Tuesday, 2 August 2011

The Qur’aan and Allaah’s attribute of Speech







Aļļaah’s attribute of Speech
Allaah’s Speech is a necessary and eternal attribute of perfection, which pertains to what He knows, by which He tells, orders, promises and threatens. It would be imperfection for the Creator not to have an attribute by which He tells, orders, promises and threatens.
That is why we do not believe it has a beginning, or that it is an action, such as our speech, because that would mean that Aļļaah needed to create for Himself a Speech to achieve perfection.
Moreover, it is imperfection to be attributed with the attribute of expressing what one knows serially (i.e. consecutively, one piece of information after another, or by letters or words). This is because speech that consists of serial expressions must have a beginning and because there will be a delay in informing all that one knows.
Words and letters are created speech
Speech consisting of words and letters is the speech of creation. For this reason one cannot say that Aļļaah’s eternal attribute of Speech is letters and sounds, because Allaah said:
لَيْسَ كَمِثْلِهِ شَيْءٌ
Meaning: “Absolutely nothing resembles Him.” (Al-Sħuuraa, 11)
Accordingly, when Ahlu-s-Sunnah, the Asħˆariyys and the Ĥanafiyys, say that the “Qur’aan is not created” they are referring to Aļļaah’s eternal attribute of speech that is not sound or letters. In other words, the Speech that the book of the Qur’aan refers to.
This is the correct belief, because the Arabic language, just like all languages, was created by Allaah. Accordingly, if Arabic is a creation, how can Arabic speech be anything but a creation?
After all, what is composed of created things, in this case the sounds of Arabic and their representing letters, is clearly created.
Moreover, speech that is letters and sounds must have a beginning and therefore be a creation.
Why?
Because words and letters have a beginning.
So in “bismillaah”, for example “i” comes after “b”, so when you say bismillaah, the sound “i” only becomes existent after “b” ’s non-existence. This means “i” has become existent after non existence, which means that it needs a creator to exist. Nothing can come into existence without a creator, all Muslims must believe that.
The two meanings of the word
“Qur’aan”
The saying of Ahlu-s-Sunnah is that the words and letters in the printed copies of the Qur’aan refer to Allaah’s eternal Kalaam, and tell us in Arabic what He said eternally without letters, sounds or words. It is therefore correct to say that “the Qur’aan is not created,” because the word “Qur’aan” actually refers to what Allaah tells us, and His speech is not created.
It is not correct, however, to say that the words, letters, and sounds associated with the book are not created, because words and letters need a creator, and because the Arabic language, the language of the book, is a creation.
An example to clarify is that the word “Aļļaah” refers to Allaah. We do not worship these letters, or the sounds of uttering this word. Rather, we worship the one they refer to. In the same sense, the words, letters and Arabic in the book are not themselves Allaah’s attribute of Speech, but refer to that attribute; they tell us what Allaah said with His eternal Speech.
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The two aspects of speech:
meanings and expression
This can be clarified more with another example as follows: Let us say that Obama made a speech today at a White House press conference.
Then the reporters wrote down what was said and published it in the Washington Post under the title “Obama’s Speech.”
Now, if someone came and said, “This is not Obama’s Speech!
This is just paper and ink!”
Would you consider this person sensible? Of course you would not.
Why?
Let us first look at the concept of speech and the meanings of the word “speech” in this example.
If we were to imagine the events surrounding the press conference, we can imagine that before even saying anything, Obama had something in his heart that he wanted to say.
These unexpressed meanings that he wanted to say is the speech inside that he wants to make. This is called a speech, as we just did when we said, “the speech that he wants to make,” but it is not letters or sounds. Rather it is a collection of meanings that words can be used to express. Words, after all, are just collections of sounds that refer to meanings that we want to express. Yet, we refer to collections of words put together in sentences by someone as “his speech,” even if it translated to another language that this someone does not even know.
The word “speech” then, has at least two meanings.
The first is the meanings that we want to express. The second is the expression of these meanings in words and letters, body language, or some other mode of expression. The reason why the expression is simply called “his speech” or “her speech” is because the expressed form of it is an expression of what the person wanted to say.
From this it is easy to understand that the word “Qur’aan” has two meanings.
The first is the eternal Speech of Allaah that the words and letters of the book of the Qur’aan refer to, and that is not itself words, letters, language or sequence.
Note that we do not call this “inner speech”, because Aļļaah’s speech is not like our inner speech, and because Aļļaah is not said to have an inside, as He is not a body.
The second meaning of the “Qur’aan” is the book, the organized and sequential Arabic words and letters that express in Arabic what Allaah said eternally, without letters or sounds.
This book is called Allaah’s Speech, because it refers to what Allaah said eternally, and one cannot say that it is not Allaah’s speech, because that entails denying Allaah’s eternal speech.
To clarify further using the example of Obama’s speech: if it was translated to Arabic we would still call it “Obama’s Speech.” This is because they refer to the meanings he originally expressed in English based on the meanings he wanted to convey, which is his inner speech.
Accordingly, if someone said about the Arabic translation, “This is not Obama’s speech!” people would understand from this that he did not express those meanings, not that he did not say it in Arabic. In fact, if the one that claimed it is not Obama’s speech clarified what he meant and said, “He spoke English, not Arabic!” people would consider him a fool. The reason is that they understand Obama’s speech to be the meanings that he expressed, irrespective of how it is expressed.
Likewise, when Muslims hold the muşĥaf up and say, “this is Aļļaah’s Speech,” they mean the meanings that Allaah said eternally, not the paper or ink, or the letters and their sounds. That is why if someone translated an aayah of the Qur’aan to English and stated before it “Aļļaah said….” people will not object and say, “Aļļaah did not say that,” unless he disagreed with the translation. Alternatively, they mean the Arabic expression of Allaah’s eternal speech in particular, which can be considered the second meaning of the word “Qur’aan,” which the scholars refer to as an-naţħm, or “the structure.”
Deviant sayings regarding Aļļaah’s speech
Since speech that consists of words and letters is created, there is no difference between saying “Allaah’s eternal attribute of Speech is words and letters,” and saying “Allaah’s Speech is created.” The first is the saying of the Ĥuruufiyyah[1], and the second is that of the Muˆtazilah. It does not help the Huruufiyyah try to escape by saying that it is “uncreated.”
The Muˆtazilah said it is created because it is letters and sounds, and letters and sounds have a beginning, so they must be created. The Huruufiyyah take this one step further in deviation by denying the obvious, which is that anything with a beginning, such as letters, is a creation.
The only difference between the Muˆtazilah and the Ĥuruufiyyah is that the latter called this “emergent speech brought into existence by Aļļaah according to His specification” an “uncreated attribute,” whereas the Muˆtazilah called this very same “emergent speech brought into existence by Aļļaah according to His specification” a “created non-attribute.
They only differ about what to call it, and that is not a real difference, and thus not what the Salaf were concerned about when they refuted the Muˆtazilah.
What the Salaf understood from “create”
The Salaf spoke Arabic. In other words, by looking up the definition of create, we can tell what the Salaf meant when they said, “the Qur’aan is not created.” Did they mean that it is an event and was brought into existence, but not created, as the Huruufiyyah claim? Or did they mean that the Qur’aan is not brought into existence, because it is not an event, thus has no need for a creator?
The authoritative imam of Arabic linguistics Ibn Faaris[2] said in Maqaayiisu-l-Lugħah: “(The root) kħ-l-q has two basic meanings (that all its derived words, such as kħalaqa – to create – come from) one of them is to specify, the other is smoothness [3].”[4]
The linguists Ibn Manţħuur[5] in Lisaanu-l-ˆArab [6], and Az-Zabiidiyy[7] in Taaju-l-ˆAruus [8] narrate from the imaam of Arabic, Al-’Azhariyy: “Among the attributes of Allaah is “the Creator” (Al-Kħaaliq and Al-Kħallaaq), and He is the one that brought everything into existence after it being non-existent, and the root meaning of the word kħalq is specifying, so He is in the sense of what gets existence from Him the one that specified it, and in the sense of bringing into existence according to the specification, the one that created it[9].”
In the Arabic language then, to create is to bring into existence according to specification. Clearly then, there is no difference between saying “created” or “event,” because whatever did not exist must be brought into existence to become and event. Otherwise it would remain non-existent. The Huruufiyyah want to convince us that Allaah brings sounds into existence in Himself and then lets them out. They want to convince us that bringing something into existence with the specification of “in the world” is called “created”, while specifying in “the the Creator for this,” is called “event.” But there is no difference here except the specification, and creating is to bring into existence according to specification in Arabic, so this is a baseless claim.
Being an event and being created is the same
The Huruufiyyah insist that Allaah’s attribute of Kalaam/Speech is sounds and letters, and has a beginning, but is not created. They have the curious idea that not all events are created. This has no basis in the Arabic language or the terminology of the Salaf; they saw no difference between saying “event” and “created.” In this regard, Al-Bayhaqiyy narrated in Al-Asmaa’ Wa-ş-Şifaat that Wakiiˆ said:
“The Qur’aan (i.e. what the Arabic words and letters refer to) is the Speech/ Kalaam of Allaah (i.e. His eternal attribute), and it is not created. So the one that says it is created has disbelieved in Allaah.” In another narration he said, “The one that says the Qur’aan is created has said it has a beginning, and the one that says it has a beginning has blasphemed [10].” The same was narrated by Adħ-Dħahabiyy [11][12].
For those who do not know who Wakiiˆ is, it was stated by Adħ-Dħahabiyy in Siyar ‘Aˆlaam An-Nubalaa’: “The Imaam, the Ĥaafiţħ, the Muĥadditħ of ˆIraaq, …. He was born in 129 after the Hijrah (9/140-141).”
He said that Aĥmad ibn Ĥanbal used to glorify Wakiiˆ and say about him, “I have never met anyone more aware in his knowledge than Wakiiˆ, or anyone that has memorized more [13] (9/144).”
In short, Wakiiˆ is one of the greatest Hadiith masters in history and here we find him making takfiir for those who say that the the Qur’aan (i.e. the eternal attribute of Allaah that the book refers to) is an event, but not created.
The same statement was also made by Aĥmad ibn Ĥanbal. Adħ-Dħahabiyy and others narrated that he said: “The one who says that the Qur’aan is something with a beginning is a kaafir [14]. [15]
Another famous scholar of the Salaf generation, Abuu Jaˆfar Aţ-Ţabariyy said:
“The one that objects to what we have stated, it is said to him: Tell us about the speech that you described as created, and that the Beginninglessly Eternal speaks with, did He create it, as it is created according to you, in Himself, or in something else, or is it something existing in itself? If he says, ”in Himself” then this necessitates that He would be something that created things exist in and this is blasphemy according to everybody [16]. [17]
Asħ-Sħawkaaniyy affirms that the Salaf made takfiir for the one who says “the Qur’aan is an event.” He says in his book Fatĥu-l-Qadiir, under the explanation for Al-’Anbiyaa’, 2: “The imaams of the Sunnis were right in their forbiddance in answering the call to the saying ‘the Qur’aan is created’ or ‘emergent’.” Notice how he does not see a difference between created and emergent, then he said, “Allaah protected the nation of His prophet’s followers from a bad innovation through them. They went beyond that, however, and said that the Qur’aan is eternal and did not stop at that, but said that the one who says it is emergent is a kaafir[18]…. [19]” This means that the Ĥuruufiyyah are kuffaar in the eyes of the Salaf.
There is no difference then, between saying “event” and “created.” Both words mean “brought into existence,” and the Salaf were against saying “the Qur’aan is an event” just as much as they were against saying that it is created. Accordingly, any Arabic speech is created, because it did not exist and then existed, which makes it an event and in need of a creator to bring it into existence.
As for the claim that Al-Bukħaariyy called the Qur’aan an event, this is not the case. Al-Bukħaariyy was speaking of the revelation of the Qur’aan when he commented on the saying of Allaah:
مَا يَأْتِيهِمْ مِنْ ذِكْرٍ مِنْ رَبِّهِمْ مُحْدَثٍ إِلاَّ اسْتَمَعُوهُ وَهُمْ يَلْعَبُونَ [الأنبياء : 2]
Meaning: “Whenever new remembrance from their Lord comes to them, they listen to it mockingly.”
Isĥaaq ibn Raawayh was asked about this Aayah, he said: “Eternally of Allaah, new to Earth.”
Al-ˆAsqalaaniyy commented: “this is the precedent of what Al-Bukħaariyy said[20].” This must clearly be the case, lest Al-Bukħaariyy be a non-Muslim deviant in the view of the likes of Wakiiˆ and Ahmad, as discussed above.
Abuu Ĥaniifah on the meaning of “the Qur’aan is not created.”
Abuu Ĥaniifah, who is definitely among the Salaf, explains that the meaning of “the Qur’aan is not created” is that Allaah’s eternal attribute of speech is not created. In his book Al-Fiqh Al-Akbar, he said:
“The Qur’aan is the Speech of Aļļaah (Taˆaalaa), written on pages (muşĥafs), preserved in hearts, recited on tongues, and revealed to the Prophet r. Our utterance of the Qur’aan is created, and our recitation of the Qur’aan is created, but the Qur’aan is not created [21].” [22].
He means by “the Qur’aan is the Speech of Aļļaah” that the word “Qur’aan” refers to Allaah’s eternal speech that is not letters (thus not language or sounds – as letters are symbols that represent sounds.) I.e. there is no difference between saying “Aļļaah’s attribute of Speech” and “the Qur’aan;” they are synonyms. He makes this clear when he says a few paragraphs later:
“Aļļaah speaks, but not like our speech; we speak by means of instruments (vocal cords, limbs, etc.) and letters, but Aļļaah speaks without instruments or letters.
Letters are a creation, and Aļļaah’s Speech is not created [23].” [24].
In conclusion, Abuu Ĥaniifah says, “the Qur’aan is the Speech of Aļļaah,” and “Aļļaah speaks without instruments or letters,” then he emphasizes this further by saying, “Letters are a creation, and Aļļaah’s Speech is not created.”
The judgment on saying that the Qur’aan is created.
The word Qur’aan is a name for Allaah’s eternal attribute of Speech, as has been clarified earlier. It can also, however, refer to the Arabic book of the Qur’aan – the revealed letters – like when someone says, “please give me that Qur’aan on the shelf”. When the Salaf said, “the Qur’aan is not created,” they obviously meant the first meaning, not the second.
But what about if someone said, “the Qur’aan is created,” intending the book?
The Salaf said that saying that the Qur’aan is created with this sense in mind – the revealed letters of the book – is bidˆah, an ugly innovation. They considered it ugly because it may mislead someone to think that Allaah’s attribute of Speech is created.
Ibn ˆAabidiin in his Ĥaasħiyah says, “The bottom line is that what is not created is the Qur’aan in the sense of Allaah’s Speech, that is, the (eternal) attribute that is affirmed to His Self, not the sense of revealed letters. It is not said that the Qur’aan is created, however, so that no one will think that the first meaning is meant[25]. [26]
Note however, that some later scholars allowed this expression for teaching purposes, because they found it necessary to use this expression to explain that Allaah’s eternal speech is not language or letters. In fact, today it is probably the case that most people understand from the word Qur’aan the revealed letters only, and not the attribute of Allaah. For this they allowed the expression “the Qur’aan is created” for teaching purposes, so that no one would think that the letters in the book are uncreated.
The late Asħˆariyys’ permission of saying “the Qur’aan is created”
As for when some of the later Asħˆariyys spoke of the permissibility of saying “the Qur’aan is created,” they were referring to the Arabic expression, not Aļļaah’s Speech. They said that this statement may be used in a classroom setting.
The reason is because over time the word Qur’aan is mainly understood as referring to the expression of Aļļaah’s eternal Speech in Arabic words and letters.
They were afraid that some people would understand from the expression, “the Qur’aan is not created,” that the Arabic expression is not created, which is far more dangerous than saying “the Qur’aan is created,” if one means the Arabic expression (not Allaah’s eternal attribute of Speech). After all, the latter meaning is sound, because Arabic expressions have a beginning and cannot be eternal, and if they are not eternal, then they must have been specified and brought into existence by Allaah. In other words, they must have been created.
The only bad side of this would be that this expression is a bidˆah in religion, so they restricted it to a classroom purposes, because this is where the setting of religious necessity applies. That is, the necessity of preventing the kufr belief that Aļļaah speaks in letters and sounds, which is far more important than avoiding a dubious innovation.
The principle of those who claim that letters may not be created, and their status in FakħrudDiin Ar-Raaziyy’s view
An Arabic utterance is a creation exactly because it is an event. It has to be, since Arabic itself is created, so one can only wonder why some would want to say that, “not every event is created.” The answer is that they believe that Allaah is a physical entity located above the ˆArsħ.
According to this philosophy, when something is created outside of that body, it is called creation, and when it is created inside that body, it is not a creation. That is why they consider the saying “the Qur’aan is created,” as a deviant statement, because to them this means that the Arabic letters and sounds written in the muşĥaf were not first created inside the physical entity, or idol, that they worship, and invalidly call “Allaah.”
In other words, “He does not resemble anything,” means to them, in the context of the attribute of Speech, “His speech has a different location.” Based on this concept of physical location, you can understand a lot about what they mean when they are talking about Allaah’s attributes.
FakħrudDiin Ar-Raaziyy said, “Proofs tell us that the who says that God is a body is a disbeliever in God (who is greatly above and clear of flaws). The reason is that the God of the World exists, and He is not a body, or stationed in a body. So if the one who believes that God is a body denies this non-bodily existence, then he has disbelieved in God Himself. This means that the disagreement between the one that believes that God is a body, and the monotheist (i.e. in the Islamic sense, namely that God does not have a partner, part or a like in His self of attributes), is not based on a disagreement regarding attributes, but regarding the self (i.e. the identity of the one attributed with godhood.) It is sound to say then, that the one who believes that God is a body does not believe in Allah….
….As for the Ĥuluuliyyah (those who believe that Allah settles in created things, such as the sky or a human body) and Ĥuruufiyyah (those who believe that Allah’s attribute of Kalaam/Speech consists of letters and sounds) sects, we say that they are unequivocally disbelievers.
This is because Allah declared the Christians blasphemers for believing that Allah’s speech entered into Jesus, whereas the Ĥuruufiyyah believe that it settles in the tongue of all those who recite Qur’aan, and in all physical things that the Qur’aan was written on. Accordingly, if the belief in its settlement in one single body (Jesus) is blasphemy, then it is even more blasphemous to believe that it settles in all shapes and bodies [27].” [28].
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“The Qur’aan is the Speech of Aļļaah (Taˆaalaa), written on pages (muşĥafs), preserved in hearts, recited on tongues, and revealed to the Prophet r. Our utterance of the Qur’aan is created, and our recitation of the Qur’aan is created, but the Qur’aan is not created.”
“The Qur’aan is the (eternal) Speech of Aļļaah (that is not letters or sound, but is what Allaah said eternally), (which’s meaning is) written on pages, preserved in hearts (as words that are combinations of sounds made by the throat and mouth that refer to the meanings that Allaah told us), recited on tongues (by sound), and revealed to the Prophet (by word’s telling us what Allaah said eternally). Our utterance of the Qur’aan is created (because it is sound), and our recitation of the Qur’aan is created (because it is making sounds), but the Qur’aan is not created (because it is actually the eternal attribute of Speech, except that the written pages and recitations are also called Qur’aan, because they tell us what Allaah said eternally by His eternal attribute of Speech).”
Now you should go back to the article and read it more, especially the beginning part, which tells you about the attribute of Speech.
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Aļļaah said aalif-laam-meem, without His speech being words, letters or language.
The letters in the muşĥaf tell us what He said eternally.
“aalif-laam-meem” are not different than other words or letters in the muşĥaf in this regard. They are letters that refer to the meaning of what Aļļaah said eternally without letters of sounds.
Abu Faraj Ibn Al-Jawziyy said in his tafsiir Zaad Al-Masiir under the
regarding the meaning of aalif-laam-meem:
The commentators on the Qur’aan have specified 5 different sayings regardingaalif-laam-meem: One of them is that it is one of the aayahs that are ambiguous inmeaning, and only Aļļaah knows its meaning, as has been explained earlier.
The second is that it means, “I, Allaah, know”. This was narrated by Abu Đuĥaa fromIbn ˆAbbaas, and this is also the saying of Ibn Masˆuud and Saˆiid ibn Jubayr.
The third is that it is an oath, this was narrated by Abu Şaaliĥ from Ibn ˆAbbaas and Kħaalid Al-Ĥadħdħaa’ from ˆIkrimah.
The fourth is that they are letters of names, and there are two sayings about that, the first is that Alif refers to Aļļaah, the laam to Jibriil and miim refers to Muĥammad. This was stated by Ibn ˆAbbaas…. The second (saying regarding names) is that the Alif refers toAļļaah, the laam to Laţiif and miim refers to “Majiid” (these are all names of Aļļaah,) and this was stated by Abuu ˆAaliyah.
The fifth is that it is a name of the Qur’aan, as stated by Mujaahid, Asħ-Sħaˆbiyy, Qataadah and Ibn Jurayj.
وقد خص المفسرون قوله «الۤمۤ» بخمسة أقوال: أحدها: أنه من المتشابه الذي لا يعلم معناه الا الله عز وجل، وقد سبق بيانه. والثاني: أَن معناه: أَنا الله أعلم. رواه أَبو الضحى عن ابن عباس، وبه قال ابن مسعود، وسعيد بن جبير. والثالث: أنه قسم. رواه أبو صالح عن ابن عباس، وخالد الحذاء عن عكرمة. والرابع: أنها حروف من أسماء. ثم فيها قولان. أَحدهما: أَن الألف من «الله» واللام من «جبريل» والميم من «محمد» قاله ابن عباس. فان قيل: إِذا كان قد تنوول من كل اسم حرفه الأول اكتفاءً به، فلم أُخذت اللام من جبريل وهي آخر الاسم؟ فالجواب: أن مبتدأَ القرآن من الله تعالى، فدلَّ على ذلك بابتداء أول حرف من اسمه، وجبريل انختم به التنزيل والإِقراء، فتنوول من اسمه نهاية حروفه، و«محمد» مبتدأ في الإقراء، فتنوول أول حرف فيه. والقول الثاني: أَن الألف من «الله» تعالى، واللام من «لطيف» والميم من «مجيد» قاله أبو العالية. والخامس: أنه اسم من أسماء القرآن، قاله مجاهد، والشعبي، وقتادة، وابن جريج
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Wahabies say:
that Aļļaah’s speech is created, but do not know it.
Wahabi said: As for your question regarding the speech of Allah being composed of letters and words, one after the other, how can it be then eternal; if you understand our argument about infinite regress of events in the past, you will understand how Allah’s words are eternal. In fact, to claim otherwise as the Mu’tazilas do is clear cut Kufr. The Quran that we have is the uncreated speech of Allah, which is composed of Suras, verses, words and letters. This has been the creed of Imam Ahmad, and the rest of Ahl al-Sunnah, and this is one of the strongest proof for the Sunni doctrine in support of infinite regress of events in past and future.
^Comment:
Infinite past events is impossible
This is contrary to your claim, because saying that past events are infinite is to say that the events prior to this moment in time have not finished.
This is self-contradictory.
Words and letters is the kind of speech that creatures have
Speech consisting of words and letters is the speech of creation.
For this reason one cannot say that Aļļaah’s eternal attribute of Speech is letters and sounds,because Aļļaah said:
“Absolutely nothing resembles Him.” (Al-Sħuuraa, 11)
[...]
Lately some of the wahabis think themselves clever and ask:
“Who said alif laam miim?”
Let me respond to that with a question:
“Who created the Arabic language
which alif and laam and miim are part of ?”
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Well, the Wahabi (falsely called Salafi) cat is out of the bag….
To recap my previous post , Ahlu-s-Sunnah says that the Qur’aan is not created, meaning that the speech of Aļļaah that the Arabic words and letters of the muşĥaf refer to, is not created. These words and letters of the muşĥaf tell us what Aļļaah said with His eternal speech that is not a language, sounds, words or letters.
Words, letters, and language, however, are creations, because they have a beginning so they must be brought into existence. This is an inescapable fact that no Muslim can deny.
The Wahabis, on the other hand, claim that when the Salaf (the first generations of Muslims) said “the Qur’aan is not created,” they meant that Aļļaah’s eternal speech is letters and sounds, and yet they are not created.
Upon being asked whether the Arabic language is a creation or not, and how they can claim that Arabic speech is other than created, their answer was an amazing, “not everything that has a beginning is created.”
So their view is that the the Qur’aan is emergent (i.e. having a beginning), but not created.
When a opponent reaches this level of stupidity, one wonders if there is any point in responding, but I finally have decided to do so. It is not because I hope to convince those who believe that something with emergent existence does not need a creator, but because I want to clarify this matter briefly for anyone that might be confused by their claim.
It is hard to tell what the Wahabis mean by saying, “not everything that has a beginning is created”, but there are two possibilities.
The first is that they believe that something emergent, something with a beginning can come into existence without being brought into existence by something other than itself. If so, then they have destroyed for themselves any possibility for proving the existence of the Creator of this world.
After all, if the sophisticated Arabic recorded in the copies of the Qur’aan can come into existence without being brought into existence, then what prevents everything else from coming into existence without being brought into existence?
Even a child knows that this is nonsense, so one can only hope that this is not what they mean.
More likely they are trying to change the definition of the Arabic word for create, or “kħalaqa.” They are saying that bringing into existence is not the same as to create. So they are saying that the Arabic of the Qur’aan was brought into existence by Aļļaah,but not created.
Grasping at straws does not quite catch the sense of desperation involved in this claim, and it is a sign of confusion of these times that the madness of it needs to be exposed.
The meaning of create, or kħalaqa, in Arabic
The Salaf spoke Arabic, and what matters is how they understood the word kħalaqa, or “create” in Arabic. In other words, by looking up the definition, we can tell what the Salaf meant when they said, “the Qur’aan is not created.
Did they mean that it is emergent, was brought into existence, but not created, as the Wahabi’s claim?
Or did they mean that the Qur’aan is not brought into existence, because it is not emergent, thus has no need for a creator?
The authoritative imaam of Arabic linguistics Ibn Faaris said in Maqaayiisu-l-Lugħah:
(خلق) الخاء واللام والقاف أصلان: أحدهما تقدير الشيء، والآخر مَلاسَة الشيء.
(The root) kħ-l-q has two basic meanings (that all its derived words, such as kħalaqa – to create – come from) one of them is “to specify”, the other is “smoothness.”
The linguists Ibn Manţħuur in Lisaanu-l-ˆArab, and Az-Zabiidiyy in Taaju-l-ˆAruus narrate from the imaam of Arabic, Al-Azhariyy:
ومن صفات الله تعالى الخالق والخلاَّق ولا تجوز هذه الصفة بالأَلف واللام لغير الله عز وجل وهو الذي أَوجد الأَشياء جميعها بعد أَن لم تكن موجودة وأَصل الخلق التقدير فهو باعْتبار تقدير ما منه وجُودُها وبالاعتبار للإِيجادِ على وَفْقِ التقدير خالقٌ
Among the attributes of Aļļaah is “the Creator” (Al-Kħaaliq and Al-Kħallaaq), and He is the one that brought everything into existence after it being non-existent, and the root meaning of the word kħalq is “specifying,” so He is in the sense of what gets existence from Him “the one that specified it,” and in the sense of bringing into existence according to the specification, “the one that created it.”
In the Arabic language then, to create is to bring into existence. Clearly then, there is no difference between saying “created” or “emergent,” because whatever did not exist must be brought into existence to become “emergent.” Otherwise it would remain non-existent.
Accordingly, any Arabic speech is created, because it did not exist and then existed. What did the Salaf mean then, when they said “the Qur’aan is not created?”
Abu Ĥaniifah explains that the meaning of “the Qur’aan is not created” is that Aļļaah’s eternal attribute of speech is not created.
Abu Ĥaniifah, who is definitely among the Salaf, clarified what is meant by “the Qur’aan is not created” when he said in his book Al-Fiqh Al-Akbar:
والقرآن كلام الله تعالى في المصاحف مكتوب, وفي القلوب محفوظ وعلى الألسن مقروء, وعلى النبي عليه الصلاة والسلام منزّل, ولفظنا بالقرآن مخلوق وكتابتنا له مخلوقة وقرائتنا له مخلوقة والقرآن غير مخلوق.
The Qur’aan is the Speech of Aļļaah Taˆaalaa, written on pages (muşĥafs), preserved in hearts, recited on tongues, and revealed to the Prophet (sall-Aļļaahu ˆalayhi wa sallam). Our utterance of the Qur’aan is created, and our recitation of the Qur’aan is created, but the Qur’aan is not created.
He means bythe Qur’aan is the Speech of Aļļaah” that the word “Qur’aan” refers to Aļļaah’s eternal speech that is not letters (thus not language or sounds – as letters are symbols that represent sounds.) I.e. there is no difference between saying “Aļļaah’s attribute of Speech” and “the Qur’aan;” they are synonyms. He makes this clear when he says a few paragraphs later:
ويتكلم لا ككلامنا ونحن نتكلم بالآلات والحروف والله تعالى يتكلم بلا آلة ولاحروف.
Aļļaah speaks, but not like our speech; we speak by means of instruments (vocal cords, limbs, etc.) and letters, but Aļļaah speaks without instruments or letters.
والحروف مخلوقة وكلام الله تعالى غير مخلوق.
Letters are a creation, and Aļļaah’s Speech is not created.
So Abuu Ĥaniifah says that “the Qur’aan is the Speech of Aļļaah,” and then that “Aļļaah speaks without instruments or letters.
Then he emphasizes this further by saying
Letters are a creation, and Aļļaah’s Speech is not created.
Note that the word Qur’aan then, has two meanings in Arabic.
The first is Aļļaah’s eternal attribute of Speech, while the second refers to the Arabic book of the Qur’aan – the revealed letters – like when someone says, “please give me that Qur’aan on the shelf”.
When the Salaf said, “the Qur’aan is not created,” they obviously meant the first meaning, not the second.
But what about if someone said, “the Qur’aan is created,” intending the book?
The Salaf said that saying that the Qur’aan is created with this sense in mind – the revealed letters of the book – is bidˆah, an ugly innovation.
They considered it ugly because it may mislead someone to think that Aļļaah’s attribute of Speech is created.
Ibn ˆAabidiin in his Ĥaasħiyah says,
“The bottom line is that what is not created is the Qur’aan in the sense of Aļļaah’s Speech, that is, the (eternal) attribute that is affirmed to His Self, not the sense of revealed letters. It is not said that the Qur’aan is created, however, so that no one will think that the first meaning is meant (see Aļļaah’s attribute of Kalam/Speech ).” (Dar Al-Fikr, 3/712)
Note however, that some later scholars allowed this expression for teaching purposes, because they found it necessary to use this expression to explain that Aļļaah’s eternal speech is not language or letters. In fact, today it is probably the case that most people understand from the word Qu’raan the revealed letters only, and not the attribute of Aļļaah. For this they allowed the expression “the Qur’aan is created” for teaching purposes, so that no one would think that the letters in the book are uncreated.
Asħ-Sħawkaaniyy affirms that the Salaf made takfiir for the one who says that the who says “the Qur’aan is emergent”
Asħ-Sħawkaaniyy, despite his agreements on some issues with the Wahabi sect, says in his book Fatĥ Al-Qadiir, under the explanation for Al-Anbiyaa’, 2:
The imaams of the Sunnis were right in their forbiddance in answering the call to the saying ‘the Qur’aan is created’ or ‘emergent’.
Notice how he does not see a difference between created and emergent, then he said,
Aļļaah protected the nation of His prophet’s followers from a bad innovation through them. They went beyond that, however, and said that the Qur’aan is eternal and did not stop at that, but said that the one who says it is emergent is a kaafir….
This means that the Wahabis are kuffar in the eyes of the Salaf, as stated by Asħ-Sħawkaaniyy.
There is no difference then, between saying “emergent” and “created.” Both words mean“brought into existence,” and the salaf were against saying “the Qur’aan is emergent” just as much as they were against saying that it is created.
An Arabic utterance is a creation exactly because it is emergent. It has to be emergent, since Arabic itself is emergent, i.e. created, so one can only wonder why the Wahabis would want to say that, “not everything emergent is created.”
The answer is that these Wahabis believe, unlike Muslims, that Aļļaah is a physical entity located above the ˆArsħ.
Accordingly, when something is created outside of that body, it is called creation, and when it is created inside that body, it is not a creation.
That is why they consider the saying “the Qur’aan is created,” as a deviant statement, because to them this means that the Arabic letters and sounds written in the muşĥaf were not first created inside the physical entity, or idol, that they worship, and invalidly call “Aļļaah.
In other words,He does not resemble anything,” means to them, in the context of the attribute of Speech, “His speech has a different location.”
Based on this concept of physical location, you can understand a lot about what they mean when they are talking about Aļļaah’s attributes.
As Asħ-Sħaafiˆiyy said, “Madness is of diverse kinds.”
We have previously pointed out that the Wahabis believe that Aļļaah’s attribute of Kalaam/Speech is created, without them being aware of this. To this their response was that it is emergent, but not created, based on their curious idea that not all emergent things are created. We pointed out to them in another article that this is has no basis in the Arabiclanguage or the terminology of the Salaf. To the Salaf there is no difference between saying “emergent and “created.
Below we bring another quote from a famous imam of the Salaf emphasizing this. For those not so familiar with this topic, it would be very important to read the two links referenced above first.
Al-Bayhaqiyy narrated in Al-Asmaa’ Wa-ş-Şifaat that Wakiiˆ said:
“The Qur’aan (i.e. what the Arabic words and letters refer to) is the Speech/ Kalaam of Aļļaah (i.e. His eternal attribute), and it is not created. So the one that says it is created has disbelieved in Aļļaah.” In another narration he said, “The one that says the Qur’aan is created has said it is emergent, and the one that says it is emergent has blasphemed (1/608-609).1
The same was narrated by Adħ-Dħahabiyy in Siyar ‘Aˆlaam An-Nubalaa’ (9/166) 2
For those who do not know who Wakiiˆ is, it was stated by Adħ-Dħahabiyy in Siyar ‘Aˆlaam An-Nubalaa’:
The Imaam, the Ĥaafiţħ, the Muĥadditħ of ˆIraaq, …. He was born in 129 after theHijrah (9/140-141).3
He said that Aĥmad ibn Ĥanbal used to glorify Wakiiˆ and say about him,
I have never met anyone more aware in his knowledge than Wakiiˆ, or anyone that has memorized more (9/144.4
In short, Wakiiˆ is one of the greatest ĥadiitħ masters in history and here we find him making takfiir for the Wahabis who say that the the Qur’aan (i.e. the eternal attribute of Aļļaah that the book refers to) is emergent (ĥaaditħ/ having a beginning) but not created.
References:
Abu Bakr Al-Bayhqiyy (458 AH). Al-Asmaa’ Wa-ş-Şifaat li-l-Bayhaqiyy. Jedda, Saudi Arabia: Maktabah Al-Sawaadiyy.
Adħ-Dħahabiyy, SħamsudDiin. Siyar ‘Aˆlaam An-Nubalaa’. Beirut, Lebanon: Mu’assasatu-r-Risaalah, 1413.
1الأسماء والصفات للبيهقي - (ج 1 / ص 608-609) 547- وأخبرنا أبو عبد الله الحافظ ، وأبو سعيد بن أبي عمرو ، قال : حَدَّثَنَا أبو العباس محمد بن يعقوب ، حَدَّثَنَا محمد بن إسحاق الصاغاني ، حَدَّثَنَا حسين بن علي بن الأسود ، قال : سمعت وكيعا ، يقول : القرآن كلام الله تعالى ليس بمخلوق ، فمن زعم أنه مخلوق فقد كفر بالله العظيم وفي رواية محمد بن نصر المروزي عن أبي هشام الرفاعي ، عن وكيع ، قال : من زعم أن القرآن مخلوق ، فقد زعم أن القرآن محدث ، ومن زعم أن القرآن محدث فقد كفر
2سير أعلام النبلاء - (ج 9 / ص 166) : قال أبو هشام الرفاعي: سمعت وكيعا يقول: من زعم أن القرآن مخلوق، فقد زعم أنه محدث، ومن زعم أن القرآن محدث، فقد كفر.
3سير أعلام النبلاء - (ج 9 / ص 140-141) : وكيع * (ع) ابن الجراح، بن مليح، بن عدي، بن فرس، بن جمجمة، بن سفيان، بن الحارث، بن عمرو، بن عبيد، بن رؤاس، الامام الحافظ، محدث العراق، أبو سفيان الرؤاسي، الكوفي، أحد الاعلام. ولد سنة تسع وعشرين ومئة، قاله أحمد بن حنبل. وقال خليفة وهارون بن حاتم: ولد سنة ثمان وعشرين. واشتغل في الصغر.
4سير أعلام النبلاء - (ج 9 / ص 144) : وقال أحمد بن حنبل: ما رأيت أحدا أوعى للعلم ولا أحفظ من وكيع.قلت: كان أحمد يعظم وكيعا ويفخمه. قال محمد بن عامر المصيصي:سألت أحمد:وكيع أحب إليك أو يحيى بن سعيد ؟ فقال: وكيع، قلت: كيف فضلته على يحيى، ويحيى ومكانه من العلم والحفظ والاتقان ما قد علمت ؟ قال: وكيع كان صديقا لحفص بن غياث، فلما ولي القضاء، هجره، وإن يحيى كان صديقا لمعاذ بن معاذ، فلما ولي القضاء، لم يهجره يحيى.
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Wahabi wrote: Hmmm…it’s interesting that Imam Ahmad didn’t say what you’re saying. If you’re saying the Qur’an is Allah’s internal speech, then let’s see the evidence for that- unless you make things up…
I never said Aļļaah hasinternal speech,” and I fear that anyone who says that has committed kufr, as it suggests that He has an inside and an outside, which means He would be a body.
Believing that Aļļaah has a body is blasphemy, as stated by Aţ-Ţaĥaawiyy {in brackets}: {This is a detailed remembrance of the belief of the People of the Sunnah and following {the Jamaaˆah}.
Later he stated, as part of this remembrance,{Aļļaah is above} the status of {having limits, extremes, corners, limbs or instruments.} {The six directions} up, down, front, back, left and right {do not contain Him} because that would make Him {like all created things}.
He also agreed that believing that anything else is an insult to Islam, for he said in the same remembrance:
{Whoever attributed to Aļļaah an attribute that has a meaning among the meanings that apply to humans has committed blasphemy.}
Note that he said this after having already pointed out that the six directions apply to all created things, which includes humans. In other words, the Sunni belief is that attributing a limit to Aļļaah makes one a non-Muslim.
What we do say is that Aļļaah’s attribute of Speech is not emergent, becauseanything emergent (having a beginning) must be specified and brought into existence, i.e. created, and we cannot say that an attribute of His is created.
This means that Aļļaah’s attribute of Speech is not letters or sounds, because letters and sounds begin to exist, i.e. they are emergent.
The word “Qur’aan” refers to Aļļaah’s attribute of Speech, but it also refers to the revealed book with Arabic letters and words, which tells us what Aļļaah said eternally without a beginning or end, i.e. not in time.
This is the source of the confusion in this issue. If you really care and want to understand why Sunnis say what they say, read this article carefully along with all of its linked articles:
wahabi wrote:
In practise, the more I have read, the more I have come to realise that the Ash’arees are merely a less consisten version of the Mu’tazila, esp with regards to Allah’s attributes
This is a pity, tell me, which book did you study under a qualified Asħˆariyy teacher to understand what they say?
I suspect the answer is "none."
Your inclination towards the Muˆtazilah is because they, like you, believe that Aļļaah’s Speech is something that He brings into existence according to specification. The only difference is that you called this "emergent speech brought into existence by Aļļaah according to His specification" an "uncreated attribute," whereas the Muˆtazilah called this very same "emergent speech brought into existence by Aļļaah according to His specification" a "created non-attribute." You only differ about what to call it, and that is not a real difference, and thus not what the Salaf were concerned about. The Salaf therefore, would have treated you like they treated the Muˆtazilah.
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Someone asked: In terms of our belief about the speech of Allah not being composed of sounds, letters and the other attributes of created things, but rather His Speech is the meanings that the letters and the sounds convey. What is the response of the `ulama to the one who objects by asking,
“What about ‘Alif Lam Mim’?”

Answer: One cannot say that Allah’s kalam is meanings. Allah’s kalam pertains to meanings, but His kalam is one, this is the sound expression. As for Alif-lam-miim, it has a meaning, but the scholars differed regarding it.
Note that it would be imperfection for the Creator not to have an attribute by which He tells, orders, promises and threatens. On the other hand, it is imperfection to be attributed with the attribute of expressing what one knows serially (i.e. consecutively, one piece of information after another). This is because speech that consists of serial expressions must have a beginning and because there will be a delay in informing all that one knows.
Remembering that what Allah knows is unlimited, we must admit that His attribute of kalam, by which He informs without delay the unlimited information that He knows, cannot be like our limited created kalam that is made up of sounds, letters and words.
Note also that Allah can enable any of his creation to hear his kalam, although it’s not a kind of sound.
Beware that this does not mean that a creation can know all that Allah’s speech pertains to, because that would mean that a creation could know everything, and this is impossible.Rather,Allah can make each of them understand from it what He wants him/her/it to understand, so each of them might end up understanding something different at the same time. This is another reason why we cannot say that His kalam is like the kalam of created beings.
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Another thing most salafis/wahhabis are unaware of is that
Ibn Taymiyya believed that Allah’s speech was a product of His omnipotence [qudra] and will [irada], therefore, based on Ibn Taymiyya reasoning, Allahs speech is created (because qudra is linked with contingently possible things) and subsisting within Allah’s Entity.
The Mu’tazila said that the Qur’an is created and in this world, not a part of Allah.
Ibn Taymiyya basically said that the Qur’an is created and subsisting within Allah’s Entity.
Note: that Ibn Taymiyya claimed there was a difference between contingent [ haadith ] and created [ makhluq],which is false.
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Imam Humam (may Allah be pleased with him) says in his book "Kitab-ul- Wasiya":
“Any Person who says that the Holy Quran is a created collection of words has committed an act of disbelief against Almighty.”
According to an authentic statement of Imam Abu Yusuf (may Allah be pleased with him), the great Imam says that he had a discussion with Imam Abu-Hanifa (may Allah be pleased with him) on the subject of the creation of the Holy Quran. They both agreed that any person, who says that the Holy Quran is a created thing, is a disbeliever. This view is also confirmed by Imam Muhammad."