24 February 2012
The question above was posted at the forum of www.free-minds.org. Below is my brief answer.
Without doubt, Rashad Khalifa, for at least two reasons:
Rashad’s book, Quran, Hadith, and Islam is a land mark book in history of Islam. Future generations will consider it as the most influential book that demolished hadith/sunna and its derivative the sectarian teachings or idols with a mortal blow. There were Quranist movements here or there, throughout history. But, since the ummah fell prey to the distortion of Shafii within a few centuries after Hijra, we lost the true meaning of many verses of the Quran. The idea of Naskh-mansuk or illiteracy of the prophet Muhammad, and many other dogmas were rarely questioned and even if questioned were not presented with their full power. That book was the first one that refuted the authority of hadith and sunna without any compromise. Dealt with major distortions done throughout the centuries and provided Quranic context how to understand the repeated Quranic instruction “obey God and his messenger.”
Through Divine inspiration he discovered the great secret of the Quran, thereby destroying the biggest philosophical stumbling block in front of those who wanted to adhere to the Quran alone. In the past, the followers of hearsay books and fabricated sharia would challenge the Quranist: “If we lose our trust to Sahaba, Tabiin and those who followed them, how then can we trust to the authenticity of the Quran?” This is indeed a powerful epistemological counter-argument and none could respond to such a challenge without the discovery of the secret of the number 19 mentioned in chapter 74 in 1974, exactly 19×74 lunar years after the revelation of the Quran by a monotheist scientist who was not only knowledgeable about the Quran, but also very honest and brave, a messenger of God to our generation. With the revelation of the Quranic code, God proved that the Quran is indeed His book, that indeed it is preserved perfectly, not by people, but by God Himself. Besides, the discovery shed light over the multiple meaning of the many verses of the Quran, such as the letters/digits initializing 29 chapters of the Quran, which was destined for the Computer generation to appreciate. We are now living a new era in which the progressive ones are sorted from the regressive ones (74:37).
Rashad’s impact on modern Quranic movement is underestimated. Many of those who viciously attack him are unaware of the fact that many of the ideas and arguments used to defend the Quran alone and refutations of hadiths, originated from Rashad’s dedicated study of the Quran as a sincere seeker of truth. I am surprised that some Turkish people do not even know Rashad’s name, but they have received the message from a friend of mine who received it from me. We should not focus on Rashad or exaggerate him like some among Submitters do, but we should also beware of tendency of unfairly and unknowingly attacking and insulting a courageous monotheist.
One of my readers directed the following question to me: “One other thing that really puzzles me is how a messenger can be so wrong. The wrong frequency of daily prayers and the wrong direction as well. Difficult to consolidate. ”
Well, it depends how you look at it. I look at the many things he got it right and I see a few things he got it wrong. A messenger is human like us and his errors are test for BOTH those who loved him and those who hated him. The first may idolize him and because of that may try to defend the clear errors he had made, while the latter may demonize him and magnify the errors he made and fabricate errors he did not make.