The Big Pharaoh, an Egyptian blogger, writes about the arrest and imprisonment of members of a group I’d never heard of before: The Quraneyeens.
Here’s his explanation of what they believe:
They’re Muslims who believe in the Quran, and only the Quran.
In traditional Sunni Islam, religious jurispudence and law are mainly derived from two main books: the Quran and the Hadith. The Quran we all know. But what about the Hadith? These are the actions and deeds of the Prophet Muhammed. The issue with the Hadith is this: they were written over 150 years after the death of the Prophet. Before that they were transmitted orally in a way that would make their utter authenticity pretty doubtful.
What makes this interesting to me is that it sounds quite a bit like the religious tradition I grew up in.
The churches of Christ grew out of an early 19th century movement called the Restoration. Usually summed up at “Where the Bible speaks, we speak, where the Bible is silent, we are silent,” it rejected all the creeds and traditions and interpretations built up over centuries by the Roman Catholic and, later, Protestant groups, and aimed to restore New Testament Christianity in its purest and simplest form, based on the very Enlightened (as in The Enlightenment) idea that any person could read the Bible and understand it. Thus, no church organization beyond the local congregation, no church officers beyond the elders and deacons of the New Testament, and (what strikes most people as particularly distinctive) no musical instruments in worship–and very simple worship, too, consisting of teaching, congregational a cappella singing, communion, prayer, reading of the Bible, and giving.
An update to the Big Pharaoh’s post notes there is a Jewish equivalent, too, the Karaites, who reject the Talmud and rely soly on the Torah.
However, the Quranayeens are not welcome in Egypt. Big Pharaoh notes:
Just a few weeks ago, the police arrested 15 Quraneyeens, among them authors and editors in the group’s website Ahl El Quran (people of the Quran) (English version here). The website is headed by the Quraneyeen’s most popular figure: Dr. Ahmed Sobhi Mansour.
Dr. Ahmed Sobhi Mansour, a former professor at Al Azhar University (Sunni Islam’s most prestigious learning institution) was sacked from his job after he wrote a book arguing against the authenticity of the Hadith and calling for the sole dependence on the Quran. Mansour did not only lose his job, but he was arrested in 1988 and had all his books confiscated. He was released and went to work with the late thinker and author Farag Fouda who was murdered by terrorists in 1994. Mansour now lives in the U.S. and is a member of Free Muslims, the only American Muslim organization that held an anti-terror rally.
Now a quick browse through Mansour’s articles on his website shows that he argues against the hair cover, the killing of those who converted out of Islam, and the stoning of adulterers. That’s pretty cool stuff. Cool stuff that makes infidel souls such as myself stop being infidels!