This is a very popular quote amongst Muslims. It is indeed from the Quran. So, let’s take a look at what the Quran actually states but I have to warn you first. It’s most likely going to be a shock to the system so brace yourself.
It comes up twice in 16:43 and 21:7.
وَمَآ أَرْسَلْنَا مِن قَبْلِكَ إِلاَّ رِجَالاً نُّوحِى إِلَيْهِمْ فَاسْأَلُواْ أَهْلَ الذِّكْرِ إِن كُنْتُم لاَ تَعْلَمُونَ – بِالْبَيِّنَـتِ وَالزُّبُرِ وَأَنزَلْنَا إِلَيْكَ الذِّكْرَ لِتُبَيِّنَ لِلنَّاسِ مَا نُزِّلَ إِلَيْهِمْ وَلَعَلَّهُمْ يَتَفَكَّرُونَ
16:43 ‘And We sent not before you (O Muhammad) any but men, whom We sent revelation. So ask (plural form) Ahl Adh-Dhikr,(i.e. ‘people of the Reminder’) if you know not. (44). With clear signs and Books (We sent the Messengers). And We have also revealed the Dhikr (reminder/revelation) to you so that you may clearly explain to people what was revealed to them, and that perhaps they may reflect.’
وَمَآ أَرْسَلْنَا قَبْلَكَ إِلاَّ رِجَالاً نُّوحِى إِلَيْهِمْ فَاسْئَلُواْ أَهْلَ الذِّكْرِ إِن كُنتُمْ لاَ تَعْلَمُونَ – وَمَا جَعَلْنَـهُمْ جَسَداً لاَّ يَأْكُلُونَ الطَّعَامَ وَمَا كَانُواْ خَـلِدِينَ
21:7 And We sent not before you but men to whom We revealed. So ask (plural form) the people of the Reminder if you do not know. (8). And We did not place them in bodies that did not eat food, nor were they immortals.
It is obvious from the translation, even if one doesn’t understand Quranic Arabic that both the verses start off addressed to the Prophet, affirming that the messengers before him were all from mankind (as opposed to angels or any other kind of being). Then, the people are ordered to ask ‘the people of the reminder’ or ‘Ahl Adh dhikr’ if they do not know. It is worth noting that this is very specific. It is about asking these people on this specific issue.
So who are these people who will confirm all the messengers before Muhammad’s time were humans? These people are the Jews and Christians. They believe in the same Prophets as the Quran tells us about. If you read the rest of the Quran, this will appear to you as clear as day.
Where is the command to follow scholars, to delegate our morality, our religious principles? It is nowhere to be found. In fact the Quran states the opposite!
In 9:31, we are told
اتَّخَذُواْ أَحْبَـرَهُمْ وَرُهْبَـنَهُمْ أَرْبَاباً مِّن دُونِ اللَّهِ وَالْمَسِيحَ ابْنَ مَرْيَمَ وَمَآ أُمِرُواْ إِلاَّ لِيَعْبُدُواْ إِلَـهاً وَحِداً لاَّ إِلَـهَ إِلاَّ هُوَ سُبْحَـنَهُ عَمَّا يُشْرِكُونَ
‘They (Jews and Christians) took their rabbis and their monks to be their lords besides Allah, and (they also took as their Lord) the Messiah, son of Maryam, while they were commanded to worship none but One God, none has the right to be worshipped but He. Praise and hallowed be He above what they associate (with Him).’
A well known hadith explains this verse.
Adi ibn Hatim (he was not a Muslim at this point) reported: I heard the Prophet reciting the verse in Surah At-Tawbah, “They have taken their priests and rabbis as Lords besides Allah.” (9:31) I asked: O Messenger of Allah, we don’t worship them and [The Prophet] replied: “but do they not make impermissible what Allah has made permissible and do they not make permissible what Allah has made impermissible and you do that?” I replied: ‘yes’ and he said: “then that it is [a form] worshipping them.” (Tirmidhi)
For over a millennium, the Muslim clergy have changed and twisted the religion so much that it is almost unrecognisable. The list is endless. From claiming that interest is permitted (when it is a major sin and that which is tantamount to Allah waging war against you), taking away women’s God given rights, making sex slavery acceptable, terrorism presented as jihad, propagating domestic violence and abuse, and so on and so forth.
Our principal enemy is, in reality, within us. It is us. We are leading ourselves astray. Following opinions instead of scripture, the creation instead of the Creator.
Furthermore, the Quran states
وَمِنَ النَّاسِ مَن يَتَّخِذُ مِن دُونِ اللَّهِ أَندَادًا يُحِبُّونَهُمْ كَحُبِّ اللَّهِ وَالَّذِينَ ءَامَنُواْ أَشَدُّ حُبًّا لِلَّهِ وَلَوْ يَرَى الَّذِينَ ظَلَمُواْ إِذْ يَرَوْنَ الْعَذَابَ أَنَّ الْقُوَّةَ لِلَّهِ جَمِيعًا وَأَنَّ اللَّهَ شَدِيدُ الْعَذَابِ – إِذْ تَبَرَّأَ الَّذِينَ اتُّبِعُواْ مِنَ الَّذِينَ اتَّبَعُواْ وَرَأَوُاْ الْعَذَابَ وَتَقَطَّعَتْ بِهِمُ الاٌّسْبَابُ – وَقَالَ الَّذِينَ اتَّبَعُواْ لَوْ أَنَّ لَنَا كَرَّةً فَنَتَبَرَّأَ مِنْهُمْ كَمَا تَبَرَّءُواْ مِنَّا كَذَلِكَ يُرِيهِمُ اللَّهُ أَعْمَـلَهُمْ حَسَرَتٍ عَلَيْهِمْ وَمَا هُم بِخَـرِجِينَ مِنَ النَّارِ
2:65. ‘And of mankind are some who take (for worship) others besides Allah as rivals (to Allah). They love them as they love Allah. But those who believe, love Allah more (than anything else). If only, those who do wrong could see, when they will see the torment, that all power belongs to Allah and that Allah is severe in punishment.) (166. When those who were followed disown (declare themselves innocent of) those who followed (them), and they see the torment, then all their relations will be cut off from them). (167. And those who followed will say: “If only we had one more chance to return (to the worldly life), we would disown (declare ourselves as innocent from) them as they have disowned (declared themselves as innocent from) us. Thus Allah will show them their deeds as regrets for them. And they will never get out of the Fire.’
There are other verses on this issue. Go ahead and have a look.
It’s ironic because the very foundation, the cornerstone of Islam is to worship one God (‘Allah’ in Arabic) and the term ‘Muslim’ (contrary to popular belief) means ‘one who submits to Allah’. Letting the Muslim clergy define the religion completely contradicts this and leads the global Muslim community astray.
It’s time to find our way back.