Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Quranist Belief: the Myths and the Realities

I've noticed a lot of anti-Quranist sentiment among Sunni/Shi'a Muslims, so I figured I'd do a post to clear up some of the utterly mistaken things that are said about Quranists and our beliefs. Granted, many of those things were on Yahoo Answers' Ramadan section, and I know you sisters here are brighter than that bunch, but it doesn't hurt to clarify things.

What Quranists are:

Muslims who believe the Qur'an is the revelation of Allah and that Muhammad is the last in a long line of prophets sent from Allah.

Sounds like Sunni and Shi'a and everybody else, right?

What Quranists aren't:

Followers of Rashid Khalifa. The most common accusation levelled against Quranists is that we believe Rashid Khalifa was a prophet.

This is false. FALSE. I don't know a single person who believes he was a prophet, or thinks much of him at all. When we do discuss him, we give him props for having the guts to say "Follow the Qur'an Alone. Worship Allah alone.", but in no way, shape, form, or fashion do we consider him a prophet. Actually, most of the people I've talked with consider him to have had a great idea but that he went coo coo for Cocoa Puffs after that.

We do not reject Prophet Muhammad. We reject the near-worship of him and the emphasis that is placed on him above all other prophets. The Qur'an instructs us not to elevate any prophet above another and not to make partners of anyone with Allah. What do you think the shahada does? Singles out Muhammad and joins his name with that of Allah.

Muhammad, in traditional Sunni/Shi'a practice, IS a partner with Allah. You don't see people react to cartoons of Jesus or Moses or Abraham with the outrage and hysteria that they do if someone makes a cartoon of Muhammad. People wish blessings on Muhammad because they think he can intercede for them -- despite the Qur'an saying that no one but Allah will be able to intercede for anyone on the last day, that Muhammad was just a warner, that he had no power over belief or disbelief, that no one shall bear another's sins.

When the Qur'an says "obey the Messenger", it doesn't mean copy every single thing Muhammad supposedly did or said and invoke his name so your prayers will be heard. It means to follow his teachings: the oneness of God, equality of the prophets, belief in the last day, and to deal with each other in kindness.

On Hadith:

There are a couple of different perspectives regarding hadith.

Some Quranists believe that you can accept the hadith that do not contradict or add to the Qur'an, but that you should interpret the hadith you accept only as good advice, not as guidance or a source of divine law. Others believe that you should not accept any hadith, period, but only the Qur'an.

By rejecting part or all of the hadith, we aren't rejecting the sunnah. Consider the many examples in the Qur'an where Allah instructed Muhammad to answer the believers. "Say:" is how it always began. These are the true sunnah. The Qur'an describes itself as the best hadith.

If you insist on having secondary sources to the Qur'an, the Qur'an tells us what our authorized sources are: the Torah and Gospel of Jesus! Being Muslim does not mean you exclude the other books from study. The three should be used in conjunction, to verify and clarify what is right and what is wrong.

Qur'an 10:94 "If you are in doubt regarding what We have sent down to you, then ask those who have been reading the Book from before you. The truth has come to you from your Lord, so do not be of those who doubt."

As Quranists, one of our highest ideals is to respect other faiths and other interpretations of Islam, so don't think I'm trashing your beliefs. I'm not. All I'm saying is: know what you believe and why. Be able to back it up. Be able to look at your beliefs with a critical eye and find answers to your questions.

For me, the beauty of Quran Alone is that it makes Islam simple again. It removes the cultural traditions and supersitions of the hadith and gives us the book revealed to and followed by Muhammad, untainted by centuries of "scholarly interpretation".

Do you seriously think you need a scholar to tell you what to think so that you can understand the Qur'an "correctly"? ("Correctly", of course, being that scholar's own POV.) Would you call Allah a liar by saying the Qur'an is too holy to be understood by the layperson and requires hadith to clarify it, when He says that it is a clear, detailed book of guidance for all mankind?

44 comments:

  1. I'm close to the "Quranist" belief mostly because I refuse to use any other source than the Quran as law but I'm more than willing to learn from hadiths and grow with the "good advice" it can often contain and this is sometimes too much for Quranists even if you have this as one of your definitions of Quranist.
    I probably fit into "progressive Muslim" more... But like any Muslim would rather be just Muslim.
    Thanks for your clarification on Quranists. Sounded right to me. I hope some Sunnis and Shias can read it and really understand what it is even if they somehow cannot agree.

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    1. Candace, be careful if that good advice that is in Hadith. It comes from the same author who brought you the advice to stone a she monkey to death if you see it committing adultery. Yes, that's an authentic Bukhari Hadith. It's like saying "I didn't like the parts where you painted Mohammad as a child molester, sex manic, angry man who gorged someones eyes out and said that women are like pigs and dogs and referred to Africans as those who's heads look like raisins. But the nice Hadith were just peachy." Hadith are from the devil. They must all be rejected. Quran has all the guidance we need. Alhamdulillah. If it ain't in Quran, it ain't of relevance to your salvation." Aamer X

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  2. Candice,

    Quranists ARE progressive Muslims. There are many people in a FB Quranist group I'm in that would agree with you, and many that would agree with me, and more who would have a broader interpretation. Quranists not only accept but encourage differing points of view. That's something I haven't seen much of in Sunni/Shi'a Islam. It's drink the Kool-Aid or be exiled or even attacked in many cases. :/

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  3. Anyway, I'll be updating and revising this post. It was a bit impromptu, which is why it's a little rough and needs some additional work and some Qur'an verses added that I couldn't find but have marked at home.

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  4. Interesting. But aren't some prophets elevated above others already? By circumstances, etc?

    For example, Jesus. Why all the miracles that surrounded his birth? It makes him stand out and seem 'special' from the other prophets who (as far as I know) do not have such things recorded about them. Or Mohammed. If he's the last prophet and the one whose revelation will be protected from error, then doesn't that make him more special than the other prophets?

    I get what you're saying about not worshiping Mohammed and it does seem (from the outside) that many Muslims place a great emphasis on Mohammed to the point where he is almost joined with God in a way. But it just seems to me that all prophets are not equal, at least according to the stories we have.

    How can you trust the Torah or the Gospel as secondary sources if they haven't been preserved from error? Even if you just take what agrees with the Qur'an, what's the guarantee that some important factor hasn't been removed or changed?

    One of the main things I do appreciate about Islam is the simplicity at the core of it. Of course that could be said about most religions if you get rid of all the details. As in, at the core Christianity is love of God and love of humanity. Simple enough, right? Sadly nothing is ever that simple in practice.

    I also like that there's no blood atonement. It bothers me that God basically demanded human sacrifice and deicide in Christianity because a part of me feels so much like that's very *human* to require payment like that.

    Religion. So fascinating. So frustrating.

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    1. As of trusting the Bible and Torah. You will have to one drop the add-ons just as Muslims have added these other book to the Quran. What has been added? I would research the "new testament" and the verbal form of the jewish tradition.. Adding to the true word is causing so much trouble in the world.

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  5. 16:82 But if they turn away from you, your only duty is a clear delivery of the Message

    4:79-80 Say:'Whatever good betides you is from God and whatever evil betides you is from your own self and that We have sent you to mankind only as a messenger and all sufficing is God as witness. Whoso obeys the Messenger, he indeed obeys God. And for those who turn away, We have not sent you as a keeper."

    17:53-54 And tell my servants that they should speak in a most kindly manner. Verily, Satan is always ready to stir up discord between men; for verily; Satan is mans foe .... Hence, We have not sent you with power to determine their Faith

    24.54. Say: "Obey God, and obey the Messenger. but if ye turn away, he is only responsible for the duty placed on him and ye for that placed on you. If ye obey him, ye shall be on right guidance. The Messenger's duty is only to preach the clear (Message).

    88:21 22; And so, exhort them your task is only to exhort; you cannot compel them to believe.

    42:6 48 And whoso takes for patrons others besides God, over them does God keep a watch. Mark, you are not a keeper over them. But if they turn aside from you (do not get disheartened), for We have not sent you to be a keeper over them; your task is but to preach

    64:12 Obey God then and obey the Messenger, but if you turn away (no blame shall attach to our Messenger), for the duty of Our Messenger is just to deliver the message.

    28.55-56 And when they hear vain talk, they turn away therefrom and say: "To us our deeds, and to you yours; peace be to you: we seek not the ignorant," It is true thou wilt not be able to guide whom thou lovest; but God guides those whom He will and He knows best those who receive guidance

    As we can clearly see, many of the verses that talks about obeying the prophet also emphasizes the prophet's limited authority, something that the Islamic sects do not recognize. The ruler to them has the authoirty to punish people for what they consider sins like drinking alcohol, eating pork, not fasting Ramadan, watching pornos etc.

    The Koran meanwhile focuses on crimes against another like stealing, killing, slandering of women falsely and oppression. It gave the believers the right to fight against those who fight them but not to transgress. It also gave people the right to defend themsleves against evictions from their lands. There is no talk about punishing people for something that does not concern somebody else's right.

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  6. Adultery is the only place where the Koran diverted from this due to the fact that a adultery affects another party. Here the Koran sees adultery as affecting the other partner in a marriage. Its a betrayal and a breaking of aoth. But even then it placed strict standards on that but was lenient when it came to punishing slanders of women. Adultery needs four witnesses but the slander can get punished by flogging just from opening his mouth without four witnesses. Its clear that the verse made it very difficult to impliment on adultery but very easy to impliment on the slanderer. Further reading of the verse about the Zani and Zania shows us that the issue came up concerning slandering of one of the porphet's wife presumably. But adultery still affects another party as its a breaking of an oath between a man and a woman and is an act of betrayal.

    The Koran can not order the prohet to punish people for sins, that God's job. The Koran gave people the right and freedom to disbelieve let alone sin. Plus how the Koran understands sins is very different than how the sects understand sins.

    In the end the sects had no choice but to abrogate many of these verses, usually invoking the "sword verse". They claim that many of these verses that gave the prophet limited authority(over those who chose to disobey him) has been abrogated by verse 9-5 or verse 9-29.

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  7. However these verses were about the wars with the pagans, and verse 9-13 and many other verses makes it clear who instigated these battles and why. The Jizya verse (9-29) also was claimed by the sects to be a tax to be paid by non Muslims in an Islamic state for protection. However Jizya never came concerning the Medina community where the prophet and his followers had a community. And only came upon the believers entering of Mecca. Jizya could have easily been compensation for the loss of property and homes that the believers suffered after being forced into exile. The Koran forbade prophets from seeking any form of reward. They can however accept charity on behalf of the believers.

    But the Sunnah claimed otherwise. In it the prophet was ordered to fight the people till they acknowledge monotheism and also in it the prophet ordered the execution of those who apostate. That’s why they abrogated many of the verses that limited his authority. Then they simply transferred that authority to the Muslim ruler by default. The Ridda war story about Abu Bakr is a case study of this. In that story Abu Bakr apparently fought people for not paying Zakat. Now the authority was transferred from God to the prophet to one of his companions. This made it very easy to then transfer that authority to the ruler. This is why you see places where Shariah law is implemented filled with such concepts like searching cars for alcohol or flogging people for watching pornos or not wearing proper attire. None of this should concern anyone but it has become a punishable sin. God only punishes those who did not get caught and punished in this world. The sects claimed that once punished the sin falls away and disappears. You will not find such a concept in the Koran. There God punishes in a million ways and does not need humans to punish for him. I think the sects introduced this conc3ept to make people more accepting of this by making them think its better for them since God's punishment is more severe. They also introduced stoning the adulterer by claiming the Zina verse in the Koran is concerning fornification and not adultery. They claimed that the verse about stoning was lost and is not included in the Koran but the ruling remains.

    This of course violated not only the freedom aspect of the Koran but also an eye for an eye and a life for a life. In the Koran, any punishment must be reciprocal and proportionate to the crime and it also must be targeted towards the actual perpetrators of the crime and not someone else associated to the criminal as the case with tribal laws that simply targets anyone from that tribe. They broke this by lower the bar for executions. Some Sunni scholars also gave the authority to execute homosexuals and enslave female prisoners and execute male prisoners. Something the Koran forbade. The Koran gave two options for prisoners, either freedom or ransom of some sort. They gave this authority to the ruler. This is all very sad as the taking of someone’s life is no easy matter in the Koran. God should take life and not humans, but if a person takes a life then he lost his right to live, but even then the Koran gave exile from the community as another option for murder especially if the person shows repentance. So an eye for an eye and a tooth for tooth somehow ended up being an eye for an eye lash and a tooth for a jaw.

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  8. "Interesting. But aren't some prophets elevated above others already? By circumstances, etc?"

    Yep, some are. The point, though, is that WE, meaning us mere human beings, are not to differentiate between them. If God chooses to give one certain abilities or status that another did not have, that is with Him.

    "How can you trust the Torah or the Gospel as secondary sources if they haven't been preserved from error? Even if you just take what agrees with the Qur'an, what's the guarantee that some important factor hasn't been removed or changed?"

    Good question, Amber! The thing is that what Muslims need to know is in the Qu'ran (which is protected by God from change) already, and if we have any doubt about what the Qur'an says, we go back to the Gospel or the Torah and fact-check. Did the same thing happen? Was God's decree in that situation the same? If it's different, then the Qur'an corrects that. If it's the same, then the Qur'an confirms that.

    "I also like that there's no blood atonement. It bothers me that God basically demanded human sacrifice and deicide in Christianity because a part of me feels so much like that's very *human* to require payment like that."

    I know what you mean. That's something that bugged me, too. The fact that, according to Christianity, without Jesus, God is incapable of forgiving our sins if we repent also bugs me. Why do we try to place limits on God? The whole thing is just a "my religion is better than your religion" tactic, in my opinion.

    "Religion. So fascinating. So frustrating."

    True that.

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  9. Salaam Aleykum! Your blog is looking really good Heather, maashaaAllah :) Good post - I love how you bring your own observations to your posts rather than copy/paste.
    Here is a link to the new re-vamped Quranists Welcome Pack
    Kepp up the great blogging, inshaaAllah :)
    Asfora x

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  10. But, but, but! ;)

    They *are* different. How are we meant not to differentiate if they are different? If the goal is to not make any one prophet higher in regard than any other, why not make them all equal in the first place? If God plays favorites with his prophets how are we supposed to do any different?

    I guess one could argue that each prophet came equipped with what he would need for his time and place which is why some are known, some are unknown and of the ones that are known some have more incredible stories than others. And that we're just supposed to look at the end result? Or the core of the message? But it's very much against human nature to do so. If you put two men, two prophets, side by side and review their lives, the one that had more miracles or more spectacular happenings would probably get more attention, right?

    "The thing is that what Muslims need to know is in the Qu'ran (which is protected by God from change) already, and if we have any doubt about what the Qur'an says, we go back to the Gospel or the Torah and fact-check. Did the same thing happen? Was God's decree in that situation the same? If it's different, then the Qur'an corrects that. If it's the same, then the Qur'an confirms that."

    Then why do you need the Torah or the Gospel at all? If the Qur'an is the final word anyway then it doesn't matter what either of them say. If they're wrong, the right answer is in the Qur'an and if they're right, the right answer is still in the Qur'an! I could see using them for some of the stories that don't get full treatment in the Qur'an I guess but do you stop at only reading the stories that are mentioned in the Qur'an or do you read all of them? And then how do you judge the veracity and usefulness of the ones not mentioned? I'm thinking mainly of the Torah here honestly since I think the Gospel offers fewer issues in that regard. It's only about Christ and can be read in a way that doesn't put forth claims of divinity for Christ.

    The blood atonement thing: I've gotten some interesting answers to this one, including one that points out that the idea that Christ was in some way 'paying' God for our sins is a very Western construct. But assuming that that is what's meant with the idea that Christ had to 'pay' for us, it's God's system! Why would He set something up like that where the only way He would let Himself forgive us (something that He presumably really wants to do since we're told that He doesn't want anyone to go to hell) is by making humanity murder yet *another* innocent man (something we're more than capable of without any divine assistance) and by dying Himself. Sort of.

    And how does that even make sense? One crime makes up for all the other crimes anyone ever commits as long as they ask for it to?

    Like saying, 'Okay God, I've got this perfectly nice guy right here all tied up and ready to go. I'm going to kill him and you're going to accept his death as payment for all the crap I've ever done. After this I'm going to be good. But this murder is going to wipe my slate clean because nothing says I'm sorry like covering myself in more blood. And it was your idea anyway.' *hackslash**gets caught and sent to loony bin*

    Even with a willing victim...it's like the people who were ritually sacrificed in ancient traditions. Yes, many of them were captives but many were volunteers who did it because it was an honor to die for the gods. So does their willingness to die make it any less of a murder?

    God doesn't want human sacrifice, except for that one time He did...

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    1. God says he preferred some prophets to others. Who are we to argue?
      [2:253] Such messengers, We have preferred some to others; some of them talked to God, and He raised some of them in ranks, and We gave Jesus son of Mary the proofs and We supported him with the Holy Spirit. Had God wished, the people after them would not have fought after the proofs had come to them, but they disputed, some of them acknowledged and some of them did not appreciate. Had God wished they would not have fought, but God does whatever He wishes.

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  11. Thanks, Asfora! I don't like to do the "cut 'n paste" thing. As this is my blog, it is for me to answer questions and write in my own voice -- nobody here or anywhere else on the web can speak for me better than me!

    Amber, you make sense. ^_^ The Qur'an's role is as guidance, to confirm what is right and correct what is wrong. I believe that there are things in the Bible, like a verbatim prayer ("The Lord's Prayer"), that benefit Muslims. Sunni/Shi'a usually say "How do you know what to say in prayer?" Well, Jesus gave us an example of it, so there was no need to repeat it. I'm actually a big fan of using the Bible in conjunction with the Qur'an in my studies, although many Muslims would say that the Qur'an is the right one and we don't need to look at the Gospel or the Torah because we have the Qur'an. There are a lot of beautiful things in the Bible that we can all benefit from, regardless of what you believe about Jesus.

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  12. Heather, this was a great post. Very interesting and I love that you don't copy and paste, but share your own views in such an easy-to-understand way. Thank you for that!

    Amber, you wrote:

    "God doesn't want human sacrifice, except for that one time He did... "

    Don't the other Abrahamic religions also have human sacrifice (or almost) at one time? Isaac for Jews; Ishmael for Muslims. Granted, God provided a ram to take the place, but Jesus was known as the Lamb of God so symbolically he was that ram in the thicket who took the place of humans.

    I like the Orthodox position Stacy shared in that link on your blog. It's like Christ's death and focus on resurrection showed his VICTORY over death rather than him being somehow a victim of God's weird justice system. Not that I think he was anyway. The Bible says Jesus came to earth willingly for that purpose so it's not like some oops happened in the plan.

    Granted,I don't understand blood sacrifice either. In the OT for starters and Abraham's near sacrifice of Ishmael according to Islamic tradition.

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  13. Susanne,

    Yes, but that event is part of what is used as proof that God doesn't want human sacrifice, along with the deeper significance of it being a test of Abraham's faith.

    You know, as an aside, there is one thing that I prefer in the Qur'anic version of the story to the Biblical version. That's that Abraham tells Isaac that he's been commanded to sacrifice him and Isaac agrees that they need to obey God. It makes it less...douchey on Abraham's part and it also makes it a test of Isaac's faith. And I know that most (all?) Muslims believe it was Ishmael that is 'the son' in question but he's never named in the Qur'anic story but Isaac is named in the Biblical version of the story so I'm going with it being Isaac.

    I like the Orthodox position Stacy shared as well.

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  14. Amber, I know a Muslim who has concluded through her research that most first Muslims believed it was Isaac as well. The Ishmael tradition probably developed later when Arabs were trying to put one of their own in this place though I have no idea why they would want their ancestor to be the nearly-slaughtered one! :)

    This Muslim friend also believes it was Isaac since the Quran doesn't name either child.

    I'm trying to recall if this passage was used to teach us human sacrifice was wrong. It seems that was just a given to me since there is that whole command about not murdering and sacrificing a child seems pretty bad.

    I was taught more that Abraham was asked to give up the thing he loved most. It was a test of whether or not he (and we by extension) could trust God if He asked us to give up the thing/people in life most precious to us. Could we trust God with our things, our loved ones or would we insist that they are ours? Could we trust in God's goodness and that HE is able to care for those people/things? Etc.

    Abraham knew God had promised to give him numerous descendants through this child. How could this happen if Isaac were killed? I was taught Abe knew God would either raise Isaac from the dead (a type of Christ?) or He would provide a substitute (another type of Christ?). So although Abraham was seemingly willing to kill his own son, he trusted that God would still use Isaac because Abraham believed God kept His promises. Recall how often the faith of Abraham is lauded in Scripture! Even when Abe and Isaac went and Isaac pondered where the lamb was, didn't Abraham say "God will provide a lamb"? So it seems Abraham believed God would come through somehow and Isaac would live (again).

    And we don't know that Abraham didn't explain things to Isaac. The Bible hardly tells every single word people spoke! Maybe after Abe told Isaac God would provide a lamb, he explained this test so Isaac willingly laid down on the altar. Don't you think a young man could get away from an old man if he wanted to live? :) There again maybe Isaac was a type of Christ in that he willingly laid down to be sacrificed trusting God with his life, death and perhaps resurrection. Just thinking out loud here...

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  15. If we follow the idea that the Qur'an is only there to correct inaccuracies in the texts of the first two revelations then it would have to be Isaac since the Qur'an doesn't 'correct' the information contained in the Old Testament. :)

    I'm guessing because of the 'honor' being a worthy sacrifice to God brings, in theory. It conveys a sense of...perfection and/or importance.

    I recall being taught that this was the first and largest sign that God was against human sacrifice. Yes, there is the commandment not to murder but that came after this time period. And, to argue a point, it only forbids murder. We now (obviously and with very good reason) consider human sacrifice to be murder but in the cultures where it occurred it wasn't murder. So I think we have to keep that in mind as well. Most human sacrifices would have been captives of war so the point could be stretched that the sacrifices were executions of enemy combatants (and God never outlawed war or the slaughter of enemies - see all of the Old Testament for evidence of that) or they were volunteers from within the culture because it was seen as an honor and a necessity to sacrifice to the gods (which could be seen as a kind of suicide, I suppose).

    There are plenty of other references in the Old Testament to God's displeasure with human sacrifice, though of course I don't know it well enough to pull the quotes right out of my head. But all of the condemnation of the cultures surrounding the Israelites who sacrificed their children to...Moloch? I think it was. And I think there were others, though my recollection is not perfect.

    I'm not questioning the strength of Abraham's faith! He was willing to kill his son because he believed God wanted it. That's a high testament to his faith if you look at it from the right angle! (The other angle being that do you really want to worship a god that demands the life of your child?) Abraham's phrase of 'God will provide a lamb' is a statement of faith, yes, but since God also provided Isaac and he was now tagged as the 'lamb' it's not necessarily one that removes all doubt from Abraham's mind.

    I guess it's possible that Abraham could have explained it all after Isaac asked about the lamb, but it isn't stated and it comes off sounding like Abraham tricked him. Just saying. And if we're arguing from silence, Abraham could have drugged Isaac to keep him from escaping or bopped him on the back of the head when he was looking the other way. :) Old people are dangerous too, you know!

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  16. "Old people are dangerous too, you know!"

    Yes, dearie, I know. And best YOU remember! ;)

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  17. OMG I can't believe this load of crap, seriously..to say that Sunni's & Shia's make the prophet a partner with Allah is ridiculous. And especially that you guys hahahah claim to be Muslim but refuse to say the shahada. The first tenant of islam. Holy shit! I'm out of here really quick. BTW why even bother covering up your girl features, other so called quranists females show themselves fully, citing that God gave it to them so it must be to flaunt because God says in the Quran that he is good. Y'aall are like really really lost, may God guide you back to where ever but anywhere than ur self righteous podiums front view quranist trail to hell fire!

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    1. Anon,

      You may find the idea that Sunni and Shia are making Mohammed and Allah partners ridiculous and it's likely true that many of them don't think that way. But there is a valid argument for the case considering that Mohammed is the only prophet whose name is mentioned over and over again in direct connection with Allah. If all prophets are meant to be equally respected then raising one above all the others to the degree that Mohammed has been raised above the other prophets goes against the principle of equality and makes it far too easy for people to begin, consciously or not, making Mohammed a kind of partner to Allah.

      As for the shahada, which shahada is the correct one? The Sunni have a different shahada from the Shia and there are other sects or groups of Muslims who have slight variations on the shahada as well. So which one, exactly, is the one that all Muslims must say? What is the most important aspect of Islam? Is it Mohammed or is it the oneness of God? Likely you would reject the possibility that simply stating that there is no god but God could be the Qur'anist version of the shahada and that it could be valid.

      Covering 'your girl features': There is debate, even within Sunni or Shia groups as to whether or not hijab as it is commonly understood today is commanded within the Qur'an. What is not in debate is that the Qur'an commands modesty. Modesty, however, is a cultural construct. It changes with the times and places in which a person finds themselves living. If Islam and the Qur'an are to be taken as 'for all times' and 'all people' then it must be adaptable to different times and peoples without seeking to homogenize them all and remove that which, in part, makes them diverse. There is no command that I have found within the Qur'an that orders people to live and dress as though it were ancient Arabia. That is simply how some people choose to understand it.

      In conclusion, if you were serious about being worried for Heather or anyone else you would come here with calm, reasoned discussion. Since you come with a garbled paragraph of random straw man arguments under the guise of anonymity, I have to assume that you're what is commonly referred to as a 'troll' in the internet vernacular and are more concerned with trying to cause trouble and feeling vaguely superior than with any real exchange of ideas and understanding.

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    2. People like you my friend are the reason after being born into a sunni family and raised as one my whole life i finally decided to take up quranism. This ignorant aggressive traditionalist behaviour of telling anybody who does not follow what you follow goes to hell and blah blah scares the hell out of me. No matter whatever happens to mankind, traditionalist Muslims will have no change in their attitude.

      P.S : Good work Heather, you spoke my mind in this article.Do you have like a facebook group or something i can join.

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  18. And Amber's reply for the win! The fact is that we Quranists make a lot of traditionalist (Sunni/Shi'a) Muslims uncomfortable because we question everything and encourage others to do the same. Scrutinizing your beliefs can be a really uncomfortable process, but I believe it is necessary for spiritual growth and understanding. When someone attacks me, like the nearly incoherent person above, I know I've hit a nerve.

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  19. Anon,

    The "5 Pillars" are made up. There is no Qur'anic requirement to say ANYTHING, in front of witnesses or not, in order to become a Muslim. The Qur'an only requires that we believe -- Allah knows if we do or don't.

    The only person I see on a self-righteous podium here is you, as you are telling me that I'm going to Hell because I follow only the revelation of Allah, as that revelation orders me to do. Don't say what you don't know or try to usurp Allah's place as judge. I am not the misguided one here. I am not insulting you. I am not cursing at you or calling you names. I AM backing up what I believe with the Qur'an, which, as a Muslim, you must profess to believe is true, complete, and perfect.

    I'm not sorry if what I'm saying disturbs you. If it causes you to think and research for yourself rather than blindly believe what other people say, then it can only be for your benefit.

    4:94
    "O you who believe, if you go forth in the cause of God, you shall investigate carefully. And do not say to those who greet you with peace: "You are not a believer!" You are seeking the vanity of this world; but with God are many riches. That is how you were before, but God graced you, so investigate carefully. God is expert over what you do."

    Peace.

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  20. Thank you so much for this post, Heather!

    I am a new Muslim, and I have to say, I have been really confused by all of the different sects and have been worried that I'm doing everything wrong. This makes so much sense. I totally agree with you that using the hadith as "good advice" rather than law is the way to go. I think there is much that can be learned from them, but they must be taken with a grain of salt, because they were subject to a lot of human error before they were written down and even since. A lot of the values are cultural. I also agree that hadith and sunna should be compared with the values of the Quran.

    Thank you!

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    1. Salam aleikum, Hannah! Welcome to my blog! Please feel free to email me at tougakiryuugroupie (at) yahoo.com if you'd like to talk some more! (This is an old email address -- don't want to use my current one, as it is my full name, lol)

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  21. I love you all for the sake of Allah swa, this is great and makes me feel like I'm not the only one... Hadith has to contradict its self because as Muslims if we don't believe there is errors in these collective Hadith then we are saying nothing less then this is also divine inspiration which defeats the purpose having one book of guidance for all of man kind... I wish we were voiced, but Allah warns us of the people of concealment... May Allah guide us all Amin.

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    1. Salam aleikum, Shaz. Glad you found me. You aren't alone -- I suggest that you join up with the Quranist Reverts and Converts Support Network on Facebook. I'm part of the group and it really is a fabulous resource of knowledge -- but no one there would ever tell you something and not give you some reference point in the Qur'an for their assertions regarding Islam. That's not something you can get from many people in "traditionalist" Islam, as we call it.

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  22. Tonight The Jinn And Tonic Show will be discussing Quranism, and the claim that Hadiths cannot be trusted and contradict the Quran.

    http://www.blogtv.com/people/thejinnandtonicshow

    It's a blogTV show so you can just watch if you wish. If you would like to call into the show you need to have Skype installed and send a friend request to TheJinnAndTonicShow - please write a short statement in the friend request text stating your view on Quranism so that we can filter random friend requests.

    The show is on tonight (December 1st) at 9PM GMT. I hope so see some of you there, and please do share this message as much as you can!

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  23. Well said sister. Obey Allah and his messenger does not mean obey a guy named Bukhari who compiled sayings of the prophet 300 years after his death which may or may not be true. Oh and check out Bukhari volume 1 book 4 #232. Very useful information on how Aisha is telling some man about how the prophet often had semen stains on his clothes. Read it for yourself. It's disgusting and disrespectful to Gods prophet and his wife. And this is one of MANY absurd and disrespectful "authentic" Bukhari Hadith. Is THIS how Sunnis obey the prophet? Death first! I choose Islam and reject Sunnism! We love the prophet too much to accept books which contain such filth and lies about him. Quran is the word of Allah. Hadith is the diversion of Satan. -Aamer X
    [22:52] We did not send before you any messenger or prophet, without having the devil interfere with his wishes. God then overrides what the devil has cast, and God secures His signs. God is Knower, Wise.

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  24. Assalamu alaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh.

    The only advice I would give is not to separate yourself by calling yourself a Quranist. We are in fact Muslims. We believe in the true words of God and the books (Torah, Bible), we believe in his messengers (not just Mohammed, PBUH) but we do not live up to what is affected by cultural standards and the way life from that time. Just remember to stay unjudgemental, unpredjudice, and culturally open minded. KEEP UP THE STUDIES AND LOVE.

    Mashallah for this article and for being female.

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  25. I think the Quran is very unclear without the simultaneous reading/study of the Torah and Gospels. But when they are all taken together, the Quran makes everything one, clarifying the whole of scripture. I think the Hadith, the Talmud, and the Pauline New Testament were established by those who rejected the ever-present divine message, a message which was gradually written down as to become the whole of the scriptures mentioned in the Quran. What does that make me? A Quranist? I don't know. The Christians at least had the sense to include the Old Testament in their publication of the Bible. It seems to me that Quranists should annex the Torah and Gospels to encourage a mass transformation in Islamic perspective.

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  26. Concerning the current cannon of the Quran, I'm not so certain that Al-Taubah wasn't an addition like those added in the old and new testaments. It is supposedly the last revelation but tradition prefers to close the revelations with An-Nasr, the second-to-last revelation, because it is a nice closing chapter. IMHO, if chapter 110 came before chapter 9 and chapter 9 clearly is missing the qualifying Basmala, then it seems to me that it should not be considered part of the cannon. I think it really needs to be read separately, as something Muhammad said when he was king (being lead by what he may have understood by that time), not something passed on through the angel Gabriel.

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    1. YAY! I have finally found someone who shares my view on this. Thank you for expressing it publicly.

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  27. A great e-book would be the scriptures with the torah in hebrew, the gospels in greek and the quran in arabic, inline concordance numbers and transliteration that works across the three, and unbiased modern-english translation throughout (being rendered by an understanding of the common message of all three language sections). Not perfect, but great. Unfortunately, it would have to be compiled by someone who was never taught the talmud, pauline gospels, or hadith, do as to avoid bias. So much for my generation and current religious people. Looking forward to the next generation of blank slates.

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  28. Hello there, I am a new muslima, which is a direct consequence of a year long Quran studying, and research alone. A while ago it started to bother me that many things in the hadiths sounds unreasonable to me, and in some cases the written "advice" is a clear superstition. I started to formulate this "Quran only" attitude (not knowing that I am not the only one, LOL) and not only for the reason above, but because I believe that adding any other writings to the Quran would indicate a belief that the Quran itself is not complete, not enough, or poorly written.
    As someone stated above modesty is a cultural construct, and it does change by time and place. This is why it was wise from God not giving strict rules on clothing, fashion, colors, hair... so we don't have to adapt to one and only culture frozen in time, but it must be modest always according to the surrounding culture. I don't wear hijab, because in my country it would make me the center of attention on the streets. Would that be modesty?? My culture does not associate modesty with head dress, it is more like and extravagant thing, and I am not an extravagant type.
    You can imagine that I am a bit isolated here this part of Europe. My beliefs cut me from the mainstream society, and Quran only attitude is not supported by my muslim brothers and sisters I met here so far.
    I am very glad I found this blog. Thank you for posting, it gives me such strength to go on with my studies and grow. Allah almighty bless you all. Abi

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  29. aslamualaikum, i am a revert but i faced alot of difficulties following islam in the light of hadiths. so many thanks to u for dis post. i always thot i was not fit to be a muslim bcz of my rebellious view regarding hadiths. in sha Allah my path towards Him wud be easy now spiritually.

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  30. Thank you for this post. I've seen so much ignorance about Muslims that reject the hadith and refuse to associate Prophet Mohamed with Allah. He was a servant of Allah, like all other prophets, but I refuse to mention him in shahada. I mention Allah alone.

    My biggest issue though is the label of "Quranist" or "Quran only" or even "Reformists". The Qur'an clearly states that we should stay away from sectarianism. So "Muslim" is more than adequate for any who believe in Allah and His Revelations.

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    1. Salams, Anon. You're right, but "Quranist" isn't a sect. It simply describes the approach we take. It allows people to have a keyword to search for - I studied Islam for a year and a half before finding out about this approach to Islam. I'd never heard of it. Knowing that there was a word for what I believed was the right interpretation of Islam would have been a HUGE help to me. I hope you'll check out the Quranists Network TV channel on YouTube. There's a great series of videos from the 2012 Quranist Winter Conference called "Why Quranist Islam?" that elaborates this a bit better than I can.

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  31. What do the readers here think of a "Quranic Christian", meaning one who reads all of the scriptures mentioned in the Quran in light of the Quranic interpretation of those other scriptures? Please reply.

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    1. What do you mean? I'm sorry, I'm not quite understanding you.

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    2. I'm not certain what you mean by the term 'Quranic Christian'.

      By saying that this is someone who reads the other scriptures mentioned by the Qur'an (the Torah and the Gospels) in the light of the Qur'anic interpretation of these messages, if seems to imply, at least to me, the belief that the Qur'an has the correct/superior claim over these other messages in their extant forms. In which case if you believe that the Qur'an is from God, through His messenger Muhammed then you should be/are a Muslim.

      One cannot be a Christian in the commonly held definition of the term and also believe in the message of the Qur'an. The two clash - most obviously and importantly over the deity of Jesus.

      If you are saying that this person is a Christian in the manner of a follower of Jesus as he is portrayed in the Qur'an then you would still be a Muslim as the Qur'an is clear that Jesus' message is the same as Muhammad's and all the other prophets.

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  32. The Quran says of itself that it is complete,detailed and nothing short of a miracle. It stands on it's own! Period.

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