Here we have to talk about an important and very serious issue that exists in the Arab and Islamic world, which is the interpreting of the verses of the Holy Qur’an by ignorant people who distort them from their meanings. No one can distort the words or lines of the Qur’an because Allah (swt) has guaranteed its preservation when He said:
إِنَّا نَحْنُ نَزَّلْنَا الذِّكْرَ وَإِنَّا لَهُ لَحَافِظُونَ
(Indeed, it is We who sent down the Qur’an and indeed, We will be its guardian.) (Al-Hijr: 9)
The Holy Qur’an is preserved from the distortion of its words, but there are those who distort its meanings because of their poor understanding, and this is what happened since the era of the first Kharijites who took, omitted and put rules that Allah (swt) has not wanted and they interpreted the Holy Qur’an according to their whims. Since that time until now, we have seen a lot of such repeated attempts to distort the meanings of the Holy Qur’an and to margin the human mind in understanding and dealing with its verses, but if they had referred it back to the Messenger; to his acts and orders and to his companions’ acts, the matters definitely has been completely different from these distortion that is taking place, as the Takfiri and the terrorism movements which come with weak, incomplete interpretation of the Holy Qur’an, in addition to those who try to develop the religious thought by taking the verses out of their contexts, whereas the Holy Qur’an has clearly identify this issue by referring back to the Messenger or to those of authority. Hence, the Arabic and Islamic countries fall in two contrary sides:
The first side: The extremist takfiri side that distorted the meanings and was never able to touch the truth of the Qur’anic verses, because sick thought can only be concluded through its illness, and if they were true scholars or callers to Islam, they would not have followed this criminal, terrorist takfiri approach that calls for killing and which deviates all the purposes of the Islamic Sharia out of their true meaning.
The second side: Those who claim the renewal of religious discourse, if they do not take into account the reality of renewal that Islam commanded and they go out of context, then they are working to increase the number of extremists in the world, and they can never change the reality of religious and Islamic matters that came in the Book of Allah (swt), the issue of reflection and deduction is a topic regulated by rules. These rules are called (‘lm Usul al-Fiqh) (Science of the principles of jurisprudence) through which a person can extract rulings from the Qur’anic verses. You cannot refer to the Book of Allah (swt) and ignore the Sunnah of the Messenger of Allah (swt), his explanation, his application, and the actions of his Companions. The great religion scholars throughout history have worked diligently to put the science of the principles of jurisprudence, and they laid down the rules and basis that can produce the correct Islamic ruling so as not to fall into extremism and thus depart from the teachings of Islam or dilute the facts. This is a very serious issue, for we cannot rely on just the linguistic meaning only of the words of the Qur’an, but it must be linked to the idiomatic meaning, and this is what the scholars of Usul al-Fiqh have done. For example:
(And establish prayer and give zakah)
The linguistic meaning of prayer in the Arabic language is supplication and the connection with Allah (swt). Is this just what is meant by this word in this verse? Of course not. Rather, it is related to the idiomatic meaning, for the prayer has its pillars, conditions, obligations and Sunnahs…. The same applies to zakat, which in Arabic means growth. The Prophet (saws) said:
“Learn from me your rituals”
Thereof, we cannot understand the Holy Qur’an except through the Prophet (saws) and his hadiths, so we have to treat with the Quranic texts in a respectful way through pondering upon and understand its verses according to the rules that Allah (swt) has ordered and the Prophet (saws) has clarified. For there are many verses connected with a certain event, for example, the verses about the polytheists and fighting them, it is the Prophet (saws) who determined the kind of the fighting and the relationship between the Muslims and the disbelievers, through his (saws) actions we find that he never fought the polytheists because of their disbelief, rather because they are oppressors, because as the Qur’an states:
لَا إِكْرَاهَ فِي الدِّينِ
(There shall be no compulsion in [acceptance of] the religion.) (Al-Baqara: 256)
Hence, renewing the religious rhetoric is important and it is very needed as well as confronting the extremism, but they have not to be executed through playing on the religious commands and the Islamic legislations, neither by pretending the knowledge or by separating the purposes from the rituals. So we have to deal in a respectful way with the words of Allah (swt), taking into consideration the sayings of the Prophet (saws), avoiding using the Quranic texts in a converse way than Allah (swt) wanted, as the ignorant people, the Takfiri and the extremists used to do.
To clarify, let us explain the Hadith of the Prophet (saws):
“I have been commanded (by Allah) to fight people until they testify that there is no true god except Allah, and that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah, and perform Salat and pay Zakat. If they do so, they will have protection of their blood and property from me except when justified by Islam, and then account is left to Allah”.
The apparent meaning of the Hadith contradicts the purposes of Sharia, the explicit text of the Holy Qur’an, and the action of the Prophet (saws) himself, so how could the Prophet (saws) said: “I have been commanded (by Allah) to fight people until they testify that there is no true god except Allah, and that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah” while Allah (swt) says: (There is no compulsion in religion). Even that when the Prophet (saws) entered Mecca as a conqueror and climbed on the back of the Ka’ba, he said: “Go, you are at liberty”, and he did not fight people even though they were polytheists! Consequently, to explain this Hadith we have to understand its occasion, circumstances and why it was said. When the Prophet (saws) said: “I have been commanded (by Allah) to fight people”, he did not mean all the people, but rather the group that attacked the Prophet (saws) and violated the Treaty of Hudaybiyah. The evidence for this is that the Holy Qur’an uses the word “people” to refer to a specific group, not all people, as in such a verse:
إِذَا جَاءَ نَصْرُ اللَّهِ وَالْفَتْحُ % وَرَأَيْتَ النَّاسَ يَدْخُلُونَ فِي دِينِ اللَّهِ أَفْوَاجًا
(When the victory of Allah has come and the conquest, % And you see the people entering into the religion of Allah in multitudes,) (An-Nasr: 1-2)
All the people has not entered into Islam in multitudes, so what is meant here by “people” is a certain group of people.
Therefore, the problem does not lie in the texts but definitely in the understanding of the texts and in applying them on the actual life in a right way. The prophet (saws) said:
“Let him who interprets the Qur’an in the light of his opinion come to his abode in hell.”
( وَلَوْلَا فَضْلُ اللَّهِ عَلَيْكُمْ وَرَحْمَتُهُ لَاتَّبَعْتُمُ الشَّيْطَانَ إِلَّا قَلِيلًا … ) (…And if not for the favor of Allah upon you and His mercy, you would have followed Satan, except for a few): We live in the favour and mercy of Allah (swt), without which the man would follow the devil, that whisper to him according to his desires and irritates the evil in him.
 Sunan al-Bayhaqi: Chapter of Hajj, Hadith No. 9307.
 Sahih al-Bukhari: The Book of Faith, Hadith No. 25.
 Sunan at-Tirmidhi, Book of the Qur’an Interpretation, Hadith No. 2951.