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Quranism (Arabic: القرآنية, romanized as al-Qurʾāniyya), also known as Quraniyoon[1] and the Ahl al-Qur'an[2][note 1] is a reformist movement in Islam that holds that the Qu'ran alone is sufficient for an understanding of Islamic law.[3] This entails either a rejection or a minimization of the Hadith and the sunnahWikipedia as extraneous and even backwards to some degree. Quranists differ from other Muslims in that they believe the Qur'an can be understood alone without contextual reference to the Sunnah, consensus of the ulamah (community of Islamic scholars), and Hadith. In this way the Quranists emphasize ijtihad, or personal interpretation, of the Qur'an to come to conclusions independently through a rationalistic lens. This rejection of the Hadith and Sunnah in general has important implications for the Islam of the Quranists, leading to marked differences in theology, ritual observances, and general jurisprudence (fiqh).


Early history[edit]

There has long been a tradition of skepticism of the reliability of the Hadith as a scriptural authority. Many hadiths were written down centuries after the events they depicted and were often cynically used as polemical pieces in the ideological disputes of the day (thus implicating bias in the hadiths themselves).[4] Some criticized the hadiths as being contradictory, and the result of "guesswork." A few even called the hadiths bid'ah (meaning "innovation").[5]

The same skeptics who called the reliability of the hadiths into question also insisted that the Qur'an alone was sufficient for understanding of divine law. The Qur'an was divine in origin, perfect in form and understanding, whereas the hadiths were the product of fallible men.[5] A letter was sent to the UmayyadWikipedia caliph Abd al-Malik ibn MarwanWikipedia that reserved particular condemnation for the hadithist traditions of the Kufans:

They abandoned the judgement of their Lord and took hadiths for their religion; and they claim that they have obtained knowledge other than from the Koran … They believed in a book which was not from God, written by the hands of men; they then attributed it to the Messenger of God.[6]

Modern history[edit]

Quranism in its modern form can be rooted to the ideas of late 19th and early 20th century reformers like the Egyptian modernist Mohammed Abduh,Wikipedia who tended to reject traditional methods of jurisprudence like taqlid (legal reasoning reliant on the consensus of legal scholars) in favor of interpreting from the Qu'ran directly.[7]:38-41 This particular methodology is very similar to that advocated for by Salafis, but they come to very different conclusions from the Salafis.[8]

One early Quranist (in its modern form) was the Egyptian physician Muhammad Tawfiq Sidqi,Wikipedia who once famously declared:

What is obligatory for man does not go beyond God's Book. If anything other than the Qur'an had been necessary for religion, the Prophet would have commanded its registration in writing, and God would have guaranteed its preservation.[6]

Quranism also began to spread among Iranian circles, who tended to regard traditional Shi'a practices such as a belief in Raj'aWikipedia as superstition without basis in the Qur'an.[9] These Shi'a Quranists advocated for an interpretation of the Qur'an solely through the lens of the Qur'an, without the contextual intercessor of the hadiths. This was exemplified as interpreting the "Qu'ran with the Qu'ran".[9][note 2]

According to Syed Ahman Khan,Wikipedia a 19th-century Indian Islamic reformist, while the Qur'an possesses social relevance continuing into modern times, continued reliance on the Hadith limits the infinite potential of the Qur'an to a particular social and temporal setting.[7]:65


Many Quranists will note that the more problematic elements associated with Islamic law (sharia) come from the Hadith.[4] This includes many of the penalties proscribing capital punishment for criminal offences,[4] and some of the more sexist and homophobic elements of the religion also have their roots in the Hadith. The Qur'an tends to be more ambiguous regarding the status of women and homosexuality.[4]


Quranists however, because they reject the Hadith, and therefore view Muslims who rely on the Hadith as wrong, are unpopular in many Muslim countries and therefore face persecution from the religious orthodoxy.[3] This includes imprisonment and even torture.[11] Many Quranists have been subject to death threats from fanatics. Opposition to Quranism is one of the few things that can unify the Egyptian government and the Muslim Brotherhood, as Quranists criticize the beliefs and practices of both groups.[11]

In 2007 five Quranists were arrested by Egyptian authorities and detained for thirty-seven days, where they were tortured and interrogated about the details of their faith.[11] A man related to one of the Quranists wrote about the damages inflicted to the Quranists as a result of the lengthy period of detainment and torture:

The five Quranists have been released in October 6, 2007, after more than four months in prison. Because of torture, my brother Abdellateef had to undergo surgery in his ear. Amr Tharwat needed surgery on his leg, while Ahmed Dahmash has damage in his backbone.[11]

The same man relates that the five Quranists continued to be harassed by the authorities even after being released, including regular interrogations and arrests. The five men were also ordered to practice their Friday prayers at orthodox Sunni mosques (who are not going to be very friendly to critics of the ruling orthodoxy).[11]

See also[edit]


  1. Translated as "People of the Qur'an"
  2. In Arabic: "tafsir al-qur'an bi al-qur'an"[10]


  1. "Qur’aniyoon (قرآنيون ) – Qur’anists : The Rejectors of Sunnah"
  2. The "International Quranic Center" literally has "Ahl al-Quran" as their URL
  3. 3.0 3.1 10 Forgotten Sects of Major Religions[a w]Listverse
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 "Who are the Quranists?" courtesy of religious scholar and expert on Islam, Filip Holm
  5. 5.0 5.1 Azami, M. A., Studies in Hadith Methodology and Literature, Islamic Book Trust, Kuala Lumpur, 92; cited in Akbarally Meherally, Myths and Realities of Hadith – A Critical Study, (published by Mostmerciful.com Publishers), Burnaby, BC, Canada, 6 [1] (Archived); excerpted from Abdur Rab, ibid, p. 200.
  6. 6.0 6.1 Aisha Y. Musa, Hadith as Scripture: Discussions on the Authority of Prophetic Traditions in Islam, Palgrave Macmillan, 2008, pp. 37–38. ISBN 9781349372805
  7. 7.0 7.1 Brown, Daniel W. (1996). Rethinking Tradition in Modern Islamic Thought. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-0-52157-077-0.
  8. "What is Salafism"? courtesy of religious scholar Filip Holm
  9. 9.0 9.1 Said Amir Arjomand, Authority and Political Culture in Shi'ism, State University of New York Press, 1998, pp. 160–161 and 166–167
  10. A Criticism of the “Qura’n-through-Qura’n Interpretation Method” of the Shiite Quraniyan[a w]Journal of Religious Research (note that the link is in Persian.Wikipedia Also archived from the original, which is now a dead link.
  11. 11.0 11.1 11.2 11.3 11.4 "The Quranists as persecuted Muslim scholars" - Ahl al-Quran