Praise be to God! There is no other god except God. Verse 2:113 in the Quran says that the Jews said that the Christians have no basis, while the Christians said that the Jews have no basis, although both of them read the scripture. Such are the utterances of those who have no knowledge.
So, it is the people who are not knowledgeable who will label one group as a group with no scriptural basis, or the other group as a group with no scriptural basis. And this is because the ignorant people fail to admit that actually all the people of the scripture must have at least a little bit of scriptural basis, otherwise God would not call them “people of the scripture”. They must have some scriptural basis, at least some. They are not completely without basis. However, how much of the scripture do they follow? That is another question. So, instead of labeling people into two distinct groups, people with scriptural basis or people without scriptural basis, the correct way, the way of the more knowledgeable is to put them in a spectrum, which shows that all of them have at least a little bit of basis, but they vary on how much and in which direction. And to show you that, let’s show it in the diagram below:
So, this line represents the spectrum of how much scriptural basis a certain religious group has. In the middle, we have the people who follow the full Quran, not more and not less. To the left, we have the people who follow less than the Quran. So, they follow parts of the Quran, but not everything. And to the right we have the other groups who follow more than the Quran, meaning that they add other books as religious sources on top of it. So, the best place here is to be at the center of this line, which shows that you have the most basis, and the further away from this center you are, the worse it is, the less scriptural basis you have. So, now let’s present the different groups of people of the scripture in their approximate appropriate place. Here they are:
In the middle, we have the submitters, us. We follow the full Quran, and nothing more than the Quran, and nothing less than the Quran. Then, to the left, we have the half-submitters. They follow the Quran partially. They follow only the parts of the Arabic Quran which Rashad Khalifa managed to translate. (Of course, Rashad Khalifa spoke the truth, but he as an English translator could not potentially cover all the truth. So, there is additional truth in the Arabic Quran, and the half-submitters will not accept any part of it, if it is not also found in the English version, and the English version is a true but limited version. So, they are based on less than the Arabic Quran, less than the Quran. Then, we have the Quranists, who are based on even less than that from the Quran. They tend to chop the Quran piece by piece, and limit the Quran only in what they understand as an individual. Basically, they limit the Quran only to their intellectual capacities, which often are limited capacities, and they end up following less than the full Quran. They don’t realize that they are people of the scripture, but by calling themselves Quranists, that’s exactly what they are. The Quran is a scripture, and by calling yourself a Quranist, you put yourself in the group of the people of the scripture, and the Quran does not mention the people of the scripture as the authorized religious group. Then we have the Protestants, who are almost exactly the same as the Quranists, except that they do with the Bible what the Quranists do with the Quran. Their doctrine is “sola scriptum” which means “scripture alone” which according to them consists of only the Bible, which would not be the biggest problem, but then again just like the Quranists they will limit the Bible only to portions which they themselves understand. If someone understands more, they will deny it, just because they did not understand it first. Then we have the Anglicans, similar to protestants, but their motives for following the scripture alone are more political rather than doctrinal. Then we have the Orthodox, who follow less than the full Quran, but they at least follow some aspects of it, like the doctrine of striving in the cause of God, and they understand the importance of hierarchy in religion, and how to preserve information across generations and so on. Then we have the Catholics, who are very similar to the Orthodox, but they just tend to ignore more of the scripture to adjust their lifestyles more to the modern world. Then, we have the Jews who are the furthest away from having scriptural basis, because they do not only disregard the Quran, but they also disregard the Gospel, which from the scriptural aspects is the meat of salvation – the essence of the scripture. The Gospel is the essence, and the Torah is the details, while the Quran is a summary of both.
By the way, the Quran supports this ordering which we did here. For example, it tells us in verse 5:82 that the Christians are closer to the believers than the Jews are.
Anyway, let’s present now the religious groups who are to the right of this spectrum. They are people who follow more than the Quran. First, we have the Sunnis. Basically, in addition to the Quran, they follow additional books, which God never authorized, like the Hadiths of Bukhari, Tirmidhi and so on. Then, slightly further to the right, we have the Shia who in addition to traditional hadiths which are attributed to Muhammad without his permission, they also have the hadiths and books which are attributed to Ali. Then further to the right, we have the Sufis who follow even more unauthorized sources, like their spiritual ‘masters’ and so on. Then we have the Barelvis and Deobandi who actually follow even some books of political and doctrinal leaders of the recent times. And then we have the Ahmedia, who in addition follow additional books of their leader, who are very human books, but they consider them almost equal to the Quran, if not completely equal. And then we have the Bahais who follow books which they think supersede the Quran, which is why they are furthest to the right. Just like the Jews end up ignoring the Quran, by following very little of it, the Bahais end up ignoring the Quran by following completely something else. We put them here, because they say that they accept the Quran, but once you see their other books, they have almost no basis in the Quran.
So, this is the spectrum of the people of the scripture depending on how much basis they have in following the Quran, the full Quran, and nothing more than the Quran. We should be following the full Quran, no more, no less.
Now, as time passes, these rectangles which we presented in the graph will actually stretch, meaning that there will be more variation within any of those groups, and as variation of individuals within each group increases, the variation between the groups themselves will decrease. So, the groups will become more and more similar. Basically, you will be able to find Sunnis for example who are completely to the right of this diagram, and also Sunnis who are close to the center of this diagram, and so on, or you might be able to find Jews who are completely to the left of this diagram, and Jews who are almost to the center of the graph. For example, there is a recent group of Jews who are called Messianic Jews, who are basically Jews who believe in Jesus, which means that they are Jews who have stretched their Jewishness closer to the center, all the way to the Protestants, and in some cases they have reached the Quranists.
But, anyway, in the future, this diagram will become fuzzier, and each rectangle will be more stretched to the right and to the left, until each group here will be all over the place, and that’s when the end of the world will come.
But, the correct group to be with is the Submitters, because we follow the full Quran. We try not to ignore any parts of the Quran to the best of our ability, and we try not to follow any materials which present information from other than the Quran. Of course, we do not manage to do it 100% of the time, which is why the rectangle here is a rectangle and not a single point, but we as a group are at the center of this spectrum, and the other groups also have some scriptural basis, but they also have deviated either to the right or to the left of this scriptural spectrum. And we know that they have deviated at least a little bit from the center because none of their names are found in the Quran as an authorized religion. But, only the submitters here at the center are found in the Quran as the authorized group.
The Quran says in verse 3:64, “Say, “O followers of the scripture, let us come to a logical agreement between us and you: that we shall not worship except God; that we never set up any idols besides Him, nor set up any human beings as lords beside God.” If they turn away, say, “Bear witness that we are submitters.“”