The Truth About The Study Quran: Part 1: The Study Quran and Muslim Intellectualism

Study Quran

So the lunatics have taken over the asylum again. I am shocked, but this type of ‘no-class’ having behaviour is expected from these people. Once again, without reading the entire book or work, they have begun writing negative articles and ‘reviews’. They did this with our book, ‘Hanafi Principles of Testing Hadith’ and now they are doing the same with the highly publicised new Quran translation and commentary, ‘The Study Quran’. For the first three months of our release, we had to endure a barrage of ‘reviews’ by people who very obviously hadn’t read it. (A false review of the book was even recently removed by ‘Amazon’, which unlike Muslims, has started to publicly clamp down on fake reviews).

I have not even read ‘The Study Quran’ myself, only recently having received a copy, nor have I read any of the numerous other works of Professor Seyyed Hossein Nasr. But I would never attempt any form of a review without reading the entire (or at least significant portion of) the contents of the book. You only really find this behaviour amongst Muslims (and Islamophobes), where they think it is academically acceptable to ‘review’ something without reading it. Similarly, we find people who initially endorsed the book (you know, because it makes them seem ‘intellectual’), but after seeing the reaction of some very sectarian Muslims and other people, they backtracked, stating that they were not aware of the multiple purported errors contained within the book.

Really? So they were not aware of the theological leanings of the writers? Even though they have been stated very clearly by them for decades? It demonstrates weak character – and these are the types of people who people have placed at the pinnacle of the religion, who have been given celebrity status and whose opinions people are following blindly.

While these people are warning others not to buy the book, they will usually purchase it themselves and then learn from it. Then they will teach the bits they learnt from the book whilst keeping their real sources hidden, maybe even cite the sources the book has referenced to make it seem like they actually read the classical book of Usul or Tafseer. They then appease the duped public by pointing out some unavoidable errors they find in the book, usually minor mistakes that can be rectified in a new edition.

But the real goal is to get the lay public to abandon any attempt at thinking about reading the book. A very simplistic strategy, but one that works with Muslims. ‘Do not read any book unless I have filtered it for you!’ This helps the Shaykh remain in charge, and they end up in control of the intellectual thoughts and understanding of the people.

I’m telling you this out of first-hand experience: the people who bought our book were also mainly moulanas and Imams. They fear that ‘the people’ will know more than them or ask difficult questions. Hence the reason to buy the book themselves and to then warn off others. Most of the people who became moulanas or Muslim celebrities became so merely by reading a few more books than the lay people. They entered a Madrassa and after this even the intellectually deficient became a shaykh. So if the lay people begin reading more books, and attempting to understand more ideas, they will begin to realise that the people who call themselves ‘shaykh’ in fact frighteningly often have a very shallow level of knowledge.

In terms of the books of Tafseer and even books of Aqeedah, I can assure you there are colossal mistakes in a significant amount of them, even by many of the top Imams of Islam. Just a few months ago I was having a discussion with a respectable brother, when I showed him and translated some of the passages of Qurtubi he was shocked to find some kufri statements that were contained within the Tafseer. The same goes for the books of Aqeedah, some of the things that I have read by the top Imams of Aqeedah even make ‘Dantes Inferno’ or ‘The Satanic Verses’ come to mind.

The point is often argued that these shaykhs are in a ‘better position’ to read these books and then ‘filter’ them for you, but this is ridiculous (and could just as well be said by followers of any religion). Most of them do not even understand the books that they are reading. Another excellent example is the Tafseer of Shaykh Abu Mansoor al-Maturidi as relating to our latest book, where the issue of black magic affecting the Prophet (PBUH) was discussed. Here I had ‘scholars’ who came and completely mistranslated the relevant page and were deducing the opposite to what Shaykh Abu Mansoor stated. Then finally one person was able to translate it, but he did not know about the terminology used by the scholar, such as the usage of the word ‘Qeela’ having the meaning that the weak opinion is being presented (which essentially means that he understood Maturidi as saying ‘right’ when he was saying ‘wrong’).

So after all of this, do you really want these guys to filter the Quran or any Islamic text to you? Is it not better to read the books yourself and come to your own honest, ‘uniformed’ conclusion? Certainly that’s the advice Muslims would give to their Christian and Hindu brothers.

But I guess there is no reason to worry, it’s not like one day Muslims randomly woke up and decided that they will restrict the learning and intellectual capacity of the people. This is something that has been enforced over the last thousand years. Do not let your people think or to learn. From having some of the greatest minds the world has seen, such as Avicenna, Averroes, al-Tusi, Jabbar ibn Hiyaan and al-Farabi (some of whom it seems Nasr and his team are quoting from in their work) were are left with an intellectual void. We decided to call these people disbelievers and ensure the abandonment of any form of development within any of the Sciences. How many people do we as Muslims now have winning Nobel Prizes in the sciences for instance?

Keep the people ignorant, maintain control and keep the wealth and power for yourselves. Job done. Here is an apt example of the type of psychology we mentioned:

Imam al-Lalika’i in his book Sharh Usul I’tiqad of Ahl Sunnah narrated that ‘Abu Qasim at-Tabari who stated that ‘Qadir Billah, compelled the Mu’tazalite Hanafis to repent in the year 408. They then left their Mu’tazalite beliefs. He also banned them from studying, discussion, their rawafidh beliefs and any ideas against Islam and Sunnah. He made them sign an oath…He warned them that if they do not keep this promise he will punish them…

Ameer Dawla followed his predecessor Qadir Billah on this issue, by killing Mu’tazalites, Rawafidh Qaramita, Jahmees, Mushabbihs in Khurasaan, he hung them, jailed them or banished them from the city. He ordered the Imams to curse them on the pulpits and expelled them from the town.’’

Most of the people who are offering to ‘filter’ books for lay people of any religion are of the same mind-set as those who were previously burning books and killing scholars in orgasms of sectarian violence.

Since you can’t get away with doing this now in most, but not all places, as even a cursory glance at the nightly news will reveal, these ‘scholars’ are left with no choice but to whip up hysteria against any view which they find unpalatable.

This is why you are able to find an uncountable number of manuscripts in nearly each library throughout the world of Ibn Taymiyyah’s ”Majmoo al Fatawa”, but you will find hard pressed to find early Hanafi manuscripts. For example, give me Eisaa ibn Abban’s book which is the first ever book produced in Usul. A book that is considered ‘lost’ (which means ‘destroyed’). It’s a lot more difficult to burn books now so resorting to mass propaganda and the internet/social media have become the new tools of metaphorically burning the books.

As for ‘orthodox’ Islam versus Nasr and his collaborators, this again is another statement that I find amusing. Who are these ‘orthodox’ groups? Is it the Salafists with their humanoid God or is it the Deobandis, Brelawis, Asharis, Maturidis, Hanbalis, Ikhwanis, Mutazalites, Khawarij, HT, Sufis or the Perennialists?  Contemporary Islam is a Salafi/Hanbali/Hadith centric version of Islam. Even those who propagate themselves as groups other than them follow explicitly or implicitly this version of Islam. Again, I dare say our book ‘Hanafi Principles of Testing Hadith’ is a good start for any reader who wants an idea of how the classical Hanafi principles were abandoned for this contemporary version of Islam.

The Moulanas, imams and so-called ‘students of knowledge’ have destroyed the intellectual capacity of Muslims. My advice to the lay people is to read, analyse, deduce and reflect for yourself.

Guess what? That is also the advice of God to all people in the Quran too. Any belief that is based on blindly following people is not true belief.

You can buy our book, ‘Hanafi Principles of Testing Hadith’ here:

You can find the new Quran Translation here:


10 Comments Add yours

  1. Monib says:

    What makes you think that laymen Muslims read anything? They have always got their knowledge from listening to someone or from tv. And in any case such works are not for the public to discuss it’s for scholars to do that.


  2. Ashfaq Mehdi says:

    Wow Sulaiman Ahmed.. Thank you. Your thoughts reflect that of millions of us who cannot put it on paper so eloquently. ! You made me remember One Abu Esa who on facebook wrote ‘Avoid it like the plague. It doesn’t just have mistakes, it’s actually dangerous. This is advice to the 99% of people here, those who don’t have the detailed tools necessary to separate the wheat from the chaff.,’
    This guy had the audacity to say that he had a look..a look.. at the ‘The Study Quran’ and he came to this conclusion. I am sure he does not even had a look, let alone reading it within a week. He has 100’s of ardent followers who take his word as from —. I may put it on my Facebook page if you allow me.


    1. Thanks for your comment. Of course you can share it.


      1. Ashfaq Mehdi says:

        Thank you for the consent.


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