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:


1.   Scholars

2.   Hadith

3.   Qur’an


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.




Updated 16/05/2020 [V2.5] – Updated formatting and some fixes

Updated 07/05/2020 [V2.5] – Updated section

Updated 13/04/2020 [V2.4] – Added sections 5.3.35 and 12.31 as well as some misc. changes.

Updated 04/04/2020 [V2.3] – Update to sections 12.7, 5.4.6 and 6.1.2.

Updated 29/03/2020 [V2.2] – Update to section 12.7 and some other tweaks.

Updated 25/03/2020 [V2.2] – Update to chapter 10, especially in 10.1 and 10.3.

Updated 22/03/2020 [V2.1] – various improvements and tweaks.

Updated 21/03/2020 [V2.1] – Various links fixed and some mysterious changes.

Updated 20/03/2020 [V2.1] – Fix in section 10.3 and updates in section

Updated 19/03/2020 [V2.1] – Various tweaks. Update to section 10.3.

Updated 18/03/2020 [V2.1] – Various tweaks.  Updates to verse (14:4) and (16:44)/(16:43-44).

Updated 14/03/2020 [V2.1] – Various changes.  A little added to section [relating to Ubayy ibn Ka3b] and to the discussion and translation of (7:3) in a couple of sections.

Updates 08/03/2020 [V2.1] – A variety of useful updates sprinkled throughout the book.

Updated 19/02/2020 [V2.1] – Updates and corrections in section 7.9 with special focus on 7.9.5 and 7.9.6.  See also updates to the relevant dictionary sections.

Updated 16/02/2020 [V2.1] – Updates and corrections in section 7.9 with special focus on 7.9.2 and 7.9.6.  See also updates to the relevant dictionary sections.

Updated 15/02/2020 [V2.0] – Updated sections 7.9.1, 7.9.6, 12.22, 12.26 and 12.27.

Updated 12/02/2020 [V1.9] – Updates section 7.9.1 and some other misc updates.

Updated 02/02/2020 [V1.9] – Updates to 9.3 and 9.5.9 and some misc tweaks.

Updated 25/01/2020 [V1.8] – Tweaks to section 9.5.9 and some other misc stuff.

Updated 24/01/2020 [V1.8] – Introduction updated, section updated, section 10.3.4 updated, Tattoo topic modified and some misc tweaks.  Section 9.5.9 updated

Updated 10/01/2020 [V1.7] – Section 9.5.32 added, 9.8.26 updated, 9.7.11 added and some misc changes.

Updated 06/01/2020 [V1.6] – Updates in Chapter 10 and general tweaks throughout.

Updated 28/12/2019 [V1.5] - Added section 3.1.3, made some other tweaks and corrections

Updated 09/12/2019 [v1.4] - Updated intro and added section 3.1.3, updated 9.5.17 and added 9.5.18

Updated 01/12/2019 [v1.3] – Section 10.11.9 added.

Updated: 18/11/2019 [v1.2] – Section 10.11.6 added.


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