We proceed from where we left off https://answeringislamblog.wordpress.com/2017/08/11/a-critique-of-shabir-allys-debate-tactics-pt-2a/.
Islam’s Counterfeit Trinity
Here we are going to highlight the fact that, contrary to the assertions made by Ally, Islam is not a strict monotheistic faith, at least not a strictly Unitarian one. Rather, the Islamic sources confirm that there is a host of divine entities that exist, with some of these being in subjection or subordinate to certain others. This, in turn, places Ally in the very same dilemma that he claims that the Christian is in for believing that Jesus Christ is the eternal Logos/Word of God who became flesh.
Islam’s Other Ilah: The Qur’an is the Uncreated Speech of Allah
Islam expects its adherents to affirm that the attributes of Allah, such as his speech, are neither him nor other than him, meaning that a Muslim cannot say that Allah’s characteristics are separate from him. Nor can they deny that these attributes are other than Allah himself since they are the very things that make up the essence and identity of the Islamic god. This means that, since the Quran is the speech of Allah, neither Ally nor any other Muslim can dare say that the Quran is something that is not Allah; even though they are also expressly forbidden from saying it is Allah.
Islamic orthodoxy further teaches that anyone who asserts that the Quran is created, or that one’s recitation of the Quran is created, has placed himself/herself outside the fold of true Islam.
The Qur’an is the speech of Allah, revealed, not created, regardless of how it is recited, written, and any way or anywhere it is recited. What is written from the Qur’an is just that, i.e., Quran, what is read from the Qur’an is just that, i.e., Quran, what is recited from the Qur’an is just that, i.e., Quran. The Speech of Allah is qadim, not created, regardless of the way and the form in which the Qur’an is presented. It is the Speech of Allah, not created, or new, or made, or a physical entity, or a physical reality, or a material entity. Rather, it is an attribute from the attributes of Allah’s essence. It is not similar to any created thing.
The Attribute of Speech
Allah is able, and will always be able to speak. (It is not permissible to separate between the two [i.e. Allah and His Speech] in a way that negates His Attributes)12. Sometimes, it is heard directly from Allah, glorified be He, sometimes from the one who hears it directly from Allah [such as Angel Jibril]. Whoever hears it directly from Allah hears it directly, without any mediator or translator, such as our Prophet Muhammad, when Allah spoke to him directly on the night of al-Miraj. Allah also spoke to Musa when he was on Mount Tur. Similarly, whoever Allah decides to speak to from among His angels, hears His speech from Him directly. Whoever is not among the categories mentioned, they hear Allah’s qadim13 speech in truth from whoever is reciting it for them [from Allah]14. Allah’s Speech consists of intelligible letters and a voice that is heard.15
12 I could not find out precisely what the Imam meant here, but perhaps he meant that Allah’s Attribute of Speech is always present in Him, because He has been speaking SINCE ETERNITY, whenever He wills, and in any way He wills. Allah also initiates speech whenever He wills, as Allah said, “Comes not unto them an admonition (a chapter of the Qur’an) from their Lord as a recent revelation but they listen to it while they play.” [21:2] Ibn Kathir said, “‘Recent’, or, ‘New’, meaning, new in regards to its revelation.” Refer to, Tafsir al-Qur’an al-‘Adhim, 3/231, published by, Mu’assasat ar-Rayyan.
13[T .N] This statement from the Imam has a different meaning to it, while scholars such as, Ibn Taimiyyah have clarified what, qadim, means when used in reference to Allah’s Speech. The author used this term in its literal form, and Allah knows best, to mean that, qadim, is that which was spoken previously. Qadim literally means, old, before, olden, previously etc.
14 [T .N] Meaning, just as Prophet Muhammad was given the Revelation. Allah spoke the Qur’an to Angel Jibril, who spoke it to Prophet Muhammad. In reality, as the Imam here says, Allah’s Messenger heard it in a qadim manner, meaning that Allah already spoke before the Prophet Muhammad heard it. (Kitab al-I’tiqad (The Book of Creed), by Imam Abu al-Husain Muhammad bin al-Qadhi Abu Ya’la al-Hanbali, verification of the text and commentary by Shaikh Muhammad bin ‘Abd ar-Rahman al-Khumaiyis (Associate Professor at Muhammad bin Sa’ud University), translated by Amr bin Jalal Abualrub [Madinah Publishers and Distributors, First edition: 2012], pp. 17-18; capital and underline emphasis ours)
A brief summation of Sunni Islam’s view of the Quran
With the foregoing in view, a summary of what Sunni theology in genera teaches about this issue will prove helpful in assessing Shabir Ally’s arguments and fidelity (or lack thereof) to what Islam has taught historically, or at least to the belief of the proto-orthodox wing of Islam, which eventually became the predominate, mainstream position.
- The Quran is the word(s) of Allah, which proceeds from him. As such, it is Allah’s speech.
- Speech is one of Allah’s essential attributes.
- As an essential attribute, Allah’s speech is uncreated.
- Since the Quran is Allah’s speech it must, therefore, be uncreated.
- As the speech of Allah, the Quran is not a separate entity from him any more than any of his other attributes are separate from Allah.
- At the same time, the Quran is not identical to Allah since there is more to Allah than his speech.
Now these statements obviously cannot be made about the book, pages, or the ink which humans use to record the Quran since these elements are part of creation and therefore temporal. This means that the Quran is actually composed of two distinct elements, one that is eternal and immaterial and the other which is created and physical. In other words, the Quran is eternal and created, timeless and temporal at the same time.
Now this places Ally in a quandary. Since the Quran cannot be separated from Allah, and since the inscripturation/inlibration of the Quran is a necessary and essential aspect of its nature, which is why it often refers to itself as the book that was sent down,
And We have sent down to thee THE BOOK with the truth, confirming the Book that was before it, and assuring it… S. 5:48 Arberry
A Revelation from (God), Most Gracious, Most Merciful; – A BOOK, whereof the verses are explained in detail; – a Qur’an in Arabic, for people who understand; – S. 41:2-3 Y. Ali
By THE BOOK that makes things clear, – We have made it a Qur’an in Arabic, that ye may be able to understand (and learn wisdom). And verily, it is in the Mother of the Book, in Our Presence, high (in dignity), full of wisdom. S. 43:2-4 Y. Ali
By THE BOOK that makes things clear; – We sent it down during a Blessed Night: for We (ever) wish to warn (against Evil). In the (Night) is made distinct every affair of wisdom, By command, from Our Presence. For We (ever) send (revelations), S. 44:2-5 Y. Ali
This means that an intrinsic part of Ally’s god became a book! There’s simply no way around this seeing that the Quran is inseparable from Allah. Therefore, whatever happens to the Quran is also happening to Allah, since there is no way for him not to be affected by the things which the Quran undergoes if it is in fact one of his inseparable, essential attributes. Hence, when the third caliph burned and destroyed the various Qurans in circulation during his day,
Narrated Anas bin Malik: Hudhaifa bin Al-Yaman came to Uthman at the time when the people of Sham and the people of Iraq were Waging war to conquer Arminya and Adharbijan. Hudhaifa was afraid of their (the people of Sham and Iraq) differences in the recitation of the Qur’an, so he said to ‘Uthman, “O chief of the Believers! Save this nation before they differ about the Book (Quran) as Jews and the Christians did before.” So ‘Uthman sent a message to Hafsa saying, “Send us the manuscripts of the Qur’an so that we may compile the Qur’anic materials in perfect copies and return the manuscripts to you.” Hafsa sent it to ‘Uthman. ‘Uthman then ordered Zaid bin Thabit, ‘Abdullah bin AzZubair, Said bin Al-As and ‘AbdurRahman bin Harith bin Hisham to rewrite the manuscripts in perfect copies. ‘Uthman said to the three Quraishi men, “In case you disagree with Zaid bin Thabit on any point in the Qur’an, then write it in the dialect of Quraish, the Qur’an was revealed in their tongue.” They did so, and when they had written many copies, ‘Uthman returned the original manuscripts to Hafsa. ‘Uthman sent to every Muslim province one copy of what they had copied, and ordered that all the other Qur’anic materials, whether written in fragmentary manuscripts or whole copies, be burnt. Said bin Thabit added, “A Verse from Surat Ahzab was missed by me when we copied the Qur’an and I used to hear Allah’s Apostle reciting it. So we searched for it and found it with Khuzaima bin Thabit Al-Ansari. (That Verse was): ‘Among the Believers are men who have been true in their covenant with Allah.’ (33.23). (Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 6, Book 61, Volum 510 http://searchtruth.com/book_display.php?book=61&translator=1&start=0&number=510)
This essentially means that a part of Allah underwent burning and destruction as well.
The Talking Quran!
That’s not all. According to the so-called sound ahadith the Quran and its individual chapters will intercede and argue for all those Muslims that were in the habit of reciting/reading the Islamic scripture. These sources further attest that the Quran and its individual parts can and will appear in visible form on the day of judgment and march ahead of their reciters/readers as they go before Allah to defend them:
Abu Umama said he heard Allah’s Messenger say: Recite the Qur’an, for on the Day of Resurrection it will come as an intercessor for those who recite It. Recite the two bright ones, al-Baqara and Surah Al ‘Imran, for on the Day of Resurrection they will come as two clouds or two shades, or two flocks of birds in ranks, pleading for those who recite them. Recite Surah al-Baqara, for to take recourse to it is a blessing and to give it up is a cause of grief, and the magicians cannot confront it. (Mu’awiya said: It has been conveyed to me that here Batala means magicians.) (Sahih Muslim, Book 004, Number 1757: http://searchtruth.com/book_display.php?book=004&translator=2&start=0&number=1645)
Narrated by Abdullah ibn Amr:
Allah’s Messenger said, “Fasting and the Qur’an intercede for a man. Fasting says, ‘O my Lord, I have kept him away from his food and his passions by day, so accept my intercession for him.’ The Qur’an SAYS, ‘I HAVE KEPT HIM AWAY from sleep by night, so accept my intercession for him.’ Then their intercession is accepted.”
Bayhaqi transmitted it in Shu’ab al-Iman. (Jami‘ At-Tirmidhi, Hadith Number 1963: http://www.oocities.org/tirmidhihadith/page4.html; see also the following English version of this same hadith: http://www.alim.org/library/hadith/TIR/612; bold and capital emphasis ours)
We are even told that the Quran will even appear in the form of a pale white man:
It was narrated that Buraydah said: I heard the Prophet say: “The Qur’an will meet its companion on the Day of Resurrection when his grave is opened for him, IN THE FORM OF A PALE MAN. IT WILL SAY TO HIM, ‘Do you recognize me?’ He will say: ‘I do not recognize you.’ IT WILL SAY: ‘I am your companion the Qur’an, who kept you thirsty on hot days and kept you awake at night. Every merchant benefits from his business and today you will benefit from your good deeds.’ He will be given dominion in his right hand and eternity in his left, and there will be placed on his head a crown of dignity, and his parents will be clothed with priceless garments the like of which have never been seen in this world. They will say: ‘Why have we been clothed with this?’ It will be said: ‘Because your son used to recite Qur’an.’ Then it will be said to him: ‘Recite and ascend in the degrees of Paradise,’ and he will continue to ascend so long as he recites, either at a fast pace or a slow pace.”
Narrated by Ahmad in al-Musnad (394) and Ibn Maajah in al-Sunan (3781); classed as hasan by al-Busayri in al-Zawaa’id and by al-Albaani in al-Silsilah al-Saheehah (2829).
Here is the English translation of Ibn Majah’s version of this report:
3781. It was narrated from Ibn Buraidah that his father told that the Messenger of Allah said: “The Qur’an will come on the Day of Resurrection, LIKE A PALE MAN, AND WILL SAY: ‘I am the one that kept you awake at night and made you thirsty during the day.’” (Hasan) (English Translation of Sunan Ibn Majah – Compiled by Imam Muhammad Bin Yazeed Ibn Majah Al-Qazwini, From Hadith No. 3657 to 4341, Ahadith edited and referenced by Hafiz Abu Tahir Zubair ‘Ali Za’i, translated by Nasiruddin al-Khattab (Canada), final review by Abu Khaliyl (USA), [Darussalam Publications and Distributors, First Edition: June 2007], Volume 5, Chapters on Etiquette, Chapter 52. The Rewards Associated With Qur’an, pp. 68-69; capital emphasis ours)
To top it off, Muhammad actually believed that the Quran and its individual surahs pray to Allah and worship him as their very Lord!
Khalid b. Ma‘dan said: RECITE THE RESCUER, which is A.L.M. The sending down,3 for I have heard that a man who had committed many sins used to recite it and nothing else. It spread its wings over him AND SAID, ‘MY LORD, forgive him, for he often used to RECITE ME;’ so the Lord Most High MADE IT AN INTERCESSOR for him and said, ‘Record for him a good deed and raise him a degree in place of every sin.’ Khalid said: IT WILL DISPUTE on behalf of the one who RECITES IT when he is in the grave SAYING, ‘O God, if I am a part of Thy Book, make me AN INTERCESSOR for him; but if I am not a part of Thy Book, blot me out of it.’ It will be like a bird putting its wing on him, IT WILL INTERCEDE for him and will protect him from the punishment in the grave. He said the same about ‘Blessed is He.’4 Khalid did not go to sleep at night till he had recited them. Ta’us said they were given sixty virtues more than any other sura in the Qur’an. Darimi transmitted.”
- Qur’an, xxxii.
- Qur’an, lxvii. (Mishkat Al-Masabih, English Translation With Explanatory Notes by Dr. James Robson [Sh. Muhammad Ashraf Publishers, Booksellers & Exporters, Lahore-Pakistan, Reprint 1990], Volume II, Book VIII. The Excellent Qualities of the Qur’an, Chapter I, p. 459; bold and capital emphasis ours)
Hence, not only does the foregoing prove that the Quran is personally distinct from Allah (since it even disputes with him!), it even indicates that it is a conscious being capable of praying and worshiping!
In fact, since the hadiths ascribe consciousness to some of its individual surahs, this means that the Quran consists of 114 personal, conscious agents, all of whom are capable of interacting, disputing and/or interceding with the Muslim god!
With that in mind, we can now turn Ally’s own objections to the Christian doctrine of the Incarnation of God’s Eternal Word against him.
Traditional Islam teaches that the Quran is the uncreated speech/word of Allah (kalamullah) that came down on earth in order to become a book! And this book has its own words, and can even appear in human form. In fact, all of its individual chapters can speak and appear separately from one another, and some of which will even do so on the day of judgment in order to dispute with Allah in defense of their reciters/readers. Now since the Quran is inseparable from Allah, seeing that it is one of his essential attributes, this means that Allah actually consists of 115 separate and distinct personalities, all of who can interact and dispute with one another. This further entails believing that Allah, or at least an intrinsic part of him, became a physical book, one that can be touched, burned, desecrated, destroyed etc., by fallible imperfect creatures.
Now in light of this, why isn’t Shabir Ally worshiping the Quran? After all, if it is an eternal, inseparable part of Allah which originates from him, then this means that the Quran is divine in nature. And if it is divine then it is worthy of the worship of Muslims. The fact that Ally and the rest of the Muslims do not worship the Quran is an indication of their gross inconsistency. If anything it shows that Ally and his fellow believers are dishonoring their lord by failing to worship the physical form, the visible manifestation of his uncreated speech, a speech that is supposed to be Allah speaking to his servants.
And Ally thought we Christians had problems!
For a more extensive study on the Quran being a living conscious being consisting of 114 distinct personalities we recommend the following article:
The Quran As A Divine Conscious Agent http://answeringislam.net/authors/shamoun/conscious_quran.html
Ally’s groans are far from over, as we shall see in the next installment.