Being Inspired Directly by the Quran: From Returning to the Quran to the Discourse of Quranic Islam
The discourse of Quranic Islam is an extreme form of some of the demands posed by the (intellectual) movement of returning to the Quran. It has been born out of the efforts by some Muslim intellectuals to overcome the obstacle created by the tradition in the face of the constraints imposed by modern social conditions, of which these intellectuals sought a way out by constructing a modern conception of Islam. They assume that the reason for the backwardness and disintegration of the Muslim World was due to Muslims ignorance of the Quran, and thus propose to return to the Quran by rejecting (partially or entirely) other sources of Islamic worldview and particularly the intellectual tradition that Muslims have produced throughout the history of Islam.
Assuming that meaning is intrinsic in the text, the discourse of Quranic Islam focuses only on the Quranic text, thereby completely ignoring the prophetic Sunna, which has in fact a crucial function in term of understanding the Quran and applying it to real-life cases. Other weaknesses of this discourse include the fact that it lacks a sound methodology and any scientific principles, and that it remains superficial in its judgments. Finally, unlike its main objective of decreasing conflicts and disagreements among Muslims, it has increased them instead.
A consequence of the above-mentioned lack of methodology, which is produced by the discourse of Quranic Islam that represents the extreme form of the movement of returning to the Quran, is the reading of the Quran freely (without regard to any principles), which in turn results in the fact that certain Quranic verses have been turned into slogans and that a rather individualistic and subjective/relativized conception of religion has emerged. This implies, moreover, a chaotic situation where Islam is reduced to a set of theoretical principles devoid of any practical application, which furthers divisions among Muslims hurting the idea of a unified ummah. Finally, with all these features, the discourse of Quranic Islam implies, though not directly aims at, a particular understanding of religion that begs the question of whether or not it in fact serves the secularization of religion.
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