The 'New Wave' of Quranic interpreters!
By: A. Muhammad

In the last two decades or so, Quranic interpretation has become a readily attractive vocation for some, and more of an exploitable venture for others. The result is that we have been inundated with a "new wave" of Quranic interpreters who are doing a great job in dismantling fundamental Quranic concepts and practices. Their task has been made much easier with the availability of the Internet and the ease of web construction. Today any Tom, Dick or Harry, or rather any Mohamed, Ali or Hassan is able to invest a few dollars and buy a domain then publish on it any amount of personal flimsy interpretations and pass it on as Quranic enlightenment!

It must be said that some, albeit a minority, attempt to research the Quran in a genuine attempt to shed more light on various Quranic issues. However, the majority of the others do the same in order to attain personal status by appearing to be someone who has been inspired to reveal long hidden Quranic secrets! The majority are in fact embarking on ego trips and self-gratification.

The whole issue started when it was realised recently that the long established decadent Ulamas (a name given to Muslim scholars) have got it all wrong. After centuries of complete monopoly on Quranic interpretation and acting as the self-appointed custodians of the faith, it suddenly became apparent that the bulk of books of Quranic interpretation are in fact full of nonsense smelling of medieval Bedouin cultures. The prime reason for this poor interpretation is that it attempts to interpret the Quran from a hadith/sunna point of view. These interpreters proclaim that the hadith explains the Quran! However, if one studies the history of the documentation of hadith and how it was collected 200 years after Hijra, and against the wishes of the prophet, it becomes a gross insult to Almighty God to claim that people of the likes of Abu Huraira and others have been given the task of deciphering God's words!
For more info on this issue please go to:
The history of collecting the hadith

The hadith advocates will quickly say that these are not the words of Abu Huraira, but that they are the words of the prophet transferred through Abu Huraira and others. However, any narrations written 200 years after the actual occurrence of an event cannot be regarded as anything other than : Chinese whispers

The sharp disharmony between many of these hadith which they call 'sahih' (authentic) and the Quran absolves prophet Muhammad from being the source of such hadith. It is inconceivable that a prophet of God would ever issue teachings that contradict the Quran so blatantly. In addition, many of these hadith which are regarded as 'sahih' in fact contradict one another.
For more details of how the hadith contradicts the Quran, please go to:
How authentic are the hadith!

In addition, if some hadith may appear to be in harmony with the Quran truth, it remains that it should never be accepted as a source of religious jurisdiction. In the Quran, God forbids the setting up of any source of religion besides the Quran.
The details of this matter can be seen at:
Dozen reasons to follow the Quran alone

To maintain their monopoly on Quranic interpretation, the traditional interpreters have falsely claimed that the Quran is difficult to understand, and that nobody is qualified to interpret it except they. They add that without their guidance the reader would be at a total loss!

In contrast, God states that the Quran is easy to understand (44:58), straight forward and without ambiguity (12:1). God also confirms that it is God who will explain the Quran to the genuine believers (55:1-2 and 75:19).

The emergence of the 'new wave' interpreters

This deep-rooted corruption in Quranic interpretation by the traditional scholars led the good, the bad, and the ugly to dive in and attempt to research the Quran in a new light that they hope would be void of pre-conceptions, hadith, cultural and traditional influences. Many sincere writers have brought to light many issues that were previously manipulated and misinterpreted in the Quran. However it is also true that many not so sincere writers have embarked on ego trips to publish anything for the sake of being different, and regardless of whether their findings are confirmed by Quranic truth or not. This is the group with which this article is concerned.

To arrive at their new claims, the new wave interpreters seem to employ a convenient new formula:

The new 'Golden formula'

1- Select any Quranic verse to be the basis for the profound findings.

2- Choose a Quranic word in the verse on which to build your new doctrine.

3- Look up this word in an Arabic dictionary.

4- If you find that the dictionary's definition to be in harmony with the current accepted understanding of the verse ignore it and select another verse/word.

5- Repeat this trial and error routine till you are able to come up with a Quranic word whose definition in the dictionary is not perfectly matched with the current understanding, then BINGO! You've just hit the jackpot!

6- Write a new article (don't forget to put your name on it) and play acrobatics with any concepts which are found in that verse.

7- Don't worry if you come up with new doctrines that have no Quranic authorisation, or which violate other Quranic verses, for others have done it before you. It will be alright, for you are not the first, nor shall you be the last.

8- Finally if you cannot convince other believers, try to confuse them! The most efficient way of doing so is by writing long pages and pages, fill them with tripe. If you run out of ideas, seek any references in the realms of Roman Mythology or Ancient Egyptian biology or anything else that sounds mysterious! Most probably you will attain some audience of some kind, this is because many readers are impressed by anything they don't understand!

Let us pause here for a moment and inquire:

If this is the formula, and if the whole search is after all based on matching meanings of Arabic words in a reliable dictionary then how can these interpreters go wrong? After all, the Quran was revealed in the Arabic language!

The reply to this question is that they can be very wrong. The error is in placing the verdict of the man written dictionary above the Quran which acts as its own dictionary. Many Quranic words when looked up in a dictionary would give a meaning quite different from the meaning used by God in the Quran. After all, the modern dictionary gives the meaning of any word as used in our current day and age, and not necessarily the meaning that was in use 14 centuries ago when the Quran was revealed.

Some of those who chose to apply the 'golden formula' have looked up words such as Ramadan or Ujoor in some Arabic dictionary, then started preaching that Muslims should fast the hottest month of the year regardless of the Islamic month of Ramadan! They also arrived at the conclusion that husbands must pay their wives a monetary wage throughout the marriage rather than the customary one off dowry! In other words, a man is to employ a wife rather than marry one! See: Ujoor for women

Other examples of such words that have been manipulated to render a totally false concept are:

Khimar: This word in the Quran means cover. The word Khamr (intoxicants) is given that name in the Quran because intoxicants cover the brain.
The word khimar in 24:31 means any dress item as it covers the woman's body. Her dress is a cover, her blouse is a cover, her coat is a cover, etc. The command in 24:31 is to cover the chest with whatever cover the woman is wearing (blouse, dress, coat, scarf,
etc). However, the word khimar was corrupted to mean women's head cover!
For more detailed analysis please go to:
The misinterpretation of the word 'khimar'

Details of other misinterpreted Quranic words can be seen at:

The above words, which are only some examples, confirm that there are numerous words whose current meaning does not coincide with the Quranic meaning. In the majority of cases, these words have been subject to manipulation or misinterpretation and thus their meaning deviated from the correct meaning employed in the Quran.

So how are we to determine the correct Quranic meaning of any Quranic word? It is by collecting all the Quranic verses that use that word, then analysing them in an attempt to find a common meaning that would be in harmony with every verse. To deduce any conclusion or rule from one verse in isolation can often be misleading.

If we adhere to the Quran and nothing else, we are guaranteed to always arrive at the correct and straightforward meaning.

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And We have placed shields over their hearts so they do not understand it
(the Quran), and deafness
in their ears. And when you commemorate your
Lord in the Quran alone,
they turn their backs and run away in aversion.
17:46