The Qur’an: Created or Uncreated: The Proof Text.
“Indeed, We have made it an Arabic Qur’an that you might understand.” (Qur’an 43:3)
“And thus We have revealed to you an inspiration of Our command. You did not know what is the Book or, what is faith, but We have made it a light by which We guide whom We will of Our servants. And indeed you are guiding to a straight path.” (Qur’an 42:52)
What will follow are strong proof text from the Qur’an that substantiate the position that the Qur’an is created.
Our brothers from ‘Ahl Sunnah‘ are all divided on this issue. The truth is one.
They take as their primary evidence the following two texts of the Qur’an.
“And if anyone of the polytheists seeks your protection, then grant him protection so that he may hear the (kalama l-lahi) Words of Allah.” (Quran 9:6)
“Those who remained behind will say when you set out toward the war booty to take it, “Let us follow you.” They wish to change the (kalama l-lahi) Words of Allah.” (Quran 48:15)
Regardless of the three theological schools that divide our brothers from the ‘Ahl Sunnah‘ we can simplify this into basically two approaches.
After finding out if our brothers from ‘Ahl Sunnah‘ believe that the Qur’an is literally the speech of Allah (swt) or it is not literally the speech of Allah (swt) it can help to further the discussion.
So what is meant by literally/not literally?
When we are speaking of conscious beings like humanity this is understood by man’s external and internal senses, brain, lungs, throat, tongue, teeth, lips, and pushing out of sound. In this sense it is strictly speaking is inconceivable in the respect of Allah (swt).
It is not permissible to interpret His being ‘speaking‘ in this sense.
If the person believes that the Qur’an is literally the speech of Allah (swt) you can refer them to the challenge of Ibrahim (a.s). Does Allah (swt) make audible sounds?
“He said, “Rather, this – the largest of them – did it, so ask them if they should be able to speak.” (Qur’an 21:63)
If the person believes that the speech of Allah (swt) is not literal and one can apply ta’wil then perhaps they could reflect on what their actual quarrel with us is?
Whereas the Athari, Ash’ari and Maturidi schools of ‘Ahl Sunnah‘ affirm speaking as an essential attribute we do not.
Whereas Power, Will, and Knowledge are essential attributes of Allah (swt)
because of the impossibility of Allah’s being qualified by their opposites.
First, it is sufficient to attribute to Allah (swt) the attribute of Power without the attribution of speech. Speech is not the opposite of dumbness such that dumbness is negated by affirming it. The opposite of speech is silence. It does not mean that a non-speaking person is dumb; rather he is not non-silent.
The difference between us and our brothers from ‘Ahl Sunnah‘ is that we do not apply ta’wil to the essential attributes of Allah (swt), Power, Will, Knowledge.
Whereas all of them say Speech is an essential attribute some of them apply ta’wil to the essential attribute of Speech and others do not.
The nervous system can give commands and prohibitions and we do not attribute speech to the nervous system.
When this sign is clear in Allah’s creatures what more do you think of the Creator, the All-Knowing, from whose grip nothing of the universe can flee, and from whose overwhelming control no minor or major thing can escape?
The Qur’an is not ‘Kalam al-nafsi‘, the Qur’an is created.
What is not meant is Allah’s knowledge of the books. No one will doubt the eternity of Allah’s knowledge.
The eternity of knowledge does not imply the eternity of the known, otherwise, all things that have come into being would be eternal!
Revealed books are in reality indications of His Knowledge which is an attribute of His Essence. They are not the attribute of the Knowledge itself which is a quality of his eternal Essence.
Furthermore the same is applied to the Torah, and the Gospel as the “speech of Allah“. We know that the Torah is in Hebrew and the Gospel in Syriac.
Yet some who affirm that the Torah, Gospel, and Qur’an are in essence the same and that they only differ in their expressions and languages. Therefore they argue that if the Torah or Gospel is translated into Arabic it will make it the Qur’an. A translation of the Qur’an into Hebrew will make it the Torah. This of course would be quite problematic.
The objection by the faction of those who disagree with this position (albeit with good intention) is that they wanted to equate the Qur’an with ‘kalam al-nafsi‘ in which they intend to negate dumbness. The intention is noble.
There also seems to be some confusion of the Qur’an in regards to Allah (swt) knowledge of it, Whereas the attributes of Speaking and Knowledge are both eternal.
There is no evidence in the Qur’an to call the It ‘Kalam al-nafsi’.
We affirm the attribute of “speech” for Allah (swt) as Imam Diya al-Din ‘Abd al-Aziza Thamini (raheemullah), says in his Mu’alim:
“Know that speech is sometimes referred to Allah in the meaning of negating dumbness of Him, and it then to be understood as an essential attribute in the way of such attributes. And sometimes it is referred to Him in the sense of its being one of His actions, and it is then to be understood as such. So the meaning of His being Speaking, according to the first interpretation, is that He is not dumb; and according to the second that He is a Creator of Speech.” Source: (Ma’alim al-din (Oman: Wizarat al-Turath al-Qawmi wa l-Thaqafah, 1st edition 2:9.)
You may only refer to the Qur’an as other than Allah’s in a metaphorical way.
As the following:
“Indeed, the Qur’an is the word(laqawlu) of a noble Messenger. (Qur’an 69:40)
So again is it the Speech of Allah?
When we say ‘takallama Muhammed’ (Muhammed Spoke), the statement does not convey anything except that he produced speech in the past.
When you say ‘yata-kallamu’ (he speaks/will speak) it does not mean other than his speaking the present or future-the the (Arabic) tense of the verb here is for both present and future.
When you say ‘takallam, ya fulan (Speak, Oh so and so), it does not mean otherwise than requiring the addressee to speak.
What you say in any of those three phrases cannot mean that the speech is a quality abiding with the person of the speaker or the one from whom the speech is sought.
Likewise, when we say someone ‘spoke on Friday‘ in the normal everyday usage of language it does not convey that this person spoke that speech before Friday.
That is what is intended when by Allah (swt) we see:
Allah, Exalted is He, says: ‘For to anything that We have willed, We but say “Be’ and it is’ (Qur’an 16:40)
The verb form (in 16:40) is strictly future in meaning, it has ‘an’ (particle indicating an action to come after it, and the verb-form |naqulu| denotes present and future, and ‘kun’ is made up of two letters, one before the other-then what this verse means is exactly what is understood by clear minds and natures.
We would need to ask on what basis is this speech being conditioned with the night, with the day or with this world or the hereafter or other times, if this speech had been eternal?
As well as “When He intends a thing, His command is “BE” and it is’ (Qur’an 36:82).
The meaning of Allah’s “speaking” is producing speech on the occasion of it.
Allah (swt) brought revelation with His power from non-existence into existence.
The eternity of knowledge does not imply eternity of the known.
The servant is not fully independent in producing his action, rather he earns it and Allah (swt) is the Creator of it. Reward and punishment are based on the earning of the servant not on the creation of the Creator. This is for another topic and insh’Allah another entry.
It is an important point because the creature’s speech, like that of his actions, is created by Allah (swt). The creature owns nothing but his earning.
In the same way, the meaning of ‘help‘ when it is related to Allah differs from when it is related to the servants. The servants helping one another is giving support directly or through their wealth or other means. The help of Allah (swt) is His creation of the causes of the servant’s victory and providing it to them. For example, His saying:
“Indeed He helped you at Badr” (Qur’an 3:123)
Another example is:
“Assuredly Allah will help those help him.” (Qur’an 22:40)
If this is related to the Creator its meaning will differ from when it was related to the creations.
Speaking as a metaphorical.
“And it is not for any human being that Allah should speak to him except by revelation or from behind a partition or that He sends a messenger to reveal, by His permission, what He wills. Indeed, He is Most High and Wise.” (Qur’an 42:51)
This should be understood in the sense of creation of audible sound not emanating from any particular thing, that conveys the intention of Allah (swt), and that is picked up by the hearing of one chosen by Allah (swt) for such address.
Or Allah (swt) “speaking” to the angels is used to signify that whereby they understand His Will.
The ‘speaking‘ is understood in the metaphor like in the following verses:
“Then He directed Himself to the heaven while it was smoke and said to it and to the earth, “Come [into being], willingly or by compulsion.” They said, “We have come willingly.” (Qur’an 41:11)
Allah (swt) addresses us in a language we know and in senses that we are familiar with. Like the verse that says ‘that the sun sets‘
“Until, when he reached the setting of the sun, he found it [as if] setting in a spring of dark mud, and he found near it a people. Allah said, “O Dhul-Qarnayn, either you punish [them] or else adopt among them [a way of] goodness.” (Qur’an 18:86)
Allah (swt) has also used metaphor when there is mention about speaking, for example:
“And they will say to their skins, “Why have you testified against us?” They will say, “We were made to speak by Allah, who has made everything speak; and He created you the first time, and to Him, you are returned.” (Qur’an 41:21)
As well as:
“And We gave Solomon a right understanding of matters. To each of them, We gave judgment and knowledge; and it was by Our power that the hills and the birds celebrate Our praises with David. It was We who did it.” (Qur’an 21:79)
So here we can see that mountains ‘celebrate‘ the praises of Allah (swt) and that skins and indeed ‘everything‘ is made to ‘speak.
In the words of Fakhr al-Din Al-Razi:
“The impossibility of a word which is composed of letters and sounds being eternal is self-evident to the mind for two reasons:
The first that a word cannot be a word unless its letters are sequential. The letter |uttered|before the last |that is uttered|is originated, and if something’s being originated is affirmed, its eternity is then impossible. So for the letter following the end of the first, there is no doubt that is originated.
The second is that, if those letters from which the word is composed occurred in one go, the word cannot be. A word composed of three letters can occur in any one of six combinations. If the letters occurred altogether, the words occurring in some of those combinations will not be better than it’s occurring in any of the rest. \Alternatively| if the letters occurred in succession then the word is originated.” Source: (Al-Tafsir al-kabir (Tehran: Dar al-Kutub al-Illmiyyah, 2nd edition, 1:P20.)
Fakhr al-Din took Sunni Muslims of the Hanbali creed to tas when he says,
“These people are so low as to not deserve mention among the group of the learned. It happened one day that I said to one of them: “If Allah spoke these, then either He spoke them in one go, or in succession. The first is void because the speaking of all these letters in one go will not convey orderly composition which is a combination in sequence. It necessarily follows that this composition combined with these successive letters cannot by themselves be Allah’s speech. The second is void, because if Allah spoke them in succession then it will be originated.’ When the man heard this statement |of mine|, he said: ‘It is obligatory for us to affirm and pass on’, i.e., we affirm that the Qur’an is eternal and pass by this statement that we have heard. At that point, I wonder greatly at the safety of this speaker. Source: (Al-Tafsir al-kabir (Tehran: Dar al-Kutub al-Illmiyyah, 2nd edition, 27, 187-88)
Those who say that the letters of the Qur’an are created are opponents of consensus. What is this consensus? The righteous early generations of the Companions or the Followers did not raise the issue of the creation of the Qur’an.
The Creation and the Command. The next argument put forward by our brothers from ‘Ahl Sunnah‘ is the following verse.
“His are the creation and the command.” (Qur’an 7:54)
This is answered by the context itself:
Indeed, your Lord is Allah, who created the heavens and earth in six days and then established Himself above the Throne. He covers the night with the day, [another night] chasing it rapidly; and [He created] the sun, the moon, and the stars, subjected by His command. Unquestionably, His is the creation and the command; blessed is Allah, Lord of the worlds. (Qur’an 7:54)
The most that this verse tells us is that, just as Allah (swt) is alone in bringing the universe out of non-being (into being), in the same way, He is alone in the management of it. He has no partner in its creation and in its management. None other than Him has anything of the creation and management. Rather, to HIM alone belong the creation and the command. The meaning here, clearly, is management. And there is nothing in that which even remotely points either to the eternity of the Qur’an or to its contingency.
“Maintain with care the [obligatory] prayers and [in particular] the middle prayer and stand before Allah, devoutly obedient.” (Qur’an 2:238)
The middle prayer is not (separated) out of the genus of the prayers, the guarding of which has been commanded.
“Whoever is an enemy to Allah and His angels and His messengers and Gabriel and Michael – then indeed, Allah is an enemy to the disbelievers. (Qur’an 2:98)
No one says that Gabriel and Michael are (separated) out of the genus of angels.
The difference between them is but relative.
“Indeed, Allah orders justice and good conduct and giving to relatives and forbids immorality and bad conduct and oppression. He admonishes you that perhaps you will be reminded.” (Qur’an 16:90)
No intelligent person will argue about justice being the doing of good, and the doing of good being justice.
The command (amr) of Allah (swt) has been mentioned jointly with what denotes its creation in many places.
“And [remember, O Muhammad], when you said to the one on whom Allah bestowed favor and you bestowed favor, “Keep your wife and fear Allah,” while you concealed within yourself that which Allah is to disclose. And you feared the people, while Allah has more right that you fear Him. So when Zayd had no longer any need for her, We married her to you in order that there not be upon the believers any discomfort concerning the wives of their adopted sons when they no longer have need of them. And ever is the command of Allah accomplished.” (Qur’an 33:37)
“[Remember] when you were on the near side of the valley, and they were on the farther side, and the caravan was lower [in position] than you. If you had made an appointment [to meet], you would have missed the appointment. But [it was] so that Allah might accomplish a matter already destined – that those who perished [through disbelief] would perish upon evidence and those who lived [in faith] would live upon evidence; and indeed, Allah is Hearing and Knowing.” (Qur’an 8:42)
“There is not to be upon the Prophet any discomfort concerning that which Allah has imposed upon him. [This is] the established way of Allah with those [prophets] who have passed on before. And ever is the command of Allah a destiny decreed.” (Qur’an 33:38)
“He arranges [each] matter from the heaven to the earth; then it will ascend to Him in a Day, the extent of which is a thousand years of those which you count.” (Qur’an 32:5)
“Indeed, all things We created with predestination And Our command is but one, like a glance of the eye.” (Qur’an 54:49-50)
“Do the disbelievers await [anything] except that the angels should come to them or there comes the command of your Lord? Thus did those do before them. And Allah wronged them not, but they had been wronging themselves.” (Qur’an 16:33)
All of those examples should be more than sufficient to show our response!
The following are the proof text for those of us who believe the Qur’an to be created. We do not believe the Qur’an to be the eternal speech of Allah (swt).
“Will they not then ponder on the Qur’an? If it had been from other than Allah they would have found therein much incongruity.” (Qur’an 4:82)
As we can see that the Qur’an has to be internally cohesive. So if we say the Qur’an is the speech of Allah (swt) and we understand this as an internally abiding attribute of Allah (swt) and yet the Qur’an clearly states it was created what is one to do?
Permitting multiplicity of the eternal is contradictory to the unicity of Allah (swt).
“And if We willed, We could surely do away with that which We revealed to you. Then you would not find for yourself concerning it an advocate against Us.” (Qur’an 17:86)
Everything that is eternal its non-existence is impossible.
Proof # 3
Each letter needs the other in sequence, its words being composed from them. And each word needs other words to combine as a sentence. The letters are different, and none of them is not in need of the other. From what has been said of the distinctness of these letters, and their being absorbed in the composition, (it is clear) that someone has made this distinctness, and has made each of them different from the other, and composed them with this art of composition, and made of it this eloquent speech
Is the Qur’an a thing or nothing?
If the Qur’an is nothing than let that stand on the record.
If the Qur’an is a thing then please be reminded of what Allah (swt) says:
“That is Allah, your Lord; there is no deity except Him, the Creator of all things, so worship Him. And He is Disposer of all things.” (Qur’an 6:102)
Say, “Who is Lord of the heavens and earth?” Say, ” Allah .” Say, “Have you then taken besides Him allies not possessing even for themselves any benefit or any harm?” Say, “Is the blind equivalent to the seeing? Or is darkness equivalent to light? Or have they attributed to Allah partners who created like His creation so that the creation of each seemed similar to them?” Say, ” Allah is the Creator of all things, and He is the One, the Prevailing.” (Qur’an 13:16)
“He too who belongs the dominion of the heavens and the earth and who has not taken a son and has not had a partner in dominion and has created each thing and determined it with [precise] determination.” (Qur’an 25:2)
Determined it with determination.
The chapter, verses, sentences, words, letters, vocalizations, recitation, meanings, wisdom and judgment, reports, and parables are in order.
“That is Allah, your Lord, Creator of all things; there is no deity except Him, so how are you deluded?” (Qur’an 40:62)
“Indeed, it is We who sent down the Qur’an and indeed, We will be its guardian.” (Qur’an 15:9)
The argument from this verse is that the preserved cannot but be created because the eternal does not need preserving by those that preserve.
“We do not abrogate a verse or cause it to be forgotten except that We bring forth [one] better than it or similar to it. Do you not know that Allah is over all things competent?” (Qur’an 2:106)
Abrogation is omission, removal and it is impossible for that which is eternal. The idea that some part of Allah’s essence of ‘speech‘ would be ‘better‘ than other parts merits pensive reflection.
“And We have revealed to you, [O Muhammed], the Book in truth, confirming that which preceded it of the Scripture and as a criterion over it.” (Qur’an 5:48)
It has been preceded by other than it. The preceded cannot be but originated.
“And We had certainly brought them a Book which We detailed by knowledge – as guidance and mercy to a people who believe.” (Qur’an 7:52)
We detailed it knowingly. Detailing emanates from His Knowledge, The emanating from a thing must be preceded by it.
“No mention comes to them anew from their Lord except that they listen to it while they are at play.” (Qur’an 7:52)
Muhdath in Arabic means newly made. And since it’s newly made it cannot be eternal. i.e. It came after being nothing which means “Created“
Proofs #10 & Proof #11
“And thus We have revealed to you an inspiration of Our command. You did not know what is the Book or [what is] faith, but We have made it a light by which We guide whom We will of Our servants. And indeed, [O Muhammed], you guide to a straight path..” (Qur’an 42:52
“Allah is the Light of the heavens and the earth.” (Qur’an 24:35)
Allah (swt) clearly says that he is the light of the heavens and the earth. Allah (swt) says that the Qur’an was made into a light. The Qur’an was made. A clear distinction needs to made between that which is Light and that which is made into light. A clear delineation between the Creator and created.
“But this is an honored Qur’an [Inscribed] in a Preserved Slate.” (Qur’an 85:2021)
Preserved tablet. The created cannot be a vessel for the non-created.
“And [it is] a Qur’an which We have separated [by intervals] that you might recite it to the people over a prolonged period. And We have sent it down progressively.” (Qur’an 17:106)
The argument that Allah (swt) has said of it that it is divided. The divided is made. The made cannot but be originated.
“Indeed, We sent the Qur’an down during the Night of Decree.” (Qur’an 97:1)
Sending down. That which is sent cannot proceed that which sent it.
“Indeed, We have made it an Arabic Qur’an that you might understand.” (Qur’an 43:3)
Allah (swt) has clearly said that he has made the Qur’an.
Other places where Allah (swt) made things. You may feel free to look at the Arabic text for yourself. You get to investigate and see how the translators decided to use the words ‘made’ and ‘create’ in which places and why.
“[All] praise is [due] to Allah, who created the heavens and the earth and made the darkness and the light. Then those who disbelieve equate [others] with their Lord.” (Qur’an 6:1)
“It is He who created you from one soul and created from it its mate that he might dwell in security with her. And when he covers her, she carries a light burden and continues therein. And when it becomes heavy, they both invoke Allah, their Lord, “If You should give us a good [child], we will surely be among the grateful.” (Qur’an 7:189)
“It is He who made for you the night to rest therein and the day, giving sight. Indeed in that are signs for a people who listen.” (Qur’an 10:67)
“Is He [not best] who made the earth a stable ground and placed within it rivers and made for it firmly set mountains and placed between the two seas a barrier? Is there a deity with Allah? [No], but most of them do not know.” (Qur’an 27:61)
“And Allah has made for you, from that which He has created, shadows and has made for you from the mountains, shelters and has made for you garments which protect you from the heat and garments which protect you from your [enemy in] battle. Thus does He complete His favor upon you that you might submit [to Him].” (Qur’an 16:81)
“And made the moon therein a [reflected] light and made the sun a burning lamp?” (Qur’an 71:16)
“And We have made the night and day two signs, and We erased the sign of the night and made the sign of the day visible that you may seek bounty from your Lord and may know the number of years and the account [of time]. And everything We have set out in detail.” (Qur’an 17:12)
“Have We not made the earth a container.” (Qur’an 77:25)
“Have We not made the earth a resting place?” (Qur’an 78:6-11)
Yet in order to try and refute what these clear verses say those who are desperate will say that made, originate, and create do not always mean originate, create or make!
They use the following verse in a last desperate gambit.
“Allah has not appointed [such innovations as] bahirah or sa’ibah or wasilah or ham. But those who disbelieve invent falsehood about Allah, and most of them do not reason.” (Qur’an 5:103)
This should be understood as Allah (swt) did not create as you have described, rather Allah (swt) created against that which you have described. The negation here is of the particular qualifier, not of the particular reaction.
In other words, Allah (swt) did not legalize the slitting of its ear.
“It is He who has sent down to you, [O Muhammed], the Book; in it are verses [that are] precise – they are the foundation of the Book – and others unspecific. As for those in whose hearts is deviation [from truth], they will follow that of it which is unspecific, seeking discord and seeking an interpretation [suitable to them]. And no one knows its [true] interpretation except Allah. But those firm in knowledge say, “We believe in it. All [of it] is from our Lord.” And no one will be reminded except those of understanding.” (Qur’an 3:7)
This shows the division in the Qur’an
The Qur’an has division, this cannot be an abiding quality with Allah (swt) that has a division within it. If It has division as mukham and mutashabi it is divided and we cannot ascribe that to Allah (swt).
Proof #17 In relation to that above it would be that there are parts of Allah (swt) knowable to human beings and parts of Allah (swt) unknowable to human beings and indicate division within Allah (swt).
“Do not move your tongue with this (Qur’an) to make haste with it. Surely on Us (devolves) the collecting of it and the reciting of it. Therefore when We have recited it, follow its recitation. Again on Us (devolves) the explaining of it.” (Qur’an 75:16-19)
This is clearly in reference to a revelation that is revealed in space/time.
“There was certainly a time when there was no mention of the human being.” (Qur’an 76:1)
If the Qur’an is eternal than this verse would make little sense. Allah (swt) would be speaking for all eternity and human beings would be mentioned.
Proof #20 This in relation to Proof #1 and Proof #4
There is nothing like unto Him, and He is the Hearing, the Seeing. (Qur’an 42:11)
If the Qur’an is an attribute of Allah (swt) and no one is saying that the Qur’an =The essence of Allah (swt) means the Qur’an cannot be an eternal attribute of Allah (swt). It would be something eternal and not Allah. This is not theologically sound.
This is why at the core of the Ashari school is this very bizarre admission.
They claimed that the logical consequence of the “Attributes of Forms” was “multiplicity of beginning-less entities” (ta’addud al-qudama’). This reasoning was refuted by the entirety of Ahl Al-Sunna scholars. see al-Buti, Kubra al-Yaqinat Al-Kawniyya (p. 119 n.).
“The Attributes are neither the Essence Itself nor other than It (al-sifat laysat ‘aynu al-dhat wa la ghayraha), as in the school of
Ahl al-Sunna wa al-Jama’a.” Al-Qari, Daw’al-Ma’ali (p.5)
Source: (Pages 7 & 8 Correct Islamic Doctrine/Islamic Doctrine Volume 2 By Ibn Khafif, translated by Gibril Fouad Haddad
This is no refutation at all!
“So have they not traveled through the earth and have hearts by which to reason and ears by which to hear? For indeed, it is not eyes that are blinded, but blinded are the hearts which are within the breasts.” (Qur’an 22:46)