Guidance according to the Qur’an: A reference tool
By Marwan Boustany
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Most of the Muslim world currently accept between 2-3 sources of religious guidance; these are:
The order may seem backwards if considered by priority; however, I have ordered the list based on what I perceive to be the reality in the Muslim world.
The scholars and hadith have become the means by which the Qur’an is approached and understood.
1. The scholars, by acting not only as the official interpreters of the religion, but also the arbiters on what is, or is not, a valid source for the religion.
2. The hadith, as selected and interpreted by the scholars [in the past and now], by becoming a primary source [knowingly and unknowingly] of guidance for most Muslims.
That people generally and scholars specifically would seek to obey/follow/add others along with Allah is a fundamental problem with all guidance that has been revealed in the past. It is summarised in the following ayaat:
أَمِ اتَّخَذُوا مِن دُونِ اللَّـهِ شُفَعَاءَ قُلْ أَوَلَوْ كَانُوا لَا يَمْلِكُونَ شَيْئًا وَلَا يَعْقِلُونَ
قُل لِّلَّـهِ الشَّفَاعَةُ جَمِيعًا لَّهُ مُلْكُ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضِ ثُمَّ إِلَيْهِ تُرْجَعُونَ
وَإِذَا ذُكِرَ اللَّـهُ وَحْدَهُ اشْمَأَزَّتْ قُلُوبُ الَّذِينَ لَا يُؤْمِنُونَ بِالْآخِرَةِ وَإِذَا ذُكِرَ الَّذِينَ مِن دُونِهِ إِذَا هُمْ يَسْتَبْشِرُونَ
Or have they taken other than Allah as intercessors? [a] Say, "Even though they do not possess anything, nor do they reason?"
Say, "To Allah belongs intercession entirely. To Him belongs the dominion of the heavens and the earth. Then to Him you will be returned."
And when Allah is mentioned alone, the hearts of those who do not believe in the Hereafter shrink with aversion, but when those other than Him are mentioned, immediately they rejoice. [b]
[a] In the Islam of hadith and sunnah, the answer is yes. See section 9.5.3 of the book..
[b] Seeking for more details, raising the level of messengers and scholars, etc. The people of hadith are genuinely offended if in the discussion of Islam and Allah, one does not mention hadith, the exalted role of the messenger and even of scholars. See this and its symptoms in chapters 9 and 10.
It is my contention that Allah’s guidance in the Qur’an, allows for no intermediaries or additional sources of guidance. In the many sections of my book, I aim to give a comprehensive set of references on all aspects of the topic of guidance as it relates to Allah, the Qur’an, Muhammad and Muslims generally. We must return to Allah alone with the Qur’an alone as our guidance.
You be the judge if the evidence supports my contention.