The primitiveness, the ugliness and the contradictions displayed in the name of Islam make it indispensable to clarify where we stand and what should be done to redirect people who have been diverted from the true path described in the Quran. Muhammad Ikbal, ill at ease at the sight of this state of affairs, had made the following remark in the 1920s: “If we are resolved to describe Islam as a system of superior values, we are obliged, first of all, to acknowledge that we are not the true representatives of Islam.” Muhammad Abduh had, before him, expressed the same truth in the following words: “If the word ‘Islam’ associates in the mind problems, dilemmas and contradictions, this is due not to Islam itself, but to the Muslims. So long as the books taught at Al Azhar and similar publications exert authority, I see no future for this community. The spirit needed to awaken the public is inherent in the Quran. Everything remaining outside the sphere of the Quran is but an obstacle preventing the Quran from being understood and experienced.” The famous Turkish poet Mehmet Akif Ersoy had the following to say to describe the plight of Islam that the interpreters had corrupted in total disregard of the clear indications of the Quran: “If it is the Quran that is understood by the word ‘Islam’, we must be in a position to acknowledge that there is no such thing as Islam, since the Quran has been raised back to the heights and the Islam on the earth today has lost all contact with it.” An American professor of Arabic origin, Ýsmail Faruki, interprets the situation as follows: “Islam is not represented by the lifestyle and behavior of Muslims, nor is it represented by any one period of history of Islam, nor by any book written on Islam. Islam is the Quran.”
THIS IS NOT A POPULIST MOVEMENT
The majority of the public among whom the number of thinkers is considerable wants to see Islam in its original garb and cleansed from its corrupted state of today. This is not a populist movement. In other words what is purported here is not to make Islam attractive in the sight of large masses. The origin of it lies in the contradictions created between the Quran, which is the only source of Islam, and the actual practices developed throughout the ages. The objective is not to shape Islam into a new form that will seem attractive to the general public, but to reinstate the true Islam as revealed by God. The religion propounded in the Quran is, in fact, more gratifying for mankind, in which love and tolerance have a larger share. This is why it is generally appreciated. The main objective is not to please the public, but it is one of the consequences.
A movement whose origin is mere enjoyment by the general masses would be inclined to shape the religious practices as they seem attractive to them, and in this design, cultural traits and political ends have a great share. The renaissance and the reform movement in the wake of the French Revolution may be shown as examples. Whatever is subjective – that is human – cannot be defined as religion.
THERE WAS A TIME WHEN NO SECTS EXISTED
During the lifetime of the Prophet and the Four Caliphs there was no religious source other than the Quran (see Chapter 11). Men were not members of any particular sect. They practiced what the Quran prescribed to them and were free in points when there was no prescription in the Quran, according to their own appreciation, customs and conventions. No opinions were told in the name of such schools as Sunni, Hanafi, Shafi, Shii, Alawi or Jafari. They simply called themselves Muslims. And this fact satisfied them. Even the most illiterate of the Beduoins during the lifetime of the Prophet practiced Islam according to their own interpretations and were Muslims. That is what we are after today: to be simply a Muslim without having to belong to any particular sect and to abide by the Quran’s dictates which never change, which involve no contradictions and which are logical and rational as laid down by God. One God, one religion and one book will clear up the confusion that the masses are suffering at present. The aim is to stick to the Quran exclusively and to refuse to acknowledge all other sources. To interpret the elbowroom that the Quran recognizes as applied in a particular period is not our objective. However, if we conceive the free zone of action about which the Quran is reluctant as a place where we are left to our own devices, we can find the true path and correct the mistakes we have committed in the name of religion. The corruptions have been mostly in points where there is no explicit commandment in the Quran (see Chapter 39).
In realizing this we must be conscious of the fact that it is God’s will. This may be established by the views expressed in Chapter 2 of our book about the exclusivity of the Quran. We shall be quoting verses other than those already cited about the self-sufficiency of the Quran to substantiate our claim. We shall presently take awareness of the fact that what has been alleged to be Islam up until now has been but a mixture of elements alien to Islam, a blend of hadiths and traditions and personal views which eventually assumed the garb of religion where truths and untruths have became inextricably mixed. Had the hadiths been a source of Islam like the Quran, it would have followed that it was hopelessly contaminated. To make clear that the sayings attributed to Muhammad cannot constitute a source of religion would liberate both Islam and the Prophet from irrelevant authorization. We shall see in the coming pages that the hadiths conflict with the Quran in many instances, that they are self-contradictory, illogical and that they have a supplementary character. When you see that the Prophet himself and the Four Caliphs were unwilling to see the hadiths written down (see Chapters 4, 10 and 11), you will see once again the rationale behind it and clear the path that leads to the Quran.
LET US SET ISLAM FREE FROM THE MONOPOLY OF IDOLIZED MASTERS
Having cleansed Islam from alien elements and entrusted it to the sole exclusivity of the Quran, we must liberate Islam from the dominance of tabooed masters. Unless this is achieved, we cannot expect a rapprochement between the Sunni, and the Alawi, the Shii and the Hanafi, the Shafi and the Jafari. (We must make clear that we are Sunnis in the sense we are faithful to the Prophet, and Shiites and Alawis in the sense that we love Ali, the son-in-law of the Prophet. Yet, we are not concerned with the linguistic meanings of these, but rather with the sociological meanings they have assumed throughout history and the structural formations that have come about, full of elements alien to the Quran.)
67 – They will say: “Our Lord! We have obeyed our leaders and the elders, but they led us astray.”
33 The Parties, 67
The members of the Sunni branch of Islam must cease to dignify Abu Hanifa, Imam Shafi, Imam Maliki and Imam Hanbali. They must cease believing in such statements, as “Abu Hanifa was a great man; so great in fact that he had seen God in his dream 99 times.” Along with the aforementioned Imams, the traditionalists Bukhari, Muslim, Tirmizi, Abu Davud, etc. must clear the path that leads to the one truth, the truth of the Quran. The Shiites must cease to declare: “Our Imams are innocent, they never err” and rid themselves from powers assignable to the Prophet and the Quran. They must cease to believe in the existence of a source outside the Quran and of a religious leader other than the Prophet. They should know that to be a descendant of the Prophet does not mean he has holiness. The swerving from the straight path of Abraham’s father and of Lot’s wife is related in the Quran. Considering that someone related to a given prophet is liable to be doomed even during the lifetime of the prophet in question, ascribing superiority to a distant descendant of a prophet and, in so doing, being oblivious of the Book sent by God as a guide, a divine favor and a mercy (16 The Honey Bees, 89) is inconceivable. We must note that there is something that sects excel in: the skill of seeing through the faults of others. For instance, the Sunnis justifiably level criticism at the Shiites’ blind obedience to their imams, while they declare their own imams, Hanafi, Shafi, Hanbali and Maliki, blameless and forget that they live by their instructions rather than by the precepts of the Quran. While they perform a binding duty of the religion according to a given sect, the very act they perform quite often proves to be unlawful according to another sect, and while the religion sent by God is one and unique, the emerging result is a plurality of concepts and practices (ee Chapter 14 on sects).The eye that skillfully detects the idolization of imams happens to be blind at its similar practice; the eye seems to be unable to see itself. While it accuses the other of disagreement, it styles itself as the only accepted denomination. If you follow the sayings of particular individuals, what makes you different from your brother? The person whom we revere happens to be the wisest person, while the others are but separatists. What is the exact criterion according to which these people can be classified? Had you adopted the Quran as the only authority, you would not have sought other guides. Their controversies make them forget this truth.
RELIGIOSITY AND ATHEISTIC FANATICISM
The Quran, the revelation recited, contains all the messages that our Creator wanted us to know in the name of religion. It is God’s revelation that provides for every eventuality. Changes do occur in life, this is incontestable; but being able to provide for every probability is a miracle inherent in the structure of God’s revelation. This fact prevents the necessity of carrying out reforms. There are two communities, however, that draw their powers from the prevailing pseudo-religion: the fanatic atheists and the staunch defenders of adulterated practices misnamed religion. While the latter strictly abides by the said adulterated practices, the former makes every effort to swerve the latter from the path of salvation, trying to level criticism at the prevailing practices as false reasoning. On the other hand, the religious fanatic embraces his false convictions still more tightly, condemning those who remain outside their sphere, whom they style as wood for hell’s fire. Although their practices differ, both systems live on the same capital. These are the two main communities that are reluctant to return to the Quran. The infidel will go nowhere having been divested from the assets he would have used as means that would have enabled him to launch attacks on religion. The religious fanatic will be infuriated at having been stripped of his conventional trappings and will have recourse to the mechanisms of excommunication and hatred. We should not be surprised at the fact that the excommunicators are university professors; that the sects and orders find huge masses of supporters; and that these ideologies have their so-called intellectual media. We learn from the Quran that when a new idea crops up, the objection will be raised first by the prominent personalities of the established order. The professors, the staunch defenders of conservative practices, the sheikhs who based their orders on the established system will be in the forefront of those who attack the Islam of the Quran for fear of being divested of their authority and losing their charisma that they have built up throughout long years. If we remember that those who attempted the life of Jesus Christ were prominent rabbis, we must not be puzzled by the fact that those who argue against the Islam of the Quran are self-styled religious personalities. Religion’s worst enemy is the exploiter of religion. The majority of Muslims can see this illustrated in the inquisition that excommunicated people and in the act of confession. The same eye that sees this, happens to be blind to its own wrongdoing in contriving a new religion that aims to replace the one preached in the Quran. Islam also has been subject to cruel dealings just like during the war waged by the Christian clergy in their attempt to monopolize religion. Just as the miracles performed by saints and clerics have become legendary, so the sheikhs’ and imams’ power of sanctity and their alleged vision of God in their dreams made them necessity of their faiths.
It depends on us to return to the Quran and avoid being corrupted by the personal viewpoints of the Arab-Omayyad sovereignty. In this way, a new link will be established between man and the religion alienated from man. The solution is not reform but rejection of what is foreign to the Quran. Nor is this movement an attempt at the reunification of sects. The reunification of phony ideologies would be absurd anyway. The religion is unique and all other attributions are irrelevant. The Quran that towers high above sects must be reinstated as the only and unique source. The Omayyads and the Abbasids attempted to bring reforms to Islam by adding adjectives like Hanafi and Shafi to their conceptions of Islam, transforming what was from God into human work. The thing that should be done today is not reform God’s religion but reform the pseudo-religion; in other words a restructuring. This is returning to the essence rather than reforming.