AS Islam: The Quran and Religious leaders.
"In Religion today, the authority of religious leaders is more important than the authority of scriptures".
Explain and assess this view (20 marks).
The word "religious authority" means a source of leadership, control that governs and teaches its followers, in a manner, which is acceptable for that particular religion. In Islam, this is Allah, the Holy Quran, the Sunnah and the Hadith of the Prophet (S), as well as the Prophet himself, and in today's society, the masjids and the imams etc .
According to many Muslims the Quran is the primary source of authority. The Quran is the mainstay of Islamic life and culture. It transformed people from a set of warring tribes into a civilised international community. It gave Muslims a distinct identity and fashioned their history and continued to be a source of inspiration for over 1000 years.
The Quran itself says that it is a revelation from God which, sums up all the people need to know about God and religion, "This is a book, in it guidance sure without doubt to those who fear God (surah 2 v2.)"The Quran is exactly the same as in its present version as it was in the time it was revealed. So it contains Allah's exact words and this shows that it has more authority.
Also it was given to Muhammad (S) in such a way that it can never be distorted, "He sent among them an Apostle from among themselves, rehearsing unto them the signs of God, sanctifying them and instructing them in scripture and wisdom, while before that they had been in manifest error (Surah 3 v 164)." The Prophet Muhammad (S) was illiterate when he received the first revelation in the year 610, in Cave Hira. This further provides authority for the Quran. As Abul Ala Mawdudi said, "Belief in the Quran should be of the nature that it is purely and absolutely God's own words, that it is perfectly true, that every word of it is preserved, that everything mentioned therein is right.