Is the Qur’an sufficient?

What the Qur’an says about itself

Today’s article is a followup on my last article “We need the hadith because…the 9 arguments of the Muslims” in which I analyzed the common arguments made by Muslims when they are told to follow the Qur’an alone and how these arguments are refuted by the Qur’an itself.

In this article, I wanted to address the underlying assumption of the arguments made by Muslims when they are told to abandon their rituals and their hadith literature and come back to the Qur’an alone. This assumption is that the Qur’an is somehow deficient; that is not sufficient for a man who sincerely wishes to serve God alone and attain His good pleasure. In other words, Muslims assume that the Qur’an is not clear, complete or fully detailed. However, the truth of the matter is that the Qu’ran, itself, claims to be a complete and sufficient source of guidance. It is a self-referencing scripture that is complete, preserved and detailed requiring no outside literature to understand it. 

When I advise Muslims – Sunni Muslims, to be specific – to follow the Qur’an, I get the same sort of questions: How do you know how to pray, how to fast, how to do wudu etc. if you follow the Qur’an alone. Muslims – correctly – are not able to find the implementation details of their rituals in the Qur’an and thus look for answers in secondary sources. They do not stop to consider for a moment that perhaps the reason they are unable to find the details of their rituals in the Qur’an – a book claiming to be complete, detailed and clear – is that these rituals were invented by their ancestors and are not a part of the doctrine of God.

The fact of the matter is that the architects of the religion of Islam twisted the meanings of key words found in the Qur’an such as salaat, zakat, sawm, sujud, rukuh etc. They then created a separate literature – the hadith – to define and expand upon their meanings. However, the Qur’an does not use these terms in the manner in which Muslims understand them. For instance, the word salaat simply means duty. Of course, worshipping God is a duty but there are other duties as well. Zakat means purity of intention and not charity. Of course, we can say that giving in charity should be done with the purity of intention but that is a secondary understanding of zakat. Sawm does mean fasting but Muslims have turned it into an “event”: a 30 day fast during a special holy month called ramadan; something not supported in the Qur’an. Sujud simply means submission and not a specialized prostration towards a stone idol in Mecca, Saudi Arabia. Rukuh means to be humble and does not mean bowing during prayer. 

We should take the Qur’an’s own claim of being a complete scripture from God and look in it for the definitions of key terms and carefully investigate how a word is being used across the whole of the Qur’an. This is the only way to decipher the lost meanings of key words in the Qur’an.

As we progress through the subsequents verses, you will see that the Qur’an is quite clear that it alone is the source of guidance and that it is sufficient for a sincere man who wishes to serve God alone and attain His good pleasure. 

The translations are from Brother Gerrans excellent work The Qur’an: A Complete Revelation which you can read for free at Credit for most  of the ideas present in this article goes to Brother Gerrans.

In the name of God, the Almighty the Merciful

And We said: “O Adam: dwell thou and thy wife in the garden, and eat thereof freely wheresoever you will; but approach not this tree lest you be of the wrongdoers.”

But the satan caused them to fall therefrom, and turned them out of what they were in; and We said: “Get you all down, an enemy to one another; and for you in the earth are a dwelling-place and provision for a time.”

Then received Adam words from his Lord, and He turned towards him; He is the Accepting of Repentance, the Merciful.

We said: “Get you down from it all together. And if there comes to you guidance from Me, whoso follows My guidance: no fear will be upon them, nor will they grieve.

“But those who ignore warning and deny Our proofs: those are the companions of the Fire; therein they abide eternally.”


A moon of scorching heat was that in which the Qur’an was sent down, a guidance for mankind, and clear signs of the guidance and the Division[…]. So whoso among you witnesses the moon, let him fast in it. And whoso of you is sick or on a journey: then a number of other days. God desires for you ease, and He desires not for you hardship; but that you complete the number; and that you magnify God for guiding you; and that you might be grateful.


O you who heed warning: enter into surrender completely, and follow not the footsteps of the satan; he is to you an open enemy.

But if you slip after the clear signs have come to you, then know that God is exalted in might and wise.


O mankind: there has come to you evidence from your Lord; and We have sent down to you a clear light.

Then as for those who believe in God and hold fast to Him: He will make them enter into mercy from Him, and bounty; and He will guide them to Him by a straight path.

They ask thee for a ruling. Say thou: “God gives you the ruling concerning those without an immediate heir: if a man perishes without a child but has a sister: for her is half of what he left, and he inherits from her if she has not a child. But if there are two females: for them is two-thirds of what he left. And if they are brethren, men and women: for the male is the like of the share of two females.” And God makes plain to you lest you go astray; and God knows all things.


In the above verse, God is chiding the believers that it is not Muhammad but God who gives rulings. I credit Brother Gerrans for this point.

O doctors of the Law: Our messenger has come to you, making clear to you much of what you hid of the Writ, and pardoning much. There has come to you light from God, and a clear Writ

Whereby God guides him who seeks His approval to the ways of peace, and brings them out of darkness into the light by His leave; and He guides them to a straight path.


And We sent down to thee the Writ with the truth, confirming what is before it of the Writ, and as a control over it. So judge thou between them by what God has sent down; and follow thou not their vain desires away from what has come to thee of the truth. For each of you We appointed an ordinance and a procedure. And had God willed, He could have made you one community; but that He might try you in what He gave you[…]. — So vie in good deeds; unto God will you return all together, and He will inform you of that wherein you differed —

And judge thou between them by what God has sent down; and follow thou not their vain desires, and beware thou of them lest they seduce thee away from some of what God has sent down to thee. And if they turn away, know thou that God but intends to afflict them for some of their transgressions; and many among men are perfidious.

Is it the judgment of ignorance they seek? And who is better than God in judgment for people who are certain?


O you who heed warning: ask not about things which, if made clear to you, would distress you; but if you ask about them while the Qur’an is being sent down, they will be made clear to you. God has pardoned that; and God is forgiving and clement.

There did ask a people before you, then became deniers thereof.

God appointed not any baḥīrah or sā’ibah or waṣīlah or ḥām — but those who ignore warning invent lies about God; and most of them do not reason.

And when it is said to them: “Come to what God has sent down, and to the Messenger,” they say: “Sufficient for us is that upon which we found our fathers.” Even though their fathers knew not anything and were not guided?


Say thou: “What thing is greatest in witness?” Say thou: “God is witness between me and you; and this Qur’an has been revealed to me that I might warn you thereby, and whom it reaches. Do you bear witness that there are other gods with God?” Say thou: “I bear not witness.” Say thou: “He is but One God, and I am quit of that to which you ascribe a partnership.”


Means of insight have come to you from your Lord; and whoso sees, it is for his soul; and whoso is blind, it is against it; and: “I am not a custodian over you.”

And thus We expound the proofs: both that they might say: “Thou hast studied,” and that We might make it plain for people who know.

Follow thou what has been revealed to thee from thy Lord — “There is no god save He”; — and turn thou away from the idolaters.


And We have brought them a Writ which We set out and detailed according to knowledge — a guidance and mercy for people who believe.


And when thou bringest them not a proof, they say: “Oh, that thou hadst but chosen one!” Say thou: “I follow only what is revealed to me from my Lord; this is a means of insight from your Lord, and guidance, and a mercy for people who believe.”

And when the Qur’an is recited: heed it and listen attentively, that you might obtain mercy.


And when Our proofs are recited to them as clear signs, those who look not for the meeting with Us say: “Bring thou a Qur’an other than this; or change thou it.” Say thou: “It is not for me to change it of my own accord. I follow only what is revealed to me. I fear, if I should disobey my Lord, the punishment of a tremendous day.”

Say thou: “Had God willed, I would not have recited it to you, nor would He have made it known to you; for I had tarried among you a lifetime before it.” Will you then not use reason!

Then who is more unjust than he who invents a lie about God, or denies His proofs? The lawbreakers are not successful.


Say thou: “Is there among your partners one that guides to the truth?” Say thou: “God guides to the truth; is then He who guides to the truth worthier to be followed, or he who guides not save he be guided? Then what ails you? How judge you?”

And most of them follow only assumption; assumption avails nothing against the truth. God knows what they do.

And this Qur’an is not such as could be invented by other than God; but it is a confirmation of what is before it, and an exposition of the Writ about which there is no doubt, from the Lord of All Creation.

If they say: “He invented it,” say thou: “Bring a sūrah the like thereof; and call whom you can besides God, if you be truthful.”

The truth is, they have denied what they compassed not in knowledge, and whose interpretation has not yet come to them. Thus denied those before them. Then see thou how was the final outcome of the wrongdoers.

And among them is he who believes in it; and among them is he who believes not in it. And thy Lord best knows the workers of corruption.

And if they deny thee, then say thou: “To me be my work, and to you be your work; you are quit of what I do, and I am quit of what you do.”

And among them are some who listen to thee — canst thou make the deaf to hear, though they do not reason?

And among them is he who looks at thee — canst thou guide the blind when they do not see?

God wrongs not men in anything; but men wrong their souls.


alif lām rā Those are the proofs of the Clear Writ.

We have sent it down as an Arabic recitation, that you might use reason.


That is of the reports of the Unseen which We reveal to thee; and thou wast not with them when they resolved upon their affair, when they were scheming.

And most men — though thou be desirous — are not believers.

And thou askest not of them for it any reward; it is only a reminder to all mankind.

And how many a proof is there in the heavens and the earth which they pass by, and from which they turn away!

And most of them believe not in God save as idolaters.

Do they then feel secure against an enveloping of the punishment of God coming upon them, or the Hour coming upon them unexpectedly when they perceive not?

Say thou: “This is my path. I invite to God with insight — I and whoso follows me. And glory be to God! And I am not of the idolaters.”

And We sent before thee only men to whom We revealed from among the people of the cities. (So have they not travelled in the earth and seen how was the final outcome of those who were before them? And the abode of the Hereafter is best for those who are in prudent fear; will you then not use reason!)

When the messengers had despaired and thought that they had been denied, there came to them Our help and who We willed was delivered. And repulsed not is Our wrath from the lawbreaking people.

There is in their story a lesson for men of understanding; it is not an invented narrative but a confirmation of what is before it, and an exposition of every thing, and guidance, and a mercy for people who believe.


This is a notification to mankind, that they be warned thereby, and that they might know that He is but One God, and that those of insight might take heed.


alif lām rā Those are the proofs of the Writ and of a clear recitation.


And the day We raise in every community a witness against them from themselves, and We bring thee as a witness against these[…]. And We sent down the Writ upon thee as a clarification of all things, and as guidance, and as a mercy, and as glad tidings for those submitting.


This Qur’an guides to what is most upright, and brings glad tidings to the believers who do righteous deeds, that they have a great reward,

And that those who believe not in the Hereafter: — We have prepared for them a painful punishment.

And man supplicates for evil by his supplication for good; and man is ever hasty.

And We appointed the night and the day as two proofs; and We erase the proof of the night and make the proof of day sight-giving, that you might seek favour of your Lord, and that you might know the number of years and the reckoning; and everything have We set out and detailed with full explanation.


And We have expounded in this Qur’an, that they take heed; but it increases them only in aversion.


And We send down of the Qur’an what is a healing and mercy for the believers; but it increases not the wrongdoers save in loss.


And We have expounded for men in this Qur’an every similitude, but most men refuse save denial.


And with the truth have We sent it down, and with the truth has it come down — and We sent thee only as a bearer of glad tidings and a warner —

And as a recitation We divided, that thou recite it to men in stages; and We have sent it down as a successive revelation.


And We have expounded for men in this Qur’an every similitude, but man is, more than anything, contentious.


A sūrah We have sent down and made obligatory, and wherein We sent down clear proofs, that you might take heed:


And the day the sky is rent asunder with the clouds, and the angels are sent down in successive descent,

True dominion, that day, belongs to the Almighty; and it will be a difficult day for the false claimers of guidance.

And the day the wrongdoer will bite his hands, he will say: “Would that I had taken with the Messenger a path!

“Woe is me! Would that I had not taken such-and-such for a friend!

“He led me astray from the remembrance after it reached me.” And the satan is to man a traitor.

And the Messenger will say: “O my Lord: my people took this Qur’an as a thing abandoned.”

And thus We appointed for every prophet an enemy from among the lawbreakers; but thy Lord suffices as a guide and a helper.

And those who ignore warning say: “Oh, that the Qur’an were but sent down upon him all at once!” Thus — that We might strengthen thy heart thereby; and We have recited it distinctly.

And they bring thee not a similitude save We bring thee the truth and better in explanation.


We find the phrase “And thus We appointed for every prophet an enemy” is used in another place in the Qur’an:

And thus have We appointed for every prophet an enemy — satans of servi and domini — instructing one another in the decoration of speech as delusion, (and had thy Lord willed, they would not have done it; so leave thou them and what they fabricate)

And that the hearts of those who believe not in the Hereafter might incline thereto, and be pleased therewith, and that they might commit what they are committing.

“Is it other than God I should seek as judge when He it is that sent down to you the Writ set out and detailed?” And those to whom We gave the Writ know that it is sent down from thy Lord with the truth; so be thou not of those who doubt.

And perfected is the word of thy Lord in truth and justice; there is none to change His words; and He is the Hearing, the Knowing.

And if thou obey most of those upon the earth, they will lead thee astray from the path of God; they follow only assumption, and they are only guessing.


The “enemies of the prophets” fabricated lies in the form of hadith literature which are the “decoration of speech as delusion” to divert men from the path of God; so that those who do not believe in the Hereafter might incline thereto and be pleased therewith.

And it is a revelation of the Lord of All Creation,

Brought down by the Faithful Spirit

Upon thy heart — that thou be of the warners —

In a clear Arabic tongue.


This Qur’an relates to the children of Israel most of that wherein they differ,

And it is guidance, and a mercy for the believers.

Thy Lord will decide between them by His judgment; and He is the Exalted in Might, the Knowing.

And place thou thy trust in God; thou art upon the manifest truth.


“I have but been commanded to serve the Lord of this land who made it inviolable; and to Him all things belong. And I am commanded to be of those submitting,

“And to recite the Qur’an.” And whoso is guided, he is but guided for himself; and whoso strays, then say thou: “I am only of the warners.”


He who made the Qur’an incumbent upon thee will return thee to a destination. Say thou: “My Lord best knows who brings guidance and who is in manifest error.”

And thou didst not expect that the Writ would be cast unto thee;[…] only as a mercy from thy Lord, so be thou not a helper to the false claimers of guidance.

And let them not turn thee away from the proofs of God after they have been sent down to thee; and invite thou to thy Lord, and be thou not of the idolaters.

And call thou not with God to another god; there is no god save He. Everything will perish save His face; His is the Judgment; and to Him will you be returned.


And We have struck for men in this Qur’an every similitude. And if thou come to them with a proof, those who ignore warning will say: “You are only creators of vanity.”


And had all that is in the earth of trees been but pens, and the sea replenished thereafter with seven seas, the words of God would not be exhausted; God is exalted in might and wise.


This verse speaks volumes about the Muslims’ claims that the Qur’an is deficient and needs elaboration by non-Qur’anic literature.

And when Our proofs are recited to them as clear signs, they say: “This is only a man who wishes to turn you away from what your fathers served”; and they say: “This is only an invented falsehood.” And those who ignore warning say of the truth when it has come to them: “This is only obvious sorcery.”


And We taught him not poetry, and it does not behove him; it is only a remembrance and a clear recitation

To warn whoso is alive, and that the word might become binding against the false claimers of guidance.


And We have struck for mankind in this Qur’an every similitude, that they might take heed;

An Arabic recitation, free of deviation, that they might be in prudent fear.


ḥā mīm

A revelation from the Almighty, the Merciful,

A Writ the proofs whereof are set out and detailed, an Arabic recitation for people who know,

As a bearer of glad tidings and a warner; but most of them turn away, so they hear not.


ḥā mīm

By the Clear Writ!

We have made it an Arabic recitation, that you might use reason,

And it is in the foundation of the Writ, with Us, exalted and wise.

Shall We then turn the remembrance away from you because you are a people committing excess?


We best know what they say; and thou art not a tyrant over them. But remind thou with the Qur’an him who fears My warning.


And We have made the Qur’an easy for remembrance; so is there any who will remember?

(54:17, 54:22, 54:32, 54:40)

The Almighty:

Taught the Qur’an,

Created man,

Taught him the clear statement.


God teaches man “the clear statement” (Arabic: bayyan). This word – which Brother Gerrans translates as clarification” – is also used in the next verse, pointing to the fact that it was not Muhammad’s job to explain the Qur’an; God explains the Qur’an to whom He wills.

(Move thou not thy tongue with it to hasten it.

Upon Us is its gathering and its recitation.

And when We recite it, follow thou the recitation thereof.

Then upon Us is its clarification.) 


He it is that sends down to His servant clear proofs, that He might bring you out of darkness into the light; and God is to you kind and merciful.


The truth is, it is a glorious recitation,

In a protected tablet.


The Qur’an is preserved, no such claim can be made about the dubious literature followed by the Muslims to justify their invented rituals.

In conclusion, the Qur’an itself claims to be complete and to be sufficient guidance for a sincere man who wishes to attain God’s good pleasure and enter the Garden in the Hereafter, if God so wills. Those who claim otherwise deny the clear verses of the Qur’an and they will bear their burdens on the Day of Judgment. 

God willing until the next article, peace and blessings be upon you!

-Said Mirza