Huffington Post recently published an article titled “The Source of Muslim Extremism” authored by Mike Ghouse (described as “a speaker, thinker, and a writer” who “offers pluralistic solutions on issues of the day”). He argues that all violence and intolerance committed “in the name of Islam is coming from a single source; the secondary books. The Quran is the only authentic book and we cannot go wrong with it. Until we reject those other books, we don’t have a prayer.”
Among these “secondary books” Ghouse identifies the Hadith, which contains the words and deeds of Islam’s prophet Muhammad: “As a first step towards fixing our problems, we need to rehabilitate the Hadith.” By this he means that any hadith not “compatible with the statements that God is just and the Prophet is a mercy to the mankind” are to be expunged.
“Let’s stick to the Quran, we simply cannot go wrong,” concludes Ghouse.
What to make of this argument?
First, it should be noted that it is not original to Ghouse; this position belongs to a small sect of reformist/heretical (depending on who you ask) Muslims known as “Quranists.” Their movement, Quranism, goes back decades with echoes even earlier. It holds “the Qur’an to be the only authentic source of Islamic faith. Quranists generally reject, therefore, the religious authority and authenticity of hadith, Sunnah, and reject traditional Sharia Law, with the assertion that they are false attributes to the Islamic Prophet Muhammed. This is in contrast to the Sunni, Shia and Ibadi doctrines, which consider hadith necessary for Islamic faith.”