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Thursday, June 8, 2017

Critique of Pervezi-Quranist Methodology

Following are a few critiques and criticisms of Ghulam Ahmed Pervaiz's methodology for interpreting The Quran, also serving as critiques of similar methodologies adopted by many Quranist groups and individuals, with whom I am more familiar than with Mr Pervaiz, which is the true purpose of this post.

Javed Ahmed Ghamidi's critique of Ghulam Ahmed Pervez's method of interpreting the Quran:

Refutation of Ghulam Ahmed Pervaiz's views about Salat by Dr Israr Ahmed:

Dr Khalid Zaheer on Mr. Ghulam Ahmed Pervaiz's understanding of Qur'an:

"...while interpreting Qur an he (Pervez) seems to be employing a way of understanding Qur anic words which is unique to him: Instead of giving meanings to Qur anic vocabulary the way Arabs of those times understood, he developed a new science for understanding meanings of Qur anic words. The end result was that he understood from Qur an a message which, at least in some cases, was completely unique, unknown to anyone before him."

"Our intellect is a God-given source of guidance. Divine revelation is a guide for our intellect. The Qur anic description of the unseen realities is metaphorical. Since, we can t see those realities and there aren t any words in our vocabulary to describe their truth literally, the Qur an has used allegorical expressions (mutashabihaat; see Qur an 3:7) to do so.

We have belief in the unseen; but it s not blind. We have accepted, or we ought to ideally accept, Qur an and the prophet, alaihissalaam, on the merit of the arguments that have been presented to believe in them. Once we begin to believe in them, we start accepting whatever we learn through them from reliable sources. That process is based on our faith that we have acquired through our intellectual reasoning and spiritual experiences. Even when we don t understand intellectually some of the contents of the message we have received from the Qur an and the prophet, we accept those contents on the one hand and struggle to find the truth about their reality through intellectual reasoning on the other.

All along this journey of faith, our intellect is our guide, which does two things: It helps us in knowing the true meanings of the text of Qur an on the one hand and in reconciling it with the common sense and undeniable worldly, scientific information we already have on the other. While going through the task of reconciliation, we should never forget the fact that the text of Qur an is the final authority and all else has to adjust in the light of it. While going through this process, which is at times a difficult task, we cannot ignore the fact that our understanding of Qur an could be faulty on some occasions while on others our perception of common sense or facts of life could be incorrect. That is why reflecting upon the verses of the Qur an has to be an ongoing process for all believers.

In the process mentioned above, I have a feeling, and may Allah guide me if I am wrong, that both traditional Muslims and modernists like Pervaiz Sahib have faltered. While the traditionalists have decided that the text of the Qur an must be understood in the manner the earlier Muslims have understood it, the modernists believe that the text must conform to the understanding of the modern knowledge. We, too, may have erred in our understanding of the text, and I am sure we have erred at least on some occasions, but we are firmly committed to our stance that the Qur an is the ultimate criterion of deciding what is correct religious understanding from what is not. It is on the basis of this commitment that we are always prepared to review and revise our opinions.

The Qur an itself has to be understood on the basis of its own language, which was the language of the Arabs who spoke and wrote it immediately before and at the time when the book was being revealed. It has also got to be interpreted in the context of its own verses. ..."

"...The Qur an is a guidance for everyone and therefore its meanings should be accessible to everyone. That doesn t mean that all ordinary people can understand Qur an like scholars can do. What it means is that the method of learning the true message of Qur an is clear; anyone who wants to achieve a higher level of understanding of Qur an can do so by following that methodology." 

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