Mohamed Hijab who is a known U.K based Muslim has recently put forward some excellent arguments against the idea of the Qur’an being eternal and uncreated.
Now to be fair I want to say from the outset that Mohamed Hijab (as far as I know) believes that the Qur’an is eternal and uncreated.
However, it doesn’t seem that he has pondered the implications of his kalaam argument on the subject of the Qur’an being makhluq (created).
Listen carefully to the exchange between brother Marwan and brother Mohamed Hijab
The contingency argument.
@1:28:36 listen to brother Marwan’s question about pantheism and contingency argument.
@1:30:18 brother Mohamed Hijab gives his reply listen carefully.
“This is a book and it’s made out of parts and the parts are the pages of the book right. Correct? So these are the pages of the book. I dunno what book. ‘Jewish historical society of England’ …..This is a book right and this is the whole of the book correct? and it’s made out of parts correct? Now if I pick a part out. Now if I take all parts out of this book does it remain as a book? It the parts are taken out than the whole thing is taken out. If that’s conceivable that parts taken out the whole thing is taken out than there is no way that this thing that I’m talking about is necessary and independent. Because necessary and independent means it’s always there and it can never be any other way. It’s a simple as that. You said, well if it’s inter-dependent anything which is inter-dependent by definition is dependent because what does the word inter-dependent mean? Interdependent means things which rely upon each other. So, if in order for this book to exist, there’s an inter-dependence or each page relies upon the existence of other pages in this book in order to exist. Then what we’re saying is this thing is dependent because everything interdependent is by definition dependent. What is dependence? Something which relies upon something else for its existence. What is inter-dependence? Something which relies upon something else in order to exist. So in many ways what your saying is if we admit that its dependent than khalas (finished) it cannot be dependent and necessary at the same time.”
@1:33:16 “How do we describe the kul here. How do we describe the whole of this book? How do we describe the whole of this book? We describe it through it’s parts right? Now if I say I just dissembled all it’s parts and it’s maybe what 3-400 pages and I’ve scattered them around they still exist but they exist in a different form. Now what I’m saying is the fact that I can re-arrange them like this I can you see this hundred, I dunno let me see 208 pages of this book yeah. If I take the 232 pages and make page 1 and page 232 and make it like munaqis (opposite) so instead of 1,2,3,4,5 it’s 232, 231, etc., etc. I’ve re-arranged it. The fact that now I can rearrange this book means there is nothing necessary about the arrangement and the form of this book. There is nothing necessary about it at all.”
@1:34:27 “The book as it is the way in which the book is now from 1 to 232, the way in which the book is like that the form the sura the shaqil the hakel -what ever word you want to use, the form of the book as it is now can be re-arranged. Now let me give you an example because I feel, I feel like the issue here is we don’t know the difference between contingency in this necessity. Necessity: 2 +2=4. 2+2=4. Is there any way 2+2=4 can be arranged any other way. Can it re-arrange in any other way? Can 2+2=anything other than 4? Which means its necessary. So its impossible to re-arrange 2+2 to equal anything other than 4. It’s eternally that way, it’s necessarily that way and it will continue being that way. It cannot be any other way. Now this is not the same with the arrangement of the parts of this book. The arrangement of the parts of this book can be other ways. This book itself can be another way. Instead of this colour; which I will describe as beige I dunno maybe I’m colour blind. It could have been blue. I can actually paint it right now. I can make it blue. I can , you want me to do? It looks like a historic book I dun want to ruin it. But I can change this book. There is nothing necessary about this book. Now you might say well, if we define necessity as something susceptibility, destructibility and generation. Yeah? And then in the closed system of the universe energy cannot be destroyed. Cannot be destroyed and therefore the atoms will take another form. I’m saying. I am not defining. I’m not defining contingency in only that way. I’m defining contingency in three ways. Number 1. Something that can be any other way. Number one yeah? Number 2. Something susceptibility to destruction and generation destruction yeah? And number 3. Something which relies upon something else for its existence. Now even if you argued that well this cannot be really destroyed because it’s atoms will take other form. I’m saying its still not necessary because it can be arranged in another way. The parts of this whole can be arranged in a way which is currently not arranged. It can be a way which is currently not/is. So which means that it, it meets the criterion of contingency; because it can be another way.”
@1:37:24 “You are confusing eternality and necessity. O.K? It’s conceivable that something can be eternal and not necessary. It’s conceivable how so? Because something can be eternal but rely upon something necessary. And that’s why the ‘ulemah of Islam they differentiated between what is referred to as wajibun an nafsi and wajibun al ghayri which is necessary for its own sake and necessary or in and of itself and necessary because of something else. So for example if I were to say. You have a sun. Let’s say the sun is necessary. The sun yani. Shams yeah? And it’s rays are contingent based-dependent upon the sun. The fact that the rays exist and they are contingent on the sun doesn’t’ mean that just because they are both eternal. The fact that the rays exist and are contingent on the sun doesn’t’ mean that the rays are necessary just because their eternal because they are dependent upon something which is necessary in this case, the sun or the eternal. You get it?
@1:38:37 “Yeah that’s his Ibn Cena beliefs. Yeah well Islamic refutation of the universe being eternal is clearly against the Qur’an and the Sunnah. Al Ghazali had this kind of refutation if you wanna.”
Marwan ask about the attributes of Allah (swt).
@1:39:00 “We affirm all the attributes of God through these kind of argumentations. That is why, there is a point where you need like the Rahma of Allah. The fact that he is ghafu and afuw and raheem and all that stuff. That needs to be affirmed through revelation.”
Marwan ask are these attributes necessary or contingent?
@1:39:19 ‘Yeah all attributes of Allah are necessary.” @1:40:25 “We don’t use the word dependent it’s being controlled by the irada (intention) of Allah. By the will of God. So the verb all the attributes of God are controlled by the will of God. If Allah wants to speak yeah? If Allah wants to speak he wills that and he does that.”
Marwan so they are contingent upon his will?
Listen to how uncomfortable is the response of Mohamed Hijab. The sudden shift. Also notice that Mohamed Hijab does not affirm that Allah is speaking, or is speaking eternally. He attributes the speaking to his will! Al hamdulillah! Thank you!
@1:40:44 “We don’t need to use the word contingent. They are controlled by his will.”
I believe at this point brother Marwan doesn’t really seem to buy it. A quick glance of the ideas upward and simply responds . ‘O.K’
The arguments brought by Mohamed Hijab absolutely decimate the idea that the Qur’an is uncreated.
It’s message is dependent upon asbaab an nuzul (occasion of revelation) which conceivably could have been different. According to our brothers from the Sunni denomination it has text that have been abrogated and that is dependent upon what abrogates and what is abrogated. It is composed of letters and words and sentences that are dependent upon structure to have coherent meaning. It’s conceivable that the Ahruf /Qir’aat of the Qur’an could be more or less than what they are. It is conceivable that the Qur’an could have been revealed in a language other than Arabic. It is conceivable that the Qur’an itself cannot be necessary because it is conceivable that Allah (swt) could have had the Torah or any other revelation completely intact and reach us until this very day.
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 fellow Sunni Muslims of the Hanbali school to task 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)