While Quranism resonates with the Western mentality — it’s simply the Islamic version of Protestantism’s sola scriptura — it is heresy in the Muslim world. Mainstream Muslim scholars, including so-called “moderates,” regularly and often denounce Quranists as apostates from Islam. They point out that Quran 33:2 commands Muslims to follow Muhammad’s example. And his example — his sunna, which 90 percent of the world’s Muslims are named after — is derived from the Hadith.
Of course, this is precisely why many lackadaisical Muslims (quietly) favor the elimination of the Hadith. As one more fervent cleric put it:
[M]uch of Islam will remain mere abstract concepts without Hadith. We would never know how to pray, fast, pay zakah, or make pilgrimage without the illustration found in Hadith.
Surely then, Quranism is welcome news to lukewarm Muslims? Unsurprisingly, Quranists are regularly persecuted and killed for their position:
— Rashad Khalifa, an eccentric Quranist, was found stabbed to death in Tucson, Arizona in 1990.– India’s Chekannur Maulavi disappeared in 1993 under “mysterious circumstances” and is believed to be dead.
— Egypt’s Ahmed Subhy Mansour was denounced by and fired from Al Azhar University (The world’s most influential Islamic university), imprisoned, and finally exiled.
Of all strategies dedicated to creating a “moderate Islam” — most of which have no theological basis, and are simply built on Western projections of itself onto Islam — Quranism is commendable in that it is at least methodologically viable.
But it rests on an immediately negated claim about the Quran.
Well over one hundred verses within the Quran itself call for nonstop war, or jihad, on non-Muslims. If “infidels” are beaten and still refuse to convert to Islam, they must live as third class subjects and pay tribute “while feelingly humbled” (e.g., 9:29).
The Quran itself prescribes draconian measures — crucifixions, whippings, amputations, stonings, and beheadings — as punishments.
In short, the first premise of Quranism — that “The Quran is the only authentic book and we cannot go wrong with it,” to quote Ghouse — may only ease the daily life of the Muslim.
But Quranism brings no solace at all to the “infidel.”