Answers:

What’s the difference between Submitters and Quranists? Don’t worry I’m not out to bash anyone. In fact my whole family are Quranists.I know about 19 (but not much), but who is this Rashid person who claims to be a messenger? And if he is a messenger, then what is his message?

Please keep an open mind people 🙂

Our very own RevolutionPsyche gave a very comprehensive reply below:
Your entire family are Quranists? I’m jealous!Alright, let’s see. I’m on facebook and on many Quran Alone and Submitter groups, so I can show you both types of differences, the on and off record: Technical difference:

Quranists was a term used by the Egyptians and Egyptian Gov’t who were against Ahl Al Quran, a group of Quran Aloners who mainly followed Ahmad Subhi Mansour, who denied hadith and got into jail for this. If you speak Arabic and/or don’t mind weird English, check out their site: http://ahl-alquran.com/arabic/main.php. It got great Quranist articles. 🙂

This is where the term originated in Arabic countries, usually pronounced quraniyoon/quranyeen or ahl al quran.

Of course, this does not mean it’s theirs exclusively, and their original name is Ahl Al Quran. A Quranist is anyone who considers the Quran to be the only source of law. Some Quranists may be submitters (although I PERSONALLY do not consider them to be Quranists), and some others may believe in Sunnah but not hadith (which I do not consider Quranists either, for personal reasons).

There are many other outside sources beside hadith that people should utterly deny and leave behind, and so I don’t think the term “Quranist” can be canned up as a “Denier of Hadith”.

The thing is that Submitters believe in “miracle 19” as a part of the Quran, which is their honest opinion and they are entitled to it, and thus could be Quranists. Rashad Khalifa was believed to be another Messenger from God. You can find more about him and his ideology on http://submission.org/. This site doesn’t contain any criticism to the code19 theory. 🙂

Many Quranists even deny the term and consider it a way of division and prefer “Muslim”.

More links for you: my friend launched a Quranist website and a Quranist blog and blog directory (where you can add yours too): http://www.quranists.net/, quranistvoices.wordpress.com/.

The first one contains many great articles on the ideology, study approach and movement of Quranism.

The latter is probably your place for “daily” Quranic news and musings a number of writers (including myself) share online for everyone to benefit.

Differences I noticed:

Okay, not the off-the-record stuff. I’m not friends with many believers in code 19 at will. Many of them have abused me in the name of their code as I am not convinced with it although many others are nice. They prefer to be called “Submitters” as a part of Rashad’s “authorized English translation of the Quran”. I also noticed that Rashad Khalifa provided many many quick-business answers for them regarding the Quran and Quranic verses. His English translation kind of “seals the deal” on Quranic interpretation, and that is why I see they are in no need to be “Quranists”. Most Quranists I know spend many hours daily analyzing and studying the Quran, while I see them posting 19-related articles all over a chosen group. It’s spammy, and then they tell me I am a bad person for getting annoyed to see “God’s word” posted everywhere when it’s actually “Rashad Khalifa’s thoughts on God’s word”.

As far as I know, there are more foreign Submitters than Arabic ones (I’m Arabic and I noticed many were drawn more toward Shahrour’s and Ahmad Subhi Mansour’s views on hadith, thus didn’t get to see much of Rashad). It’s actually quite rare to find an Arabic Submitter although I know quite many.

Long ago, we had a group on facebook called “Hadith of the Day!” which was mainly 19-orientated. Most admins were advertising Rashad Khalifa’s ideas, which drew many people into discovering new ways to serve God without the need of Hadith. Maybe Rashad should get credit for spreading the message of free-thinking… to some degree.

And his message is mainly explained on submission.org although I highly recommend you don’t rely on it, since the code he brought to surface (code 19) cannot function properly unless two verses of the Quran are removed (which is a big no-no to me and many others), and I never fail to find “errors” in his work.

Finally:

To me, a Quranist is a free thinker (since imho, the Quran encourages free thinking) who studies the Quran and honestly attempts to apply it.

If you have a facebook, feel free to swing by our group: http://www.facebook.com/?ref=logo#!/home.php?sk=group_179495912090888&ap=1

On the name ‘Quranism’: Darcus Answers:


Observed a fantastic discussion where Darcus Taseen deftly answered a Quranic Fundamentalist about the term ‘muslim’ and Quranist. I’m glad our concept is catching on and it wont be long before our space is marked out:

Quranic Fundamentalist (QF): People don’t get what, man made names, groups, sects looking and searching for something better than what the Qur’an says.

Darcus Taseen (DT):  Quranism is the opposite of a sect because of its inclusive nature as opposed to the exclusive nature of sects such as Sunnis. To be called a Quranist is to identify oneself with accepting the Quran alone – thats all – you can be a 19er an…d be a Quranist for example. This does not take anyone away from Islam in that is the deen which is for us all – the point here is about differentiating oneself so that it is clear about the ideology one follows. Otherwise you could say that every human is a sect all to themselves because their understanding is different. We are all created different so that we can recognise one another … we all accept things differently too. So the label of Muslim cannot simply be applied to all, just like the way that Barelvi Sunnis don’t believe that Deobandi Sunnis are muslims (and vice versa)… However those sects exclude people at the promotion of their superiority. Quranism does not seek to do that, but to include people of different opinion and understanding…none of us can say that we are truly right, but that we are on the path to learning and God willing one day we will learn the absolutes…

QF: Honestly, you sound like the Salafis when they used to say to us, about their special party (Hizb) that being Muslim isn’t enough today and so many other sects have done the same and again you Quranist sound no different from them other tha…n you say you calling to Qur’an. Allah’s Words cannot be corrupted just like Allah’s Deen. Islam is intact as long as the Qur’an is intact and from Islam we have Muslim. No one can corrupted these two uncorrupted words that we were given in the Qur’an. First your a Quranist then you’ll branch off and be other than that sooner or later when the disagreements set in. It’s all the same thing nothing new under the sun.

DT:  that may be. However I am not responsible for how others interpret things, I am only responsible for myself. I am only accountable for myself. If other people decide to abuse something just like the way that being Muslim is now synonymous with being stupid, 7th century, stuck in the past, shariah wanting lunatics.

Conversation with a Semi QF’ist


It seems that Quranic Fundamentalists can never get past the ‘interpretation paradigm’. They think they ‘read the Quran’ while others ‘interpret’.  This particular QF’ist is only half fundamentalist in that he accepts the other Muslims are in fact Muslim. Good for him. Here is the conversation:

Semi QF’ist : You know it doesn’t matter I’m not calling myself anything other than what Allah calls us and that is Muslim. Feel free to call yourselves Quranist all you want soon they will be people calling themselves Tawhidist…I’m not putting myself …in a box of sectarianism feeling the need to make a distinction.

Farouk: Please don’t get delusions of grandeur here, Kidr. No one is trying to persuade you to do anything. I am using this conversation to see if there are angles you guys can come up with. There is none.

 Semi QF’ist: Yes, there are other ways according to the Qur’an to getting to the straight path but Quranist are no different from Traditionalist, Sunnis, Shites in that all of the groups, Hizb, rejoice to “that which is with itself” and this only refers to those differences which you Quranist and other sects use to justify your separation from Islam and now the Quranist have your own definitions and rules and conditions but who makes the rules, defintions and conditions is the question.

F: So you’re calling us MUSHRIKEEN by quoting that passage (30/31-32). Wow. It seems that you have a strong allergy to actually reading the Quran. You seem to quoting phrases totally out of context. Here is the actual context:

Turning in repentance to Him, and fear Him and establish prayer and do not be of those who associate others with Allah
of those who have **divided their deen** and become sects, every faction rejoicing in what it has. (30/31-32)

Are you saying those who follow the Quran divide the DEEN? I don’t rejoice in what I have. I am constantly seeking new knowledge. In fact, that’s the purpose of Quranism, to accept every single approach to the Quran. You have misapplied the verse by ignoring the context.

Semi QF’ist: Regardless if Sunnis, Shites, Salafis and other sects claim other than Muslim if they say they are Muslim that is between them and Allah. However, I will still look at them as Muslims because Islam is a single brotherhood not parts and pieces beginning with labels and names.

Farouk: So this means that there are MANY kind of Muslims. Good. I salute you for saying that. Single brotherhood is not the opposite of having labels. That’s your misreading. (this is where he’s better than full QF’ists).

Semi QF’ist: Farouk, I find you making mockery or just rather being foolish now with dogma saying I’m the new owner of the Qur’an. I don’t have a name calling myself Quranist, I’m not the leader of any groups calling myself this or that I’m just a servant of Allah, a Muslim trying my best to practice this deen of Islam to the best of my ability. I’m not of need of followers. I don’t have a interpretation of my own so please stop with your foolish talk. Yet, you said I follow Salafis in the word ‘manhaj’ and then you was sarcastic about it ——> lol <——- this is what you ended it with.
Farouk: Having a name doesn’t make you a sect. Your attitude however makes you a sectarian. You say ‘I don’t have an interpretation of my own’ which shows your delusion. In every post you quote half the Quran! By simply quoting you are levying an interpretation. You quoted 30/31-32 earlier saying I am creating a hizb. What do you think that is? That’s an interpretation! So please don’t delude yourself into thinking you don’t interpret. This is the problem with fundamentalists, they think they got a ‘literal reading’ where this is simply impossible.

 Semi QF’ist: “rejoice to that which is with itself””rejoice to that which is with itself”

Farouk: Don’t quote half verses, bro. Do you know what the Quran says about those who take the Quran as shreds?! See 15/90-91.

How can we practise the Quran if we spend our lives trying to understand it?


Quranists, more than any other Muslim group in my opinion, have no ending in sight when it comes to constantly studying and revising their views on Quranic interpretation. It’s not that anything is wrong with us. It’s just that other Muslims don’t really think there’s anything more to the Quran than the interpretations which already exist. This is not to insult them but it’s not in their sphere of concerns. Try going into a Sunni or Shia bookshop and ask for a book which analyses the rendition of the story of Musa from chapter to chapter. You will draw a blank because the subject simply isn’t important enough.

But that leaves us with the question of the title:  How can we practise the Quran if we spend our lives trying to understand it?

To me, it works like this: We can practise the Quran immediately by simply reading some short chapters like al-fatiha, al-asr and al-ikhlas. Basically it tells us to believe in God, be good and what life is basically about. Practice according to your knowledge.

However, as you go on through life, you will experience more signs of God. The Quran is the clarification of these signs. We read the Quran, read our lives, then read the Quran, then practise and on and on.

The Quran’s depth in unfathomable. There are an unlimited number of angles which we can explore in the course of lives. Living must of course continue but the Quran acts as like God’s council to us. It keeps us on the straight path.

This is a very organic process and very individual. No two people read the same way so it’s good to share notes. The Quran is the perfect map for the travel of life.