Thursday, 30 June 2011

Quranist Fundamentalism

Farouk A. Peru presents QNet TV's "Being Quranist" series



- This episode deals with : Quranist Fundamentalism - a negative development within the Quranist community; how it is positively disapproved of by the Quran in terms of attitudes, tolerance and acceptance.



more info from http://quranists.net :

An Analysis of Quranist Fundamentalism :

http://bit.ly/QF-ism

Multiple Paths to Salvation :

http://bit.ly/MultiplePaths

Amplify’d from www.youtube.com
Farouk A. Peru presents QNet TV's "Being Quranist" series

- This episode deals with : Quranist Fundamentalism - a negative development within the Quranist community; how it is positively disapproved of by the Quran in terms of attitudes, tolerance and acceptance.

more info from http://quranists.net :
An Analysis of Quranist Fundamentalism :
http://bit.ly/QF-ism
Multiple Paths to Salvation :
http://bit.ly/MultiplePaths
See more at www.youtube.com
 

Tuesday, 28 June 2011

Hijab, Quran and Quranists

The concept of “hijab” and veiling in the Quran and quranists.



I saw this post on one quranist FaceBook group, which I found honest and intriguing.

“I use to wear hijab and even defended the practise of doing so. I was adament that wearing hijab was part of the law. Well until I looked further into this practise using the Quran alone and not being influenced by the practices of my father’s beliefs. I was shocked at how negatively the Quran portrays those who cover their heads with veils or their outer garments as is stated in the Quran.

Allah makes numerous examples of those who veil and when things are veiled as being in darkness, not guided, in doubt and the list goes on and on. It is only when this veil, garment is removed from our heads, ears, eyes that we clearly see the message. Now this could be a metaphorical meaning but from most of the verses it is clear that covering any part of our heads is always used with negative connotations in the Holy Quran.

I will only quote a few verses so the reader must decide for themselves which meaning is best for them, to cover with a veil or not to cover Insha’Allah

Dress code for women using the Quran, there is no mention of a head cover:

33:59 O prophet, tell your wives, your daughters, and the wives of the believers that they should lengthen upon themselves their outer garments. That is better so that they will not be recognized and harmed. God is Forgiver, Merciful.

If this head cover was a law for women I ask you, why would God use it so negatively?

Negative usage of the veil (head cover or hijab) in the Quran:

71:7 “And every time I called on them so that You may forgive them, they put their fingers in their ears and they covered their heads with their outer garments and they insisted, and they became greatly arrogant.”

2:7 GOD seals their minds and their hearing, and their eyes are veiled/covered. They have incurred severe retribution.

50:22 “You were heedless of this, so now We have removed your veil, and your sight today is iron/sharp!”

10:27 But us for those who have done evil deeds – the recompense of an evil, deed shall be the like thereof: and – since they will have none to defend them against God – ignominy will overshadow them as though their faces were veiled by the night’s own darkness: it is they who are destined for the fire. therein to abide.

Allah says we must cover except that which is apparent:

24:31 Tell the acknowledging women to lower their gaze and guard their private parts, and that they should not show off their attraction except what is apparent, and let them cast their clothes over their cleavage. Let them not show off their attraction except to their husbands, or their fathers, or fathers of their husbands, or their sons, or the sons of their husbands, or their brothers, or the sons of their brothers, or the sons of their sisters, or their children that come after them, or those who are still their dependants, or the male servants who are without need, or the child who has not yet understood the nakedness of women. Let them not strike with their feet in a manner that reveals what they are keeping hidden of their attraction. Repent to God, all of you acknowledgers, so that you may succeed

Hearing is as important as with our other senses. If we can’t hear, how can we enjoy the sounds of nature, the music that uplifts our soul, or hear the kind and loving words from our loved ones, and many other things. It is thru hearing that we communicate and become productive. As we age our hearing starts to deteriorate.”

I saw this video today posted in another FaceBook group, which contains some useful information from the Qur’an regarding the words “hijab” and “hijaban” . To be honest though it seems to be a little extreme where the video producer says that those who DO choose to wear a head-covering are performing Idol Worship. This is an extreme contrast to this video, which belittles even the efforts of those who try to wear a head covering of some kind in the belief that it is God’s command, only to point out to them that they are doing it wrong if it is not the correct exact amount of coverage, the correct fabric, the correct colour EVEN THE CORRECT SMELL!! (seriously!), and they go on to accuse those who wear perfume of being Adulterers!

Is there no middle ground? Talk about damned if you do, damned if you don’t! It seems to me that when it comes to the concept of “Hijab” the way the term is used today to mean basically covering all the body apart from the face and the hands (and in some cases even the face is covered too), not all is as it seems. Trying to think reasonably and logically about this: surely if there is no command in the Qur’an to cover your hair,/neck/ ears/face etc, then it’s not wrong to leave your hair /neck/ears/face showing? Likewise, if there is no command to NOT cover your hair, then if you choose to wear something that resembles some form of head covering for whatever reason you may have, or whatever style that is your personal preference – hat, pashmina, scarf – be it small, large, loose, tight, short, long, full cover, half cover, bright, sparkly, plain etc then what’s the problem?

It has really saddened me that these extreme attitudes in the videos I’ve mentioned just turn people off. It seems to me, such extreme attitudes, forms of either Islamic Fundamentalism or Quranic Fundamentalism do not leave any allowance for Qur’an 2:143.

Read more at quranistvoices.wordpress.com
 

A change of attitude

Ironic Attitudes



After reading this post on Prophetic Examples in the Quran yesterday, which I found incredibly moving,  I reflected on some of the attitudes that I have come across on the discussion threads on Facebook (FB) in various FB groups.

Some of the statements I have seen have contained sarcastic sneers, rudeness, attacks on others, general negativity and disrespect, arrogance and arguing for the sake of arguing. It would probably be dishonest of me to say that I have never contributed to this myself in some way.

Compare that to how the prophets are portrayed in the Quran, their actions, and what they said, summarised in the post I mentioned above which has a non-exhaustive list of realistic, noble and achievable qualities and traits of humans which can be found in the Quran, with references.

In 9:114 Ibrahim is described as la-awwāhun ḥalīmun

وما كان استغفار ابرهيم لابيه الا عن موعدة وعدها اياه فلما تبين له انه عدو لله تبرا منه ان ابرهيم لاوه حليم

In 64:14 The ones who āmanū are told that if they taʿfū, wataṣfaḥū and wataghfirū even with the ones who oppose them, then Allah will be ghafūrun, raḥīmun,

يايها الذين ءامنوا ان من ازوجكم واولدكم عدوا لكم فاحذروهم وان تعفوا وتصفحوا وتغفروا فان الله غفور رحيم

Less desirable behaviour can be seen in 23:46, where behaviour such as fa-is’takbarū is ascribed to Firawn’s chiefs, and they are described as a qawman ʿālīna

الى فرعون وملايه فاستكبروا وكانوا قوما عالين

I  believe it is our duty to invite to God, and God’s Words, stand up for the truth and try to eliminate falsehood. Among the FB groups who are already firm in their belief that the Qur’an is the only source of Divine Guidance, I really see potential for our attitudes to improve.  Let’s think about what chances are going to waste here in this short life. Don’t we have a great facility for uniting and working together as a team with a common goal? A wonderful chance to strive in the way of God to practise islam as prescribed by the Qur’an? A fantastic opportunity to lead by example to show the world a more inspiring picture of islam in action?

“Preaching to the choir” is an interesting expression. It refers to the pointlessness of a preacher attempting to convert those who, by their presence in church, have already demonstrated their faith. This seems to be the case sometimes in the groups. Often, too, there is infighting and bickering about the personal beliefs of people who have already come to accept God and His Words.

Of course, no two people are going to think and believe the exact same things or interpret the Qur’an in Arabic or a different language in the exact same way. It seems to me that to find common ground we can agree on is emphasised in 29:46,  wa-ilāhunā  wa-ilāhukum wāḥidun

ولا تجدلوا اهل الكتب الا بالتى هى احسن الا الذين ظلموا منهم وقولوا ءامنا بالذى انزل الينا وانزل اليكم والهنا والهكم وحد ونحن له مسلمون

As people, humans, with feelings and emotions, if we are attacked enough, it is inevitable that we become defensive and lash out ourselves. 16:125-126 is similar to 29:46 with a reminder that if we are ṣabartum then it is better.

ادع الى سبيل ربك بالحكمة والموعظة الحسنة وجدلهم بالتى هى احسن ان ربك هو اعلم بمن ضل عن سبيله وهو اعلم بالمهتدين

وان عاقبتم فعاقبوا بمثل ما عوقبتم به ولىن صبرتم لهو خير للصبرين

14:24-27 gives us an example of good words and bad words. It seems to me the good words always lead to something more productive than the negativity and destruction of the bad words. Surely it goes without saying, a comfortable atmosphere, one filled with energy, passion and positivity is more inviting than a dark room of pettiness, retorts, sneers and snide comments. Which room would you rather be in?

الم تر كيف ضرب الله مثلا كلمة طيبة كشجرة طيبة اصلها ثابت وفرعها فى السماء

توتى اكلها كل حين باذن ربها ويضرب الله الامثال للناس لعلهم يتذكرون

ومثل كلمة خبيثة كشجرة خبيثة اجتثت من فوق الارض ما لها من قرار

يثبت الله الذين ءامنوا بالقول الثابت فى الحيوة الدنيا وفى الءاخرة ويضل الله الظلمين ويفعل الله ما يشاء

I used to be in some Traditional Islam FB groups for new converts (being a convert myself) – and the general attitude of the discussions there was remarkably humble, where the atmosphere would be spoilt on occasion only by someone’s good intention of “forbidding evil” that made a claim about something being “Haraam”, due to it being mentioned as prohibited in the Ahadith collections, and not from the Quran. Credit where it is due, after any heated discussions, I often saw a lot of sincerity, apologies and retractions and reconciliation.

It can be very difficult to remain calm, when your point of view is not appreciated by the other, in a debate or a discussion. No-one is perfect, and we all have our own limitations. I think it is difficult for strangers to be on the same wavelength. It’s easy to get off to a bad start if the first time you meet there is a clash or a conflict. Do you ever find that if you put things into perspective, it turns out that you have more in common with the person you are debating with than you might have at first recognised? Imagine you had met this person in real life; say they are a neighbour on your street, or in your apartment building, someone with a family and kids, someone with a mum and dad and grandparents and they shop at the same supermarket as you. You’d help them with their shopping if they were struggling. You’d push their car if it broke down.  You’d hold the door open for them. You’d chat with them while waiting in line at the Post Office, about things you had in common. You’d lend them some garden tools. You’d send a card or fruit basket if they got sick. Wouldn’t you?

We are an online community. We might never physically meet each other in real life. But I’d like to think together we could be spiritually very close.  Wouldn’t it be amazing if we really could let our own egos let go of their pride. We don’t have to be right all of the time; even being right is subject to interpretation. Can’t we just have pleasant civilised discussions, backed up by our proof, then end it by agreeing to disagree, so that we can then focus on the bigger picture, and look after each other and hold firmly to the Rope of God ?

3:103 – 3:104

واعتصموا بحبل الله جميعا ولا تفرقوا واذكروا نعمت الله عليكم اذ كنتم اعداء فالف بين قلوبكم فاصبحتم بنعمته اخونا وكنتم على شفا حفرة من النار فانقذكم منها كذلك يبين الله لكم ءايته لعلكم تهتدون

ولتكن منكم امة يدعون الى الخير ويامرون بالمعروف وينهون عن المنكر واولئك هم المفلحون

Read more at quranistvoices.wordpress.com
 

Quranism Misperceptions

Concerns and precautions

I don’t think anyone is saying Quranists are not muslims, are they? I am muslim. I am a muslim. I am a Muslim(?) not sure about capital letters – they confuse me. But I am a Quranist. By now I think we are getting a feel for what a Quranist is… I’m thinking: “Quran alone” mentality, meaning Quran is the one divine source, and a rejection of any other sources claiming to be divine. I just honestly don’t see Quranism as a sect, because the Quran claims it is the one divine source, afaics. I think it’s just a communication thing.

Concerns to be aware of:

I do have concerns that the term Quranism is not safeguarded from being undermined. For example

A. if “Quranism” becomes associated with misperceptions/doubts, such as

  1.  misperception of being a sect,
  1.  misperception of being disobedient to / not heeding the Messengers,
  1.  misperception that the name is not mentioned in the Qur’an therefore we can’t use it,
  1.  misperception of exclusivism, clubs / groups / cliques

or

B. if the ones with money and power feel threatened enough by the Truth that they launch an effective campaign to brand Quranists as heretics, apostates, rejecters of the truth and liars and disbelievers.

Pre-emptive precautions 

If Quranism were to be undermined, God Forbid, (when I say undermined, I mean that by popular usage the true meaning of Quranism were to become obscured, confused or associated with negativity, as has already happened to the term “muslim”), then it is a real possibility that a new defining term would be required. Until the same happens again, and again.  I think that’s why it’s very important to get the term Quranists into popular usage in a positive way as a synonym for the Quranic meaning of muslim, and nip such misperceptions in the bud from the outset.

I also think it is not incorrect to say Quranism is a man-made term. The English term Quranism is not in the Quran. That is not in dispute. One might say Utopia is not in either but it is still described. Furthermore lots of things are man-made; that doesn’t automatically mean they are not useful or conducive to establishing good, or useful for effective communication. Quranism is a term that is one word. One word to summarise it’s meaning.  The term Quranism is also being used to propogate Truth vs Falsehood.  Quranism as a term can help open the channels of communication, accurately and honesty. The term is a practicality, a facilitator. The only way Quranism could ever be a sect is if it listed a set of stipulated beliefs, from other than what is described in Noble Qur’an, where the ones who stipulate the belief set refused to include those who disagreed with any part of the belief set and excommunicated them or labelled them. Even that which is stipulated in the Quran, I think we can all agree is subject to any number of interpretations, which is what makes QuranistVoices blog so very openly diverse and accepting of all opinions / viewpoints / thoughts and feelings, especially if they are backed up by Quranic proof/evidence. In the end, we will be judged on our own individual actions so we have to be able to conclude that for every action we take, there is a real justification for it, based on our own reasoning, pondering and reflection / our own interpretation of the Divine Message, not just because someone else told us so. Just thinking out loud :) Peace

Read more at quranistvoices.wordpress.com
 

Monday, 27 June 2011

Responses to Critics - Quranists Network TV Channel part 3

Part 3 - Farouk A. Peru responds to Sheikh Feiz's views about Quranists and clears up misconceptions about Quranists' beliefs.



Point 5. "The Quran and something like it / something similar to it"



Point 6. Halal and Haram from the Quran



Point 7. "Whatever RasoulAllah gives you, take it"



More information about Quranists on http://quranists.net



Visit the Quranist Voices blog http://quranistvoices.wordpress.com/2011/06/22/responding-to-sheikh-feiz/



The original Sheikh Feiz video is here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gupqrEQI9dI



Part 1 of this video is here : http://www.youtube.com/user/quranistsnetworktv#p/a/u/1/JxdM3v9ZjH8



Part 2 of this video is here: http://www.youtube.com/user/quranistsnetworktv#p/a/u/1/llSigC0q4qg


Sunday, 26 June 2011

Quranists Network TV Channel

This is Part 2 of "Responses to Critics"



Part 2 - Farouk A. Peru responds to Sheikh Feiz's views about Quranists and clears up misconceptions about Quranists' beliefs.



Point 4. Authentic Hadith - Who authenticates?

This programme discusses the claim that "Anyone who rejects a narration which has been made sound, which has been authenticated or confirmed has rejected the Quran in totality"



More information about Quranists on http://quranists.net



Visit the Quranist Voices blog http://quranistvoices.wordpress.com/2011/06/22/responding-to-sheikh-feiz/



The original Sheikh Feiz video is here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gupqrEQI9dI



Part 1 of this video is here : http://www.youtube.com/user/quranistsnetworktv#p/a/u/1/JxdM3v9ZjH8



Part 3 is here: http://www.youtube.com/user/quranistsnetworktv#p/a/u/0/IJQIHKqgEEM


Thursday, 9 June 2011

Meaning vs Metaphor

Meaning vs Metaphor



As Quranists, many of us were often accused of taking the Quran to an excessive, over-metaphorical level. You would think this accusation came from anti-Quranic (and NOT Sunni, Shitte of other) parties, yet instead it came from fellow Quranists who first refused the name at the time Farouk was launching the website and forum (www.quranists.net)!

I can hardly say I’m religious in the terms of organized religion. My belief in God is still natural rather than based on a sacred text, which is safe for now. I figured that before reading the Quran again, I had to establish a mechanism, a way, a more appropriate language than the currently dealt-with Arabic, and a new (yes! brand new) mentality… and probably more age since I doubt my brain is developed enough for all this.

Many things in organized religion never appealed to me. The constant call for rituals that I did not understand (although I don’t deny the beauty of rituals), the unnecessary-seeming Quranic details (for example, why it was so important to say that Abraham offered his Angelic guests roasted beef, or why Moses was traveling with a Whale, he lost for some reason etc), and the constant call for fundamentalism – all these seemed of no value whatsoever.

So, many Quranists began to question these details. They were NOT questioning Allah SWT, and NOT questioning the validity of the Quran, but they were questioning the Quranist-Traditional (which Farouk might like to call QFists) understanding of Quranic verse.

Based on many Quranists challenging the current “silly” (oh, yes it is silly!) understanding of many well-known Quranic verses, other fellow Quranists accused them of exaggerating in extracting a metaphorical, symbolic, “wider” meaning, and by that “drifting away” from God, trying to “make our life easier by eliminating rituals”.

What is worse that all this is that these Quranists deny the title and study approach “Quranist”, prefer to be called on Muslims AND call any those who have tried to think harder, dig deeper and find another way “Quranists”, and by that refusing us, dividing the ummah on a mini-scale on the internet. I have absolutely no issue with people calling themselves “Muslims”. That is simply beautiful and up to them, but to entirely separate themselves from those who seek a wider Quranic meaning (which doesn’t include all Quranists) in the name of God? Why, any 17-year-old can spot the intolerance there!

Read more at quranistvoices.wordpress.com
 

Tuesday, 7 June 2011

Pyrrhic victory

Pyrrhic victory



I know it always seems to be a victory when we can prove a point or make someone realise that what the Quran teaches is not what (all) the Hadiths teach. I think it is really important to bear in mind that the intention is to invite to the truth and expose falsehood, but never to make anyone feel embarrassed or for them to lose their dignity in front of other people. We are instructed to debate/dispute/argue/discuss  in the best manner (16:125) and (29:46).

I’ll be honest – I am not really sure what the best manner is! Maybe I spend too much time wondering about the safest way to ensure the other party does not get humiliated? Is the only real way to do that for the debate to be done in private? Should debates be private or public? A public debate can be very revealing and educational, and obviously can benefit more people than the alternative of private conversations with each individual. After all, we are all in the same boat, looking for the truth, so no-one has anything to hide do they? Or do they? The problem is that it is natural to want to “save face” and I think we should always be aware of our own ego and pride and try to remain humble and never arrogant. By focussing on the issues and the evidence and never letting the debate turn into a personal attack about intelligence, I think the debates can be productive and to the point.

I think one way to “debate in the best manner” would probably be by presenting evidence, highlighting the illogic of the opposing argument and remaining calm and polite and respectful. I wondered whether sarcasm is included in “debating in the best manner”

Wikipedia says:

“Understanding the subtlety of this usage (of sarcasm) requires second-order interpretation of the speaker’s intentions. This sophisticated understanding can be lacking in some people with certain forms of brain damage, dementia and autism,[11] and this perception has been located by MRI in the right parahippocampal gyrus.[12][13]
Cultural perspectives on sarcasm vary widely with more than a few cultures and linguistic groups finding it offensive to varying degrees. Thomas Carlyle despised it: “Sarcasm I now see to be, in general, the language of the devil; for which reason I have long since as good as renounced it”.[14] Fyodor Dostoyevsky, on the other hand, recognized in it a cry of pain: Sarcasm, he said, was “usually the last refuge of modest and chaste-souled people when the privacy of their soul is coarsely and intrusively invaded.”[15] RFC 1855, a collection of guidelines for Internet communications, even includes a warning to be especially careful with it as it “may not travel well”.”

However, it is interesting to note some examples from the Quran about how Ibrahim dealt with the one who tried to argue with him in 2:258. It seems to me Ibrahim used irony to prove a point and I imagine it was said with a smile :)  In 21:63 too, again a point is proven by Ibrahim. This shows that sometimes we have to highlight the illogic in a profound way to prove the point, without beating around the bush! After all Ibrahim is a good example (60:4)

Read more at quranistvoices.wordpress.com
 

Sunday, 5 June 2011

Maryam in the Quran

Maryam in the Quran



There is a very interesting thread going on on Free-minds and the Quranology Discussions FaceBook group about Maryam in the Quran. (free minds discussion here:  and Quranology Discussion (FaceBook) here:

Comments Summary

Comment: strange – a comment says Maryam lived at the time of Musa – I wonder if that explains why it says “Sister of Aaron” in 19:28? But how does it explain about the relationship with Zachariya and Yahya?

Comment: Maryam is referred to as the sister of Haroon, and we know that haroon and Musa were brothers, so that makes Maryum sister of Musa as well.

In the bible, there are 2 Marys. One Mary is the sister of Moses (around 2000 BC) and the other Mary is the mother of Jesus (around year Zero). There is a gap of about 2000 years between both the Marys.

The christians says that Muhammad forged the bible and made a quran out of it for his own people and during this process made a mistake by addressing the Mother of Jesus as ‘sister of Haroon’ when in reality the ‘sister of Haroon’ existed 2000 years before Mary the mother of Jesus.

Well………… they do have a valid argument here, but b/c i take Quran as the word of the real God, i have no choice but to believe that Mary the mother of Jesus is the same Mary who is the sister of Haroon and Musa. The same sister who followed the baby Musa in the cradle in the river. Thus they all existed around the same time rather than the non-proved 2000 years they claim about.

When the sunnis were questioned about this ‘‘error’’, they came up with the answer that b/c Mary m/o (mother of) Jesus belonged to the same school of thought as Haroon, she was addressed as ‘sister of Haroon’. Well, if Moses was more popular than Haroon, then she should have been reffered to as ‘sister of musa’ rather than ‘sister of haroon’.

If Allah says, she is sister of haroon… then so be it!, she is sister of Haroon. The sister here doesnt mean ‘sister belonging to the same school of thought’.

Comment: Would that make Isa the nephew of Musa and Haroon? Wondering how this affects Yahya and Zachariya and their relationship to Isa and Maryam

Why is it so important to say she is someone’s sister? Is this a clue?

Read more at quranistvoices.wordpress.com
 

Thursday, 2 June 2011

The difference between Ritual and Routine

The difference between Ritual and Routine

Routines on the other hand are flexible. They come from habits established into daily life. They are adaptable. New habits replace old habits or attach onto good habits already established. Habits can become automatic too. It is said that to learn a new habit takes somewhere between 21-30 days. Routines aid organisation and productivity. By setting goals and establishing routines designed to work towards these goals, one has direction and purpose. Routines are not perfect, but they are positive. Routines consist of “Baby Steps” which are continuous, evolving, progressing and are maintainable and sustainable, logical and reasonable. It is probably fair to say that productive people contribute considerably to their families, communities and society at large, by having adaptable routines, schedules, goals and aspirations and a positive attitude.

Read more at quranistvoices.wordpress.com