Tuesday, 3 November 2015

The Sharing Group Discussion: Can We Discount Ahadits to Understand the Qur'an?

بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ

The following was posted by Brother Muslim Mike, on The Sharing Group, on the 25th October 2015.  This is his post, dated 15th September 2015: Do we truly need sunnah and ahadits to understand the Qur’an?  I was driving as I usually am and listening to an Islamic radio station via my phone and an imam came on and was speaking about why ahadits are so important, that it is required.  Otherwise Muslims reading the Qur’an would just read and come up with their own understandings and conclusions as if it would be some sort of chaotic event of unheard of proportions.  He was really adamant about it.

When I got home later that day, I opened my Qur’an to study and seek the guidance of Allah on what I heard as I always do and these verses where what I read:

102 That (is) Allah your Lord, no god except Him, Creator (of) every thing, so worship Him.  And He (is) on every thing a Guardian.

This verse is very precise and to the point: No God but Allah; worship Him only; and Allah is Guardian over everything.

103 (Can) not grasp Him the visions but He grasp (all) the vision, and He (is) the All-Subtle, the All-Aware.

We cannot even fathom or encompass the Vision of Allah, but Allah can Grasp all things down to every last atom.  Allah is always There and always Aware.

104 Verily, has come to you enlightenment from your Lord.  Then whoever sees, then (it is) for his soul, and whoever (is) blind then (it is) against himself.  And I am not over you a guardian.

This verse had me confused at first, until I slowed down and read it really slowly and I found so much in it.  At first I thought it was speaking to and about the Prophet only getting enlightened.  I realised it was meant for all mankind once I noticed it said, ‘Whoever sees’.  ‘And I am not over you a guardian’: how can this be when Allah just said He is Guardian over everything in verse 102?

Remember, Gabriel was revealing this to the Prophet and it was warning the Prophet just as Allah Warns us all not to take any intercessors between you and Allah.  This was a reminder that Gabriel too is just the messenger and is not a guardian over the Prophet; that the Prophet must ultimately seek his guidance from Allah.

105 And thus We explain the Signs that they (may) say, “You have studied,” and that We (may) make it Clear for a people who know.

A clear verse clarifying that the Prophet is not the one who explains and makes clear for a people who know.  It was important to show that the Prophet had no knowledge of any of this prior to this, as he would have been rejected.

106 Follow, what has been inspired to you from your Lord, (there is) no god except Him, and turn away from the polytheists.

Follow what has been inspired by Allah; we already know the Qur’an was inspired to the Prophet and here is a clear order to the Prophet to follow the Qur’an, and then again reminding the Prophet there is no God but Allah and do not associate any with him like the polytheists.

At this point, I reflected on what I heard on the radio about sunnah and ahadits and the Prophet being needed to explain to us the Qur’an and was reminded, for me to practice that understanding is putting the Prophet between Allah and me because I am not relying on Allah to guide me.

107 And if Allah had willed, not (they would have) associated partners (with Him).  And not We have made you over them a guardian, and not you over them a manager.

This is another very important verse clarifying the Prophet is not a guardian and not a manager over anyone.  We are not supposed to be relying on the Prophet’s sunnah and ahadits to be our guidance and explanation of the Qur’an.  Some would say that this verse was speaking about the Christians and Jews but Allah clarifies in the next verse.

108 And (do) not insult those whom they invoke other than Allah, lest they insult Allah (in) enmity without knowledge.  Thus We have made fair-seeming to every community their deed.  Then to their Lord (is) their return, then He will inform them about what they used to do.

Do not chastise anyone who invokes other than Allah.  You may Insult Allah without realising it as we are never to judge others.  Allah has made what they do seem correct or right to them.  Notice there is no specification as to religion or type of people but to every community.  It applies to all people then and now.

In summary, there are many points made and learned from these few verses and more I am sure I have not yet learned.  As of now, I know that according to Allah, we are to rely only on His Guidance through reading the Qur’an and seeking only His Guidance.  We will all learn at our own pace and we will not all come to the same conclusions or understandings immediately.

We were never meant to.  This is why it is so easy for the current regimes of ‘imams’ and scholars and propaganda driven teachings by secular type extremist to easily take control and misguide the mass of the ummah.  The ummah in general has taken the position in the story in the Qur’an of those who were instructed to sacrifice a cow, they were so scared of making a mistake they chose to question the simple instructions given, like the Qur’an, in search of more and more details, like the ahadits and Sunnah, that even when they finally did sacrifice the cow, even then they were not satisfied and were in doubt about it.

Many people who are guided to Islam go through this same cycle time and time again as they are bombarded with rituals, traditions and guidance that is nowhere to be found in the Qur’an, only to be discouraged and left with the feeling of being overwhelmed and lonely and confused so much that they give up or quit.  If people would only read the Qur’an and realise Allah was very clear that it is never supposed to be a burden, it is easy, it is simple.  It only requires you to read it and seek guidance from Allah.

Is there anything wrong with discussing what you learned with others?  No, of course not.  Just remember that everything you hear must be checked and verified in the Qur’an with no contradiction.  This very simple instruction that Allah gives us will ensure that eventually we will all eventually come to the same understandings.  But, we must truly believe and trust that Allah will Guide us and when we are capable of understanding, when we are ready to know, He will Answer us how ever Allah Wills.  The Qur’an is not something that was meant to be read then put down.  It was meant to be read every day for the rest of our lives and implemented in our daily lives as individuals, family, community, town, city, state, country, world, only then will we truly be at peace again.”

Please note, this is the actual verse with a proper translations:

That is Allah, your Lord!  There is no god but He, the Creator of all things: then worship ye Him: and He hath Power to dispose of all affairs.  No vision can grasp Him, but His Grasp is over all vision: He is above all comprehension yet is acquainted with all things.  “Now have come to you from your Lord, proofs (to open your eyes): if any will see, it, will be for (the good of) his own soul; if any will be blind it will be to his own (harm): I am not (here) to watch over your doings.”  Thus do We explain the Signs by various (symbols): that they may say, “Thou hast learnt this (from somebody), and that we may make the matter clear to those who know.”  Follow what thou art Taught by inspiration from thy Lord: there is no god but He: and turn aside from those who join gods with Allah.  If it had been Allah’s Plan they would not have taken false gods: but We Made thee not one to watch over their doings, nor art thou set over them, to dispose of their affairs.  Revile not ye those whom they call upon besides Allah, lest they out of spite revile Allah in their ignorance.  Thus have We Made alluring to each people its own doings.  In the end will they return to their Lord and We shall then Tell them the truth of all that they did. (Surah al-An’am:102-108)

Sister San Yee: Salaam.  I am sorry if I am rude but in the most polite manner, I think you really need to study your Islam 101 again, Brother Muslim Mike.

Brother Muslim Mike: It is not rude, sister, and I do not take it as such either.  I have my understanding and you have yours as long as we can respect each other for that, I think we are all fine.  Peace and Blessings to you and your family.  What would you consider Islam 101 and what is it based upon?

Sister San Yee: We have had this lengthy discussion before. I am not sure why the Quranists need to push this anti-ahadits and anti-sunnah ideology in a forum that is not.

Brother Muslim Mike: Sister San Yee, I would like to correct you on a couple things you said.  I do not identify myself as a Quranist; I am quite simply a student of the Qur’an.  I am not anti-ahadits or sunnah.  I based the original question off of information provided by the Qur’an.  If the Qur’an reflects negatively to using ahadits and Sunnah, then that is not me, that is Allah.

At that point, the decision is up to you.  Does Allah not specifically Say that the Qur’an is the criterion over everything else?  That we are to use it to judge all other by?  Peace.

Sister San Yee: Here is one of our previous discussions on the group: A Muslim Convert Once More: The Sharing Group Discussion on Qur'an Only 'Islam'.

Brother Hamayoon Sultan Qurayshi: I do not accept the ‘Quran-only’ label any more than I let Wahhabis identify themselves as ‘Salafi’ for their heresies.  The original Khawarij wanted to be called ‘ash-Shurah’, but history has refused them this too.

Brother Muslim Mike: Peace, Sister San Yee, as much as you would like to give me a label, it is my understanding we should not do so.  And although I use the Qur’an as my criterion over all to determine if it is in contradiction to the sunnah of Allah, I do not rely solely on the Qur’an to learn.  As I stated, I am not ‘anti-everything but the Qur’an’ as history and recorded knowledge has its place in teaching us too.  The entirety of the original question was not directed at the dismissal of ahadits and sunnah but to the absolute necessity to needing them to understanding the Qur’an.  I hope that helps clarify my position.

Brother Marquis Dawkins: Thank you, Brother Muslim Mike, for posting this.  There are, of course, things I agree and disagree with in it.  But I definitely see where it is coming from.  The Qur’an does Say many times it was in plain Arabic and made easy to comprehend.  And yes, there are inner meanings to verses, as well as meanings made plain.  I have not studied ahadits in depth nor do I feel the need to so as to be or remain a Muslim.  If I want to, perhaps, see a classical interpretation of certain verses or certain things that occurred early in the religion or things the Prophet (s.a.w.) did according to a few eyewitness accounts, then they are there for me to study.  Wa Allahu ‘Alim.

Sister San Yee: One does not need to study ahadits or the Qur’an in depth to be a Muslim, Brother Marquis.  But one does need to understand how, why and in what context each Qur’anic verses or ahadits are Revealed or collated so that we are not led astray by people that may sound knowledgeable and well-meaning, but are not.

I do not know what Brother Muslim Mike’s qualifications are and it is not intended to attack him either, but based on what he has written, his understanding of Islam in the traditional sense is very limited and, therefore, requires more study if he wishes to convince a non-Quranist his ideas are on the right path.  The problem with Quranist or ‘Qur’an Only’ followers is that they are focusing their belief and understanding of the Qur’an on a translated Qur’an and not the Arabic Qur’an, the language it was Revealed in or any sound tafsir.  It is purely based on their own interpretations.  This practice might be a norm for Christians, especially within some American Christians groups, but it is certainly not a norm in Islamic traditions.

Sister Sabine: A large percentage of Quranists are native Arabic speakers, so of course they are not relying on translations.

Sister San Yee: So far, Sister Sabine, I have not met in persona or online, any who are Quranist and who are native speakers of Arabic.  I am sure some exist.

Brother Hamayoon Sultan Qurayshi: Being a native Arabic speaker does not mean ability to understand the Qur’an, any more than an ability to understand English means that one can understand an English text beyond the literal and superficial.  Both require adequate study and ability.  Otherwise ibn ‘Abd al-Wahhab would not have believed his heresies, nor the Arab Wahhabis plaguing us today.

Brother Marquis Dawkins: Also, for those interested, Brother Muslim Mike is in no way ignorant.  Similar to Brother Terence, he has travelled the world while in the military, including Saudi Arabia, and seen the good and bad side of Muslims up and down.

Brother Terence Helikaon Nunis: No, brother, we are not the same.  I am actually accredited in religious studies.  I do not make things up based on my whims and fancies.

Brother Muslim Mike: Brother Terence Helikaon Nunis, so no one can sit down with a Qur’an in their own language, Arabic or otherwise, and read it and understand it or receive the message Allah Intended us to know?  Is it a requirement that we have to be accredited in religious studies to even have a clue to what Allah Intended us to learn?  Or is it by the Guidance of Allah that we are supposed to rely?  What you call whims and fancies are simply my understanding of what I have learned so far based on believing and trusting in the Guidance of Allah to help me.  I make no claim to be perfect in my understanding.  But I do accept that it is not a one and done thing either.  In fact, it is like evolution.  As I continue to study and learn, my knowledge and understanding continues to change and evolve and it is a lifelong learning experience.

Anyone who thinks they know it all or that there way is the only correct understanding has already put the blinders and ear muffs on.  And based on that understanding, I will never know as much as you do but that still does not negate my understanding, nor does it mean that you are absolute in your understanding.

Brother Terence Helikaon Nunis: Brother Muslim Mike, there are two different things and you have conflated them.  Certainly, we encourage people to read the Qur’an, whether the translation or the Arabic, with or without understanding.  But when there is confusion and doubt, they should clarify with the people of knowledge.  Here, you have taken some verses, grossly mistranslated them, and come up with a position that is at great variance with the majority of the ummah.  And when we say majority, it is not just in this age, but in every age from the beginning of Islam.

This idea that the Prophet (s.a.w.) himself was ‘warned’ about leading the ummah astray, for example, is theologically unsound, contradictory to the rest of the Qur'an that emphasises that he is ma’swum, and is frankly, insulting to the Prophet (s.a.w.).  The implication here is that there is some doubt that Allah (s.w.t.) has in him that he had to be warned.  And if that were real, that would call all of Revelation into question.

This idea that amateurs without grounding can come up with outrageously misleading translations, despite the fact that we have properly translated versions of the Qur'an, by accredited scholars, has got absolutely nothing to do with learning the Qur’an, and everything to do with reinventing the religion to fit one's own desires.  If you really want to learn the Qur’an to that depth, and I admire that, then there is no short cut.  You have to do what we did, and leave everything behind and go and find a teacher and study the fuswha’ Arabic.

My responsibility here, as the administrator, is not just to manage this group, but to ensure that deviant teachings, are not passed off as genuine tenets of the religion.  This is leading people astray.  Whilst we respect our members no matter their creed, their religion and their lifestyle choices, in matters of doctrine, Quranism is a bid’ah and kufr, and will never be accepted as a normative part of the religion.  It is to be refuted and discarded.  And no person who denigrates the position of the Prophet (s.a.w.) can ever truly be a Muslim.  May Allah (s.w.t.) Guide them to Islam, but until then, they are upon kufr.

Brother Muslim Mike: Brother Terence Helikaon Nunis, thank you for you input.  I just wanted to clarify the translation of Arabic was not my own and I will study the words you pointed out as improper translations.

As to the verse you are referring to about warning the Prophet, the verses are transcending and the Prophet was a human being no different than any other, in this respect, and by other examples in the Qur’an, capable of making mistakes.  It is to my current understanding that it is presented this way on purpose so that we do not miss understand the Prophet as something other than that.  This does not denigrated the Prophet in any way that I can see.

Brother Terence Helikaon Nunis: Whoever did this translation is certainly not qualified, and you should find a proper teacher.

There is no verse ‘warning’ the Prophet (s.a.w.) of anything.  There is a verse Admonishing him in Surah ‘Abasa.  And there are multiple verses Warning the people for not following him, and several that have been interpreted by the Wahhabi sect of warning the people about worshipping him.  However, if we consider the verses before and after, they are actually a Warning about turning back from Islam after his passing.

Brother Muslim Mike: Brother Terence Helikaon Nunis, what of the verse warning the Prophet not to change a single word in the Qur’an?

Brother Terence Helikaon Nunis: That verse was for us, brother, and you should be very afraid because you are guilty of that with this ‘translation’.

I thought we have already addressed this.  Whilst the intent is commendable, it is full of errors, misconceptions and it is unfortunately obvious that the author does not know Arabic, does not know tafsir and does not know nuzul al-Qur'an.  This is not Islam; this is Quranism, or as it should be called, munkir al-ahadits.  Certainly we can all do better.

The idea that people can take verses as they like and then claim the Qur’an is their criterion is flawed and has been rebutted, again and again and again.  It implies that for 1,400 years, all the collective scholarship of Islam was flawed and every scholar was an idiot, and then some guy person comes along, and using some dictionary and ignoring swarah, nahu and balaghah, translates some verse here and there according to pre-conceived notion, and now we have a new religion.

Brother Muslim Mike: Have scholars always been correct and perfect in their understanding?  Have scholars made mistakes?  Who accredited the first Scholars?  Who determined what accreditation was required to be a scholar?  Man did.  Is man fallible?  Yes, correct me if I am wrong and understand I am not implying anything derogatory to this, you follow a Sunni form and Sunni based scholarly background correct?  When did the Sunni form of Islam come into existence?  Why?  Based on that very basic history, I can come to the conclusion that it is possible that the scholars could be biased in their understanding and interpretation.

You say that by my understanding implies that every scholar was an idiot, yet if I were to present Shi’ah, Wahhabi, Sufi teachings, all claiming the same type of historical 14,00 years of understanding you would imply the same.  As far as scholars are concerned, indeed we are told to question all of it.  We are clearly instructed not to just rely on them but to study and confirm it for ourselves.  I, by no means, and I have said this in the past, have no disrespect for scholars or what they know or have knowledge of.  In fact, many have a vast knowledge to draw from.  That still does not justify not verifying what they say is true or correct.

Brother Terence Helikaon Nunis: It is correct what you say that individual scholars have made errors.  But the body of scholarship as a whole has never been wrong.  You, my friend, are not of that body of scholarship.  You are not even close to it.  Now, a person who has studied and mastered the sciences of the religion may make small errors in application off the Qur’an, but the ijma’ never makes large ones.  Your errors are not large, they are astronomically wrong.

We have a branch of Arabic known as i’irab, where we break a word down and explain how and why it is that way.  That is the minimum required to even interpret a verse in English or another language.  And to know i’irab, is to master nahu, swaraf and balaghah.  You do not have even the entry level qualification to reinterpret the Qur'an.

The rest of your comment is nothing more than false conjecture and further highlight what you do not know.  There is no ‘Sufi’ sect; a Sufi is almost always a Sunni, since Sufism is a field of study.  The Shi’ah and the Sunnis agree on 90% or more of the theology.  Their findings would not be at variance except in issues of historicity and theology pertaining to the Nature of the Qur’an.  Wahhabism is another fringe sect just like the Quranists.  No one is saying that you cannot question.  But you are not questioning now.  You are making unfounded, ridiculous assertions and passing it off as Islam.  You are leading yourself and others astray.

It has to be said that none of these verses actually proscribe the corpus of ahadits.  These verses, in the Arabic, are clearly Addressing the recipient of Revelation, the Prophet (s.a.w.).  None of us have received wahy, so how can they then be used to say we should not follow the sunnah?  In the Arabic, they bear witness against Quranism itself.  Look at the ‘translation’.  Since when did ‘baswa'iru’, root word ‘baswar’, suddenly become ‘enlightenment’?  And since when did ‘hafizhin’, become 'guardian'?  And ‘wahy’ here refers to Revelation, Sent down by Allah (s.w.t.).  ‘Inspiration’, as understood in a general sense for everybody, would be ‘ilham’.  Why are you people changing the meaning of the words?  The translations are all wrong here.  Please be careful when you decide to play translator.

Brother Muslim Mike: As far as I understand it, Allah is and always will be the Teacher and the Qur’an is the Guide or text to which we are to learn our curriculum.  It went wrong when people did not want to follow that simple path and deviated to change it to their own desires.  But that is just me.  What do I know?  I am not a scholar.

Sister Healing Mum: Many do not know the meaning of the Qur’an and turn to their scholars who they think will guide them right but it so happens these scholars has an agenda of their own sadly.

Brother Terence Helikaon Nunis: Unless people received Revelation direct from Allah (s.w.t.), that is presumptuous.  Quranists are making this ridiculous assumption that somehow they are knowledgeable enough and pious enough that simply reading the Qur’an, they are able to be Guided upon the practices of the religion as it was meant to be.  Allah (s.w.t.) in His Wisdom Knew that a book alone is insufficient, and so He Sent the Prophet (s.a.w.) and Said in the Qur’an that he is the best example.  The Qur’an is not the issue here.  The people are.  If the heart is occluded, the mere reading of texts only advances cognitive bias and preconceived notions.  The Qur’an Itself States, not equal are those who know and those who do not.  The scholars are warits al-anbiya’, and that is clear to those who are enlightened.

And when Quranists state that the following of scholars, taqlid, is shirk, then they speak straight from Shaythan, and not from Allah (s.w.t.), because they have accused the majority of the ummah of shirk.  Such a person is guilty of takfir and is upon kufr.  It is because people do have knowledge the depth of meaning of the Qur’an, they turn to those who know for guidance.  That is the adab.  Without it, we would have fools running around, changing the religion according to their whims and fancies.  This is what happened in the Reformation, when the Presbyterians, the Calvinists and the Baptists decided to discount all of Christian scholarship, and reinterpret the Bible.  Bereft of historical context, this is the Christianity of America.  And Quranism comes from the same diseased, anti-intellectual thinking.

The US and Texas, based on reports on their school boards, have no respect for any form of scholarship.  They rewrite their history books according to their political inclinations, they changed economic theory to suit their biases, thy change their science to deny inconvenient things like climate change and they changed Christianity And now, it has come too Islam.  This is an American disease.  But our religion is firm on the Qur’an and the sunnah, and we will never accept this kufr.

Brother Muslim Mike: Brother Terence Helikaon Nunis, you said, “Unless people received Revelation direct from Allah (s.w.t.), that is presumptuous.  Quranists are making this ridiculous assumption that somehow they are knowledgeable enough and pious enough that simply reading the Qur’an, they are able to be Guided upon the practices of the religion as it was meant to be.  Allah (s.w.t.) in His Wisdom Knew that a book alone is insufficient, and so He Sent the Prophet (s.a.w.) and Said in the Qur’an that he is the best example.”  My question is, are you implying that Allah is not capable of guiding myself or any other without the help of a scholar?  Does Allah not Say He is the Best Guide and the Best Teacher?  Indeed the Prophet was chosen to Reveal the Book but it is also clear to me he was chosen for his lack of any knowledge of it or those who knew him would have doubted him.

Everything the Prophet did that Allah wanted us to emulate or understand from the Prophet was clearly stated in the Qur’an.  In fact the Prophet had to be instructed of exactly what to ‘say’ verbatim.  I can read the Qur’an and get the general direction clearly, as long as I believe in One God, do good, and be charitable.  Allah is clear that I am on the right path.  That is universal in the Qur’an for all mankind, not just Muslims.

To ascribe someone to blindly follow someone based on their title without confirmation goes directly against what we are taught.  You say it is an American thing, yet I can go to the ahadits and history and find that the Prophet and his bloodline until the last one was murdered and swahabah spoke against documenting the ahadits and sunnah since that did not come from the Qur’an.  As for changing the religion to suit our whims and fancies, what happened to Islam when it was at its peak?  People wanted to change it so they could control it, and the power it was.  That was not an ‘American’ thing.

Brother Terence Helikaon Nunis: Brother Muslim Mike, my counter question to you is what makes you think you are so special that you can take the religion laduny when everyone else begins with silsilah?  Are you some great saint or prophet that you need not learn from people, but God Sends Revelation directly to your heart?  In the Qur’an, knowledge is transmitted by three ways: laduny, uwaysi and silsilah.  The prophets and the saints have access to all three.  The ordinary people only have silsilah except under special circumstances.

Do not take the verses of the Qur’an out of context to justify your intellectual laziness.  What about all the verses about learning from those who know?  Or the more abundant verses about taking from the example of the Prophet (s.a.w.)?  Do you think those verses do not apply to you because you think you are special?  Are you so great a luminary of knowledge that you know immediately when the religion has ‘deviated’, and a thousand years of scholarship missed?  You cannot even do a proper translation of a few verses and you imagine you are capable of parsing doctrine on theology and jurisprudence?

The Qur'an is a universal message.  That is true.  But it is not something that is immediately available to everybody simply because they opened the book.  If that were so, any non-Muslim opening it will be Muslim immediately, and every Muslim would be a saint.  Obviously there has to be some qualifications.  One of them is knowledge, the other is sincerity, and the last is piety.  It is not my place to question the last two, but it is surely my place to question the first.

Brother Muslim Mike: Brother Terence Helikaon Nunis, Revelation and guidance are not one in the same as you are implying.  I most assuredly do not hold myself above anyone else or deem myself special in that way; that was reserved for the prophets.

Brother Terence Helikaon Nunis: regarding your questions, the first is obviously yes, since to say otherwise would imply that God is not Capable.  However, this in no way implies that you do not need to follow proper doctrine.  Saying that since God can, He must and therefore you are ‘guided’ is false equivalence.  Any who follow the Quranist doctrine is obviously misguided.  There is no Islam without the Prophet (s.a.w.).  Can it not be said that every person who tells you, you are wrong is Sent by God to guide you to Islam?

Secondly, whilst Allah (s.w.t.) does say so, it does not mean, that we then have no need for scholars and teachers.  This is a matter of tawhid al-af’al, that Allah (s.w.t.) is the Source, and everything else is a wasilah.  To learn from the pious is still being Guided by Allah (s.w.t.).  It is impossible that knowledge comes from other than Him, but misguidance comes from the self.

Sister Healing Mum: Of course we need guidance from all walks of life.  There are good teachers in every community but at the end of the day, it is Allah Who Guides.  The questions is, where are those good teachers that we can follow.  If I put my child in school, I have to see the results of that school.  I have to see that the teachers are not corrupted and have their own agendas in trying to deceive people.  It has to be clear.  I should not be tarnished if I ask for the school report.

Brother Terence Helikaon Nunis: That is a different thing.  You are predicating the Muslims on the scholars.  This is not a school.  Do you predicate the haircuts of the people on the barbers?  That is assuming that they all go to the same barber, same with the scholars.  And now, based on faulty logic, you have decided to throw out established doctrine.  What has the religion got to do with the people?  If you really want to change Islam at a doctrinal level, then go and study it.

Brother Muslim Mike: As for the verses you are referring to as taking from the example of the Prophet, so far I have not come to that same understanding.  If you are referring to the verses that often say obey Allah and obey the Messenger, that is not the same thing as taking from the Prophet.  As to picking up the Qur’an and reading it and then accepting it, and accepting Islam, that is exactly what I did.  It is not unheard of and is a clear sign in itself of the guidance of Allah.  Have I changed as a person because of it?  Yes, tremendously!  Do you deny that a properly translated Qur’an would not be a clear evidence to someone unknown to it to cause them to ponder and think?  That the reason they are reading it can, in fact, because Allah Guided them to it?

Brother Terence Helikaon Nunis: Brother Muslim Mike, you have not come to the same understanding on a lot of things, and that is because of many factors.  One of them is your discounting of ahadits, which removes the context of verses.  Another is your insistence on your own translation of the Qur'an without considering morphology and literary forms, for example.  And yet another, is your lack of knowledge of any of the sciences of the religion, and your discounting of anyone who has knowledge of those sciences, and yet you think that your interpretation is somehow equal to those who do know?  What do you know about tafsir?

Brother Muslim Mike: Did any of this exist during the time of the Prophet?  No.  The Prophet gave us what Allah Gave him and was given verbatim instruction what to say, what we should do and not do all the instructions are there in the Qur’an.  Now, whether they are properly translated, that is another issue altogether and I am learning.  But I do see clear differences from time to time.  And again, I do not omit the ahadits and sunnah.  I learn from them too but when I come to one that contradicts, I leave it.

Brother Terence Helikaon Nunis: A hadits cannot contradict the Qur’an.  If it does, it is not a hadits.

Brother Hamayoon Sultan Qurayshi: To personally omit a hadits if it ‘clearly’ contradicts the Qur’an is to assume that one already has the requisite knowledge of Qur’an and sunnah, and the appropriate Islamic sciences to be able to then judge between the two.  Traditional scholarship required years, nay decades of dedicated study at the feet of genuine scholars.

Shaykh al-Ya’qubi recalled how after seven years of dedicated study and after learning some of the most seminal works of Islam, his father still considered him a beginner.  Yet today, Wahhabi or Quranist, they can apparently do it all without any study with people who know.  So although they claim to be in opposition, Wahhabism and Quranism are two sides of the same coin.  Muslims spend our time blaming the Americans, the Jews, anyone but ourselves, for our current intellectual stagnation.  But it is the ‘reformist’ movements who feed this intellectual stagnation by promoting the idea that the ignorant can rightfully inherit the Earth.  Only when this conceit disappears, will our condition start to improve.

Sister Sabine: There are ahadits in Bukhari that very clearly contradict the Qur'an.  So those are not ahadits, Brother Terence?  And, no, I do not necessarily need years of scholarship in order to see that contradiction and judge it.

Brother Terence Helikaon Nunis: There is absolutely no ahadits in Swahih al-Bukhari, or Swahih Muslim or in any of the major collections that contradict the Qur’an.  That is why we have sharh for them.  They were brought forth in other threads, and it has already been explained.  But Quranism has no scholarship, no intellectual tradition so they see a contradiction where there is none and run with it.  We cannot possibly be spending our time refuting every single thing some idiot comes up with now and then when they refuse to do some actual learning.  We all have better things to do.  If people want to criticise ahadits, then go and learn it.  I am not going to waste my time when people themselves do not make the effort.  But if it is a sincere question, insha’Allah, we will address it.

Sister Healing Mum: I guess it would be the same for every religious scholar from the Christians or Hindus or Jewish community to say the same thing.  But I am glad that Prophet did not allow anyone to write beside the Qur’an.

Brother Terence Helikaon Nunis: Sister Healing Mum, that is a lie that Quranists say.  And it has been refuted many times.  Otherwise, why would we have accounts of ahadits written in the presence of the Prophet (s.a.w.) himself?  This is what happens when people are selective with facts.  They are astray and deviated from the Path of Islam.

Brother Muslim Mike: There are accounts of ahadits written in the presence of the Prophet, and there are accounts of the Prophet telling them to destroy them.

Brother Terence Helikaon Nunis: Brother Muslim Mike, wrong.  There are accounts in the initial stages of Revelation where the Prophet (s.a.w.) told the companions not to write what he said down, and later he relented.  There is a timeline for these things.

Brother Muslim Mike: Why then would they not just put what you stated then?  I do not understand that translation logic.  And of course, it is another reason the translations can be misunderstood.

As I have said in the past, I do not omit ahadits and Sunnah.  In fact, I have referred to them as a source for some of my education in this thread.  And I have stated today and in the past as well, that scholars are also a source for knowledge.  Of course, we learn from others and other sources.  My original question to this thread was, do we need or more appropriately is it absolutely necessary that we need ahadits and sunnah to understand the Quran?

Brother Terence Helikaon Nunis: And that is why, before you decide you are somehow qualified to translate the Qur’an, you should know Arabic.  These things may be found in the translators’ notes, by the way.  Did anyone actually think ‘kahf’ simply meant ‘cave’?  Or ‘jub’ meant simply ‘well’? Or ‘Rabb’ means ‘Lord’?  If we were to translate all that literally and contextually, the translations would be unwieldy and long.  And that is why books of exegesis are required.  Even the Arabs need books of exegesis of the Qur’an.  This entire thread is clear proof that a little knowledge is a dangerous thing; it implies a lot of ignorance.  And that is dangerous.  Now, I do not write all this to have an argument, to force people to see things one way.  That is also wrong.

I believe in my heart that you are all good people, Brother Muslim Mike, Sister Julie Mary and Sister Healing Mum.  But I also have to be firm on issues of doctrine.  By all means, I encourage everybody to learn, to seek knowledge and to be discerning.  Since Allah (s.w.t.) is al-Huda and al-‘Alim, insha’Allah, may He Open all our hearts to right guidance, and Forgive us where we have overstepped the boundaries.

Brother Marquis Dawkins: I am once again upset and disappointed by this group.  These people are not bloody Daesh in that they should be beat up upon and theology questioned.  I do not see Quranists beheading Christians and journalist.  Yet, in this group I have seen defense for Daesh before them.  Why such a fitnah?

I have read the article and am reading again to see what has caused such a tizzy.  As I have stated, I do not agree with it 100% and there are some verses that were off on both meaning and translation but overall, I understand why it was written, which was a reaction to the statement by the shaykh that ahadits is necessary to understand the Qur’an, which I disagree with.

Brother Terence Helikaon Nunis: That is because theology is the basis of the religion.  If the theology is wrong, the religion is wrong.

Brother Abdulkareem C Stone: This group clear states it stands for traditional interpretations of Islam, mainly of Sunni but also Shi’ah.  If I posted on a Wahhabi Deobandi orientated website my beliefs in the permissibility of making du’a at shrines, then I would not be surprised if I get a negative reaction.  Post something critical of the traditional Islam and people will defend their beliefs.

Sister San Yee: Brother Marquis, I am not sure what exactly you are disappointed about.  The Sharing Group promotes traditional Islam and this is stated in the group’s profile.  If others wish to promote their ideology in The Sharing Group then as administrator, we have a duty of care to highlight what is clearly wrong according to traditional Islam.  We are all free to take what we want and to believe what we want.

Brother Alan Rooney: I am grateful for this discussion that has taken place here and have some things now which I must go away and think about and examine more closely for myself.  My thanks go to those who have participated.  For me, the thread encapsulates the dilemma of the modern convert to Islam.  We have somehow been guided to the place where our hearts have been opened to embracing Islam.  That journey is very real to the person in question and is treasured and I suppose we guard it jealously as our very own.  Once you find yourself in Islam though, you are faced with the vastness of what lies before you.  Where do you start?  How do you start to make your journey deeper into this Diyn?  What, and who, do you trust?  One thing is for sure though, you cannot do it alone.  You do need to find help and guidance.  You just have to look back at some of the understandings you had on certain aspects of this faith even a few months or a year ago.  Your understanding has moved on or has changed since then with respect to some of it.  In some cases you may have to admit that you were actually wrong about some things too.  May Allah Ta’ala Guide us in seeking our way forward on this journey in Islam and Open our hearts up to seeking and accepting guidance and knowledge.

Brother Abdulkareem C Stone: The understanding of the Qur’an, as we understand it today, in English has not just appeared out of thin air.  It is the result of hundreds of years of scholarship.  Then English translations have been taken from explanations in Arabic written by scholars well versed in the Sunni or Shi’ah tradition.  Lexicons have been written using the entire corpus of Qur’an and ahadits, and even pre-Islamic poetry.  As beautiful Qur’anic Arabic is, it is not a living language and if the ‘ulama had not striven so intensely, it would be largely incomprehensible.  Allah (s.w.t.) has Used the ‘ulama as a means of preserving the understanding of Qur’an over the ages.  To state that the ‘ulama have been misguided since the early days means that since our understanding of Qur’an relies on their efforts, all the books are also deviant.  This means that the translations are also deviant today due to their reliance on so-called ‘deviant’ ‘ulama.

Brother Terence Helikaon Nunis: Brother Marquis Dawkins, I do not think you understand the gravity of this.  This is an issue of ‘aqidah, and there is absolutely no compromise in it.  Whether a Quranist or a Wahhabi or a Qadiani or any sect, and the Quranists are a separate sect, if they are deviant, they are deviant.  To deny the corpus of ahadits puts one out of Islam.  This is how serious it is.  Whilst we cannot judge people, we can certainly judge doctrine.

Nay, We Hurl the truth against falsehood, and it knocks out its brain, and behold falsehood doth perish!  Ah!  Woe be to you for the (false) things ye ascribe (to Us). (Surah al-Anbiya’:18)

We can be lenient with jurisprudence, but never with ‘aqidah.  We do not prostitute our beliefs according to the desires of the ignorant.  In terms of deviancy in belief, I see no difference between Quranist and ISIS.  They are all astray, and they all lead people astray.  And we seek Refuge in Allah (s.w.t.) from such kufr.

Brother Marquis Dawkins: Subhanallah, Brother Terence Helikaon Nunis, you know I love you for sake of Allah and the person you are and always will.  I am not being superfluous in saying this.  But brother, Quranist and Daesh cannot be considered the same or even similar.  That is like saying the Girl Scouts are equal to the Hells Angels.  Many Quranists do not dismiss or throw away the entire corpus of ahadits; we just say it is not necessary for one to be a Muslim.

Brother Terence Helikaon Nunis: Brother Marquis Dawkins, I am very clear in my definitions.  If you do not reject the corpus of ahadits, you are not a Quranist.  A Quranist has a very specific qualifier: the absolute rejection of the entire corpus of ahadits.  I am very familiar with their writings since I am on their sites and I read their works.  They make it very clear that we are not Muslims, that we are polytheists.  And they have very strong words about the ummah.  They call us kafirun and mushrikin.  They are absolutely like the Wahhabi sect, and Heaven forbid if they ever have an army.

Brother Hamayoon Sultan Qurayshi: If you are going to make statements, be prepared to have them challenged.  You like challenging traditional Islam, and have clearly made up your own mind, but do not like it when we defend ourselves and point out the gaping holes in Quranism.

Brother Michael Mahendra P: Brother Terence Helikaon Nunis, is Sufism according to you the correct path?  Is it the middle path the Qur’an talks about?  The Qur’an also makes it very clear not to divide the faith, right?  And it also says that we all differ in certain matters and that all this will be cleared on the Day of Judgment.  I know Sufism is not sect but part of Islam and learning to improve ourselves though experience.

If you say Qur’an Alone Muslims as wrong because they contradict majority of scholars, then Christians too make the same claim pointing to history that Jesus (a.s.) was always viewed as divine by their followers, pointing to history and that we Muslims are wrong because we are contradicting the views of their scholars?

Brother Terence Helikaon Nunis: Are you implying that Muslims worship their scholars?  Because if you read Quranist writings, that is exactly what they say.  They are no better than the Wahhabi sect in their takfir, except that in this case, they say we worship the Prophet (s.a.w.), we worship the companions and we worship the scholars.  This is what happens when ignorant people take verses out of context and disregard the exegesis to advance an agenda.  And that agenda is a presumptuous anti-intellectual disease that is masquerading as Islam.  It is an abomination and a mockery of the religion.

On this charge alone, this massive takfir of the ummah, it is actually sufficient to say that these people are not Muslims.  When they deny the corpus of ahadits, they also deny the status of the Prophet (s.a.w.) and disregard the Qur’an.  This is also sufficient to put them out of the fold of Islam, notwithstanding the various jurisprudential and theological ramifications of such an act.  But the majority of people seduce by this delusion are simple people who are unlearned in the religious sciences, and we must be kind in our dealing with them.

We do not call them ‘Qur'an Only Muslims’; they cannot be Muslims by claiming to follow the Qur'an only.  That is an oxymoron.  Even calling them ‘Quranist’ is a compromise.  The actual term we use on them is ‘Munkir al-Ahadits’.  That is what they are: rejecters of ahadits and the prophetic sunnah.

Brother Hamayoon Sultan Qurayshi: I have had such dealings with Wahhabis too over the last 15 years.  They have no problem calling me a kafir and a deviant, but when I point out their own heresies and flaws in their argument, suddenly, they got all pious and appealed to Muslim unity and non-judgmentalism.  I did not buy it with the Wahhabis and I do not buy it with the Quranists either.

Brother Colin Turner: Nowhere is it written that ahadits are an indispensable source of guidance or knowledge for understanding the Qur’an; ahadits may be of use to us in our endeavour to understand, and they may not be.  I believe the unsubstantiated assertion that the Qur’an cannot be understood without recourse to ahadits is just another strawman constructed by the Quranist camp.  If not, maybe one of their number could indulge us and point to the source of this assertion in the foundational texts of Islam?

The fact that one does not necessarily need the ahadits to understand a particular verse does not mean that ahadits are dispensable, though.  Ahadits are very useful when it comes to contextualising verses, locating asbab an-nuzul and so on.  And there are some Prophetic Traditions which shed light on the inner meanings of some Qur’anic verses - albeit a very small number.  For law, of course, ahadits are indispensable; without them, fiqh would be impossible.

Brother Muhammad Harun Riedinger: Brother Muslim Mike, your denigration of the prophetic role in imparting guidance is taking you to the brink of kufr.  You said, “When I got home later that day, I opened my Qur’an to study and seek the guidance of Allah on what I heard as I always do and these verses where what I read…”  Your citation of ayat that follows is rather selective, just to prove your point, and it is really surprising that you did not come across, in your search of the guidance of Allah (s.w.t.) about one of the many ayat that emphasise the need to obey and follow Allah (s.w.t.) and His Messenger (s.a.w.).

Then you are opining, “We are not supposed to be relying on the Prophet’s sunnah and ahadits to be our guidance and explanation of the Qur’an…”  The reply to this preposterous statement of yours is right in the Book of Allah (s.w.t.):

Those who deny Allah and His Messengers, and (those who) wish to separate Allah and His Messengers, saying, “We believe in some but reject others”: and (those who) wish to take a course midway. ― They are, in truth, (equally) disbelievers; and We have Prepared for disbelievers a humiliating punishment.  To those who believe in Allah and His messengers and make no distinction between any of the messengers, We shall soon Give their (due) Rewards: for Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful. (Surah an-Nisa’:150-152)

Allah (s.w.t.) has Clearly Defined the function of His Rasul (s.a.w.) in the first few ayat of Surah al-Jumu’ah as well:

It is He Who has Sent amongst the Unlettered, a messenger from among themselves, to rehearse to them His Signs, to sanctify them, and to instruct them in Scripture and Wisdom ― although they had been, before, in manifest error ― As well as (to confer all these benefits upon) others of them, who have not already joined them: and He is Exalted in Might, Wise.  Such is the Bounty of Allah, which He bestows on whom He will: and Allah is the Lord of the highest bounty. (Surah al-Jumu’ah:2-4)

He Sent him to read out to them Allah’s (s.w.t.) signs, ayat, and to purify them and teach them the Book and wisdom, and furthermore that the same applies to the following generations as a perpetual function.  The purification of his followers that he was entrusted with is a key element in the learning and understanding of the Book, rather a precondition, and this very function he fulfilled by being Allah's (s.w.t.) appointed Uswah al-Hasanah (s.a.w.), in other words through his sunnah.