Basis of Religion: Quran or Scholars?

One of my colleagues at my university asked my students to not listen to what my teacher, Javed Ahmed Ghamidi, says on religious matters because, he claims, his views are representative of only a tiny minority. Following views on Islam that are not supported by a large number of ulama, according to him, is misleading. Further, there are also comments like this sent to students: “What are you going to do on the Day of Judgment when all scholars of the ummah will be on one side and you along with Mr Ghamidi will be on the other, lonely, side?”

When we are confronted with religious differences, the ultimate criterion to decide which of the views is correct is the Qur’an. This fact is so natural that every unbiased individual would appreciate it. In the absence of the book of God, one could have felt the need to look for other sources; if the book of Allah is with us, resorting to other sources is clearly misleading. The Qur’an itself emphasizes this fact in several of its passages. The Qur’an declares itself to be al-Furqan, the ultimate criterion that would clarify what is right in religious matters from what is wrong (25:1). It declares that its message is al-Mizan, the balance that acts to weigh the value of acceptable elements in religious views from the ones that are not acceptable (42:17). It mentions that from after its revelation till the day of Judgment, it is its verdicts that would serve to be Muhaimin (guardian) over all the previous divine books (5:48). It also clarifies that even the prophet, alaihissalaam, could not do or say anything that went contrary to Qur’anic description (10:15). It, furthermore, insists that God’s purpose behind revealing all His books was to ensure that the books “give the correct verdict to men in (religious) matters where they disagreed.” (2:213)

Given the above facts, all serious-minded, truth-seeking Muslims should look for the correct understanding of the Qur’an, wherever they can get it from. It is the verdict of the Qur’an that would serve to enlighten them to know whether the truth in different matters of religion lies with the majority or minority of scholars. It could be that in some matters one scholar is right and in another, some other may hold the correct view. For the purpose of knowing the correct religious view, one should always continue to look for views of scholars in the light of the arguments they present from the Qur’an.

When the Qur’an makes such clear claims that its teachings are the ultimate source of knowledge, then could it be that those teachings are designed by the Almighty to remain inaccessible to the common man, in a way that he remains dependent on the reputation and quantity of scholars to judge whether a certain religious view is correct or misleading? The entire claim of the Qur’an that it is the most significant source of religious knowledge is attempted to be reduced to nothing by those people who concoct arguments from their own minds to prove that for most of the Muslims the Qur’an is not a book of guidance; instead, it is their scholars who are the only real source of guidance for them.

My religious guide, Javed Ahmed Ghamidi, says that the Qur’an is the ultimate source of guidance for all Muslims, whether they are scholars or non-scholars. The former should get guidance from the book of Allah directly. The common Muslims should try as best as they can to find out which one amongst the diverse views of scholars in a certain matter seems to be the closest to the Qur’anic message. He never insists that people should follow his point of view only. Instead, he believes that those scholars who are insisting that common people should follow their views blindly are misleading them.

The Qur’an declares that on the Day of Judgment, the prophet, alaihissalaam, is going to plead against a certain group of people to the Almighty not because they went against the majority opinion of Muslim scholars, but because they ignored the Qur’an: “And the Messenger will say my Lord, my people deserted this Qur’an.” (25:30)

I therefore believe that the statements of my colleague are an attempt to emotionally scare people to not do their own research to find out the truth.

This indeed is a very serious problem. People resort to emotionalism only when they lose on the front of arguments. What would people do on the Day of Judgment if the Almighty would ask them why they didn’t bother to understand and follow His book when it was presented to them? The Qur’an says that on that day all those people who were mislead because they blindly followed their leaders will face serious disappointment: “When those who were followed would disown those who followed them . and their relations will be cut off from them. And those who followed would say, ‘If only we had one more chance to return (to the worldly life) we would disown them as they have disowned us.’” (2:166-7) The prophet, alaihissalaam, is reported to have said “The Qur’an shall serve as an evidence (on the day of Judgment) either in favour of you or against you.”

33 thoughts on “Basis of Religion: Quran or Scholars?

  1. Najam Mahmud

    Very well said. Any Muslim who wants to know the truth must make the attempt to really understand the Quran and always use the knowledge from the Quran to decide what to adopt and what to discard from his or her life. I find that each time I read the Quran my understanding gets better. Allah has made this book easy to understand and all we need to do is make sincere effort in this regard.

  2. Zain ul Abdin

    First of all please do note that we are in majority and all other people, especially in India and Pakistan including the scholars, are in minority. Teachings that you and Ghamidi sb are disseminating are already known in the Middle East, Malaysia and many other countries.

    I am continuously listening to what you are saying and believe it to be according to Qur’an and Hadith. We all appreciate your efforts and pray that you carry on with same spirit. I wish Allah guide us all and put us on the right track.

  3. Tasneem

    Since each person will be accountable before Allah (swt) for his/her own deeds done in his world, I would think that it is mandatory for each one of us to try and understand the Quran ourselves so that we can know how Allah (swt) wants us to lead our worldly lives and for success in the hereafter. We may consult different scholars to help us but must act according to our conscience all the while seeking Allah’s help and guidance. We should keep in mind that the responsibility is ours alone, to seek and find the right path. We will not be ‘excused’ because we were misled by some ‘scholars’ who thought they were infallible and refused to look beyond their nose. Mistakes have been made by Muslim leaders and scholars. Why else have we strayed so far from the path which Rasool Allah (pbuh) taught us? Today the Muslim ummah is divided into arrogant, warring factions. Which sect/group did Muhammad (pbuh) belong to? I think none. He was a Muslim following Allah’s commands alone and that is what he preached.

  4. Adnan

    Although I don’t know who Javed Ahmed Ghamidi is or what his teachings are, I agree with the approach you have mentioned. I would have been glad if your colleague could have shown us why in the light of Quran and Sunnah, the teachings of Ghamidi seem incorrect. But instead, he has used an approach that I don’t find very convincing, i.e. banking on the number of scholars who share the same view. If criterion was that of a larger following, then we know Christians are greater in number than Muslims and on the Day of Judgment Muslims will perhaps be a minority compared to non-Muslims. But Allah did not send us on earth and provide us with a mind of our own, and the Quran, just so that we can blindly follow what the masses are doing without looking at what the Quran and Sunnah have to say.

  5. Andleeb Abid

    Ghamidi sahib is a very informative and learned scholar. If someone does not agree with him, he/she is free to follow the teachings of whoever he/she agrees with. I would request this colleague to let others follow Ghamidi sb if they want to. I am honestly impressed by Ghamidi sb and I would love to see all these scholars for the rest of my life. Now I am enjoying my religion and becoming a strict follower of Islam.

  6. Muhammad Tariq Zafar

    Sir, you have a full command on religious affairs. Your apporach is positive and you answer all of the questions in an impressive way according to Quran and sunnah. Thus you are doing great service to Islam and to the people of Pakistan.

  7. Naeema Halim Omer

    I just watched your program last night on a TV channel and was impressed by your logical answers. I have listened to Javed Ghamidi, Moiz Amjad and now you and I must say that all of you speak logic. I am not sure whether this logic is correct since every scholar has his/her interpretation of the Quran. Now it’s our duty not to blindly follow any scholar but to analyze his teachings in the light of Quran and Sunnah. If one feels that what he is saying is according to the Quran and Hadith then accept it otherwise consult some other scholar and see what he has to say about it, then some other scholar (even if he has opposite opinions.) I am pretty confident in this technique and have tried it myself. Research is the key. If one is not satisfied then one should not stick to just one teacher rather keep on consulting other learned people. After all, these scholars have spent their entire lives in studying Islam. I assure you that you will come to a conclusion; it’s only a matter of opening one’s mind and heart to a change.

    Deen is just like any other courses we are studying, good students don’t just stick to one course book instead they keep on looking for good references to make their concepts clear. Similar is the case of understanding Islam. I believe every educated Muslim has a responsibility on his/her shoulders to have a good comprehension of Islam as we have to set examples for others to follow and that includes non-Muslims around us too. I request everyone around to please not just recite but try to read and understand the Quran.

    I don’t know who has created this misconception that Quran is difficult to understand so follow the alims and follow one alim only so as not to get confused. The topic of the Quran is “Insaan”. Why would Allah make this holy book difficult to comprehend and only for a particular group of people when he is addressing us all the time in it? Quran is for every Muslim. I request those who issue such statements like following the majority only that please open up your minds and hearts so that we Muslims come out as one united force instead of being divided and sub-divided into sunni, shia, wahabi, hanfi etc.

  8. Dr Amer Ejaz

    I agree with this line of thinking. I will further the discussion by giving a very simple example from Quran which anyone can understand easily. Read 7:16 (surah Araf) in which Iblees threatens to sit in the right path of Allah and mislead his people. Then read 17:9 in which Allah describes the true path as Quran. So whenever someone tries to read and understand Quran, Shaytan will come in his way through any possible means and try to distract him.

    Look around you. All those teachers and scholars who emphasize the understanding of Quran are facing negative propaganda. You will not find such propaganda against the so-called scholars who are preaching ‘shirk’ in the form of grave worship. People have made a heavenly door (bahishti darwaza) in Pakistan passing under which will take you to the Paradise. I have not read any condemning remarks about this practice ever in Pakistan. Dear brothers and sisters: Please spread this message of reading and understanding Quran.

  9. S.M. Ziaur Rehman

    In this regard, Quran itself says, “It is not the eyes which become blind, but it is the heart (Qalb), which becomes blind”. Hence once heart becomes blind, no light can enter, even the light (Noor) of Quran (as Quran says itself, it is “Noor-e-Mubeen”). On the other hand, to understand Muhtaram Javed Ahmed Ghamidi, as well yourself, some basic knowledge of Quran/Deen is required, which requires one to read Quran with understanding, like tafaseer of renowned religous scholars such as Muhtaram Amin Ahsan Islahi Saheb’s (RA) “Tadabbar-i-Quran”, Maulan Mawdudi Saheb’s (RA) “Tafheem-ul-Quran”, and “Mafhum-ul-Quran” of Allama Ghulam Ahmed Pervez. These writings can open the heart and mind of a man and he can see every thing very clearly and would very correctly understand what our Deen demands from us.

  10. Ovais Khan

    I find his teachings very informative and sensible too. And as for those people who don’t like Javed, I got one thing to say to you: live and let live. You don’t like his teachings, fine, don’t follow them. But please refrain from blabbing about him in public. He has his own views on Islam and (I think) they are quite good.

  11. Asad

    The only thing I am not comfortable with is that as I read the biography of Prophet (PBUH), I don’t find his companions in arguments with him about his commandments. They used to follow him straightaway, whereas, when you comment on some hadith, you start using “aqal” or “special circumstances” etc. For example, you said about music that it is not “Haraam Mutlaq”. I ask you how many sahabah have been enjoying music during and after the life of Prophet (pbuh)?

    The one hadith that supporters of music use to reference is: while Prophet on eid day was listening to something called music, which was about the war of two tribes, by two girls and Abu Bakr came and tried to stop them, the Prophet (pbuh) let them sing. Do you think that is enough to give people reason about music and musical instruments? If you agree with me, the way of Islam is to block down the ways go to sin or fitnah. If I agree with you allowing people to enjoy music, then how many checks would you implement to make it permissible form or forbidden form? Furthermore, in that hadith, the two girls could play how many instruments on the basis of which today’s so called musicians will use all the instruments available and if you allow so, don’t you think you are opening a gate of big fitnah? Furthermore, in a life of Muslim, there is no free time to enjoy these artistic things rather a true momin tries to utilize his time to spread the word of Allah rather satisfying his artistic needs.

    [Dr. Khalid's Response to this comment.]

  12. Shams uz Zaman

    I don’t agree that we should not listen to Javed Ghamidi. We must so we learn what he thinks or what he teaches. But we must not agree or act on whatever he says. I know for certain that he has taught many things which are in complete contrast to the Prophet’s teaching. Like for him it is fine for women to lead mixed congeragation, it is fine to keep dog for fun etc. We must be careful to not blindly follow him.

  13. Tariq Masaud

    Quran is the only book which all Muslims agree to be true book of Allah. In Quran, Allah says, “And indeed We have made easy this Quran.” I have personally gained a lot religiously by reading Quran with Urdu translation published in two colours by Quraan Aasaan Tehreek. The translation is compiled by (late) Maulana Sayyed Shabir Ahmed based on various well known translations. All Muslims desiring to know their religion should read Quran and with all earnestness and humility, recite surah Fatiha seeking straight path. All-Merciful is bound to guide us to His chosen right path, Inshallah.

  14. Syed Razi Haider Gilani

    Sir, you are doing a great job. Your understanding of Islam is admirable. Keep up the good work.

  15. Tahseenullah Khan

    The first time I saw you on TV was in your second programme, and I am still sorry to have missed the first programme. Your answers are logical, sensible and informative. If Ghamidi is your teacher then you are very lucky for being a student of such a learned scholar. Jazakallah for sparing your precious time.

  16. Muhammad Latif Chaudhery

    Quran tells us what to do. There is probably no difference of opinion on this part of Deen. Second part of Deen is how to do. For this we have to look back to the footprints of the exalted Prophet (pbuh). Here we have to make use of the narrated history and findings of our scholars which may not be identical. We can only choose the best that suits the circumstances of our age and is not repugnant to the book of Allah.

    Unlike other Ulemas, Allama Javed Ahmed Ghamidi, is a researcher and not a cataloger. He looks forward to find how best we can live by the book of Allah under the present circumstances and what exactly is meant by the Sunnah of the exalted prophet. This does not augur well with the hero worshippers and hence a controversy. May Allah guide us the right path.

  17. Jamil Ahmed

    Sir, you are doing a great job. Your understanding of Islam is admirable. I agree with you on almost all the matters, however, I disagree with you on the point of celeberation of Meelad. Although it was not celebrated in the times of Khulfa-e-rashideen but I think nowadays such celebrations are doing a great job in making the minds of the people religious. In such celebrations the scholars highlight different points of seerat-un-nabi which is very useful for the ordinary muslims who are not sufficiently educated about Islam.

  18. Arshad

    Frankly speaking we say Pakistan is an Islamic Republic and an Islamic country but, sorry to say, I feel that in Pakistan our names are Muslim but all our dealings, showings and characters un-Islamic. You and Javed saheb are doing a great job but there are very few peoples who will understand you. Most of the people are looking for a shortcut. They want to have Paradise (Janat) by giving bribe or amount (Nazrana) to a Pir who will take him to Paradise or give him a certificate, “pay me and you will be in Paradise.” Sir, keep on with your preaching and may be some people will come to the right path of Allah and leave preaching of Hinduism which is in the blood of majority of Pakistanis and can be seen on marriage parties and other Islamic festivals.

  19. Javed Jafri

    This is the first time I am appreciating some one through this media and that is Dr. Zaheer for having an answer to my question after 30 years about the definition of Kafir and who will go to Heaven. I mean the question about non-muslims who do good works. Thanks a lot!

  20. Afshan

    You have sorted the confusions that have been bothering me since years. I’ve been a regular viewer of Ghamidi sahab’s program, and now yours too, because you two are the only ones who talk logic. Strangely, I never connected both of you. I always interpreted the Quranic verses regarding the ‘purdah’ the same way you do, but because of so much opposition, could never be certain whether I was right or not. Some of your views are very thought provoking, and in some ways disturbing, particularly when you have been carrying out a tradition for so many years, like nazar and niyaz. But nonetheless, they’re logical and sensible. Finally, I feel I have started to understand Islam.

  21. Dr. Tariq M Khan

    Mr. Javaid Ahmed Ghamidi is an extremely learned person and it is always pleasurable and comfortable to listen to him. But there are some other scholars too who are worth listening. But, it is my own thinking that one can not learn much by listening to one or few scholars. It is absolutely essential that if possible we should try to read the original texts. Especially the books written in first two or three centuries AH. As most of the later work has been based upon that basic knowledge.

  22. Akeel

    Mr. Javaid Ahmed Ghamidi is one of the best scholars of this age and he is a blessing for us. I am a Muslim because I was born in a Muslim family. Some scholars who don’t have a good knowledge of Islam take me away from Islam but alhamduillah, after I found some good scholars — and ghamidi sahib is one of them — they took me closer to Islam again. He is a very cool minded person, which I see in my life, and he never says that he is right and others are wrong, which unfortunately many scholars claim in our country. He always says I am saying what I understand from Quran and Sunnah. May Allah bless him. Ameen.

  23. Gulmeena Khan

    “Difference of opinion is a blessing” is what my father always says when I am yet again attacked by a severe bout of confusion – a thing quite likely to happen to most functioning minds trying to resist the mental stagnation we are so prone to. It is with the recent expansion of TV and the temporary religious psuedo-enthusiasm of Ramadan that has blessed us with a few insightful scholars who have a lot of intellect to accompany their beliefs and ideas. Thank you to Mr Ghamidi and his likes in trying to bridge the widening gap between the madrassah-going, TV-condemning lot and the unaware masses following religious innovations. I want to ask, why is it that when a person becomes in tune with religion he/she stands out from society so much? For the Muslim ummah, wasn’t it supposed to be the other way around?

    Even though I have my doubts and reservations, I want to thank Dr. Zaheer for (proudly) being a religious man and also an active, acceptable, integrated member of the society; unlike a lot of maulvis who one cannot relate to, due to the stark contrast in context of manner, background etc.

    Such a difference of opinion is indeed a blessing (no matter how correct or incorrect it may seem). At least such a difference is doing society a favour; it hasn’t been received since the time men started affliating paradise with mehndi-dyed beards and bare ankles. So let’s just keep this difference of opinion as a blessing and not turn it into a curse.

  24. Mushtaq Ahmad Shaheen

    People who say these things are devoid of common sense. Majority of muslim scholors have no common sense from time immemorial to this day is my considered opinion.

  25. Abdul Raziq Kakar

    Ghamidi and his fellows are absolutely the blessing of Allah for umma in such a time that the Muslim sects are fighting each other, killing innocent people in masajid and imam barghas. And the political religious leadership is enjoying all the pleasures of ruling and has increased their bellies by drinking the blood of the poor of Pakistan. Ghamidi and his fellows are just trying to make the common man understand genuine Islam, and are trying to make people aware of the true and real message and means of Quran, whereas the mullas and muftis are trying to cash the ignorance of the people for the sack of their wasted interests.

  26. Dr. Sasha Ali

    I must say that I am blessed to watch and listen to scholars like Javed Ahmad Ghamidi sahab and Dr. Khalid Zaheer. I am so emotional while writing this because I wish Muslims in my country and around the world try to realize that the reason Muslims are viewed as terrorist, extremist, intolerant and illogical people because of our own acts. It’s only through the real understanding of Islam and Sunnah that we can rise to glory again. Listening to scholars like Ghamidi and Dr. Khalid has given me a much stronger faith in my religious concepts because they are based on logic. Logic backed by faith and love for Allah and Hazrat Muhammad (MPBUH). I have actually convinced so many of my fellow colleagues and relatives to listen to Ghamidi sahab and his amazing interpretation of Quran and Sunnah. It gives me great joy to think that I am born in the era of such great scholars as Dr. Khalid and Ghamidi sahab. My love for Islam has strengthened even more as I listen to such scholars. I am so hopeful that one day most of our ulema will also follow the path of tolerance, logic and intelligence than mere subjugation which sometimes can be so harmful. Example is the present state of the Muslims. They too will concentrate less on the Arabization as Islam and following the traditions of Arabs in the 6th and 7th century AD and promote Islam as a never lasting religion.

    May Allah bless us all! God bless you Dr. Zaheer for your brilliant work and your highly knowledgeable TV program.

  27. Fasih Sayyed

    “Following views on Islam that are not supported by a large number of ulama . . . is misleading.” If that was true, if quantity of the adherents of a particular idea was the decisive criterion for the quality of the message contained therein, then there would be no Islam today in the first place. After all, we all know that, at the beginning of his message of Tawheed, the first and the greatest Alim of Islam (PBUH) was a unique and solitary voice amongst all the religious scholars, thinkers, and theologians of his time.

    The argument of my learned brother is more intune with the nature of a herd of sheep than a community of men.

  28. Khawer

    Asalam O Alaikum, read all the comments, guys it’s not the matter to agree/disagree nor are we here to argue who is best/convincing or not. You all have a copy of Holy Quran, Open and read it with understanding, try to concentrate on the meaning of each ayah, buy set of hadith books from market i.e. Bukhari, Muslim, Ahmad, Nisai, Tirmizee, Mishqaat, Sunan Dawood. Read them, you all will learn a lot! I really fail to understand till when we will remain dependant on “Mullas or Ulama”. Why can’t we learn deen by ourselves? If we can do MBBS, MBA, PHD and lot more then why cant we learn Holy Quran and Hadiths Mubarik? I am even of the opinion that if any of our family member dies, we should lead Janazaa prayer by ourselves, why a Maulvi?

    In a nutshell I would request you all, please try and read Holy Quran with understanding. I assure you with the Great Grace and Mercy of Allah that you will learn a lot Inshaallah. And whatever you learn from Holy Quran and Hadiths Mubarik, please do apply it in your daily life. And a request to all readers to please “hold the rope of Allah tightly and do not divide among yourself.” Remember we are just Muslims nothing else and the same will be questioned in akhiraa, I do apologize if I have offended someone or all (readers). But this is the fact, you all know that. Thanks. May Allah bless you all!

  29. Naveed Nabi Khan

    Khalid Bhai AOA. “Amar BilMaroof waNahi analMunkar” is the duty of every muslim in the muslim society. Whereas, on the other hand the spreading of the Deen-e-Islam, with its true sprit, is another vital responsibility of every muslim.

    Khalid Bhai; we are more focused on the second part and converting people of the other religion into own defferent sects. we are not capable enough to help non muslims to study themselves and revert back to the Deen-e-Hayat. Most of the time we have no answer of many questions asked regarding number of foolish, baseless and unjustified customs.

    Time demands that we should strongly and daringly stand together to spread the true sprit of Islam by Quran and only Quran.

    Bhai; I am always available for any work related to this great cause. Allah Hafiz

  30. Hidayat Ullah

    Dear Brother Khawar, Assalam-o-Alaekum!
    “If we can do MBBS, MBA, PHD and lot more then why cant we learn Holy Quran and Hadiths Mubarik?”
    Dear Brother, Assalam-o-Alaekum!
    Certainly we can but we have to spare enough time for that. Have you seen anyone doing all these degrees on his own without getting admission in a recognized institute and working/studying under the supervsion of specialists in the respective field? The problem is that we send our children to a school for 10 years to do Matric or equivalent. Then we send them to college for 2 years for FSc. After that for 5 years to a medical college for MBBS. Then to work under a supervisor for 4 years to be eligible to sit in postgraduation examination. We all agree on this schedule. BUT we want to study and understand Qura’an-e-Hakeem, Ahadees-e-Nabavi on our own!! What an irony! It’s because it suits us. We can’t spare much time for that. My humble suggestion is: We must read and understand Qura’an-e-Hakeem, Ahadees-e-Nabavi but under the guidance of a teacher ‘with correct aqaayed’ who can guide us when we are confused. Please do give due importance to the phrase correct aqaayed. The teacher must be a ‘Sahih-ul-Adeedah’ individual or else we are inviting trouble.

    May Allah guide us all to the Truth and the Straight Path. Amen.

  31. Shireen

    Salaam! Sir, every person who is born in this world is answerable to his creator and the deeds he has done. Almighty has send prophet Mohammed (pbuh) for our guidance and Quran to follow. Religious scholars are like branches giving others information of their knowledge and research. I have tried all my life to search for such guidance, and I am proud to say that Almighty has given me that opportunity when I joined Al-Mawrid. Here all the teachers are like jewels and I really respect them as they have given us their precious time and information about our religion.

  32. Aizazul Hasan Qureshi

    Asslam elekum, I think it is mendatory for each human-being to learn Quran, since each individual is accountable for his deeds independently. However, a teacher or guide is required to clarify the points/questions arising out in the process of learning. In my openion our syllabus should contain Quran & Hadeeth as a compulsory subject, a person who completes his Masters in any subject must have learned Quran & Hadeeth to master level, so he will be a literate person in true sense. The system of Darse Nizamia should be discontinued as there is no room for so called “moulvies” in Islam.

Comments are closed.