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DEBATE CHALLENGE TO MUSLIM METAPHYSICIAN PT. 2

I continue with my challenges to Jake the so-called Metaphysician:  https://answeringallah.com/debate-challenge-to-muslim-metaphysician-pt-1b/

AL-QURAN: THE ETERNAL LOGOS BECOMES A BOOK!

As a Sunni Muslim, Jake is obligated to believe that the Quran is the uncreated speech of Allah (kalam Allah) that became a book (kitab). The reason being is that speech is one of the attributes (sifaat) of Allah, and since Allah’s attributes eternally subsist in him this means the Quran is an inseparable part of Allah’s very own being or essence (dhaat). As such, the Quran cannot be created (makhluq) since nothing that is intrinsic to Allah’s nature can have come into existence at a specific point in time.  

As the following Muslim scholar put:

“The Qur’an is God’s speech, which he uttered, and it is uncreated. Who holds the opposite is a Jahmit, an unbeliever. And who says: ‘The Qur’an is God’s speech’, and stops at that point without adding ‘uncreated’, speaks even more infamously than the latter. Also, who maintains our sounds, our Qur’an recitation would be created, the Qur’an itself, however, God’s speech, is a Jahmit, too. And who doesn’t declare all these people as unbelievers, is like them.” (according to Ibn Abu Ya’la, Tabaqat al-Hanabila, ed. Muhammad Hamid al Fiqh, Cairo 1952, vol. I, p. 29; transl. Dr. Christopher Heger)

Noted Islamicist, F.E. Peters, quotes Muslim scholar Ahmad Ibn Hanbal as saying:

The Quran is the Word of God and it is not created. It is not wrong to say, “It is not created,” for God’s Word is not separated from Him, and there is nothing of Him that is created. Beware of discussing this with those who speak about this subject and talk of the “creation of sounds” and such matters, and those who go midway and say, “I don’t know whether the Quran is created or uncreated, but it is God’s Word.” Such a one is guilty of a religious innovation as is the one who says, “It is created,” for it is God’s Word and that is not created. (Ahmad Ibn Hanbal, Creed) [WILLIAMS 1971:29] (Peters, Judaism, Christianity, And Islam: The Classical Texts and Their Interpretation [Princeton Uinversity Press, Princeton, NJ, 1990 paperback], p. 47; bold emphasis mine)

Peters quotes another Muslim authority who stated that:

The Quran is God’s speaking, which is one of His attributes. Now God in all His attributes is One and with all His attributes is eternal and not contingent, (so His speaking is) without letters and without sounds, not broken up into syllables or paragraphs. It is not He nor is it other than He… (Ibid.; bold emphasis mine)

Here’s what a prominent Salafi website wrote in regards to the question of whether the Quran is created:

The evidence that the Qur’aan is not created is the aayah (interpretation of the meaning):

“Surely, His is the creation and commandment” [al-A’raaf 7:54]

So Allaah describes creation as one thing and commandment as another. The conjunction implies that the second thing mentioned is different, and the Qur’aan is part of the commandment because of the evidence of the aayah (interpretation of the meaning):

“And thus We have sent to you (O Muhammad) Rooh (a revelation, and a mercy) of Our Command. You knew not what is the Book, nor what is Faith? But We have made it (this Qur’aan) a light wherewith We guide whosoever of Our slaves We will”

[al-Shoora 42:52]

If the Qur’aan is part of the command or commandment, which is different from creation, therefore it is not created, because if it were created, this division of categories would not be correct. This is the evidence from the Qur’aan. (Islam Question & Answer 10153:

The Qur’aan was revealed by Allaah, not created

; bold emphasis mine)

The verse which this site posted is actually referring to Allah’s Spirit since the Arabic word Ruh (spelled Rooh in the above) means Spirit. Thus, not only have they argued for the Quran being uncreated but also for the Spirit’s uncreatedness!

After all, if the Quran being part of Allah’s command means that it is uncreated, since Allah’s commands are not part of creation, then the Spirit must be uncreated as well. This leaves us with Allah, His Word (the Quran) and His Spirit being all uncreated!

Renowed Sunni Muslim writer, GF Haddad, in addressing Shia claims to the contrary, provides a list of quotes from renowned Muslim scholars regarding the Quran’s uncreatedness, some of which include:

Ahl al-Sunna agree ONE AND ALL that the Qur’an is the pre-existent, pre-eternal, uncreated Speech of Allah Most High on the evidence of the Qur’an, the Sunna, and faith-guided reason.

In a rare instance of classic kalâm reasoning, Imam Malik gave the most succinct statement of this doctrine:

“The Qur’an is the Speech of Allah, the Speech of Allah comes from Him, and nothing created comes from Allah Most High.” Narrated by al-Dhahabi in Siyar A`lam al-Nubala’ (Dar al-Fikr ed. 7:416).

Hafiz Abu al-Qasim Ibn `Asakir said in Tabyin Kadhib al-Muftari (Dar al-Jil ed. p. 150-151):

The Mu`tazila said: ‘the Speech of Allah Most High is created, invented, and brought into being.’ The Hashwiyya, who attribute a body to Allah the Exalted, said: ‘The alphabetical characters (al-hurûf al-muqatta`a), the materials on which they are written, the colors in which they are written, and all that is between the two covers [of the volumes of Qur’an] is beginningless and pre-existent (qadîma azaliyya). Al-Ash`ari took a middle road between them and said: The Qur’an is the beginningless speech of Allah Most High unchanged, uncreated, not of recent origin in time, nor brought into being. As for the alphabetical characters, the materials, the colors, the voices, the elements that are subject to limitations (al-mahdûdât), and all that is subject to modality (al-mukayyafât) in the world: all this is created, originated, and produced.”

Hafiz Abu Bakr al-Bayhaqi said in al-Asma’ wa al-Sifat (al-Kawthari ed. p. 265; al-Hashidi ed. 2:18) with a sound chain:

“Something Ibn Shaddad had written was handed to Abu Bakr al-Marwazi which containing the phrase: “My pronunciation of the Qur’an is uncreated” and the latter was asked to show it to Ahmad ibn Hanbal for corroboration. The latter crossed out the phrase and wrote instead: “The Qur’an, however used (haythu yusraf), is uncreated.”

“In another sound narration, Abu Bakr al-Marwazi, Abu Muhammad Fawran [or Fawzan], and Salih ibn Ahmad ibn Hanbal witnessed Ahmad rebuking one of his students named Abu Talib with the words: “Are you telling people that I said: ‘My pronunciation of the Qur’an is uncreated’?” Abu Talib replied: “I only said this from my own.” Ahmad said: “Do not say this – neither from me, nor from you! I never heard any person of knowledge say it. The Qur’an is the Speech of Allah uncreated, whichever way it is used.” Salih said to Abu Talib: “If you told people what you said, now go and tell the same people that Abu `Abd Allah [Imam Ahmad] forbade to say it.”” End of al-Bayhaqi’s narration in al-Asma’ wa al-Sifat (Kawthari ed. p. 265-266; al-Hashidi ed. 2:18). This is a sound narration also found in Salih ibn Ahmad’s book al-Mihna (p. 70-71), Ibn al-Jawzi’s Manaqib al-Imam Ahmad (p. 155), and Ibn Taymiyya in Majmu` al-Fatawa (12:360, 12:425).

The Proof of Islam and Renewer of the Fifth Hijri Century, Imam Abu Hamid al-Ghazzali said in his “Foundations of Islamic Belief” (Qawa`id al-`Aqa’id) published in his Rasa’il and his Ihya’ `Ulum al-Din and partially translated in Shaykh Nuh Keller’s Reliance of the Traveller and by Mrs. Ahmad Darwish on the Mosque of the Internet:

“The Qur’an is read by tongues, written in books, and remembered in the heart, yet it is, nevertheless, uncreated and without beginning, subsisting in the Essence of Allah, not subject to division and or separation through its transmission to the heart and paper. Musa heard the Speech of Allah without sound and without letter, just as the righteous see the Essence of Allah Most High in the Hereafter, without substance or its quality.” End of al-Ghazzali’s words.

And Imam al-Tahawi said of the Qur’an in his “Creed of Abu Hanifa and his Companions”: “It is not created like the speech of creatures.”…

Allah says, {Verily, His Command, when He intends a thing, is only that He says to it, ‘Be!’ and it is!} -Yasîn 82

Ibn `Uyayna explains, “Allah has differentiated his Creation from his Command. His command is “Be” (Kun).”

Allah says, {Verily! Our Word unto a thing when We intend it, is only that We say unto it: “Be!” and it is.} – Surah An-Nahl 40

Shaykh `AbdulQadir al-Jilani (Rahimahullah),* explaining that the word of Allah is not created says, “Allah (subhanehu Wa ta’ala) said, {Verily! to him (belongs) the creation and the Command}; (Allah) has differentiated his Creation from his Command, If His Command which is “Be” (Kun) that He creates His creation (with) is created it would be a repetition that has no benefit – as if He (Allah) said ‘Verily! to him (belongs) the creation and the creation’; Allah (subhanehu Wa ta’ala) is far removed from doing such a thing.” From the book Al-Ghunya li-Talibiy Tariq al-Haqq, volume 1 page 59. (The Uncreatedness of the divine speech the glorious Qur’an; bold and capital emphasis mine)

I will have more to say about the Mutazilites shortly. Haddad quotes:

From the Futuhat al-Makkiyya:

[164] He – Most High – speaks, not after being previously silent nor following presumed tacitness, with a speech pre-eternal and beginningless like the rest of His Attributes, whether His knowledge, will, or power. He spoke to Musa. He named it [His speech] the divine Bestowal (al-tanzîl), the Book of Psalms (al-zabûr), the Torah, and the Evangel. [All this] without letters (hurûf), sounds (aswât), tones (nagham), nor languages (lughât). Rather, He is the Creator of sounds, letters, and languages.

[2000-09-18] (Haddad, Ibn `Arabi on Uncreatedness of Qur’an)

Speaking of the attributes of Allah, Haddad explains that:

The `Aqida of the People of Truth is:

sifaatu-l-Laahi laysat `ayna dhaatin

The Attributes of Allah are neither the very Essence,

wa laa ghayran siwaahu dha-nfisaali

nor other than Himself, nor separate.

sifaatu-dh-Dhaati wa-l-af`aali turran

And all the Attributes of the Essence and of the Acts

qadiimaatun masuunaatu-z-zawaali

are pre-existent and without end. [From the poem Bad’ al-Amali by the Maturidi master, Siraj al-Din `Ali ibn `Uthman al-Ushi (d. 569).] (The Uncreatedness of the divine speech the glorious Qur’an; bold emphasis mine)

There’s a lot more:

  1. The Qur’an is the Word of God that emanated from Himwithout modality in its expression. He sent it down to His messenger as a revelation. The believers accept it as such literally. They are certain it is, in reality, the Word of God, the Sublime and Exalted.
  2. Unlike human speech, it is eternal and uncreated. (The Creed of Imam Al-Tahawi(Al-Aqidah al-Tahawiyyah), translated, annotated and introduced by Hamza Yusuf [Zaytuna Institute, 2007], p. 54; bold emphasis mine)
  3. We do not argue about the Qur’an. Rather, we testify that it is the Word of the Lord of the universeas revealed through the Trustworthy Spirit, who taught it to the paragon of messengers, Muhammad. It is the Word of God, the Sublime and Exalted. No mortal speech compares to it, and we do not say it is created. (Ibid., p. 64; bold emphasis mine)

And:

Ahlul al-Sunnah declare the following: We believe that the attribute of speech [of Allah] to be Qadim al-Naw’ Hadith al-Ahadwhich means that in its essence [Allah’s Speech] is Eternal, and He speaks whenever He wants the way He wants.

Saying, “Qadim al-Naw’” means that Speech is an Attribute of the Divine Essence, hence Eternal, as it exists due by His Essence, which neither has an end nor a beginning…

The following ayat establish clear incontrovertible proof of Allah’s Speech, in a manner that befits His Majesty and Supremacy, which is an eternal, everlasting and perfect Attribute of His Essence.

Allah said…

“And, indeed, Allah spoke to Musa with [direct] speech.” [al-Nisa’ (4):164]

Moreover, Allah said…

“And the word of your Lord has been fulfilled in truth and in justice. None can alter His words, and He is the Hearing, the Knowing.” [al-An’am (6):115]

“I seek refuge in the Perfect Word from the evil of what He created”.

“nothing would harm him until he marches from that stopping place.”

All these are proof enough to affirm the attribute of Speech of Allah, Most High.

The Qur’an is the Word of Allah (Kalam Allah), which He sent down to His slave and Messenger, to remain as a source of legislation for mankind, until the Day of Judgement. He described Himself with it, by adding it [as a genitive] to His Name, in the verse…

“And if anyone of the idolaters seek thy protection, then grant him protection so that he may hear the words of Allah. Then deliver him to his place of safety. That is because they are a people who do not know.” [al-Taubah (9):6]

Therefore he who claims that the Qur’an is created is deemed a disbeliever as per the evidence established by all the aforementioned ayat.

All the scholars and exegetes specializing in Jurisprudence and hadith agree by consensus that whoever says that the Qur’an is created is a disbeliever. The majority of scholars also stated that whoever says that his utterance of the Qur’an is created is an innovator [as opposed to other scholars who declared such a person to be a disbeliever]. As for those who sit on the fence regarding this issue – they neither state that the Qur’an is created but nor do they affirm the Qur’an as being the Word of Allah – they are classified as innovators as well.

Imam Ahmad [ibn Hanbal] and Ahlu’l-Sunnah wa’l-Jama’ah were firm about this issue, showing no tolerance to anyone who did not take a firm position on this matter. Moreover, they abandoned those scholars who stated their utterance of the Qur’an was created, and also discouraged and warned people from learning or taking knowledge from them. The reason for their strong reaction and firm stance against these scholars as to close the door to ill-hearted people who would exploit such a statement in order to manipulate the Qur’an. This is because the utterance in this case is a double-edged sword; on the one hand it is an action performed by a person, and from another aspect, the utterance includes the Qur’an itself, which is the Word of Allah.

This is why Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal told people not to visit or take knowledge from al-Husayn ibn ‘Ali al-Karabisi, and forbade Dawud al-Zahiri, who had not taken a stance in this matter, from entering upon him; he dealt similarly with Ya’qub al-Dawraqi, and other scholars who had the same attitude. This is the reason why the author stated, “[It is also required] that the Qur’an is the Speech of Allah, it is neither (makluq) created to eventually vanish nor the (sifah) attribute of something created which must therefore come to an end (yanfadh).” (The Creed of Ibn Abi Zayd Al-Qayrawani: being a translation of Muqaddimah al-Risalah ibn Abi Zayd al-Qayrawani, by Imam Abu Muhammad ‘Abdullah Ibn Abi Zayd al-Qayrawani [310 – 389 AH], with commentary by Shaikh Ahmad ibn Yahya al-Najmi [d. 1429 AH] [Dar As-Sunnah Publishers, Birmingham, U.K.: First edition, 2012], pp. 68-73; bold emphasis mine)

Wahhabi Salafi polemicist Jalal Abualrub writes:

The Qur’an is the Speech of Allah, not Created

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; bold and capital emphasis mine)

Muslims were even threatened with death if they denied that the Quran is uncreated, eternal. For example, renowned Muslim jurist Qadi ‘Iyad quotes a Muslim named Malik saying that:

He said about someone who said that the Qur’an is created, “He is an unbeliever, so kill him.” He said in the version of Ibn Nafi’, “He should be flogged and painfully beaten and imprisoned until he repents.” In the version of Bishr ibn Bakr at-Tinnisi we find, “He is killed and his repentance is not accepted.” (Qadi ‘Iyad Musa al-Yahsubi, Muhammad Messenger of Allah (Ash-Shifa of Qadi ‘Iyad), translated by Aisha Abdarrahman Bewley [Madinah Press, Inverness, Scotland, U.K. 1991; third reprint, paperback], p. 419; bold emphasis mine)

And:

The Quran is eternal, whereas its form (i.e., the Arabic language and the book in which it is written) is temporal. In fact, in early Islamic history it was considered blasphemous to say that the Quran was created, with the Caliph Al-Mutawakkil (d. AD 850) going so far as to “decree the death penalty for anyone who taught that the Word of God (i.e., the Quran) is created.” (John Alden Williams, ed., Islam [New York: George Braziller, 1962], p. 179)

ISLAM’S VERSION OF JESUS AND MUSLIM ARIANS?

In striking similarity to Christianity with the rise of Arianism in the fourth century AD, which taught that the prehuman Christ was the first of God’s creatures, Islam had its own Arians when it came to the Quran’s nature.

A group of Muslims arose in the early 9th century AD who were heavily influenced by Greek logic and philosophy (much like Jake), and therefore rejected the notion of the Quran being uncreated since they believed this compromised the oneness of Allah. They even likened this belief regarding the Quran to the Christian understanding of Jesus being the uncreated Word (Logos) that became flesh! These Muslim logicians are called Mutazilites.

What makes this rather ironic is that this disagreement even led to violence and murder, as Islamic scholar Cyril Glassé admits:

“It is a fundamental doctrine of Islam that the Koran, as the speech of God, is eternal and uncreated in its essence and sense, created in its letters and sounds (harf wa jarh). It has been asserted that the doctrine of the uncreated Koran was the result of exposure to the Christian dogma of the Logos; that, as Christians defined Jesus as the Word of God and as having two natures, one human and one Divine in one person, so the Muslims transposed this doctrine by analogy to the Koran as the Word of God made book. The Muslims were indeed aware of the Christian doctrine; the Caliph al-Ma’mun (d. 218/833), who supported the Mu’tazilite theory that the Koran was created, wrote to one of his governors that belief in the uncreatedness of the Koran resembled the Christians when they claim that Jesus was not created because he was the ‘Word of God’. During the brief Mu’tazilite ascendancy which began in the Caliphate of al-Ma’mun, belief in the uncreated Koran was temporarily suspended, arousing fierce opposition. The Koran was declared to be created, and those opposed to this view were persecuted during an inquisition called the mihnah (212-232/833-847) into the beliefs of the religious authorities. Yet lawyers and Judges staunchly upheld the dogma of the uncreated Koran, and nurtured it when necessary in secret. Ibn Hanbal went further, and declared that the Koran was uncreated from ‘cover to cover’, that is, also in its letters and its sounds. In this he was certainly not intending to imitate the Monophysites, but he was flogged for his beliefs. When the mihnah came to an end, the doctrine of the uncreatedness was restored, and has not been challenged since, in the Sunni world. The Kharijites differ from the Sunnis on this point, and in their dogmas the Koran is entirely created, which is also true for the Shi’ites, both Twelve-Imam and Zaydi, whose theology in many ways is an extension of that of the Mu’tazilites.” (Glassé, The Concise Encyclopedia of Islam, [Harper San Francisco, second edition 1991, 1999], pp. 231-232; bold emphasis mine)

John L. Esposito, Professor of Islamic Studies at Georgetown University, also mentions the Mutazila views of the Quran and God’s attributes:

The Mutazila took issue with the majority of ulama over the doctrines of the divine attributes or names of God and the eternal, uncreated nature of the Quran. Both beliefs were seen as contradictory and as compromising God’s unity (Islam’s absolute monotheism). How could the one, transcendent God have many divine attributes (sight, hearing, power, knowledge, will)? The Mutazila maintained that the Quranic passages that affirmed God’s attributes were meant to be understood metaphorically or allegorically, not literally. Not to do so was to fall into anthropomorphism, or worse, shirk, associationism or polytheism. Similarly, the Islamic doctrine that the Quran is the speech or word of God should not be taken literally, for how could both God and His word be eternal and uncreated? The result would be two divinities. The Mutazila interpreted metaphorically those Quranic texts that spoke of the Quran preexisting in heaven. Contrary to majority opinion, they taught that the Quran is the created word of God, who is its uncreated source. The Mutazila critique of those like Ahmad ibn Hanbal, who believed in the eternity of the Quran, was ably summarized by Caliph Mamun in a letter to his governor:

Everything apart from Him is a creature from His creation – a new thing which He has brought into existence. [This perverted opinion they hold] though the Koran speaks clearly of God’s creating all things, and proves to the exclusion of all differences of opinion. They are, thus, like the Christians when they claim that Isa bin Maryam [Jesus, the son of Mary] was not created because he was the word of God. But God says, “Verily We have made it a Koran in the Arabic language,” and the explanation of that is, “Verily, We have created it,” just as the Koran says, “And He made from it His mate that he might dwell with her.” (Esposito, Islam The Straight Path [Oxford University Press, New York Oxford: Hard cover, third edition], pp. 71-72; bold emphasis mine)

Thomas W. Lippman states in regards to the Mutazilites that:

… They also rejected the dogma that the Koran was the uncreated word of God, coeternal with Him. The Mutazilites said that this view compromised the oneness of God.

In the ninth century the Caliph al-Mamun elevated Mutazilism to the status of official creed. He proclaimed that the Koran had been created by God and was not coeternal with Him. The test of orthodoxy was the answer to the question whether God created all things, including the Koran. A “no” answer brought torture and imprisonment, and the Caliph decreed that all judges must subscribe to the new doctrine. Mutazilism which originated in rationalism, thus manifested itself as illiberal and repressive, and after al-Mamun’s death his successors repressed it as vigorously as he had imposed it. The argument over the eternality of the Koran is of little relevance to the practice of ordinary Muslims today; but it shows the extent to which Islam, basically a straight forward and unequivocal faith, has undergone the same process of self-analysis as Christianity. The issues of rationalism and spirituality, divine omniscience and human freedom, have never been finally settled. (Lippman, Understanding Islam: An Introduction To The Muslim World [A Plume Book: October 2002, third revised and updated edition], p. 74; bold emphasis mine)

Another Islamic scholar named Annemarie Schimmel writes:

The problem of the nature of Christ, so central in the dogmatic development of the early church, has also influenced, in a certain way, the development of Islamic dogma. Christ’s designation as logos, as the Word of God, “born not created,” has most probably influenced Islamic theories about the Koran, which is regarded by the Muslim as the uncreated Word of God. Phenomenologically seen, the Koran has the same position in Islamic dogmatics as has Christ in Christianity. Harry A. Wolfson therefore coined the term “inlibration,” the “Word become Book,” in contrast to the Christian concept of incarnation, “the Word became Flesh.” That explains why theologians emphasized the designation ummi for Muhammad; this term, first probably meaning “the prophet sent to the gentiles” was interpreted as “illiterate.” The Prophet had to be a vessel unstained by external knowledge for the Word’s inlibration, just as Mary had to be a virgin in order to be a pure vessel for the Word’s incarnation. That is, the Koran is much more than simply a book … (Schimmel, Islam – An Introduction [State University of New York Press, Albany 1992], pp. 74-75; bold emphasis mine)

Yusuf K. Ibish, in an article entitled “The Muslim Lives by the Quran,” stated:

I have not yet come across a western man who understands what the Quran is. It is not a book in the ordinary sense, nor is it comparable to the Bible, either the Old or New Testaments. It is an expression of Divine Will. If you want to compare it with anything in Christianity, you must compare it with Christ Himself. Christ was an expression of the Divine among men, the revelation of the Divine Will. That is what the Quran is. If you want a comparison for the role of Muhammad, the better one in that particular respect would be Mary. Muhammad was the vehicle of the Divine, as she was the vehicle … There are western orientalists who have devoted their life to the study of the Quran, its text, the analysis of its words, discovering that this word is Abyssinian, that word is Greek by origin… But all this is immaterial. The Quran was divinely inspired, then it was compiled, and what we have now is the expression of God’s Will among men. That is the important point. (Charris Waddy, The Muslim Mind [New York: Longman, 1976], p.14)

In his Ideals and Realities of Islam, Muslim scholar Seyyed Hossain Nasr noted that,

The Word of God in Islam is the Quran; in Christianity it is Christ… To carry this analogy further one can point to the fact that the Quran, being the Word of God therefore corresponds to Christ in Christianity and the form of this book, which like the contents is determined by the dictum in heaven, corresponds in a sense to the body of Christ. The form of the Quran is the Arabic language which religiously speaking is as inseparable from the Quran as the body of Christ is from Christ Himself. Arabic is sacred in the sense that it is an integral part of the Quranic revelation whose very sounds and utterances play a role in the ritual acts of Islam. (Op. cit. [London: George Allen & Urwin, 1975], pp. 43-44; bold emphasis mine)

Another reputable Muslim schola, Mahmoud M. Ayoub, in speaking of Muhammad’s relation to the Quran, says:

… that the words that Muhammad conveyed to his people were not his own, but were revealed to him by God. It is also understood to mean that his mind was not contaminated by human wisdom. Rather it was a pure receptacle for the divine word in the same way that Mary’s virginity means for Christians that her body was a pure vessel fit to receive Christ, the Word of God.

In fact, there is an interesting parallel between Christ and the Qur’an. Christ is, for Christians, the incarnate Word of God. While the Qur’an is, like Christ, the eternal divine word, it does not play a role in the creation of the world. It is the eternal word of God preserved for moral and spiritual guidance. It is an eternal book: “This surely is a glorious Qur’an, preserved in a well-guarded Tablet” (Q. 85:21-22). (Ayoub, Islam: Faith and History [Oneworld Publications, Oxford England, 2004], p. 41; bold emphasis mine)

Jake’s woes are far from over as we shall see in the subsequent parts of my series.

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