Quranist Vs Quranic : Subjectivity vs (Pretext of) Objectivity


I was quite touched by the grievance of a close compatriot in the Quranist struggle yesterday who said:

Self-professed experts in certain groups have NO CLUE what the heck they are talking about. The more sure people are about what they think is right, the more off-mark their theories and self-imposed meanings on the Quran are

This is where I believe, language can help us understand the difference between our voices and the voice of the Quran.

Often we hear people (including me) saying ‘The Quran says bla bla bla’. This in reality is actually ‘I THINK/BELIEVE/OPINE that the Quran says bla bla bla’. I suppose this lapse may be forgiven if we have the best intention and act accordingly.

But we don’t. At least not a lot of the times.

I see quranists (whether or not they subscribe to the term) to have a tendency to assume ownership of the Quran! Meaning, we have no problem saying ‘ok see, the Quran says in which HADITH do you believe in after Allah and his ayat’ (45/6) Therefore you Sunnis who believe in hadith are disbelievers.

What if the Sunnis didn’t believe that the word ‘hadith’ in 45/6 refers to Hadith literature? Don’t they have a right to their opinion?

This is why I think we need the term ‘quranist’ and we need to make a separation between what is ‘quranIST’ and what is ‘quranIC’.

The quranist is subjective. He is interpreting the Quran according to the knowledge he has at that point. Later on, he may disagree with himself! I know this because I have gone through it myself (several times in fact!) . He can infer that the meaning of ‘salah’ is connection but it will always be his inference. The Quran NEVER says the meaning of salah is connection.

On other hand, ‘quranic’ denotes what is objective. I can say ‘Quranic personalities’ (like ibrahim, nuh, musa , isa) because they are objectively there in the Quran. I CAN’T say ‘the meaning of the story of nuh is about deliverance and survival’. This is purely my opinion and I appreciate people might disagree.

This is why it surprises me to see people say ‘The Quranic concept of riba’ for example and analyse 2-3 verses to claim ‘this is ‘quranic”. It’s not, it’s simply your limited attempt to understand the concept. If it works for you, great. Keep up the good work but don’t be so quick to put down other ‘quranic opinions’

The fact is, in the Quranist world (a little world in the World of Islam), we have a large degree of diversity and that doesn’t have to be a bad thing. We just need to respect the fact that we’re all on a journey. Dial down the trash talk. Be nice. If you can’t say, just say WATDIP (We Agree To Disagree In Peace) and move on 🙂

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.

All in the Quran


After listening to Taylor’s beautiful song from the other day, I was totally inspired to have a go at getting back into doing a bit of singing! Thank you Taylor if you are reading this! Alhamdulillah it’s been a fun experience! 🙂 It’s been a long time since I used to sing, and not at all in a professional capacity, but I used to really enjoy it and thought I’d like to try to use the backing track from one of my recent favourite tunes “Just a dream” (the version by Sam Tsui and Christina Grimmie) and adapt the lyrics with my own words… well this is how my humble effort  turned out LOL – the lyrics are below and the mp3 is here – you have to right click and press “save link as” to download – I don’t know how to make it play online. It’s on youtube as well but the audio quality on there is quite muffled.

All in the Quran (lyrics)

Thinking ’bout life,
Thinking ’bout love,
Thinking ’bout God
All of the above
Opened my eyes
It’s all in the Quran

So I come back
To the Word of God
His Noble Words
Are all I’ve got
I realized
It’s all in the Quran

When I’m working I swear
I get reminded all the time
I’m trying to concentrate
I hear these words that rhyme
God knows I’m thinking and I’m hearing Him loud and clear

I been doubting in myself
And wondering where this path will take me
Now I got no doubt cos I feel it all just lately
Here in my heart
It was easy once I tried
But Why
Did I wait this long to try?

People tell me sister don’t give up hadith
And don’t reject the sunnah cos we got these set beliefs
But I tried and I know that somethin just ain’t right
And I feel that I’m living in a double life, A lie

(Thinking ’bout) life,
Thinking ’bout love
Thinking ’bout God
All of the above
Opened my eyes
It’s all in the Quran
So I come back
To the Word of God
His Noble Words
Are all I’ve got
All this time
It’s all in the Quran

When I’m praying I beg for a double dose of patience
Guidance and strength and forgiveness for my conscience
Mmmm
It’s peaceful to my soul
I know
I got no other way to go

The people that I know from my past are gonna hate me
Maybe not all of them
And some of them gonn’ pray for me
But wait, 
I gotta do this thing
It’s my life, it’s my struggle
So I’ll strive

Prophetic examples needn’t be so hard to find
If you know just where to look
It’s easy to combine
Your reason and your logic and
To ponder and reflect
And please don’t tell me
That it’s just another sect!

Thinking ’bout life,
Thinking ’bout love,
Thinking ’bout God
All of the above
Open your eyes
It’s all in the Quran!
So come back
To the Word of God!
His Noble Words
Are all we’ve got
All this time
it’s all in the Quran!

If you’ve ever been confused put your hands up
If you’ve ever been bemused put your hands up
Now it’s clear and you feel you wanna start over again

If you’ve ever been confused put your hands up
If you’ve ever been bemused put your hands up
Now it’s clear and you feel you wanna start ALL over again

(Thinking bout life,) thinking bout love, thinking bout God
All of the above
Open your eyes
It’s all in the Quran!
So come back
To the Word of God!
His Noble Words
Are all we’ve got
All this time
It’s all in the Quran!

If you can relate to these lyrics, please join QRAC – Quranists Reverts and Converts Support Network on Facebook

Original backing music info for copyright purposes: (from Wikipedia) “Just a Dream” is a song performed by American recording artist Nelly, taken from his sixth studio album 5.0 (2010). The song was written by Nelly, Rico Love, Jim Jonsin and Frank Romano with Jonsin and Love producing the song.[1] No copyright infringement intended.

“All in the Quran” lyrics adapted by Asfora Safarina based on the rhythm and style as per the version by Sam Tsui and Christina Grimmie.

copyright disclaimer:

9/11 and the Formation of a Quranist Identity


Today is the anniversary of 9/11. 10 years have passed since the day I stood in my parents living room, staring at the impossible images on TV. I had a gut feeling then that life as we knew it was about to change. I remember saying to another Quranist a few laters that ‘the twin pillars of civilisation’ had come crashing down’. Whoever perpetrated 9/11 didn’t matter. What mattered was that now there were more believers in the ‘global Islamic threat’. Many, many more.

 

Ten years have now gone by. Afghanistan was invaded, then Iraq. 7/7 happened in London and we don’t know where it will all end. It all seems beyond our control but we must remember that everything comes from Allah and can, despite their difficulties, be a boon.

 

Being a Quranist does not dissociate me with the problems of Islam. On the contrary, I am now charged with the question ‘if the Quran doesn’t preach terror, why are there Islamic terrorists’. It’s a fair question. After all, it’s not like the terrorists are simply nominally Muslim. No, no, lets be honest here. They claim to be jihad-ing for Islam! They try to speak for Islam and Muslims everywhere.

 

However, Islam, like any human civilisation, has a variety of adherents. There is Traditionalist Islam (Sunni and Shia), Mystical Islam (Sufi), Puritanical Islam (Wahabi) and of course, us – Quranist Islam. We are a type of Islam.

 

Today, I was given the honour of speaking at the South African Quranic Conference where I spoke about ‘The Formation of the Quranist Identity’. I do believe that the Quranist Identity will be a powerful tool to stop the slow descent of Islam into Islamofascism. The ‘Quranist space’ is a space where free thinking is allowed, even encouraged. Free thinking is something Islamofascists fear because it unravels their lies.

 

Our job now as Quranists is to nurture this space to allow its ideas to take root in the Ummah. Please see the rest of my presentation here:

 

Formation  of a Quranist Identity A:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2f_S2eWhpMg

 

Formation  of a Quranist Identity B:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RO5vhYEnoE0

 

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.

Introduction to WATDIP :)


Said this in QRAC:

I am a Muslim but a Quranist Muslim.

I don’t know how it works for the Bible but for the Quran, it actually is a DIY personal experience with Allah. We have no infallible popes, only fatwa makers who wish to speak for others without the authority of Allah.

You are most welcome here despite our differences. The key word is WATDIP (We Agree To Disagree In Peace) 🙂

WATDIP should be the Quranist motto 😛

more mottos / short codes

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 (www.quranists.net)!

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.