Rashad Khalifa

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Rashad Khalifa

Rashad Khalifa (November 19, 1935 - January 31, 1990) was an Egyptian Muslim who moved to the United States as a student of biochemistry in 1959 and later became a citizen. He established an Islamic group called United Submitters International whose beliefs include the dedication of all worship practices to God alone and the rejection of Hadith/Sunnah as a source of doctrine. For many years he was the imam of a mosque in Tucson, Arizona.

Starting in 1969, Khalifa used computers to analyze the frequency of letters and words in the Quran. In 1974 he claimed to have discovered an intricate numerical pattern in the text of the Qur'an involving the number 19 mentioned in surah 74. He published several books on this subject.

Khalifa was initially well-received throughout the Muslim world, but became the subject of bitter controversy when he made several claims that appeared heretical according to the mainstream opinion of both the Sunnite and Shiite schools of thought.

Contents

1 External links

Controversy on denouncing two verses in the Qur'an

Khalifa denounced two long-accepted verses (Surah 9:128-129) of the Qur'an as false additions, portraying himself as a "purifier" of the Qur'an. He justified this by means of his numerical patterns and also by historical evidence he discovered showing that the verses had been added to the Qur'an to honor the prophet after his death. The most famous collection of Hadiths, that of al-Bukhari, does indeed say that the verses were only present in one copy of the Sura existing at the time of the compilation of the Qu'ran.

Controversy on claim of Messengership

The controversy surrounding Khalifa deepened when he used his patterns to declare himself as a messenger of God, alongside of Abraham and Muhammad. He claimed to be God's Messenger of the Covenant, prophesied in the Bible in Malachi 3:1-3 and in the Quran 3:81, sent to purify and consolidate all God's messages into one.

The Introduction of his translation of the Quran reads: "The time has come to purify and consolidate all the messages delivered by God's prophets into one message, and proclaim that henceforth, only one religion is acceptable by God, Islam (Quran 3:19). "Islam" is not a name of a religion; it is a description. "Islam" is the total submission and devotion to God ALONE. Thus, there are many Muslim Christians, Muslim Jews, and Muslim Muslims. There is only one religion - devoting one's worship to God ALONE. This is the First Commandment in the Old Testament, the New Testament, and this Final Testament."

His claim of messengership caused him to be considered a heretic and an apostate by the main corpus of Muslims. Khalifa made a distinction between the words "messenger" and "prophet" and considered Muhammad to be the final prophet but not the last messenger. Most Muslims consider Muhammed to be both the final prophet and the final messenger.

Controversy on altered Shahadah

Khalifa claimed that it was wrong to mention any name besides the name of God in any of the worship practices, including the Salat and the Shahadah. This was not well received by most traditional Muslims who mention the name of Muhammad in most of their worship practices.

Controversy on Hadith and Sunnah

As stated, Khalifa rejected the importance of the believed narrations of prophet Muhammed's words and actions during his life time, Hadith and Sunnah, which turned a lot of attention to the difference between original Submission (Islam) compared to traditional Islam, the Islam as the world knows it today. This in turn has triggered debates throughout the world on the subject and the spawning of several groups with similar ideas yet unconnected with his main group.

Several muslims have published refutations of Rashad Khalifa's numerical patterns and theological innovations. The controversy continues.

On January 31, 1990, Khalifa was stabbed to death in his Tucson mosque. It is commonly believed that an extremist group al-Fuqara' based in Pakistan was responsible.

External links

  • Y.Y. Haddad and J.I. Smith, Mission to America; Five Islamic Sectarian Communities in North America, University Press of Florida, 1993. ISBN 0813012163.
  • R. Khalifa, Quran: Visual Presentation of the Miracle, Islamic Productions International, 1982.
  • R. Khalifa, Quran: The Final Testament, Islamic Productions International, 1989.
  • R. Khalifa, The Computer Speaks: God's Message to the World, Islamic Productions International, 1981.
  • R. Khalifa, Quran: Visual Presentation of the Miracle, Islamic Productions International, 1982.ar:رشاد_خليفة
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