Quranism (Arabic: القرآنية; al-Qur’āniyyat) is an Islamic view that holds the Qur’an to be the most authentic criterion in Islam. Qur’anists reject the religious authority of the Hadith. This is in contrast to the Shia, Sunni, and Ibadi forms of Islam, which view the Hadith as essential to religious practice.
The Quranic Movement in Egypt started in 1979 in reaction to the influence of the Muslim Brotherhood and the Wahhabists. It has about 25,000 members in Egypt today and over 300,000 in the USA and Western Europen countries,comprised mostly of Muslim scholars reformers and Intellectuals. The International Quranic Center aims to support Muslim moderates in their struggle against extremist Muslim groups’ monopoly over the Internet and thereby encourage democracy throughout Islam. Our website has over 5,000 articles written by over 200 Muslim reformers.
Liberal movements within Islam include Quranists who interpret Islam as “a belief system committed to the liberal values of a democratic world”. Quranism is similar to movements in other religions such as the Karaite movement of Judaism and the Sola scriptura view of Christianity. Similarly, the Mu’tazila were also described as hadith rejectors and comparisons have been drawn. Hadith rejection has also been associated with Muslim modernists and reformers of Islam.
Adherents of Quranism are referred to as Quranists (Arabic: قرآنيّون, Qur’āniyyūn), or Quranic people (Arabic: أهل القرآن,’Ahl al-Qur’ān). This should not be confused with Ahle-e-Quran, which is an organisation formed by Abdullah Chakralawi. Quranists may also refer to themselves simply as Muslims, Submitters, or reformists. Opponents sometimes use the term hadith rejectors.
The extent to which Quranists reject the authenticity of the Sunnah varies, but the more established groups have thoroughly criticised the authenticity of the hadith and refused it for many reasons, the most prevalent being the Quranist claim that hadith is not mentioned in the Quran as a source of Islamic theology and practice, was not recorded in written form until more than two centuries after the death of the Prophet Muhammed, and contain perceived internal errors and contradictions.
Quranists believe, based on numerous historical accounts, that the Quranist sentiment dates back to the time of Muhammad. During the Abassid Caliphate, the poet, theologian, and jurist, Ibrahim an-Nazzam founded a madhhab called the Nazzamiyya that rejected the authority of hadiths and relied on the Quran alone. His famous student, al-Jahiz, was also critical of those who followed hadith, referring to his traditionalist opponents as al-nabita (the contemptible). A contemporary of an-Nazzam, al-Shafi’i, tried to refute the arguments of the Quranists and establish the authority of hadiths in his book kitab jima’al-‘ilm. And Ibn Qutaybah tried to refute an-Nazzam’s arguments against hadith in his book ta’wil mukhtalif al-hadith.
In South Asia during the 19th century, the Ahle Quran movement formed partially in reaction to the Ahle Hadith whom they considered to be placing too much emphasis on hadith. Many Ahle Quran adherents were formerly adherents of Ahle Hadith but found themselves incapable of accepting certain hadiths. In Egypt during the early 20th century, the ideas of Quranists like Muhammad Tawfiq Sidqi grew out of Salafism i.e. a rejection of taqlid.
As many Quranists have a very individualistic interpretation of the Qur’an, rejecting sectarianism and organised religion as a general rule, it is difficult to gather an accurate estimate of the number of Quranists in the world today by doing a study of the Quranist organisations that exist. Another difficulty in determining their prevalence is the possible fear of persecution due to being regarded as apostates and therefore deserving of the death penalty by many traditional scholars like Yousef Elbadry,
Organizations and branches
“Ahle Qur’an” is an organisation formed by Abdullah Chakralawi, who described the Quran as “ahsan hadith”, meaning most perfect hadith and consequently claimed it does not need any addition. His movement relies entirely on the chapters and verses of the Qur’an. Chakralawi’s position was that the Qur’an itself was the most perfect source of tradition and could be exclusively followed. According to Chakralawi, Muhammad could receive only one form of revelation (wahy), and that was the Qur’an. He argues that the Qur’an was the only record of divine wisdom, the only source of Muhammad’s teachings, and that it superseded the entire corpus of hadith, which came later. Ahle Quran scholars may use Tafsir when pursuing the interpretations of the Quran.
In the United States it was associated with Rashad Khalifa, founder of the United Submitters International. The group popularized the phrase: The Qur’an, the whole Qur’an, and nothing but the Qur’an. After Khalifa declared himself the Messenger of the Covenant, he was rejected by other Muslim scholars as an apostate of Islam. Later, he was assassinated in 1990 by a terrorist group. His followers believe that there is a mathematical structure in the Qur’an, based on the number 19. A group of Submitters in Nigeria was popularised by high court judge Isa Othman.
Kalo Kato (“A mere man said it”) is a Quranistic movement in northern Nigeria. They are sometimes mistaken for an unrelated militant group founded byMuhammadu Marwa (also known as Maitatsine) called Yan Tatsine. One of the most well-known Quranist leaders in Nigeria is an Islamic scholar Malam Isiyaka Salisu.
Mission and Goals
Committed to spreading a vision of Islam that is true to the letter and spirit of the Quran and that focuses on the consistency between the word of God and democracy and human rights. Our goals are to:
1) To advocate peaceful reform in the Muslim world based on democracy and human rights and to offer practical strategies for such change;
2) To mobilize on the web and convene in person open-minded scholars of the Quran to share research demonstrating the consistency of Islam with democracy;
3) To communicate the value of ecumenical democracy to Muslims of all denominations;
4) To initiate a real inter-religious dialogue among Muslims, Christians, Jews, and members of all religions who believe in creating societies based upon tolerance and justice.
5) To educate Muslims in America to understand and interpret Islam as consistent with American democracy.
6) Equality of all Human beings.