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Edip Yuksel and Farouk Peru debate Islamic reform and the 19 theory on video

Edip Yuksel is a prominent Quranist, believer in Islamic reform, and the leading proponent of the 19 theory. He recently debated in London with another Quranist, Farouk Peru. Their main area of disagreement was the 19 theory. I found myself chairing the event, which was recorded and can be watched on YouTube. The videos are also embedded below.

Recorded 9 June 2012. Posted 24 November 2012

On 9 June 2012 I attended a talk in London because Edip Yuksel was one of the speakers. I had come across his name several years ago, and own a copy of his translation of the Quran, "Quran: A Reformist Translation" by Martha Schulte-Nafeh, Edip Yuksel and Layth Saleh Al-Shaiban although I have only read part of it.

The main contents of the poster inviting people to the event are reproduced in the box below.

I am not a Quranist as I regard the automatic rejection of all Hadith as too extreme a position; it is the opposite end of the spectrum from regarding all Hadith in all Hadith collections as perfectly recorded.

My own position is that all Hadith have to be evaluated in the following manner which I set out a few years ago in my Muslim Council of Britain Manifesto:

Quranists event poster

The Quranists Network Presents: An Afternoon with Edip Yuksel Discussing Islamic Reformation and A Conversation on the 19 Theory

The Quranists Network would like to invite you to an afternoon with Edip Yuksel, one of the leading figures in the Islamic Reform movement and a proponent of the code 19 as a prophetic mathematical system in the Quran, for a deep discussion on Islamic Reformation and a conversation about the 19 Theory.

Islamic Reformation is one of the most popular topics in Islamic discourse today. Many individuals and groups claim to
be ‘Islamic Reformists’ but what is ‘Islamic Reform’ exactly and what are its next steps forward?

The 19 theory has convinced many of the Quran and yet has courted much controversy due to its rejection of two verses,
namely 9:128-129. What is the truth of matter? Come join us and listen to the various opinions and decide for yourself!

A Special Thanks to the Muslim Institute for hosting this event and providing lunch!


11.30am : Meeting Room Opens
12.00pm: Discussion on the 19 Theory. Speakers:

  1. Edip Yuksel
  2. Farouk A. Peru (Chairman of the Quranists Network)
1.00pm : Questions from the Floor
1.30pm: Lunch
2.00pm : A Discussion on Islamic Reform
2.30pm : Edip Yuksel
3.00pm: Farouk A. Peru on The Theory of Protestant Islam
3.30-4.30pm: Questions and Answers
  1. Find the original sources and read them
  2. Ensure that I understand what the source is saying
  3. If it is a Hadith, how authentic is it?
  4. Consider the implications at the time the text arose
  5. Consider what the text means for us today

Islamic Reformation is a phrase which means different things to different people. Some interpret it as calling for a radical break with the Islamic past along the lines of Martin Luther's break with the Roman Catholic Church. To others it means little more than going back to the original sources of Quran and Hadith rather than being bound by the opinions of the various schools of Islamic law.

Accordingly it is a phrase I prefer to avoid using, in the same way that I avoid the word Islamism due to the elasticity of its meaning.

I was vaguely aware of the 19 Theory. This is a theory that the number 19 occurs repeatedly in the Quran in a significant way. However I had paid it no serious attention.

I was sitting peacefully in the audience waiting for the event to start when the organiser Samia Rahman, Deputy Director of the Muslim Institute asked if I would chair it! As I have had a fair amount of practice chairing meetings and never like to decline a request, I agreed to chair. The responsibility of the chair is simply to begin and end the event, and to ensure that the speakers keep to time etc.

The event was recorded and as you will from the videos below, was quite a challenge to chair. However I found it very interesting. Since both Edip Yuksel and Farouk Peru are Quranists and broadly supportive of Islamic Reform (while differing on details), their main point of disagreement was the 19 theory.

The event was too long to fit sensibly into a single long video on YouTube, and needed to be divided into segments. I assume that its division into exactly 19 segments is not a coincidence but an allusion to the subject matter by the video editor!

Having attended the event, I remain extremely sceptical about the 19 theory, since its proponents seem to reject any data that does not fit their theory.

Video recording of the event

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

Part 5 - I needed to exercise strong chairmanship to remain in control of the meeting!

Part 6

Part 7

Part 8

Part 9

Part 10

Part 11

Part 12

Part 13

Part 14

Part 15

Part 16

Part 17

Part 18

Part 19


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