The only source of law for followers of the Quran are to follow is the Quran itself.
[6:114] Shall I seek other than GOD as a source of law, when He has revealed to you this book fully detailed? Those who received the scripture recognize that it has been revealed from your Lord, truthfully. You shall not harbor any doubt.
أَفَغَيْرَ اللَّهِ أَبْتَغِي حَكَمًا وَهُوَ الَّذِي أَنْزَلَ إِلَيْكُمُ الْكِتَابَ مُفَصَّلًا وَالَّذِينَ آتَيْنَاهُمُ الْكِتَابَ يَعْلَمُونَ أَنَّهُ مُنَزَّلٌ مِنْ رَبِّكَ بِالْحَقِّ فَلَا تَكُونَنَّ مِنَ الْمُمْتَرِينَ
[6:115] The word of your Lord is complete, in truth and justice. Nothing shall abrogate His words. He is the Hearer, the Omniscient.
وَتَمَّتْ كَلِمَتُ رَبِّكَ صِدْقًا وَعَدْلًا لَا مُبَدِّلَ لِكَلِمَاتِهِ وَهُوَ السَّمِيعُ الْعَلِيمُ
So the question is: “what is the Quran?”
All works of intelligence in this world consist of two parts, and the Quran coming from the Most Intelligent source is no different in this regard.
The first part deals with the physical aspects. This constitutes the parts that can be measured and quantified. In the case of the Quran, this would include the letters, words, verses, suras, as well as the mathematical code of the Quran. All these facets of the Quran can be counted, measured, and objectively verified. These physical attributes of the Quran can be printed, transmitted, and universally agreed upon by observers.
But there is also another component to the Quran that is more elusive, and this is the spiritual aspect that cannot be measured or quantified. The spiritual side of the Quran has to do with the meaning of this book and determining how to properly understand the message that is to be extracted from these letters, words, verses, and suras in this glorious book.
Get the message?
To put this another way, consider if you were asked you: “Did you get the message?”
There are two ways this question can be understood. The first way is to check if you actually received the message. The second way is if you properly understood the message. Get the message?
More Than The Physical
If the Quran was only the physical attributes, then the understanding would not matter. This is how many traditionalists view the Quran; as something a person should strive to memorize and recite even without understanding. The Quran condemns individuals who treat the Quran in this way.
[2:171] The example of such disbelievers is that of parrots who repeat what they hear of sounds and calls, without understanding. Deaf, dumb, and blind; they cannot understand.
(١٧١) وَمَثَلُ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا كَمَثَلِ الَّذِي يَنْعِقُ بِمَا لَا يَسْمَعُ إِلَّا دُعَاءً وَنِدَاءً صُمٌّ بُكْمٌ عُمْيٌ فَهُمْ لَا يَعْقِلُونَ
God also informs us that language is irrelevant when it comes to understanding the Quran.
[41:44] If we made it a non-Arabic Quran they would have said, “Why did it come down in that language?” Whether it is Arabic or non-Arabic, say, “For those who believe, it is a guide and healing. As for those who disbelieve, they will be deaf and blind to it, as if they are being addressed from faraway.”
وَلَوْ جَعَلْنَاهُ قُرْآنًا أَعْجَمِيًّا لَقَالُوا لَوْلَا فُصِّلَتْ آيَاتُهُ أَأَعْجَمِيٌّ وَعَرَبِيٌّ قُلْ هُوَ لِلَّذِينَ آمَنُوا هُدًى وَشِفَاءٌ وَالَّذِينَ لَا يُؤْمِنُونَ فِي آذَانِهِمْ وَقْرٌ وَهُوَ عَلَيْهِمْ عَمًى أُولَٰئِكَ يُنَادَوْنَ مِنْ مَكَانٍ بَعِيدٍ
This means someone can be a Ph.D. in Classical Arabic and still fail to understand the Quran properly. While another person who may not know a word of Arabic can still be able to fully recognize the truth inherent in this book with the same level of certainty as their ability to be able to identify their own children in a hypothetical police lineup.
[6:20] Those to whom we have given the scripture recognize this as they recognize their own children. The ones who lose their souls are those who do not believe.
(٢٠) الَّذِينَ آتَيْنَاهُمُ الْكِتَابَ يَعْرِفُونَهُ كَمَا يَعْرِفُونَ أَبْنَاءَهُمُ الَّذِينَ خَسِرُوا أَنْفُسَهُمْ فَهُمْ لَا يُؤْمِنُونَ
All of this shows that there is more to the Quran than the physical attributes of a book written in perfect Arabic, mathematically authenticated, with 114 suras, and 6346 verses.
Quranic Understanding Conundrum
If someone considers only the physical attributes of the Quranic text, then they will struggle to comprehend how two people who both agree on the physical dimensions of this book can both read its contents yet walk away with vastly different understandings regarding its message. A person who considers only the physical nature of this book will be able to theorize that one side must be using a source other than the Quran to extract their understanding, yet fail to be able to articulate why such a deviation in understanding occurs. This shows that there is another realm to the Quran that is outside of the physical that needs to be taken into account when we are defining what the Quran is.
Accessing the Quran
God informs us that only the sincere can access the knowledge and wisdom embedded in this book.
[56:75] I swear by the positions of the stars.
[56:76] This is an oath, if you only knew, that is awesome.
[56:77] This is an honorable Quran.
[56:78] In a protected book.
[56:79] None can grasp it except the sincere.
[56:80] A revelation from the Lord of the universe.
(٥٦:٧٥) فَلَا أُقْسِمُ بِمَوَاقِعِ النُّجُومِ
(٥٦:٧٦) وَإِنَّهُ لَقَسَمٌ لَوْ تَعْلَمُونَ عَظِيمٌ
(٥٦:٧٧) إِنَّهُ لَقُرْآنٌ كَرِيمٌ
(٥٦:٧٨) فِي كِتَابٍ مَكْنُونٍ
(٥٦:٧٩) لَا يَمَسُّهُ إِلَّا الْمُطَهَّرُونَ
(٥٦:٨٠) تَنْزِيلٌ مِنْ رَبِّ الْعَالَمِينَ
This means a person can pick up this book, read through all its verses, yet may be blocked from being able to extract any of its proper meanings. This shows that some people think they are reading the Quran, but for all intents and purposes, can we say that they actually read it if they were never granted access?
[17:45] When you read the Quran, we place between you and those who do not believe in the Hereafter an invisible barrier.
وَإِذَا قَرَأْتَ الْقُرْآنَ جَعَلْنَا بَيْنَكَ وَبَيْنَ الَّذِينَ لَا يُؤْمِنُونَ بِالْآخِرَةِ حِجَابًا مَسْتُورًا
[17:46] We place shields around their minds, to prevent them from understanding it, and deafness in their ears. And when you preach your Lord, using the Quran alone, they run away in aversion.
وَجَعَلْنَا عَلَىٰ قُلُوبِهِمْ أَكِنَّةً أَنْ يَفْقَهُوهُ وَفِي آذَانِهِمْ وَقْرًا وَإِذَا ذَكَرْتَ رَبَّكَ فِي الْقُرْآنِ وَحْدَهُ وَلَّوْا عَلَىٰ أَدْبَارِهِمْ نُفُورًا
Elleyyeen vs. Sijjeen
What do we call this other book that contains the physical attributes of the Quran yet provides the insincere with the wrong understanding?
Sura 83 informs us that both the book of the righteous and wicked are contained in a numerically structured book.
[83:7] Indeed, the book of the wicked is in Sijjeen.
[83:8] Do you know what Sijjeen is?
[83:9] A numerically structured book.
(٨٣:٧) كَلَّا إِنَّ كِتَابَ الْفُجَّارِ لَفِي سِجِّينٍ
(٨٣:٨) وَمَا أَدْرَٮکَ مَا سِجِّينٌ
(٨٣:٩) كِتَابٌ مَرْقُومٌ
[83:18] Indeed, the book of the righteous will be in ‘Elleyyeen.
[83:19] Do you know what ‘Elleyyeen is?
[83:20] A numerically structured book.
(٨٣:١٨) كَلَّا إِنَّ كِتَابَ الْأَبْرَارِ لَفِي عِلِّيِّينَ
(٨٣:١٩) وَمَا أَدْرَٮکَ مَا عِلِّيُّونَ
(٨٣:٢٠) كِتَابٌ مَرْقُومٌ
The Quran is also a numerically structured book that provides healing and mercy to the righteous while also increasing the wickedness of the wrongdoers.
[17:82] We send down in the Quran healing and mercy for the believers. At the same time, it only increases the wickedness of the transgressors.
(٨٢) وَنُنَزِّلُ مِنَ الْقُرْآنِ مَا هُوَ شِفَاءٌ وَرَحْمَةٌ لِلْمُؤْمِنِينَ وَلَا يَزِيدُ الظَّالِمِينَ إِلَّا خَسَارًا
Many individuals who identify as Quranists agree that the Quran should be the only source of religious law. They even agree with all the physical aspects of the Quran, yet their understanding of the Quran couldn’t be further from the truth. While their understandings vary greatly, here is a short list of some of the beliefs that they believe they extracted from the Quran.
- Salat is not a ritual prayer
- Zakat is not obligatory charity
- Sayam (fasting) is not abstaining from food or drink
- Ramadan is not the month for fasting, but the month of scorching heat
- Hajj is a congregation of arguing
- Adultery is not prohibited
- Intoxicants are not prohibited
- Homosexuality is not prohibited
If we limit the Quran to only its physical attributes, then technically, their understanding regarding these topics cannot be frowned upon as it can be argued that they reached these understandings based on the physical confines of the Quran. But if we understand that the Quran is not a book of subjective relativism but one with objective truth, then we can determine that some people cannot access the true Quran despite reading its contents and agreeing on its physical properties. This is because the true Quran is not just a physical book written with ink on paper, but the true Quran is also the proper understanding of the message that God allows to enter into the chest of the righteous.
[6:125] Whomever GOD wills to guide, He renders his chest wide open to Submission. And whomever He wills to send astray, He renders his chest intolerant and straitened, like one who climbs towards the sky.* GOD thus places a curse upon those who refuse to believe.
فَمَنْ يُرِدِ اللَّهُ أَنْ يَهْدِيَهُ يَشْرَحْ صَدْرَهُ لِلْإِسْلَامِ وَمَنْ يُرِدْ أَنْ يُضِلَّهُ يَجْعَلْ صَدْرَهُ ضَيِّقًا حَرَجًا كَأَنَّمَا يَصَّعَّدُ فِي السَّمَاءِ كَذَٰلِكَ يَجْعَلُ اللَّهُ الرِّجْسَ عَلَى الَّذِينَ لَا يُؤْمِنُونَ