An Interview with Farouk A. Peru
Interviewer: Scott Douglas Jacobsen
Title: In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal
Place of Publication: Langley, British Columbia, Canada
Name of Publisher: In-Sight Publishing
Numbering: Issue 10.A, Idea: Outliers & Outsiders (Part Six)
Individual Publication Date: April 22, 2016 (2016-04-22)
Issue Publication Date: May 1, 2016 (2016-05-01)
Frequency: Three Times Per Year
Web Domain: www.in-sightjournal.com
An interview with Farouk A. Peru. He discusses: geographic, cultural, and linguistic background; source of personal interest in Islam; Quranology Blog; Islam’s entrance into personal life; Qur’an’s personal meaning; authenticity and veracity of the text; Prophet Muhammad and other prophets in Islam; Islam’s eschatology; Quranism definition of the soul; Quranism definition of the whole person; Quranism definition of relationship of humanity to Allah; Quranism statement about the sexes; Quranism definition of marriage; daily inspiration through the Qur’an; definition of Quranism; definition of Muslim; Quranism stance on evolution, creationism, and intelligent design; general Islamic stance on evolution, creationism, and intelligent design; possibility of understanding the world as Allah’s work; things Muslims and non-Muslims can do about those giving religion a bad name; reconciliation of human specialness in light of human beings as common productions of natural processes; ways the media can give accurate views of those within the faith community; forces influencing future directions of Islam; whether science denies Allah or not; other plausible interpretations of the scientific evidence; whether religion can survive without faith; whether religions survive increasingly persuasive scientific explanations for natural phenomena; repairing the schisms in Islam; whether they should be or not; and means for those with an interest in becoming involved with the Quranists Network or Islam.
Keywords: Islam, Muslim, Quranism, Quranists Network, religion, science.
*Please see the footnotes, bibliography, and citation style listing after the interview.*
*Please see Appendix II: Qur’an Quotes on Male and Female Spiritual Equality*
*Note from Mr. Peru: “www.quranists.net is about all quranists. It does not have any official views but rather would strive to host all views and debates. www.quranology.name is a space for my personal views and research. it’s quranist by definition but follows only one approach which is my own”*
1. In terms of geography, culture, and language, where does your family background reside?
I am from a Malay background. We are the majority ethnic group in Malaysia and my family specifically comes from Penang, an island state in northern Malaysia. We speak English as our first language but are also fluent in Malay.
2. Where does personal interest in Islam source itself?
My grandfather and uncle who both had a keen interest in Islam. Both were into Islamic mysticism and I grew up reading books on the subject. I suppose my cultural origin as a Muslim gave me a means through which I sought my place in the world. I now see it as a vehicle towards the destination of self-actualization as a human being.
3. You run the Quranology Blog. In a number of short posts – What is Quran? (2015), What is Quranology? (2015), Sections of Quranology (2015), and How I Arrived Here (2015), you provide the basis and reasons for the Qur’an, Quranology, and personal arrival into the work.,,, What inspired its development into the present status as an online resource?
Since the late 90ies, I have ventured into creating websites and blogs in the past. However, during that time, my thoughts had not yet formed in the way it is now. What was missing back then was a strong theoretical foundation.
The essays you mentioned above represents a map through which a reader may start as a human being and venture forth into the world of Quran (mapped out in the ‘sections of Quranology’). It is important that he starts out from this existential position rather a religious one because, in my view, Quran is not a religious text but an existential one. It speaks to what I call ‘the facticity of existence’ which is the reality of our being as humans.
4. How did Islam come into your life?
My family are culturally and religiously Muslim so the natural familiarity helped form my identity as a Muslim. However I have a deeper involvement as I am involved socially and politically as well. However, I am now on the left side of the Islamic political spectrum. An Islamic liberal, if you will.
5. What does the Qur’an mean to you?
The Quran to me is a text inspired by the divine force to the historical personality Muhammad son of Abdullah. In this text, we may find the essential truths of human being.
6. What argument and evidences attest to its authenticity and veracity to you?
I see the Quran as a legacy left by the historical Muhammad to his community. The community was encouraged to memorise the text as a cultural practice and in my observation, they have done so immaculately. The contents of the texts is also agreed upon by the Sunni and Shia factions of Islam which attests to its early date of codification. That is my understanding of authenticity.
On the question of veracity, the Quran promotes an experiment to verify that its statements about the human condition are, in fact, true (Chapter 41, Verse 53). I have and am still performing this experiment and am satisfied that the Quran is veracious in this regard.
7. What about Prophet Muhammad?
Prophet Muhammad in my understanding was the historical personality who first received the Quran. He interpreted and applied it in his own personal subjectivities. I am not obligated to follow these interpretations and applications, even if I do agree about their authenticity.
They are historical personalities, some of those histories are codified in the Quranic text. The purpose of their codification is to provide archetypes for humanity to evolve (as per Quran Ch 11 Vs 120 and Ch 12 Vs 111).
9. Eschatology relates to the “last things.” Judaism and Christianity assert and study them through the Torah, Old Testament, and New Testament. Muslims study the texts of the People of the Book in addition to the Qur’an and the Hadith. What is Islam’s eschatology?
As a point of interest, I do not accept the ‘people of the book’ to be Jews and Christians but rather people bound to a certain law or code. Neither do I accept the OT or NT as divinely inspired texts.
In my understanding of the Quran, the last day is when humanity is gathered and their deeds are weighed. Those who pass will go through to the next stage of infinite Being where they rejoin universal consciousness.
10. How does Quranism define the soul?
I can only speak for my organization (Quranology Institute) and not for other Quranists. To me, the soul is the human personality which is our vehicle in this world. Like any vehicle, it needs to be upkept and even improved upon and ultimately after death, it will take us on the journey of reunion with the Divine.
11. How does Quranism define the whole person?
I can only speak for my organization (Quranology Institute) and not for other Quranists. The whole person, in my understanding of the Quran, is the soul (nafs), heart (qalb) and sadr (projection). The heart acts as a compass, the soul as a vehicle. This leads to our projected selves into the world which expands and brings peace (salam).
12. How does Quranism define the relationship of humanity to Allah?
I can only speak for my organization (Quranology Institute) and not for other Quranists. Our fundamental relationship is that of servitude (a matter of choice). When we serve Allah, we imbue ourselves with his baptism (the realization of His attributes). We then actualize these attributes in the world.
13. Numerous quotations in the Qur’an delineate the equality of the sexes. What does Quranism state about the sexes?
I can only speak for my organization (Quranology Institute) and not for other Quranists. In my understanding, there is no delineation in social roles with the exception of family law and reproduction where the woman who nurses her child needs to be cared for.
14. How does Quranism define marriage?
I can only speak for my organization (Quranology Institute) and not for other Quranists. In my understanding, a marriage is a social contract which recognizes the romantic/sexual relationship between two individuals. This contract must define the terms of their lives together.
15. What inspiration comes from daily life through the Qu’ran for you?
In my daily life, I work with the underprivileged from time to time and when I do so, verses of the Quran which relate to this issue resonate with me deeply. The Quran gives a special position to charity work, placing it right next to worship in no less than four places (2/83, 4/36, 6/151 and 17/23).
16. The Quranists Network’s vision states with clarity its purpose to express the “vision of islam itself.” In the Introduction (2015) to the Quranists Network, the collective describes Quranism as “a major stream in Islam along with Sunnism and Shiaism.” In Quranists and the term ‘Quranists’ (2015), you clarify the definition further. In that, you note Quranism does not equate to another sect of Islam and the necessity of shirking hawa or delusions to become monotheists. In that, one does not develop into a monotheist by dint of accepting the Qu’ran or becoming Muslim. What defines Quranism to you?
Quranism should be seen as a space wherein there are unending discussions about the Quran. Any person can enter this space and can take whatever he or she wishes from it. Quranism must never force dogma upon anyone. The idea is to fertilise thinking and benefit from reading and applying the text.
17. What defines a Muslim to you?
I define a muslim in two ways. One, a Muslim (with a capital ‘M’) part of the world of Islam, which is a religious culture known to the world as Islam. A Muslim in this sense is affliated by birth or conversion to that culture and practices Islam to varying levels.
Another way I see ‘muslim’ (with a small ‘m’) is in the existential sense (which I gather from the Quran). A muslim is one who promotes wholeness and soundness of self and society. He does not have to be religious or even a theist. This definition of muslim is ironically found more in the Western world than the Muslim one.
18. Some religions, or sects within the, reject evolution and accept creationism, or an adapted from entitled intelligent design. Where does the Quranist movement stand with respect to evolution, creationism, and intelligent design?
As a matter of fact, Quranists seem to be pro-evolution and intelligent design. I have hardly seen Quranists who are also creationists. This is probably due to the fact that the Quran does not incline to the literal interpretation of adam. In my reading, it sees adam as a human prototype (as per 7/11)
19. What about the general Islamic world – believers, Islamic states, Arab League, and so on?
The Islamic world tends to be creationists and also very hostile to Traditional Muslims who say otherwise. A friend of mine, one Usama Hassan, received a huge backlash for stating his pro-evolution views.
20. The future of faith and religion as humans become more powerful at controlling and explaining the world. Is trying to understand the world doing Allah’s work?
I believe it is. I believe that the world is a manifestation of our collective souls and in the evolution of souls, we may bring peace to the world. That is Allah’s work. Religion cannot or at least should not be dissociated from our human experience.
21. What can Muslims and non-Muslims about those giving religion a bad name?
I believe that all of humanity needs to bring about a state wherein people can self-actualize. This can be done through overcoming stagnation which happens through poverty. This program would lead to closer human relations and those who give religion a bad name would have the rug pulled from under them
22. How does one present faith in human beings as special in light of scientific knowledge presenting human beings as common productions of natural processes – cosmic, geologic, evolutionary, socio-cultural, and so on?
Faith is an internal experience which should bring about a feeling of peace and security. Scientific knowledge is an external experience. I do not feel that one can do without the other but neither does one compromise the other.
23. With disproportionate time apportioned to the extremists within religion, how can the media present an accurate view of those within the faith community?
If the media were inclined to do so (which I do not think the mainstream media are), they should focus on the social activism of Muslims. There are Muslim organizations which are passionate about battling poverty and they should receive media focus.
24. What forces might push Islam in different directions in the future?
The force of Islamic Reform, I believe, can return Islam to its original trajectory, to become a living tradition which feeds into human evolution. However, Islamic Reform is not an idea which is very proliferant in the Muslim just yet.
25. Does science deny Allah?
Science can neither confirm or deny anything. Like a computer, science can process hypotheses and produce a deduction. The set up of the system is dependent upon the person and hence is subjective. Therefore science can justify both theism and atheism.
26. What other plausible interpretations of the scientific evidence exist to you?
I believe scientific evidence shows that there is a force which pushes the universe to more complex levels of consciousness as opposed to entropy which seems to permeate the universe. This is what the Quran calls ‘rabubiyah’ (lordship) and should be accessed by humanity.
27. Can religion survive without faith?
If by ‘faith’, you mean ‘blind faith’, then I believe it is only way religion can survive – without blind faith. Rather, religion must use reason in order to verify its own internal experience.
28. Can religion survive increasingly persuasive scientific explanations for natural phenomena?
Science can only explain the physical properties of natural phenomena. The metaphysics which underpin reality is something science cannot talk about by definition. This is where our internal faculties are needed. Religion provides vehicles for this internal journey.
29. Can the schisms within Islam be repaired?
I am not optimistic because the rift has widened into a chasm. The identities of the Sunni and Shia sects have become cultures in their own right. While the hostilities can be repaired, I do not think the schisms can.
30. Should they be?
Not necessarily because any sect can be employed to provide a means for spiritual betterment.
31. For those with an interest in subscribing, resources exist such as announcements, bookshop, events, Kindle Books, mp3 audio files, news, QNetTV, Quranists Network Forum, and the subscriber list.,,,,,,,, What other means exist for those with an interest in becoming involved in the Quranists Network or Islam?
They should join our facebook groups – Quranists Reverts, Quranists.net and Quranist Space.
Thank you for your time, Mr. Peru.
- Abraham. (2015). In Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved from http://www.britannica.com/biography/Abraham.
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- Noah. (2015). In Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved from http://www.britannica.com/topic/Noah.
- Peru, F.A. (n.d.). Quranists and the term ‘Quranists’. Retrieved from http://www.quranists.net/2011/04/13/quranists-and-the-term-quranists/.
- Peru, F.A. (2015). Quranology Blog. Retrieved from https://quranology.wordpress.com/author/faroukaperu/.
- Peru, F.A. (2015). Sections of Quranology. Retrieved from https://quranology.wordpress.com/introduction/an-explanation-of-the-sections-of-quranology/.
- Peru, F.A. (2015). What is Quran?. Retrieved from https://quranology.wordpress.com/introduction/what-is-quran/.
- Peru, F.A. (2015). What is Quranology?. Retrieved from https://quranology.wordpress.com/introduction/what-is-quranology/.
- Qur’an. (2015). InEncyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved from http://www.britannica.com/topic/Quran.
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Appendix I: Footnotes
 Founder, Quranology Blog; Administrator, Quranist Network.
 Individual Publication Date: April 22, 2016 at www.in-sightjournal.com/an-interview-with-farouk-a-peru; Full Issue Publication Date: May 1, 2016 at www.in-sightjournal.com/insight-issues.
 Ph.D. Candidate, King’s College, London.
 Photograph courtesy of Farouk A. Peru.
 Peru, F.A. (2015). Quranology Blog. Retrieved from https://quranology.wordpress.com/author/faroukaperu/.
 Peru, F.A. (2015). What is Quran?. Retrieved from https://quranology.wordpress.com/introduction/what-is-quran/.
 Peru, F.A. (2015). What is Quranology?. Retrieved from https://quranology.wordpress.com/introduction/what-is-quranology/.
 Peru, F.A. (2015). Sections of Quranology. Retrieved from https://quranology.wordpress.com/introduction/an-explanation-of-the-sections-of-quranology/.
 Peru, F.A. (2015). How I arrived Here. Retrieved from https://quranology.wordpress.com/introduction/this-blog/.
 Adam and Eve. (2015). In Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved from http://www.britannica.com/biography/Adam-and-Eve-biblical-literary-figures.
 Moses. (2015). In Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved from http://www.britannica.com/biography/Moses-Hebrew-prophet.
 In eschatology (2015):
…the doctrine of the last things. It was originally a Western term, referring to Jewish, Christian, and Muslim beliefs about the end of history, the resurrection of the dead, the Last Judgment, the messianic era, and the problem of theodicy (the vindication of God’s justice). Historians of religion have applied the term to similar themes and concepts in the religions of nonliterate peoples, ancient Mediterranean and Middle Eastern cultures, and Eastern civilizations. Eschatological archetypes also can be found in various secular liberation movements.
eschatology. (2015). In Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved from http://www.britannica.com/topic/eschatology.
 Appendix I: Qur’an Quotes on the Spiritual Equality of the Sexes.
 Vision (2015) states:
The primary vision of Quranism is none other than the vision of islam itself. The meaning of ‘islam’ when articulated by the Quran is ‘attaining peace’ and ‘peace’ here is holistic, that is to say peace in all aspects of our lives. If we think about it, all human beings seek a state of peace. We are the same in that respect and only different in how we go about seeking that peace.
What makes Quranism distinct from the other ideologies is that it seeks to extract from the Quran a philosophy which will bring the above effect. It is different from other forms of Islam in the sense that it tries to make the Quran the sole source of that philosophy whereas the others acknowledge other sources as divine sources.
Quranists seek to bring into the world a state of peace. We would like to see justice and equality in the world and an end to corruption, exploitation and oppression. We hope to do this by articulating and disseminating our understandings of the Quran so that anyone may practise those principles in however manner they choose. We hope to help humanity discover the earthly garden.
Our secondary vision is to have Quranism recognised as a legitimate form of Islam. At present, Quranism is seen as either heretical or worse still, totally irrelevant to Islamic discourse. Quranists, we believe, have a legitimate claim to be recognised as a form of Islam. We will therefore promote Quranist Islam through our activities.
Quranists Network. (2015). Quranists Network: Vision. Retrieved from Quranists Network. (2015). Quranists Network. Retrieved from http://www.quranists.net/.
 Introduction (2015) states:
Quranism is a major stream in Islam along with Sunnism and Shiaism. Quranism approaches Islam in a unique way compared to the others in that it rejects or at least questions the role of Islamic Traditions. In doing so, Quranists have had to engage with the Quran through fresh eyes and have become a type of Islam which is unusual to most people. However, in recent years with the popularisation of the internet, Quranism has become very high-profile. This website hopes to promote Quranism as a form of Islam.
The Quranists Network is an associationof individuals and institutions who promote Quranism. It is not the owner of the term of Quranists or Quranism. Quranism and Quranists is a public term.
Quranists Network. (2015). Quranists Network: Introduction. Retrieved from http://www.quranists.net/sample-page/introduction/.
 Peru, F.A. (n.d.). Quranists and the term ‘Quranists’. Retrieved from http://www.quranists.net/2011/04/13/quranists-and-the-term-quranists/.
Appendix II: Qur’an Quotes on Male and Female Spiritual Equality
- (Qurʾan 16:97) Anyone who works righteousness, male or female, while believing, we will surely grant them a happy life in this world, and we will surely pay them their full recompense (on the Day of Judgment) for their righteous works.”
- (Qurʾan 4:124) As for those who lead a righteous life, male or female, while believing, they enter Paradise; without the slightest injustice.”
- (Qurʾan 33:35) The submitting men, the submitting women, the believing men, the believing women, the obedient men, the obedient women, the truthful men, the truthful women, the steadfast men, the steadfast women, the reverent men, the reverent women, thecharitable men, the charitable women, the fasting men, the fasting women, the chaste men, the chaste women, and the men who commemorate GOD frequently, and the commemorating women; GOD has prepared for them forgiveness and a great recompense.
- (Qurʾan 40:40) Whoever commits a sin is requited for just that, and whoever works righteousness – male or female – while believing, these will enter Paradise wherein they receive provisions without any limits.
- (Qurʾan 4:124) As for those who lead a righteous life, male or female, while believing, they enter Paradise; without the slightest injustice.”
- (Qurʾan 49:13) O people, we created you from the same male and female, and rendered you distinct peoples and tribes, that you may recognize one another. The best among you in the sight of GOD is the most righteous. GOD is Omniscient, Cognizant.”
- (Qurʾan 3:195) “Their Lord responded to them: “I never fail to reward any worker among you for any work you do, be you male or female – you are equal to one another. Thus, those who immigrate, and get evicted from their homes, and are persecuted because of Me, and fight and get killed, I will surely remit their sins and admit them into gardens with flowing streams.” Such is the reward from GOD. GOD possesses the ultimate reward.”
- (Qurʾan 3:195) “I shall not lose sight of the labor of any of you who labors in My way, be it man or woman; you proceed one from another…”
- (Qurʾan 4:124) “If any do deeds of righteousness,- be they male or female – and have faith, they will enter Heaven, and not the least injustice will be done to them.”
- (Qurʾan 16:97) “Whoever works righteousness, man or woman, and has Faith, verily, to him will We give a new Life, a life that is good and pure, and We will bestow on such their reward according to the best of their actions.” (Quran 16:97)
- (Qurʾan 49:13) “O mankind! We have created you from a male and a female, and made you into nations and tribes, that you may know one another. Verily, the most honorable of you with God is the most pious. Verily, God is All-Knowing, All-Aware.”
- (Qurʾan 2:228) “. . . Wives have the same rights as the husbands have on them in accordance with the generally known principles.”
Appendix III: Citation Style Listing
American Medical Association (AMA): Jacobsen S. An Interview with Farouk A. Peru. In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal [Online].April 2016; 10(A). Available from: www.in-sightjournal.com/an-interview-with-farouk-a-peru.
American Psychological Association (APA, 6th Edition, 2010): Jacobsen, S.D. (2016, April 22). An Interview with Farouk A. Peru. Retrieved from www.in-sightjournal.com/an-interview-with-farouk-a-peru.
Brazilian National Standards (ABNT): JACOBSEN, S. An Interview with Farouk A. Peru. In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal. 10.A, April. 2016. <www.in-sightjournal.com/an-interview-with-farouk-a-peru>.
Chicago/Turabian, Author-Date (16th Edition): Jacobsen, Scott. 2016. “An Interview with Farouk A. Peru.” In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal. 10.A. www.in-sightjournal.com/an-interview-with-farouk-a-peru.
Chicago/Turabian, Humanities (16th Edition): Jacobsen, Scott “An Interview with Farouk A. Peru.” In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal. 10.A (April 2016). www.in-sightjournal.com/an-interview-with-farouk-a-peru.
Harvard: Jacobsen, S. 2016, ‘An Interview with Farouk A. Peru’, In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal, vol. 10.A. Available from: <www.in-sightjournal.com/an-interview-with-farouk-a-peru>.
Harvard, Australian: Jacobsen, S. 2016, ‘An Interview with Farouk A. Peru‘, In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal, vol. 10.A., www.in-sightjournal.com/an-interview-with-farouk-a-peru.
Modern Language Association (MLA, 7th Edition, 2009): Scott D. Jacobsen. “An Interview with Farouk A. Peru.” In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal 10.A (2016):April. 2016. Web. <www.in-sightjournal.com/an-interview-with-farouk-a-peru>.
Vancouver/ICMJE: Jacobsen S. An Interview with Farouk A. Peru [Internet]. (2016, April); 10(A). Available from: www.in-sightjournal.com/an-interview-with-farouk-a-peru.
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