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 🙂

Notes on bayt and buyūt


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

(24/36)

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.

When tools fall into the wrong hands


A few days ago I found a great, easy to use program that lets you create animated videos simply and quickly. I used this software myself to make some Quranism Awareness type videos for helping to dispel the misconceptions about islam as described by the Quran, Quranism and Quranists. You can watch them here

Today I was very disappointed by what I saw in this FB group. It seems that the same program I used (“goanimate”) is being used by some Quranist Fundamentalists to monger hate and intolerance towards Traditionalists (they refer to them as “Hadithers”) and the links to their versions of the videos were posted in the said group.

It is hugely disappointing and bitterly ironic that the message of peace, tolerance and inclusiveness that the Quran teaches is found nowhere in these videos. This not only undermines the work that Quranists are doing to promote the vision of Quranism, but also creates a false first impression / perception of association or collaboration. Although Quranist Fundamentalists (QFists) are considered by Quranists to be within the description of what a quranist is (one who holds a belief that the Quran is the sole divine source of islam) this does not in any way mean that QFist views speak on behalf of Quranists or all quranists’ beliefs. To anyone who doesn’t know the terminology it might sound confusing but it is not. Basically the term Quranist Fundamentalist is a term which is described here. You can see a striking difference in the mentality and attitude of such an approach. This does not make QFists any less believers in God and the Quran and only God knows what is in the hearts. The approach of Quranists is simply not the not same as the approach of Quranist Fundamentalists. The fact that the same animation software has been used to create videos and that the Quran is being discussed in them can lead people to make false assumptions.

Basically I am saying, even though I, Asfora, made some cute animated videos which were intended to help to spread a positive and welcoming message for quranists, new muslims, reverts and converts, I do not want people to see the other videos which contain rudeness, insults and prejudice and think that I have anything to do with them or that they are videos that Quranists.net or QNet TV will ever promote.

I, as a Quranist, do not support this mentality of intolerance and hatred towards a generalized group of people. I do not support the use of vulgar and obscene language in videos which are supposed to be inviting to the path of God. I do not want to be associated with this at all. I personally find it tasteless, juvenile and disgraceful.  We are to invite to the path of God and debate in the best way. Rude, insulting, sarcastic videos only seek to repel. We need to remember to humble ourselves and purify our intentions, inshaaAllah.

It is very difficult for me to make this disassociation crystal clear if videos from the Quranist Network TV channel are being promoted on Quranist Fundamentalist sites and Youtube channels. Unfortunately there is no way to stop people adding YouTube uploads onto their channel as part of a favourites list or Playlist.  After all, people have the same right to use the software as anyone else.  I am sure there are other people using “goanimate” to make anti-islam vids too or anti-Quran vids, and if there are not yet, then there no doubt will be soon.
I trust that readers and viewers will be able to detect from the type of content contained in videos whether it is promoting a Quranist attitude or a Quranist Fundamentalist attitude, and will not conflate one with the other. And also to remember that a video on an individual’s personal Youtube Channel does not mean that the author of the video has the right to speak on behalf of the views of any group. Each person is an individual and is responsible for their own content.

I hope I have made my point clear, inshaaAllah. Any questions, comments on this, please ask in the comments below.

Special thanks also to Marisa who also made a wonderful animated video here : Telling your parents about your conversion to islam . It was a pleasure working together with you on this, maashaaAllah. And thanks also to Yasin who generously bought the upgraded version of the software for us to use.

We hope to be able to continue working together to bring more animated videos focussing on Quranism, and reverts and converts in the future, inshaaAllah. 🙂

Yahoo Answers: If quranists were more common would there be even worse division?


An interesting phrasing of this question, I must say. My answer (which wasn’t the best, Asfora’s was and quite rightly so) is as follows:

Dear N,

I am a quranist and like any other quranist, my views are uniquely mine. In other words, I do not share 100 percent similar views with anyone. No quranist does. But you know what, no Muslim (of ANY variety) has 100 percent similar views with each other either. Do you think by simply subscribing to a group (like Sunni or Shia or Sufi) and/or by claiming allegiance to a school of law, this makes you a non-thinking entity? Absolutely not! All Muslims, all HUMAN BEINGS think. Quranist are simply more vocal about it.

Does it mean if all Muslims became quranists, we would have 1 billion odd sects? No way! You are simply carrying a Wahabi mindset about religion. Sectarianism is for those who seek to exploit others. We are notesharers, not dispensers of religious thought.

Quranist Islam is an approach to Islam. We think Islam for ourselves under the guidance of our sole divine source, the Quran. We are an association of people who share notes. We are not a sect. Sects are born from a mindset of exclusivism. Quranists recognise multiplicities in the path to God.

Why are you so worried about uniformity of thinking? Are you not secure in the fact that what YOU believe in born from a sincere search? Build your own relationship with Allah, dont ride on someone elses. You are a person in your own right.

What you need to know before converting to islam


There was a recent question on Yahoo Answers :

“As a woman what do I need to know about converting to being muslim?

I am currently christian and have been all my life. I’m willing and ready I just do not know were to start although I must admitt that im alittle worried about the reaction of others about my decision.”

My reply:

Salaam Aleykum – Peace be upon you! I am a muslim Convert. I would say one of the things I think people should be aware of before they convert to islam is that there are many different approaches to islam. Traditional Islam, for example, is not based solely on the Quran. I am a Quranist muslim which means I believe the Quran is the sole divine source of islam. The likelihood is, when you convert to islam, if you do, inshaaAllah (God Willing) is that you will be taught Sunni Islam (Traditional Islam, Mainstream Islam)
You might want to find out more about Hadiths and their origins, and not just their authenticity but also what authority they hold in islam not only from Traditionalist point of view but try to also find out what the Quran itself says about Hadiths. You can use an online Quran and do a search for the word “hadith”.
Unfortunately Islam is being sold as a package deal these days. To be considered a “valid” muslim you cannot accept just the Quran on its own, you must accept all the hadiths too. If you reject the hadiths, this is quite a big deal and you may find yourself made to feel “outside” the fold of Islam. There are a lot of hadiths which do not contradict the Quran and which DO have their basis in the Quran – it’s likely you will be taught these first. The problem is that the hadiths sometimes contradict each other and often either have no basis in the Quran or even in some cases contradict the Quran.
The good news is that there are many muslims including a very high percentage of converts that think ex-communication is an unfair way to treat sincere believers who also believe that the Quran is the Holy Word of God and that the hadiths, whilst a rich source of information, are not divinely inspired. Should you decide to follow a more Quranist type approach, you would be very welcome to join the Quranists Reverts and Converts Support Network on Facebook . I would recommend giving the Sunni approach a trial first though so you can have first hand experiences of the teachings of Traditional Islam. Don’t get me wrong, there is a LOT of good in Sunni islam as well as in Shia islam, and most of the followers of the Traditional kind that I have ever met are sincere friendly honest kind and good people. May God guide you (inshaaAllah – God Willing) and make your journey pleasant and rewarding. God Bless.

Source(s):

About Quranists.net

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

Inclusiveness: attack vs defense


I saw a page recently on FB which seems to want to spread the message of Quranism, albeit with a different style of approach than my own preferred way. I do try to be less “attack / confront”, rather I’ll defend my own beliefs and try to back up why I believe what I believe with verses / examples from the Quran. To spread the message of Quranism, do we need the “Attack” side or just a really strong “Defense”? I could be wrong, I’m willing to admit that, but anyway here is my post on the thread

“I like this article called “An analysis of Quranist Fundamentalism”  because it’s very balanced and inclusive.

I am a Quranist – I believe that the Quran is the sole divine source of islam. However I believe there are many paths to salvation and I don’t believe that Quranism is the only way to salvation. The reason I chose that article to share on here is that it seemed to me that people who do believe in other sources of islam (and possibly even consider them divine) are portrayed as idol worshippers. I personally believe that each individual has their own beliefs and performs their own actions and it only for Allah to judge whether they were idol worshippers or not. Even Quranists, people who claim to follow the Quran as their divine guidance and not give authority to other sources, could in theory still commit shirk like the one in the example of the garden (18:32 – 18:42) where the one who committed shirk should have said a phrase (18:39) and ends up regretting his behaviour / attitude and ends up saying he wished he had not made partners (18:42) So this (to me) shows that there are different ways to commit shirk and we must all be very careful. I also think we can’t call believers rejectors, if they say they believe (4:94).

I think it’s nice to spread the message of Quranism as I feel it is closest to the true teachings of islam seeing as Quranism is following the teachings of the Quran that Allah Himself teaches in the Quran.

I prefer a more inclusive approach when spreading the message rather than tarnishing sincere people who do believe in Allah and sincerely believe they are obeying Allah by following hadiths. I personally think there is a lot of work to do to bring a better understanding of Quranism to the masses and by attacking others’ beliefs could only serve to divide and cause resentment. A softly softly approach could be seen as friendly and accessible to the type of “inter-faith” dialogue I feel is required so that people can ask questions, learn more in a welcoming environment, free of attacks, insults, etc.

For beliefs to change, attitudes also have to change. “I am right and you are wrong” is not the way (in my own humble opinion) whereas “this is what I believe and why, what do you believe and why?” type dialogue can only be beneficial. I do sympathise though that this is not easy when the SOME of the ones who could benefit very much from this type of dialogue refuse to extend the same courtesy. It can be very exhausting and requires a lot of patience but I personally feel that this is a test, in itself – remember debating in the best way – 16:125

Here is another link for you about Multiple Paths to salvation which discusses the use of “Subulan” (Paths – plural) in the Quran. Hope that helps – no offense intended, just doing my bit to contribute to achieving what seems to be a common goal and a noble cause, which seems to rival the other FB Page that I saw recently called “Refuting Quranists and Modernists” 🙂 which I hope will be a good place to do some “dawah” type work.
Salaam Aleykum and peace 🙂
Asfora

Quranism Wiki now in Spanish!


Thanks to Manuel Martinez Perdomo for his efforts. You can access the page here.