God Alone, Quran Alone or Quranist?

What’s the difference between the three terms? For Sunnis, they’d readily say ‘they all don’t follow hadith! which isn’t wrong but is an oversimplification. This question popped up in Free-Minds (the granddaddy of quranist forums).  For me, here are problems with the first two terms.

1. God Alone – sure we all WANT to be God alone but are we really? The only mentioned in the Quran to be of deeni khalis (pure monotheism) is ibrahim and he was imam of mankind (2/125). Are we leaders of mankind? FAR from it! Rather, God alone is our ASPIRATION. It is also the aspiration of Traditionalist Muslims and so lets not insinuate that they are polytheists (as some quranists call them).

2. Quran Alone – another big delusion. If you didn’t know Arabic, try opening a Quran. All you’ll see are scratchings on a page. If you DO know Arabic, try asking yourself, were you BORN knowing Arabic? Of course not, you were taught it by those who raised you. These very same people imparted the meanings of words as THEY understood it. It’s not necessarily the Quran speaking but maybe Arabs speaking for the Quran. So in reality, no one is Quran ALONE. We are pushing TOWARDS Quran Alone.

And that’s why I’m a Quranist. A Quranist recognises his limitation and his process. He is constantly walking towards the goal and does not consider himself to have attained the goal simply by dropping hadith.

How / Why did you come to Quranism?

These answers are from Free Minds. Thank you to everyone who took part in the study/survey and to Free Minds forum.

How / Why did you come to Quranism?

  • I learned about the official movement recently, but I’ve always doubted traditional Islam. I took my Shahadah at 17, but learned about the official movement when I was 24.
  • When I converted I only read the Quran. Then I found out about hadith so I read into them. I saw they clearly contradict the Quran, and that the Quran never speaks of them. So I researched abit on the internet to see if I was the only Muslim who felt this way, then I found this site and many others.
  • I converted to Islam when I was nearly 20, then followed Quran only about 3months after.
  • No I do not personally know any [quranists], most Muslims I know are Sunni or Shia. Some Muslims I tell say that I am not a Muslim. So this and a few other sites are really where I can express myself.
  • I’m sorry, but the words “Quranism/Quranists” are a pet-peeve of mine… Please do not use this word to classify people who believe in God alone. We are simply Muslims who follow only the Qur’an. We are not sunnists/shites/quranist or any other man made word which implies or has defined boundaries.
  • 6:159 Those who have divided their system and become sects, you are not with them in anything. Their matter will be with God, then He will inform them of what they had done.
  • While I was trying to understand all the traditionalism I was learning in Saudi Arabia, and I stumbled upon this site (free-minds). I was either 14 or 15. Do you know any other quranists? Well I have my family, but I do not know any one that follows Quran Alone.
  • “quranist” is a common, descriptive noun. It is not a title/sect/a proper noun (and neither is muslim, but I digress) . There is no defined quranist ideology. Sects have very specific guidelines, you’ll be hard pressed to find two ‘quranists’ who agree on the basic issues, and that’s the beauty of it. Individuality. Choice. Discussion.
  • These other sects you speak of refer to themselves as Muslim as well. Unity for unity’s sake is not logical. Does the Quran say its okay to align ourselves with people who are not in harmony? People who would declare you apostates? Suggesting ‘quranism’ is a sect is building a straw man argument. No quranist I know of refers to themselves as a part of some imaginary sect.
  • Also, I would like to make it a point that Dr. Khalifa is NOT affiliated with us. It is true that he urged a return to the Qur’an, as we do, but he also claimed himself to be a Messenger of God – a claim he directly invalidated when he admitted to molesting a minor. Those that follow Dr. Khalifa are in a different category all of their own. The herald him as a Messenger of God and get quite offended when people dare bring up the fact that he molested a minor. Following false Messengers is forbidden and thus why they are not of us.
  • Surfing the web and finding Free-Minds.org. (I just took Shahadah about a month ago).
  • When I started to study my religion on my own rather than just be a blind follower. My wife opened my eyes to alot of things.
  • Actually I was like everyone in my society at the beginning, had standard knowledge of Islam, for a while tried to be brainwashed by Gulen supporters, thank God, got rid of them, after then I became only Quran follower but still non practicising. By the way I do not like terms like Quranism and Quranist
  • I was attracted to Islam by the Message and the core, but I realised that Sunni and Shia (including their subsects) Islam in general was neither spiritual nor sensible. I actually accepted “obey the Messenger” as proof of the authority of ahadith, but it was the weird ahadith that kept me away. I noticed that some had the “Qur’anist” interpretation and that the traditional responses were always the same (obey the Messenger). In time I also noticed it was a dud argument passed on from one wishful person to another. Decided to convert at 21, and converted at 21.
  • My point is that your questions are not detailed enough to extract any useful/relevant information. They might tell you some trivial things about “Qur’an-alone” Muslims, but nothing about what they follow or why (the intial doctrinal arguments obviously came from Arabic-speakers, after all). You should research the merit of the arguments employed, and to do that you will have to talk to the most knowledgeable/prepared people. After all, Sunnis always complain that people (non-Muslims, non-Sunnis) have come to them instead of asking the Sunni scholars! It should also be noted that the majority of traditional Muslims would not be able to argue with the “Qur’an-alone” viewpoint when it is presented in a manner devoid of alteration of the meaning of words/number of prayers etc.. Traditional responses are merely complaints devoid of logical substance. Many traditional Muslims would also agree with the “Qur’an-alone” viewpoint so long as the “Qur’an-alone” Muslims did not have to alter the meaning of the Qur’an to survive without ahadith. The Message is simple and can be followed without considering a single hadith as law.
  • If the Qur’an really is not sufficient, then Islam does not make sense.
  • Discussion/debate (in person) made me put a thought on islam rather than blind following/idolizing
  • While researching whether Music was haram.
  • I was doing a ritual prayer with a shi’a woman who did it completely different to I did (I was a Sunni), then got confused as to why there was difference in ritual practices. A friend of mine told me that was because she was a Shi’a. Prior to the experience I had no idea that there were different sects in Islam. So I decided to do a bit more research and got to learn more and more.
  • I am blessed to have personally met 10 “Qur’anists” since I became one myself. And I know a lot more online .
  • Researching noncanonical scriptures online, where I came across The Quran, and pretty much accepted it as Gods word, and studied it for a long time, without knowing much about sunni/shia and the Quran Alone label.
  • Was living with a fellow Quran alone individual
  • I guess I’ve always kinda been one, till I finally started to do some research and stumbled upon this site. My Parents also reject most of the hadeeth that have the trait of Chinese whispers and do not jive with the Quran, so their influence had something to do with it.
  • After accepting Islam as Sunni began to question the Hadith and the Sunna and that contradicted the Koran. I searched online and found the true Muslims who worship GOD ALONE.
  • I was researching about hadiths shortly after converting to Islam and found submission.org and free-minds. I carried on researching and do not consider myself a follower of Rashad Khalifa. I believe followers of RK are called Submitters. I think the Quran references given on the submission site were useful for research and further study at the time (5 years ago), but I reject RK’s teachings about removing 2 verses from the Quran.  Quranists are just followers of the Quran. I now prefer to compare English translations to get a less biased view of the message of the Quran instead of relying on one translation and I investigate anomalies by using word-by-word Quran. I am a Quranist. I am still muslim, I don’t believe Quranism is a sect seeing as the Quran unites us all. At first I felt really isolated. It’s actually very liberating to know there is a term for what I am, and to know there are other like minded people!
How / why did you come to Quranism? Please feel welcome to add comments below!

Quran Alone and Quranism part 2

Following up from Quran Alone-ism and Quranism part 1 I have read several comments recently about the term “Quran Alone.”

Someone commented recently that “I think much of the problem is also in labels. In reality NO ONE follows “Qur’an Alone”. I also obey speed limits, traffic lights, and the instruction manual for my microwave oven. The real – and correct – stance for any believer is and must be something “Qur’an First, then see where Allah directs us”. But human being – because we are human beings – will always try to over-analyze and over-decorate such a simple guideline.”

Other comments from various other discussions are ones such as “Quran Alone is a big fat delusion” and “I agree that Aḥādīth are lesser in importance to the Recitation, and there is definitely possibility of error in them (which calls for a certain scrutiny or critical eye), but I don’t see the need to completely reject and throw them out the window.”

My personal thought about the term “Quran Alone” is that, in context, I take it as a reference to an acknowledgement that the Quran is the sole authority in terms of Divine Guidance, as opposed to taking other sources such as the 6 books of Hadith and such. I don’t take the “Alone” to mean a literal, absolutist reference to the word. It’s similar to when my mum asks me what cheese I want on my sandwich; red or white. I know the Red Leicester cheese is not literally red. Just redder than the Cheshire cheese which is the other type that is sitting in the fridge waiting to be used up. And if she asks me if I want salad on it and mayonnaise or “only cheese” and I say I want just cheese please, then she still knows to put the cheese between 2 slices of buttered bread, and put it on a plate. (If I’m lucky I’ll get a bag of cheese and onion crisps and a Wagon Wheel too but that’s besides the point). She knows I don’t mean just serve me some slices of cheese based on my previous answer. It’s from the context.

But anyway that point aside, I prefer the term “Quranism” because it’s means the same to me as my understanding of Quran Alone(ness) or Quran Alone(ism), it’s just more precise, easier to use, less easily confused, 1 word instead of 2, and the ones who support the use of the term Quranism can be referred to as Quranists which to me sounds a lot better that the cumbersome term “Quran Aloners” Yes we are all muslims. Surely you got that from the context! 🙂

Anyway, that’s just me thinking out loud again, as I am wont to do. What do you think?

Please have your say in the comments below or on the forum

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“Quran Alone-ism” and Quranism

“Quran Alone-ism” and Quranism

I saw the cumbersome term “Quran-Alone-ism” used the other day, followed by “(for lack of a better term)”.

When I need to used the term “Quran Alone-ism” or “Quran Alone-ness”, I just use the term Quranism. It is essentially the same thing.

Quranism is the belief that the Quran is the sole source of Divine Guidance. Quranists are muslims who follow Quranism.

I pondered though, due to my over-active, over-analytical mind-set, whether there is a difference between being a Quran Alone muslim and a Quranist muslim.

The term “Quran Alone” can be taken to varying degrees of pedantry.

Red Carpet example
If you take it to mean purely Quran Alone then what you will have is a belief system where ALL outside sources of information are rejected and taken to be untrue. For example if I tell you my carpet is red but you do not find it stated specifically in the Quran, then this could be rejected as untrue according to the belief that the only true information comes directly from the Quran.

Now of course this is a ridiculous example of taking the meaning of words to their extreme and absolute limit.

The following are some of the different types of Quran Alone-ness (Quranism)

A. Some who claim to follow the Quran Alone for their belief system tend to follow what is in fact “Translations of the Quran Alone”

This could be one particular translation by a preferred translator or a more un-biased approach where several Quran translations are compared side by side.

B. Some who claim to follow the Quran alone don’t “label” themselves as “Quran Alone muslims” or “Quranist muslims”, preferring to state that they are simply muslims. This may be either due to fears that giving a descriptive term to their belief that the Quran has the sole authority might imply they had become part of a sect OR due to present day Sunni Islam (usually referred to by those Muslims as “Mainstream” Islam*) disapproving of the Quranist view, leading usually to excommunication of those who go from the Mainstream view to the Quranist view. Some of these Quran Alone muslims do not claim to reject all Hadiths, only the ones that contradict the Quran. This can enable more integration into the “cultural” side of Islam, where some translations of Quranic verses can be used to justify some of the cultural or traditional interpretations of Islam. For a convert to Islam who does not have any experience of the cultural/traditional associations of Islam it can be a daunting task to try to make these associations using the Quran alone.

* Quranists refer to Mainstream muslims as “Traditionalists” due to “Mainstream” being defined as such only due to majority numbers. If Quranism (the belief that the Quran is the sole source of islam) became the belief held by the majority of Muslims then the term “Mainstream” would become ambiguous.

C. Some Quran Alone muslims – typically self proclaimed Quranists, (the ones who do embrace the use of the term as a practical aid to communication) tend to focus on trying to unearth the true meanings of the original Arabic with a view to understanding the Quran as a whole by not taking verses out of context. Some use a methodology of studying the Quran in depth, investigating the words used with the belief that the Quran explains the Quran. Their belief is that every single word in the original Arabic Quran is there to teach lessons, give examples and parables and make the Quran clear; THE Divine Guidance. Usually for this type of approach, a very open mind free of all previous pre-conceptions or projections from the Traditionalist view is required. Context, Arabic vocabulary and grammar all play a huge part in undertaking this kind of study which inevitably results in “evolving beliefs” as the student undertakes his personal journey of enlightenment with a deeply personal engagement with the text. This kind of study is undertaken by some Quranists using literally the Quran alone or with the assistance of study tools such as Classical Arabic dictionaries, Quran Concordances and online Quran databases. It is debateable whether these so-called tools are classed as Non-Quranic Sources (NQS) or simply tools or study aids.

Usually, all “Quran Aloners”, “Quran Alone muslims”, “Quranic muslims” and “Quranists” are labelled indiscriminately as “Hadith Rejectors” (see Quranist’s response to this term) by those who disagree with the premise that the Quran can be understood without the acceptance of the Sahih Hadith collections. Rejection of Hadith can mean rejecting the Authority of the Hadith or the Authenticity of it. In Quranist terms, to reject the Authority of a hadith means to acknowledge that the Quran has not mentioned this piece of information. To reject the Authenticity of it means a belief that the information is simply not true.

This can lead to a mix-match situation:

Hadiths (or any other NQS including translations) can be believed to be: either

Ex.1 Authentic AND Authorised,

Ex.2 Authentic BUT NOT Authorised,

Ex.3 NOT Authentic BUT Authorised


Ex.4 NOT Authentic AND NOT Authorised

Ex.1.Authentic and Authorised (because it fully agrees with Quran)

If a Hadith is in full agreement with what the Quran teaches, then some Quran Alone muslims may say that this makes the Hadith authentic and authorised. There is however a difference between “Full Agreement with what the Quran says” and “Non-contradiction” If the Hadith has its basis in the Qur’an with a seemingly reasonable explanation then it may still be considered Divine Guidance by some Quran Alone muslims, and therefore some Quran Alone muslims will consider the Hadith authentic and authorised, even though the interpretation of the hadith and Quran may be from an NQS.

Ex.2.Authentic but Not Authorised (verifiable truth, not from Quran)

Rejecting the Authority (simply acknowledging that the information does not have its basis in the Quran) but where the truth can be verified (authenticity) [as in the Red Carpet example from above] is a belief that although the Hadith or NQS is not mentioned in the Qur’an, if it does not contradict the Quran, it may still be wisdom or practical, reasonable, and sensible good advice, however is not considered Divine Guidance.

This type of Quran-Alone-ness (Quranism) primarily means that the “Sahih Hadiths” are not automatically believed to be Authentic and Authorised on the say-so of scholars and imams, rather they have to be re-investigated critically to establish their authenticity.  It also means that from a non-absolutist point of view most things are open to consideration with the Quran having the ultimate say on what is Divine Guidance with the freedom to use logic, reason and common sense, pondering and reflection.

Ex.3.Not Authentic but Authorised (does not exist)

Ex.4.Not Authentic Not Authorised (not verifiable, not from Quran)

Some Quran Alone muslims reject the authenticity and authority of all Hadiths if the words from the English translations of the Hadiths do not correspond to the English translations of the Quran. (Ex.4) and is more in line with the Red Carpet example which can lead to an extreme or fundamentalist absolutist view. This even goes as far as to say that because the term Quranism is not a word in the Quran, then there is no Authority to use the term. (This same logic is not usually applied to the use of a translation; neither the word “translation” nor the instruction to use one can be found in any Quranic verse.) Often verses from the Quran will be used to justify this approach such as Quran Chapter 5 verse 44 (see also Quranic Fundamentalism) There are some Quran Alone muslims who profess to rejecting all Hadiths and NQS which came AFTER the Quran and consider them unauthorised, however, they do not reject the authority and authenticity of previous Scriptures such as the Bible and Jewish texts which they use to aid interpretation of the Quran and/or to justify classical interpretations, which have their origins in Hadiths that did come after the Quran.

Mention should probably be made that sometimes it is not easy to establish a belief of whether an NQS is authentic or not without the proof. This makes it very difficult to 100% accept each NQS as true and authentic or 100% reject it as false / not authentic. Each piece of information in each situation would have to be judged accordingly without making sweeping judgements. Not everything is black and white not to mention that sometimes there may be truth within falsehood, and one would expect the Quranist muslim to investigate and seek the Truth, using the Quran as the deciding factor.

Quranism essentially comprises of all these different types of claims to “Quran Alone-ness” or “Quran Alone-ism.”

Quranism is an umbrella term that includes all approaches to islam from varying understandings, beliefs and interpretations where the Quran is believed to be the sole authority. Quranism is quite the opposite of a sect due to its inclusivity of all approaches to quranic islam and has no set commands of belief or requirements, no leader or authority-head and does not excommunicate anyone who disagrees or has a difference of opinion. Quranism does not profess to be the only way to salvation. Quranism, by its nature of this universal inclusivity does include by definition, in principle, even those who demonstrate sectarian attitudes with claims that their view is the only true belief, even though most Quranists do not endorse such views and even though the ones demonstrating the sectarian attitude do not generally accept the terms Quranist or Quranism. For more information about Quranists, please visit Quranists.net

This article contains a non-exhaustive list of some of the observed kinds of Quran Alone/Quranist/quranist muslims there are. Maybe you are a quranist muslim and have not been described here. If so we would love to hear your point of view on this blog. Please do leave a comment or visit the quranists.net forum.

My ego?

How am I (or anyone, for that matter) going to engage in a discussion to supposedly reach an actual conclusion when everyone who does not like what I say will tell me I am a blind follower of my desires?

Only because my understanding of the quran is not like yours [OR YOUR TRANSLATOR’S, for that matter], it does not mean I worship my ego.

The very notion that ANY Quranist (or Muslim, whatever) would tell a fellow Quranist (or Muslim) that they are making an idol of their ego is disgusting, disturbing and nauseating.

Here is a personal promise that I will immediately stop arguing with people who will face me with such accusation (there being one exception, of course – the person will remain unnamed). If I’m not going to learn or share ideas with other people in a discussion turned into an argument, I might as well spare myself the sick feeling of seeing “rational” people turn into complete bastards.

Talk is cheap

Quite a while ago, and as it would be a custom here where I live, we had quite a huge book-fair. There would be a one either at some university or by the association of some company or the other to help advertise book shops and publishing offices. I dragged my mother down there at the last day. We spent the time between trying to find classics or novels (and only few people there sold English books) and trying to avoid “softies”.

It was easy for all the buyers to notice the fair was jammed with Religious Books. Bukhari in 6 huge book sections, Sahih Muslim and Sahih Muslim with its interpretation, fancy-looking Qurans, the writings of sexist scholars… etc. This is what makes talk cheap.

These books were sold for minimum prices. There were quite many (the majority, actually) shelves and stands filled with Sharia Philosophy writings. Let’s not forget to mention the stand-keepers were frowning, bearded men. People were flowing out of the building carrying  plastic bags stuffed “Tales of the Prophets” or “Tales of the Sahabah”.

Roaming through those “Islamic” books, I found something somewhat rather “islamic” (non-mainstream; philosophical). I found a book by Adnan Rifai titled “Al Mujiza Al Kubra”. Adnan Rifai is a quran alone author and show guest on Dream 2 TV.

Al Mujiza Al Kubra

Al Mujiza Al Kubra - The Greatest Miracle book by A. Rifai

Although I was not impressed by his show, it was delightful to see a book somewhat “similar” to my personal ideology. I wanted to buy it. I walked up to the stand keeper, and with a quite exited tone he said, “there are only two copies of this book in ——.”

I thoroughly tried to tell him the book’s contents where familiar to me, and finally asked about the price. It would have to cost me around $39, he explained. A $39 is not an easy price in this country; so with a frown I said, “Thank you!” then moved away.

Religious talk is cheap. It’s on TV, on taxi bumpers, in the street, and all over book fairs. A philosophical or alternative approach is always short of support, such as this book.

At this very hour, Salafis are attempting to force this Sharia Law across the Middle East and possibly parts of Europe. What Sharia Law exactly would that be? Apparently, they offer books most citizens here read.

As long as the Quran ensures freedom or religion and expression, the state should be secular, should it not? Especially if the Quran is preaching a human, ethical code – not a Sharia Law based on the opinions of Scholars.