Is Claire Khaw’s Secular Koranism a Legitimate School of Shari’a?

Answered by Ustadh Salman Younas


I disagree with a famous and influential ideologue named Claire Khaw. Claire claims to have invented a new version of Shari’a called “Secular Koranism.” In developing her Shari’a, Claire only allows the Koran to be used and no other texts outside of the Quran. Claire makes the following statements about the Quran:

  • There is no command that one must believe in Allah
  • Idolatry is not ruled forbidden in the Quran
  • Blasphemy is not declared illegal in the Quran

So, according to Claire’s Secular Koranism, idolatry and blasphemy would not be forbidden, and the government would exact Koranic dictates in an agnostic way.

Is Claire Khaw’s “Secular Koranism” a legitimate school of Shari’a?


This is not a legitimate school in the shari’a, and even a cursory reading of the Quran would demonstrate the utterly bizarre nature of the claims you relate to this individual.

Hundreds of verses in the Quran speak about the grave sin of disbelieving in God and the requirement to believe in Him. Allah Most High explicitly states in the Quran, “So, believe in God and His messengers” in the imperative form. [Quran, 3:179]

Similarly, the rejection of polytheism, of which idolatry is one form, is so rampant in the Quran and so central to its message that no sensible person could claim that it is not forbidden. In one verse, the Quran relates Ibrahim saying, “Do you take idols as deities? Indeed, I see you and your people be in manifest misguidance.” [Quran, 6:74] The same applies to rejecting and blaspheming against God, His angels, books, and prophets.

[Ustadh] Salman Younas
Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Ustadh Salman Younas, born and raised in New York, graduated from Stony Brook University with a degree in Political Science and Religious Studies. After studying the Islamic sciences online and with local scholars in New York, Ustadh Salman moved to Amman. There he studied Islamic law, legal methodology, belief, hadith methodology, logic, Arabic, and tafsir. He is now in his final year of his PhD at Oxford University, looking at the early evolution of the Hanafi madhab.
His teachers include: Shaykh Faraz Rabbani, Shaykh Salah Abu’l Hajj, Shaykh Ashraf Muneeb, Shaykh Ahmad Hasanat, Shaykh Hamza Karamali, Shaykh Ahmad Snobar, Shaykh Ali Hani, Shaykh Hamza Bakri, Ustadh Rajab Harun and others.
Ustadh Salman’s personal interests include research into the fields of law/legal methodology, hadith, theology, as well as political theory, government, media, and ethics. He is also an avid traveler and book collector. He currently resides in the UK with his wife.