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Who Are the Minority Among Muslims: the Quranists or the Salafists?

 

Was published in Arabic in August 27 , 2008

Translated by Ahmed Fathy

 

Firstly:

 The number of Muslims today all over the world exceeds one and a quarter billions, and the number of Quranists worldwide are a few thousands. Are Quranists a minority in our planet? This question at first seems simplistic, apparently, but in fact, it is of utmost importance. First of all, how come that we are to compare a few thousands of Quranists to more than a billion of non-Quranist Muslims, since it is a serious question, it does not depend solely on the number of followers; rather, it depends on a different criterion: i.e., ISLAM: the link that unites the billions of non-Quranist Muslims and Quranist Muslims. Leaving aside the issue of quantity, and focusing on quality and content, we can deduce that Quranists are the overwhelming majority among those who qualify themselves by the term "Muslims".

  The query is raised: how could we explain the above-mentioned statement? Wait and continue reading this article patiently till the end.

Secondly:

 What we intend to explain here is the mental vitality and the impact on human and religious thought within an Islamic frame. It is within this perspective that we examine Muslims to know who the majority and who the minority are among the adherents of Islam. Within the aspect of mental vitality and the impact on the progress of thought, the vast majority of Muslims are silent, immobile, and passive people who practice their non-celestial religions (Sunnite, Shiite, and Sufi creeds) that have nothing to do whatsoever with the Quran, following blindly the same rituals and lines of thought of their ancestors without criticizing and/or reconsideration of any kind. This vast majority of passive Muslims submits totally to the tyrant rulers, accepts unconditionally and wholly whatever is dictated by the mass media and mosques concerning religions and any other issues. This silent passive majority does not care about anything but staying alive and procuring the means of daily living. The luckiest among them are those who seek to liberate themselves from poverty by educating their offspring to enable them to change their conditions for the better. Others might turn themselves into slaves through the means of a job contract in an oil-rich country so as to procure enough money to create a home and marrying off their girls to eligible men. This might constitute their only and highest hope in life: bread-winning, a home, and a better future for their male and female offspring. Accordingly, such people do not care at all for the quest for power or wealth, let alone intellectual and doctrinal differences between Sunnite and Shiite lines of thought on the one hand, and between Quranists and Salafis who sanctify ancient tomes of the ancestors while ignoring the Quran on the other hand.

  This vast majority reaches 99.9999% among Muslims, which reminds us of the percentage that induces mockery in most elections results among Arab countries. This unbelievable percentage stands for the bleak political status quo among Arab countries, whose citizens do not actually participate fully in any elections and rarely care for its results. Oriental tyrants who rig elections to get the percentage of 99.9999% suppose that silence of the majority means acceptance, while it signifies deep-seated fear from torture and oppression imposed by all tyrants.

  Moreover, this silent, passive, submissive, oppressed majority resembles a barren land which is a target for "reform" or "reclaim" (or rather to make use of it) by scattered minorities such as thinkers and political activists who hold ulterior motives and mix religion with politics for their own benefit to reach or maintain power.

  This silent majority does not respond readily to the scattered minorities or to the tyrants unless there are direct, real, immediate, and tangible benefit that might be gained from such a response. For instance, in Pakistan, thousands of people took to the streets to denounce the caricatures drawn to deride Prophet Muhammad. These thousands of demonstrators are nothing compared to the entire population of Pakistan, which is among the biggest Muslim countries in terms of population.  Another example is the few hundreds gathered by the opposition movement Kefaya (Enough) in Egypt before 2010, and of course this number is nothing compared to thousands in queues in front of bread kiosks in a densely-populated area in Cairo. In opposition, when millions of people demonstrate in Lebanon, a country less populated and comprises many sects, mobilized by the opposition movements there, these are not the silent majority, but a roaring effective one as people within it demand an immediate benefit which is defending the sect they belong to as a matter of existence and identity.

  The silent passive majority in general resembles a barren land desperate for water, and whose vitality and viability have been sucked forth by tyrants. Yet, once the fountain of hope gushes within this majority, it will spring to life once more and bear fruit. What is the evidence to prove this hypothesis?

  Let us imagine that embassies of the USA, Canada, and Australia within the so-called Islamic world opened their doors for unconditional immigration while promising to grant a living and a land to each immigrant to ensure a bright future. What will happen then? The silent majority will spring to life, and people will form interminable queues before these embassies. Tyrants would find themselves helplessly alone without people to oppress and control and to pretend shamelessly to speak for them.

  As tyrants have deprived the silent majority of vitality and viability, as well as the means of a better, dignified living, this majority has focused their interests exclusively on the daily problems of simple living never to think about tomorrow, pining all the time for a "savior" riding a white horse or even a black ass – it does not matter – whether this "hero" is called the awaited Christ or Mahdi or any other name. 

  Thirdly:

 Within the above-mentioned status quo, the extremist Salafis reach to the minds of the silent majority in most Islamic countries to create illusions for them about a paradise on earth if they would follow Salafism (as a creed and a political ideology) and to persuade them that if this "earthly paradise" does not come to pass, they are to wait for the heavenly paradise filled with houris. This illusory discourse depends on intended falsehoods, misleading notions and false sayings attributed to Prophet Muhammad. Salafists, i.e., Wahabis whose aim is to reach power in all Arab countries, exert their utmost effort to market their rotten notions and views via the available mass media, educational institutions, satellite channels, press, websites, …etc. to deceive the crushed majority.

  The emergence of Quranists and Quranism as a trend is a great obstacle before these dangerous Salafi/Wahabi ambitions. Quranists are like a thorn in the side of Salafis. Quranists have changed the equation for those involved in the struggle for power and rule and those involved in intellectual battles for political and religious reform.

 Before the emergence of Quranists, there have been only secular activists from the Conservative Right and the gamut of the trends of Progressive Left as well as Pan-Arabists, atheists, …etc. but the link that unites them is their continuous confrontation and struggle against the terrorism of extremist Wahabis/Salafis who oppose real Islam (i.e., the Quran). The worst thing is calling such terrorists who hold extremist ideologies by the term ''Islamists'', as if they were the sole representatives of 'real' Islam before its foes and detractors. The secular enemies of Salafism aid unwittingly the Wahabis by acknowledging and using the term "Islamists". Hence, secular activists are accused of being the foes of Islam who oppose the Sharia law and such false mottos of the MB "Islam is the solution". Thus, the secular trends have lost ground and have withdrawn early from the confrontation. The so-called Islamists thought at first that the political arena is dominated by them as the 'true' representatives of Islam, and hence they would control people everywhere, but their hopes were dashed by the emergence of the intellectual trend called the Quranists, who refute strongly using Quranic verses all Salafi/Wahabi schools of thoughts and their leaders such as Al-Bokhari, Al-Shafei, and Ibn Hanbal. Quranists deny that such tomes attributed to these men in the Middle Ages are to be regarded as part of Islam. Quranists deny the notion of the theocratic state or any other forms of tyrannical, totalitarian rule that would oppress people especially by restricting their liberties, chiefly their religious freedom. Quranists assert that the nearest form of rule to the Islamic creed, represented only by the Quran, is the secular state as applied by the Western countries.

Fourthly:

 After excluding the vast majority from the intellectual arena and struggle, and the defeat of secular activists by extremists and terrorists, the arena holds only two opposing groups: worshippers of heritage tomes of Fiqh on the one hand, and the Quranists on the other hand.

 If we suppose that the number of heritage-tomes worshippers exceeds one million persons within the so-called Islamic world and Islamic minorities in the West, they should be regarded within the following considerations:

1- Apart from the intellectual differences and divisions among Sunnites and Shiites, the criterion here is not the belonging to one sect, but rather the extreme enthusiasm that turns one from just a number among the silent majority among Sunnite, Shiite, Sufi creeds into a religious person whose axis in life is extremism and false notions that constitute a supposed religion. This stance makes one tend to classify people as (non)believers, (a)theists, (non)practicing Muslims, traitors, hypocrites…etc. and deal with them according to a set of ideas and notions that are based on false sayings and deeds attributed to Prophet Muhammad, which comprise many notions insulting to women, fighting people for supposedly religious reasons, trying to change anything 'wrong' by force, and imposing Salafi notions on people while considering those who refuse to accept such notions as going to hell in the Afterlife.                                                  

These extremists are not to be considered as one bloc, but vary a lot in their degrees of extremism. Some of them confine their 'endeavors' to convert others to Salafism/Wahabism to their immediate or extended families, and others try to extend their activism to the whole society. Hence, the million extremists would shrivel into half their number according to their impact on people around them.

2-This effective 'half' is divided into two blocs: activists and religious scholars. Some of them serve the existing power, such as scholars and sheikhs of the formal religious institution within any country, others repel against such power like the terrorist MB and other terrorist and /jihadist groups such as Al-Qaeda.   

3- Activists are of every kind, as some of them are non-terrorist extremists who scream and chant in demonstrations, mass media, and websites; others are above-the-ground and underground who issue orders and fatwas to their followers among the extremists to take to the streets and demonstrate or take any form of action as desired. There are who raise funds or collect donation money, and those who spy on the state institution and its security apparatus according to the game of infiltration and counter-infiltration between the officers of the 1952 coup in Egypt against monarchy and the members of the terrorist MB. Egypt here is just an outstanding example.

4- There are criminal terrorists who organize and plan bloody operations and draw religious fanatic youth to join their forces to be turned into terrorism fuel.

5- Most activists submit to intellectual leaders who theorize religiously-induced terror; for instance the submission of Bin Laden to Ayman Al-Zawahery or that of the Supreme Guide of the terrorist MB to the so-called religious thinkers M. S. Al-Awa and Youssef Al-Quaradawi. These intellectual leaders vary according to their stance of the existing ruling power. There are those who submit totally to the rulers like the Azharite scholars and Wahabi scholars in KSA, and there are those who rebel against them like KSA opposition leaders Al-Mas'ary and al-Faqih, who currently reside in London. There are hypocrites who try to deceive the existing power by trying to establish reconciliation between the State and its enemies who harbor bent-up anger such as the school of thought led by Youssef Al-Quaradawi.                

6- Intellectual leaders who adopt a culture of extremism and terrorism vary within the criterion of religious discourse. There are those who pretend to shun political activism to focus on propagating the Salafist thought, but their real mission is to attract more adherents to the quagmire of Salafism among non-cultured youth, who in their turn would be converted to Wahabi extremism and eventually to violent terrorism. Examples of such leaders comprise M. M. Al-Shaarawi, Y. Al-Quaradawi, Sayed Sabeq, and Syrian "moderate" Sunnite leaders, and recently satellite channels televangelists such as Amr Khaled, Khaled Al-Guindy, and even the actress Nadia al-Guindy (!). There are those who call openly and overtly for theocratic rule who occupy their positions in satellite channels and websites as well as Azharite scholars within Al-Azhar University, which belongs to the State formal institutions.

7- There is covert coordination within the rainbow of Wahabis/Salafis, as some are hypocrites who pretend to be "moderates", while others who are vociferous in their dangerous notions of Wahabi radicalism. This covert coordination has been veiled by the façade of fake conflict among Salafi schools of thought to deceive military officers who ruled Egypt at the time. In fact, all Salafis have one unified creed: sanctifying the false sayings attributed to Prophet Muhammad and the imams who used to spread these sayings in writing. The emergence of Quranists who intellectually oppose the creed of Sunnite/Wahabi/Salafi religion has made all vociferous extremists and the so-called ''moderate'' hypocrites unite against Quranists and calling them renegades and apostates. Thus, all Salafis/Wahabis lost the flimsy veil of the so-called "moderation". There is no difference whatsoever among Al-Ghazaly, Al-Shaarawi, al-Quaradawi…etc.

Fifthly:

  After this quick overview of covert and overt terrorist and extremist trends, let us explore their intellectual and actual impact.

1- The actual, tangible impact of extremism is as follows: accusing Islam of being the cause or root of terrorism and extremism, the demise of thousands of innocent victims either in random killings or assassination of peaceful leaders and thinkers. Most of these victims are Muslims, and among these victims are the suicide attackers themselves. Is this impact of terrorist thought a positive or negative addition? We leave this judgment to readers. Suffice it to say that terrorist-thought leaders readily and hypocritically denounce terrorist attacks, following the traditions of the terrorist MB founder Hassan Al-Banna, who used to order his followers to assassinate people, and once his followers were arrested, Al-Banna would denounce them by saying his famous phrase: "They are not Brothers and are not Muslims". Usually, simpletons and superficial used to get duped by this kind of deceit, and differentiate (wrongly of course) between moderates and extremist Salafis. The emergence of Quranists has proved that the so-called moderates are merely the civil wing of terrorism, and they are more dangerous as they issue fatwas for assassination, wash their hands with innocent victim blood, and lastly sing the praises of "tolerant" Islam (!), as we have said before at the time of the assassination of Dr. Farag Fouda in 1992Ò ag Fouda in 1992before at the time of the assassination of Dr.ous . Hence, the disgrace involved in terrorist attacks is fully tarnishing the turbaned sheikhs who claim to be moderates while they defend desperately false sayings of Al-Bokhari about changing conditions for the better by sheer force and fighting people to convert them to Islam by force, among other faulty basic notions to link terrorism falsely to Prophet Muhammad and to Islam, the religion of peace, according to the Quranic text.

2- As for the intellectual impact of the so-called ''religious awakening'' in Egypt or the so-called the ''reformative'' Wahabi call, we could find nothing but the same Sunnite thought with its yellow, old shriveled parchments that turned into white refined paper that spread worldwide among Muslims via oil-rich monarchies. Salafis never added a single new idea or notion to these tomes. In sum, they have carried their holy tomes on their backs and ordered people to regulate their lives according to views attributed to Middle-Ages imams. There are some Salafi imams who have learned by heart the tome of Al-Bokhari to the smallest details and take pride in this ''achievement". One of them has been an Azharite scholar whom people used to say to him that he is the moveable tome of al-Bokhari.

Salafi/Wahabi scholars' number does not exceed the number of Quranic scholars; if Quranists were enjoying safety and could declare their presence and write using their real names, we might find that their number exceeds that of Salafi scholars. Let us presume that the number of Salafi scholars is one thousand billion men. Let us bear in mind that they never say anything new, for they actually reiterate Middle Ages notions like parrots. Thus, their intellectual contribution is actually zero. They are unthinking parrots for repeating one-thousand-year-old notions, and whatever is the number of their websites, satellite channels, ideologically-oriented mosques, educational institutions, secret and overt organizations, and lastly their millions of followers, their actual impact on human progress or thought is virtually zero.

3- Quranists are the ones who have proved that this huge herd ofSunnite/Salafi/Wahabi followers is a big zero. This is due to their intellectual bankruptcy that has been unveiled when confronted by the Quranic trend. Salafis have used their political influence instead of facing Quranists intellectually. Quranists are peaceful people who hold no arms except Quranic verses and full knowledge of Salafi heritage tomes, and they have been able to read them critically, hence they know about them more than Salafis could ever claim. Quranists have waited for Salafis' intellectual response, but they could never produce anything but repeated ideas of Al-Shafei in his books written 13 centuries ago (!), and such books have been refuted thoroughly by Quranists. Later on, Salafis have resorted to their influence on rulers, which eventually has led to the persecution of Quranists until now. This persecution has proved that Salafi thought could not stand unless through a powerful political influence to protect itself and to impose it on people unwillingly. Ruling forces confiscate any other different line of religious thought that opposes and refutes Salafism. Without ruling authority and terrorism taking its side, Salafism could never survive. It is evident that Salafism is easily refuted by the Quranist trend in spite of having ruling regimes, mass media, and assassination tools to their side.

Sixthly:

1- Confronting the big zero of the intellectually bankrupt Salafis are the Quranists who are a little more than ten thousand people (who comprise cultured thinkers and researchers) inside and outside Egypt, but rarely do they declare their presence and real names because they live among State persecution and the threat Salafi terrorism poses on their lives.

2-Contrast is the ruling feature between Salafis and Quranists. Although Quranists are a minority numerically, they are rich in their inventive ideas deduced from inside of Islam itself, i.e., the Quranic text, as they are the first to read the Quran objectively and mentally to find out treasures of thought. They present new Quran-based treasures on a daily basis, with the aim of peaceful reform within real Islam, i.e., the Quranic text, and they have no political aim or earthly gain to aspire to attain. They never impose their notions on others, but merely present their humane, modern vision of Islam that cop with democracy, justice, and human rights. Quranists, in their peaceful call for religious reform, have to explain the contrast between real Islam, i.e., the Quranic text, and tomes of falsehoods (creeds, doctrines, hadiths, fatwas, fiqh…etc.). They hold the Quran as the sole criterion to judge and refute the notions of these tomes of heritage, while Wahabis accuse people of apostasy if they do not follow the Wahabi religion, hence allowing people to be killed & robbed. Quranists do not accuse people of apostasy or heresy; rather, they refute ideas or deeds as ''non-Islamic'' or against Islam, i.e., the Quranic text. Quranists are not against MB members and Wahabis as people or groups, but are against their criminal deeds and notions that are against Islam and claim to be the true application of Islam.

3- Salafis are a minority like Quranists, but they have no line of thought of their own production, but they hold such an enormous influence and seek to rule countries even if this means to kill millions of people. Their chief notion is that the ruler-imam has the right to kill the third of his people to ''reform'' the other two thirds. Hence, there are two opposing lines of thought: Salafis who certainly will oppress people politically and religiously if ever they reach to ruling circles in any society, and Quranists who want to reform Muslims peacefully and have no political goal whatsoever. Who will win in the future? This calls for another separate article.

 

 

Lastly:

1- Oil-rich countries have billions of dollars used for the spread of Wahabi/Salafi religion, by their agents worldwide, to maintain their wealth and status and influence. Hence, they use God's bounty to oppose Islam. We find in the Quran: (Ibrahim 28-30) "Have you not considered those who exchanged the favor of Allah for disbelief and settled their people [in] the home of ruin?[It is] Hell, which they will [enter to] burn, and wretched is the settlement.And they have attributed to Allah equals to mislead [people] from His way. Say, "Enjoy yourselves, for indeed, your destination is the Fire."

  They use their wealth to infiltrate most universities, set up ideologically-oriented Wahabi mosques, create covert and overt groups and underlings to serve their purposes, and launch a new Salafi newspaper or TV channel. At the same time, they persecute and quell Quranists to prevent their appearance in mass media, according to their influence in a given country. In Egypt, for instance, they bribe the regime to persecute Quranists legally. In the USA, the KSA lobby plays a covert role to destroy the International Quranic Center (IQC) and its people. When an American responsible meets with us, he admires our line of thought and blames us for not working to reach all interested Muslims and non-Muslims worldwide, then he promises to help us. Later on, we see his other face signed by the KSA oil-gained dollars. The KSA wealth is a means to persecute the IQC, but Wahabism regresses and Quranism gains ground slowly but steadily.  

3- The IQC is the only place for Quranists, which is in fact a room in our house in Virginia, containing a PC and shelves of books. Yet, the IQC has gained a reputation in Washington, and it oversees its only website that is maintained almost on next to nothing financially; however, our website has frightened the KSA to the extent that is blocked there. They could not face us on the intellectual level. In the USA, the land of dreams and opportunities, we could not establish a Quranist mosque until now, not even a separate ICQ with employees and scholars like any center in Washington. Another failed endeavor was to issue a publicity magazine for the center, but that was too costly for our means. Yet, we began to register audio-visual material on our website.

4- Let us imagine that we could build a Quranist mosque one day and a suitable center in Washington with financial means, employees, and activists. Let us imagine if we could have one day a satellite channel of our own and that we might be able to produce TV series about Muslim history and to discuss Salafism intellectually and speak openly about all issues not tackled before. Lastly, imagine the reaction of Salafis. Certainly, they might kill us in accordance to their Sharia of killing the heretics (!). The imagination process is a problem for Salafis, not for Quranists.       


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