Quranism

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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.[1]

Liberal movements within Islam include Quranists who interpret Islam as "a belief system committed to the liberal values of a democratic world".[2] Quranism is similar to movements in other religions such as the Karaite movement of Judaism and the Sola scriptura view of Christianity.[3] Similarly, the Mu'tazila were also described as hadith rejectors and comparisons have been drawn.[4] Hadith rejection has also been associated with Muslim modernists.[5]

Terminology

Adherents of Quranism are referred to as Quranists (Arabic: قرآنيّون‎, Qur’āniyyūn),[6] or Quranic people (Arabic: أهل القرآن‎, ’Ahl al-Qur’ān).[7] Quranists may also refer to themselves simply as Muslims, Submitters, or reformists.[6] Opponents sometimes use the term hadith rejectors.[8]

Doctrine

11th-century North African Koran.

Quranists believe Mohammed himself was a Quranist and the founder of Quranism, and that his followers distorted the faith and split into schisms and factions such as Sunni, Ismailism, Zaidism, Bahai or Druze.[citation needed]

The early Quranists have cited these verses from the Quran as proof:[citation needed]

"Nothing have we omitted from the Book, and they (all) shall be gathered to their Lord in the end."[Quran 6:38]

"We have cited in this Quran every example for the people. But the human being is always most argumentative."[Quran 18:54]

""Shall I seek other than God as a judge when He has sent down to you this book sufficiently detailed?" Those to whom We have given the book know it is sent down from your Lord with truth; so do not be of those who have doubt. The word of your Lord has been completed with truth and justice; there is no changing His words. He is the Hearer, the Knower."[Quran 6:114]

"The revelation of the book is from God, the Noble, the Wise. . . . These are God's signs that We recite to you with truth. So, in which hadith, after God and His signs, do they acknowledge?"[Quran 45:2]

"It is an honorable Quran. In a protected record. None can grasp it except those pure. A revelation from the Lord of the worlds. Are you disregarding this hadith?"[Quran 56:77]

"So in what hadith after it will they acknowledge?"[Quran 77:50]

Quran from the 7th century written on vellum.

The extent to which Quranists reject the authenticity of the Sunnah varies,[9] 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.[9][10]

History

Quranists believe, based on numerous historical accounts, that the Quranist sentiment dates back to the time of Muhammad.[11] According to one account, Muhammad said:

Do not write anything from me except the Qur'an and [if] someone writes anything from me other than the Qur'an, destroy it.[12]

Another account says:

It was reported to the Prophet that some individuals had put his traditions into writing. He mounted the pulpit and after praising God he said, 'What are these books that you are writing as reported to me? I am only a human being. Anyone who keeps such traditions must destroy them.' We collected those traditions and asked, 'O Messenger of Allah! shall we narrate hadith from you?' The Prophet said, 'Sometimes, you narrate hadith from me; there is nothing wrong with it. Anyone who intentionally attributes a lie to me has certainly prepared for himself a place in the hellfire.[12]

This prohibition of hadith is claimed to have been continued by Muhammad's successor, Abu Bakr. According to one account, Aisha said:

My father compiled 500 sayings of the Prophet. One night he was sleeping but he was not at ease. I was sad and I asked him about the reason behind his uneasiness. As the sun rose up, he said, 'My daughter, bring out the traditions in your possessions. I brought them. He asked for fire and burned them.[12]

According to another account, Abu Bakr said:

You report certain statements from the Messenger of Allah and on which you differ among yourselves. After you the differences will multiply. Do not narrate anything from the Messenger of Allah and if someone asks you, tell them, 'There is the Book of Allah between you and us; let us take as lawful (halal) whatever it permits and unlawful (haram) whatever it prohibits.[12]

Quranists claim that this prohibition of hadith was continued by Abu Bakr's successor, Umar. According to one account:

'Umar ibn al-Khattab wanted to record the traditions (sunan) and for this purpose he consulted the Prophet's Companions who also encouraged him to do so. 'Umar reflected on this work for a month, asking for guidance from God until his resolve became stronger and said, 'I wanted to put the sunan into writing but I remember that communities (aqwam) before you compiled a book [regarding the sunnah of their respective prophets] and focused their attention to it while disregarding the Book of God. By God! Indeed I will never mix the Book of God with anything else![12]

According to another account:

It was reported to 'Umar ibn al-Khattab that there were written traditions and collections of traditions among the people. He considered it unfavorable and said, 'O people! It was reported to me that book [of hadiths] exist in your midst. [Be it known that] the firmest of them is the most beloved in the sight of God. When they brought the books to me so that I could express my opinion about them, the people thought that I would review and modify them according to textual differences and variations. However, as soon as the books were brought to me, I put all of them on fire.[12]

According to another account, Muhammad's companion Zayd ibn Thabit said:

The Prophet commanded us not to write down hadith.[12]

Quranist scholars believe the prohibition of hadith is permanent; however, some Sunni scholars believe it was only temporary.[12] According to them, the prohibition was so that people wouldn't confuse the Quran with the hadith during the compilation of the Quran.[12] They believe that once the compilation of the Quran was completed, the prohibition of hadith was abrogated.[12] Other Sunni scholars don't find this explanation for the prohibition of hadith convincing. Muhmud Abu Rayyah said concerning this explanation:

This justification cannot convince any scholar or man of intellect, nor is it acceptable to any inquisitive researcher unless we regard the traditions as of equal elegance with the Qur'an and believe that the hadith's mode of inimitability (a'jaz) is the same as that of the Qur'an – a claim which will be unacceptable even to the proponents of this theory because this is tantamount to the invalidity of the Qur'an's inimitability and the breaking down of the foundation of the Qur'an's miracles.[12]

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.[13][14] His famous student, al-Jahiz, was also critical of those who followed hadith, referring to his traditionalist opponents as al-nabita (the contemptible).[15] 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.[16] And Ibn Qutaybah tried to refute an-Nazzam's arguments against hadith in his book ta'wil mukhtalif al-hadith.[17]

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.[18] Many Ahle Quran adherents were formerly adherents of Ahle Hadith but found themselves incapable of accepting certain hadiths.[18] 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.[18]

Distinct beliefs

Belief Sunni, Jafari and Ismaili doctrines Quranism
Circumcision
(khitan)
Some Sunni scholars do not consider circumcision to be necessary to be a Muslim but it is highly recommended as part of Fitra, other Sunni scholars consider it compulsory. Most Shia denominations regard the practice as compulsory.[citation needed] Circumcision is considered a mutilation of the inviolable body of man and is prohibited.
Apostasy The penalty for apostasy is death under Sunni and Shia Hudood law. In Quranism apostasy is not a crime and everyone is free to choose their religion.
Adultery
Main article: Zina
Main article: Hudood
The penalty for adultery or fornication is death under Sunni and Shia Hudood law.
Only adultery (extra-marital sex) is a crime and only if proved by four witnesses both the male and female offenders shall be given one hundred lashes. Quranism rejects the death penalty for adultery.
Stoning
(rajm)
Sunni and Shia shariah law orders that execution by stoning be the punishment for adulterers and homosexuals. Quranism rejects stoning as a pagan practice which Abraham's father threatened Abraham with if he left polytheism.(– Quran 19:46)
Homosexuality Under Sunni and Shia Islam's Sharia law homosexuality is a hudud crime punished by stoning to death. Many muslim countries have this in their constitution.[19][20][21][22] Under Quranism homosexuality is not a crime and is considered a personal choice.
Polygyny According to Sunni and Shia Sharia law a man may have up to four legal wives at any one time. According to Quranism a man may have up to four wives at any one time.
Theism Sunnis, Jafaris and Ismailis believe in one God called Allah and take the Shahada as the declaration of their faith. Jafaris and Ismailis add Ali's name to the Shahada. Bahais believe Bahaullah is a god. Alawites believe in a traide where godhood has three aspects Mohammad, Ali and Salman the Persian. Quranists believe in one deity. Their creed is the Shahada Polytheism (shirk) is seen as the unforgivable crime, the one that God will not pardon whereby salvation becomes impossible.
Prayer
(salat)
Sunni pray five obligatory prayers a day, optional prayers such as those prayed by Prophet Muhammad known as sunnah salat or extra prayers known as nafl salat may be offered. Shia Muslims pray five times a day while they can join two prayers such as the evening prayer (Maghrib) and the night prayer (Isha) salat together.Both Shia and Sunni Islam says menstruating women should not pray.[citation needed] Quranists pray three times a day, in the morning, at noon (zuhr) also known as (as-salat alwusta), and at the evening (ishaa). Menstruating women may not pray until they have washed themselves.
Charity
(zakat)
Shia and Sunni Moslems provide 2.5% of their wealth in a prescribed manner with formulas based on the Hadith. Quranists give the "excess" (al'afwu) that they can give [23]
Pilgrimage to Mecca
(Hajj)
Pilgrimage to Mecca is performed from the 8th to 12th day of Dhu al-Hijjah, the 12th and last month of the Islamic calendar.[citation needed] The Hajj is performed in four months Dhul-Qa'dah, Dhul-Hijjah, Muharram and Ramadan. The Umra is performed in the rest of the months. Quranists consider the Hajj to compulsory in the lifetime of every Muslim who is able. These considered necessary manaasik or rites of the religion. However during the Hajj and Umra Quranists do not stone the devil or kiss the black stone, as Sunnis and Shias are wont to do. Quranists consider these fabrications.
Friday congregational Prayer
(Jumu'ah)
Sunni Muslims attach special importance to the Friday congregational prayers and consider it to be obligatory on every healthy Muslim male.[citation needed] Quranists believe in the jum'a prayer as a time of remembrance of Allah.
Women as Imams Sunni scholars believe a woman cannot lead a mixed gender congregation.[citation needed] Males of any age can lead mixed gender congregations. Women may not lead mixed gender congregations.
Domestic violence Some Sunni and Shia scholars interpret and translate the Quran 4:34 to allow men to beat their wives. while others are completely against it and consider it a crime. [24][25][26][27] If a male's wives are malicious first men should warn them, then forsake them in the bed, then as a last resort hit them if they are malicious to discipline them, but if they become obedient then they are not to be blamed.
Tribute
(jizya)
Sunni scholars believe a tribute can be taken from non-Muslims living in Muslim lands.[citation needed] Quranists believe non Quranists must pay a tax (jizya) in Quranist administered lands.
War (jihad and qital) Some Sunni scholars believe jihad can be understood as an offensive "holy war" against non-Muslims.[28] Jihad is is the assistance through weapons, supplies, and shelter of fellow Quranists who are suffering persecution and apartheid.
Slavery Some Sunni and Shia scholars believe that slavery is permissible if the slaves are non-Muslim and they are treated kindly. Other Sunni and Shia scholars believe that slavery was permissible during Muhammad's lifetime, but that now it should be gradually abolished where it exists.[29][30][31][32] Slavery is wrong as really all people are slaves of their creator. Slavery that exists is valid because it is grandfathered, but should be utlimately abolished.
Abrogation
(naskh)
Some Sunnis scholars believe that there a few certain verses in the Quran that abrogate certain other verses in the Quran.[citation needed] Quranists strongly disagree with abrogation of verses.
Evolution A few Sunni scholars like Adnan Oktar, Fethullah Gülen, and Yasir Qadhi have argued against evolution.[33] Quranism accepts evolution however Quranism holds that one deity is the original initiator of creation who fashioned man's ancestors mitochondrial Adam and mitochondrial Eve.
Calendar Sunni and Shia follow a lunar calendar for religiuos purposes and the solar calendar for everyday purposes.[citation needed] Quranists use a solar calendar for general purposes. The Hajri calendar is used to determine religious dates such as the Hajj.
Clothing Sunni Muslims are encouraged to dress in the way of the prophet Muhammad or his wives. Some Sunni scholars emphasize covering of all body including the face in public whereas some scholars exclude the face from hijab. Shias believe that the hijab must cover around the perimeter of the face and up to the chin.[citation needed] The only condition in Quranism is that women dress in a way that is not provocative, not like robbers.
The Dajjal and Mahdi Sunni Muslims believe that when the world has widespread corruption, the Mahdi will come and fight the Anti-Christ. Shias also believe in the emergence of the Mahdi, but unlike the Sunni doctrine, they claim that the Mahdi has already been born. Shia Muslims believe that the Mahdi is hiding for a period known as the occultation, and will emerge and fight the Anti-Christ (Dajjal) at a time prescribed by God.[citation needed] Quranism does not believe in the emergence of a mahdi or dajjal. Rather Quranists believe that two powerful people called Gog and Magog are sealed between two walls of walls of iron in a mountainous place, and near the final days they will be released and cause terrible mischief, only Jesus Christ will be able to defeat them. After living for a while Jesus will himself die and day of resurrection will come.
Food Sunni Muslims consider food slaughtered by the Christians and Jews to be religiously consumable. The Quran forbids that animals die by a blow. Some Sunni Muslims forbid using the left hand when eating. This is because the right hand is considered cleaner.[citation needed] Quranists can eat food produced by Christians and Jews as long as it is not blood poured out (dam masfūḥ) and the animal is not strangled, fallen to death, swine or carrion. Quranists consider the belief of some that food must be eaten with the right hand a lie; they eat with any hand or both.
Inter-religious marriages Sunni and Shia Muslims generally consider marriages between a Muslim man and a Christian or Jewish woman acceptable but discouraged. Some Sunnis consider marriages between Muslims and non-Muslims, regardless of gender, totally unacceptable. Both Muslim men and women can marry non-Muslims, as long as the non-Muslims are believers[Quran 60:10] and do not practice idolatry.[Quran 2:221] Such people may include Christians and Jews.[34]

Following

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,[35]

Organizations and branches

Ahle Qur'an

"Ahle Qur’an" is an organisation formed by Abdullah Chakralawi,[36][37] who described the Quran as "ahsan hadith", meaning most perfect hadith and consequently claimed it does not need any addition.[38] 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.[39] Ahle Quran scholars may use Tafsir when pursuing the interpretations of the Quran.[40]

Tolu-e-Islam

Main article: Tolu-e-Islam

Tolu-e-Islam ("Resurgence of Islam") is a non-profit organization based in Pakistan.[41] The movement was initiated by one of the most influential philosophers in Islamic history, Muhammad Iqbal, and later spearheaded by Ghulam Ahmed Pervez. The fundamental aim of Iqbal's thesis was to initiate the full-implementation of Quranic Law, divorcing it from man-made religious dogma. Iqbal argued that Islam can not be complete without a state, and within such a state God is the only ruler, as the Quran is the only source of Law. Iqbal (and later Muhammad Ali Jinnah and Ghulam Ahmed Pervez) argued that this concept is the essence of "Taqwa", which is the basic premise of Islam: that there are "No other gods, but God". Their argument states that only God has the authority to rule humanity (via His Laws), and therefore all other sources of authority are logically invalid and empirically destructive. Hence, Iqbal argued that the Muslims of South Asia required an independent state (at the time Iqbal was referring to a provincial State within a Federated India) to be able to truly practice Islam, where the Quran could be implemented in its entirety. This was the vision, carried forward by Jinnah, that ultimately led to the creation of a separate homeland for South Asian Muslims which became Pakistan, once it was clear that Congress would not allow such independence within a Federated India. That original vision is yet to be realized, as the laws of Pakistan have not been harmonized with the Quran (remaining a mix of secular and clergy controlled fiqh based rulings).

In his writings and speeches Ghulam Ahmed Pervez, who succeeded Iqbal as Tolou-e-Islam's lead scholar, has deductively analyzed Quranic verses with little or no emphasis on hadith.[42] He also provided a new commentary on the Quran based on a re-translation of key verses, based on applying proper rules of classical Arabic and its conventions, which have been overlooked by the mainstream sects. As well as releasing a Quranic Dictionary (Lughat-ul-Quran) which properly translated many of the key words used in the Quran, many of which have been mistranslated in standard translations and commentaries. Tolou-e-Islam followers do not reject all hadiths; however, they only accept hadiths which "are in accordance with the Quran or do not stain the character of the Prophet or his companions".[41] The organization publishes and distributes books, pamphlets, and recordings of Pervez's teachings.[41] There are multiple projects currently underway to translate books and audio lectures from Urdu to English, and release them for free online on their website.

Submitters

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.[10] 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 started by Isa Othman.

Others

Quranists in Nigeria are sometimes referred to as Kalo Kato, which means "a mere man said it" in the Hausa language (referring to the hadith attributed to Muhammad).[43] They're sometimes mistaken for an unrelated militant group founded by Muhammadu 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.[44] Other notable Nigerian Quranists include High Court judge Isa Othman[45][46] and Islamic scholar Mallam Saleh Idris Bello.[47]

Notable Quranists

  • Ahmed Subhy Mansour (born 1949), an Egyptian American Islamic scholar.[48] He founded a small group of Quranists, but was exiled from Egypt and is now living in the United States as a political refugee.[49] One of his followers, Egyptian blogger Reda Abdel-Rahman, was freed on January 2009 after being detained for a year. Abdel-Rahman was imprisoned for writing blogs that reject the sunnah and hadith and claimed he was tortured in order to reveal the password to his e-mail. Mansour was dismissed by Al-Azhar University after expressing his rejection of hadith.
  • Asarulislam Syed (born 1951), a Pakistani American neurologist, psychiatrist and founder of the Jannat Pakistan Party.[50]
  • Chekannur Maulavi (born 1936; disappeared July 29, 1993), a progressive Islamic cleric who lived in Edappal in Malappuram district of Kerala, India. He was noted for his controversial and unconventional interpretation of Islam based on Quran alone. He disappeared on 29 July 1993 under mysterious circumstances and is now widely believed to be dead.[51][52][53]
  • Edip Yuksel (born 1957), a Kurdish American philosopher, lawyer, Qurʾāniyūn advocate, author of NINETEEN: God's Signature in Nature and Scripture, Manifesto for Islamic Reform and a co-author of Quran: A Reformist Translation. Currently[when?] teaches philosophy and logic at Pima Community College and medical ethics and criminal law courses at Brown Mackie College.[54][55][56][57]
  • Ibrahim an-Nazzam (775–845), an Afro-Iraqi philosopher, theologian, jurist, historian and poet who founded a madhhab called "Nazzamiyya". He was a nephew of the Mu'tazilite theologian Abu al-Hudhayl al-'Allaf. One of his students was al-Jahiz.[59]
  • Mohammed Shahrour (born 1938), a Syrian reformer and Emeritus Professor of Civil Engineering at the University of Damascus who writes extensively about Islam. Shahrour was trained as an engineer in Syria, the former Soviet Union and Ireland. Like other Quranists he does not consider hadith as authoritative.[citation needed]
  • Rashad Khalifa (1935–1990), an Egyptian-American biochemist and Islamic reformer. In his book Quran, Hadith and Islam and his English translation of the Quran, he argued that the Quran alone is the source of Islamic belief and practice. He attributed numerologic significance to the structure of the Quran.[citation needed]
  • Nasir Subhani (1951-1990), an Iranian Kurdish Sunni scholar and reformer. In his teachings, mainly private classes, he argued that Quran itself is enough for source of interpretation and extreme scrutiny is required against Hadith which contract verses in the Quran. ‌He established a Quran Academy in the town of Paveh in Iran.[60]

See also

References

  1. ^ "Al-Hadith, Analysis and an Overview". http://www.al-islam.org/. Retrieved 24 July 2015. 
  2. ^ "About Us". ahl-alquran.com. 
  3. ^ Ahmad, Aziz, Islamic Modernism in India and Pakistan 1857-1964, Oxford University Press, 1967, pp 14-15
  4. ^ Handbook to Life in the Medieval World, 3-Volume Set - Page 393, Madeleine Pelner Cosman, Linda Gale Jones - 2009
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  18. ^ a b c Daniel W. Brown, Rethinking Tradition in Modern Islamic Thought, Cambridge University Press, 1996, pp. 38-41
  19. ^ Abu Dawud 32:4087
  20. ^ Sahih Bukhari 7:72:774
  21. ^ Ibn Majah Vol. 3, Book 9, Hadith 1903
  22. ^ "UK party leaders back global gay rights campaign". BBC Online. 13 September 2011. Retrieved 7 November 2013. At present, homosexuality is illegal in 76 countries, including 38 within the Commonwealth. At least five countries - the Yemen, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Mauritania and Sudan - have used the death penalty against gay people. 
  23. ^ From the Qur'an 2:219: "...They also ask you what to give to charity: say, "The excess." God thus clarifies the revelations for you, that you may reflect". .
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  31. ^ Khaled Abou El Fadl, The Great Theft: Wrestling Islam from the Extremists, HarperCollins, 2005, pg. 255
  32. ^ Abdul Hakim I Al-Matroudi, The Hanbali School of Law and Ibn Taymiyyah: Conflict or Conciliation, Routledge, 2006 pg. 76
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  34. ^ Quranic law regarding marriage to non-Muslims
  35. ^ "Sheikhs of Alazhar: Quranists are Apostates; and the Evidence from the Holey Book Proves Their Guilt". ahl-alquran.com. 
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  42. ^ Latif, Abu Ruqayyah Farasat, The Qurʾāniyūn of the Twentieth Century, academia.edu, Accessed December 5, 2013
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  54. ^ Aisha Y. Musa. Hadith as Scripture; Discussions on the Authority of Prophetic Traditions in Islam 2008, ISBN 978-0-230-60535-0.
  55. ^ "Oxford University Gazette, 30 October 2008 : Advertisements". Retrieved 22 March 2015. 
  56. ^ Jamie Glazov. From Radical to Reformed Muslim. FrontPageMag.com, December 04, 2007.
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  60. ^ Subhani official website (in Kurdish Sorani), article of inauguration

Further reading

  • Aisha Y. Musa, Hadith as Scripture: Discussions on the Authority of Prophetic Traditions in Islam, New York: Palgrave, 2008. ISBN 0-230-60535-4.
  • Ali Usman Qasmi, Questioning the Authority of the Past: The Ahl al-Qur'an Movements in the Punjab, Oxford University Press, 2012. ISBN 0-195-47348-5.
  • Daniel Brown, Rethinking Tradition in Modern Islamic Thought, Cambridge University Press, 1996. ISBN 0-521-65394-0.

External links