The Quranic trend, brief history:
The Quranic trend appeared in Egypt and met with very positive responses among enlightened Egyptian and Muslim intellectuals who rejected the approaches of the fundamental Sunni Wahabi tradition because of its fanatic and extreme nature. The godfather for this trend is Dr. Ahmed Subhy Mansour. He started his struggle by calling to reform Fundamental Sufi and Sunni trends during his work at Al-Azhar University in Cairo. This caused him lots of persecution inside the university and eventually in 1987 it led to his discharge from his position and turning him into prison custody for two months under the charges of “denying the prophet’s traditions”.
After being released from this ridiculous charge, Dr. Mansour started working as an independent intellectual calling for reform through hundreds of articles, researches, and books. In addition to public lectures and conferences in cooperation with many Egyptian Civil Society and Human Rights Organizations. He worked with the Ibn Khaldun center for development studies from 1995 to 2000. He had to flee for the United States as a political asylee in 2001 after the Egyptian authorities closed down Ibn Khaldun center and arrested his Quranic friends and fellows under the allegation of “insulting Islam”.
Introduction to the Quranic methodology:
In his research paper « Islam Religion of Piece » Dr. Mansour presents the Quranic methodology in brief. He wrote « there are two visions for Islam. One is taking from his divined source, Quran. And the methodology of this vision is to understand Quran according to its own terminology and language. Arabic language, as all other languages, grows and changes according to the circumstances of time and place, in search for the true genuine Islam that can be only conducted through pursuing the subjects and issues researched through all the Quranic chapters. By doing so, the researcher should start objectively without any former judgments moving through the definite, clear and the ambiguous, controversial verses until he/she reaches the inclusive opinion. This is the Quranic methodology.
The second vision for Islam is the Human tradition’s vision. Its methodology is largely dependant on many sources other than Quran. This includes the claimed prophet’s traditions and sayings, narrated causes of revelation, interpretations of old jurists and interpreters. It is natural in this vision to find contradicted opinions where every person can pick from Quran what goes along with his own opinion and leave what does not. It is also natural that this vision will contradict the true soul of Islam and lead to the current confusions and accusations of terrorism, fanaticism and underdevelopment for Islam.
It is clear that Dr. Mansour puts a distinct separation between Islam, as seen by Quran, and Muslim’s actions, history, and traditions. And this is why conservative religious advocates and Wahabi sheikhs accused him of denying the prophet’s traditions.
Dr. Mansour is famous with his encyclopedic knowledge with all religious sciences and traditions, Arabic language and, and various Islamic schools and sects. His academic experience as a professor of the Islamic History at AlAzhar University gives him an insight in analyzing the various social, political and religious writings. As all reformers, he usually initiates debates about controversial issues raising contradictions and doubts in all inherited idea that have been taken for granted without any real questioning and goes back and forth in dialogue with his opponents about the issue.