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NOTES FOR TAUHID DEBATE WITH YAHYA

These are the verses and texts used for my debate with Yahya on Tauhid.

THE UNCREATED QURAN

  1. The Qur’an is the Word of God that emanated from Him without 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 universe as 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:

The Quran believed to be eternal.

Though it is the belief of the Sonnites or orthodox that the Quran is uncreated and eternal, subsisting in the very essence of GOD, and Muhammad himself is said to have pronounced him an infidel who asserted the contrary,2 yet several have been of a different opinion; particularly the sect of the Mutazalites,1 and the followers of Isa Ibn Subaih Abu Musa, surnamed al Muzdar, who stuck not to accuse those who held the Quran to be uncreated of infidelity, as asserters of two eternal beings.2

This point was controverted with so much heat that it occasioned many calamities under some of the Khalifahs of the family of Abbas, al Mamun3 making a public edict declaring the Quran to be created, which was confirmed by his successors al Mutasim4 and al Wathik,5 who whipped, imprisoned, and put to death those of the contrary opinion. But at length al Mutawakkir,6 who succeeded al Wathik, put an end to these persecutions by revoking the former edicts, releasing those that were imprisoned on that account, and leaving every man at liberty as to his belief in this point.7

Al Ghazalis opinion as to the Quran.

Al Ghazali seems to have tolerably reconciled both opinions, saying that the Quran is read and pronounced with the tongue, written in books, and kept in memory; and is yet eternal, subsisting in GOD’S essence, and not possible to be separated thence by any transmission into men’s memories or the leaves of books;8 by which he seems to mean no more than that the original idea of the Quran only is really in GOD, and consequently co-essential and co-eternal with him, but that the copies are created and the work of man.

Opinion of al Jahidh.

The opinion of al Jahidh, chief of a sect bearing his name, touching the Quran, is too remarkable to be omitted: he used to say it was a body, which might sometimes be turned into a man,1 and sometimes into a beast;2 which seems to agree with the notion of those who assert the Quran to have two faces, one of a man, the other of a beast;3 thereby, as I conceive, intimating the double interpretation it will admit of, according to the letter or the spirit.

Heretical opinions.

As some have held the Quran to be created, so there have not been wanting those who have asserted that there is nothing miraculous in that book in respect to style or composition, excepting only the prophetical relations of things past, and predictions of things to come; and that had GOD left men to their natural liberty, and not restrained them in that particular, the Arabians could have composed something not only equal but superior to the Quran in eloquence, method, and purity of language. This was another opinion of the Mutazilites, and in particular of al Muzdar, above mentioned, and al Nudham.(Rev. E. M. Wherry, A Comprehensive Commentary on the Quran, III. Of the Quran itself, the Peculiarities of that Book; the Manner of its being Written and Published, and the General Design of it, pp. 111-113 https://answeringislam.net/Books/Wherry/Commentary1/sect3.htm; bold emphasis mine)

2 Apud Poc. Spec., p.220. (Ibid., p. 111)

1 See post, Sect. VIII.

2 Vide Poc. Spec, p.219, &c.

3 Anno Hij., 218. Abulfarag, p.245, v. etiam Elmacin. in Vita al Mamun.

4 In the time of al Mutasim, a doctor named Abu Harun Ibn al Baqa found out a distinction to screen himself, by affirming that the Quran was ordained, because it is said in that book, “And I have ordained thee the Quran.” He went still further to allow that what was ordained was created, and yet he denied it thence followed that the Quran was created Abulfarag, p. 253.

5 Ibid., p.257.

6 Anno Hij., p.242.

7 Abulfarag, p.262.

8 Al Ghazali, in prof. fid. (Ibid., p. 112)

1 The Khalifah al Walid Ibn Yazid, who was the eleventh of the race of Ommeya, and is looked on by the Muhammadans as a reprobate and one of no religion, seems to have treated this book as a rational creature; for, dipping into it one day, the first words he met with were these : “Every rebellious perverse person shall not prosper.” Whereupon he stuck it on a lance, and shot it to pieces with arrows, repeating these verses: “Dost thou rebuke every rebellious, perverse person? Behold, I am that rebellious, perverse person. When thou on appearest before thy LORD on the day of resurrection, say, O LORD, al Walid has torn me thus.” Ibn Shohnah. v. Poc. Spec., p.223.

2 Poc. Spec., p. 222.

3 Herbelot, p. 87.

4 Abulfeda, Shahristani, &c., apud Poc. Spec., p.222, et Marracc., De Our., p. 44. (Ibid., p. 113; bold emphasis mine)

Again:

42 Model Behavior of the Prophet (Kit Al-Sunnah)

(1698) Chapter: The Qur’an, The Word Of Allah

Ibn ‘abbas said:

The Prophet used to seek refuge in Allah for al-Hasan and al-Husain, saying; I seek refuge for both of you in the perfect words of Allah from every devil and every poisonous thing and from the evil eye which influences. He would then say; your father sought refuge in Allah by them for Ismail and Ishaq.

Abu Dawud said; this is a proof of the fact that the Quran IS NOT CREATED.

Grade: SAHIH (Al-Albani)

Reference: Sunan Abi Dawud 4737

In-book reference: Book 42, Hadith 142

English translation: Book 41, Hadith 4719 (sunnah.com https://sunnah.com/abudawud/42/142; capital and underline emphasis ours)

The translator says in a note that:

  1. The Prophet called the Qur’an the perfect words of Allah. A perfect word cannot be a created thing. (Sunan Abu Dawud, English translation with explanatory notes by Prof. Ahmad Hasan [Sh. Muhammad Ashraf Publishers, Booksellers & Exporters; Lahore, Pakistan, 1984], XXXV. Kitab al-Sunnah [Book of Model Behaviour (of the Prophet)], Chapter 1698: The Qur’an, The Word of Allah, pp. 1325-26; bold emphasis mine)

There’s more:

Adh-Dhahabee brings with a good (jayyid) chain of narration, as occurs in Mukhtasar al-Uluww (p. 155) from Alee bin al-Hasan al-Kuraa’ee who said: Abu Yusuf said:

“I debated Abu Hanifah for six months, and then our view became united that the one who said the Qur’an is created is a kaafir.”

And al-Bayhaqi also relates this in al-Asmaa was-Sifaat, narrating from Abdullaah bin Ahmad bin Abdur-Rahmaan bin Abdullaah ad-Dushtaki who said: “I heard Abu Yusuf saying..”, then he mentioned it, and then he (al-Bayhaqi) said: “Abu Abdullaah (meaning al-Haakim) said, ‘All of its narrators are thiqaat’.” (Maturidis.com, http://www.maturidis.com/maturidi/articles/fnegp-imaam-abu-hanifah-d-150h-and-the-splitting-and-deviation-of-the-hanafis-after-him-into-diverse-factions.cfm; bold emphasis mine)

Finally:

[Point 15 of 170]

15: Concerning The Speech of Allaah And Questioning the Attributes

No one says about the attributes of the Lord, the Most High, ‘Why?’ except one who doubts about Allaah, the Blessed and Most High. The Qur’aan is the Speech of Allaah, His Revelation and Light. It is not created, since the Qur’aan is from Allaah and that which is from Allaah is not created. This was what Maalik ibn Anas, Ahmad ibn Hanbal and the Scholars before and after them said and debating about it is disbelief.[1]

______________________________

NOTES

  1. The Qur’aan is the Speech of Allaah, hence it is an attribute of Allaah.

All of Allaah’s attributes have been with Him eternally. Imaam Maalik said, “The Qur’aan is the speech of Allaah. It is not created.” Reported by al-Laalikaa’ee in Sharh Usool I’tiqaad Ahl is-Sunnah (no.414).

Imaam Ahmad ibn Hanbal was asked about the one who says that the Qur’aan was created, so he said, “(He is) a disbeliever.” Reported by al-Laalikaa’ee in Sharh Usool I’tiqaad Ahl is-Sunnah (no.449). (Kitaab Sharh us-Sunnah [Explanation of Creed],
by Imaam al-Barbahaaree, Translated by Abu Talhah Dawud Burbank https://qawaariyyah.wordpress.com/tag/abu-talhah/; bold emphasis mine)

Further reading: Revisiting The Issue of the Uncreated Quran Pt. 1.

THE SPIRIT OF ALLAH

The Quran testifies that the Spirit is a subordinate Deity who is breathed out by Allah, and therefore an eternal aspect of Allah’s very own being. The Spirit is a personal being who can appear as a man, create, give life, and possesses all of God’s omni-attributes.

And mention in the Book Mary when she withdrew from her people to an eastern place, and she took a veil apart from them; then We sent unto her Our Spirit (Ruhana) that presented himself to her a man without fault. She said, ‘I take refuge in the All-merciful from thee! If thou fearest God … He said, ‘I am but a messenger come from thy Lord, to give (li-ahaba) thee a boy most pure. She said, ‘How shall I have a son whom no mortal has touched, neither have I been unchaste?’ He said, ‘Even so thy Lord has said: “Easy is that for Me; and that We may appoint him a sign unto men and a mercy from Us; it is a thing decreed.”‘ S. 19:16-21 Arberry(1)

And Mary, Imran’s daughter, who guarded her virginity, so We breathed into her of Our Spirit, and she confirmed the Words of her Lord and His Books, and became one of the obedient. S. 66:12 – cf. Q. 21:91

And when thy Lord said to the angels, ‘See, I am creating a mortal of a clay of mud moulded. When I have shaped him, and breathed My spirit in him, fall you down, bowing before him!’ S. 15:28-29 – Q. 32:9; 38:71-72

The Holy Spirit strengthens all believes:

And We gave to Moses the Book, and after him sent succeeding Messengers; and We gave Jesus son of Mary the clear signs, and confirmed him (wa’ayyadnahu) with the Holy Spirit; and whensoever there came to you a Messenger with that your souls had not desire for, did you become arrogant, and some cry lies to, and some slay? S. 2:87 – cf. Q. 2:253; 5:110

Thou shalt not find any people who believe in God and the Last Day who are loving to anyone who opposes. God and His Messenger, not though they were their fathers, or their sons, or their brothers, or their clan. Those — He has written faith upon their hearts, and He has confirmed them (wa’ayyadahum) with a Spirit from Himself (biroohin minhu); and He shall admit them into gardens underneath which rivers flow, therein to dwell forever, God being well-pleased with them, and they well-pleased with Him. Those are God’s party; why, surely God’s party — they are the prosperers. S. 58:22

However, in order for the Spirit to be able to strengthen all the faithful, no matter how numerous, and no matter where they happen to be, the Holy Spirit must be omnipotent and omnipresent, as well as omniscient. And yet the only way that the Spirit can possess such qualities is if he is truly divine, since God alone is all-knowing, all-powerful and ever-present.

This explains why the late Quranic translator Abdullah Yusuf Ali could say that the Holy Spirit is not only divine, but also beyond human comprehension:

… Cf. ii 87 and 253, where it is said that God strengthened the Prophet Jesus with the holy spirit. Here we learn that all good and righteous men are strengthened by God with the holy spirit. If anything, the phrase used here is stronger, ‘a spirit from Himself’. Whenever any one offers his heart in faith and purity to God, God accepts it, engraves that faith on the seeker’s heart, and further fortifies him with the Divine Spirit, which we can no more define adequately than we can define in human language the nature of God. (Ali, The Meaning of the Holy Quran, p. 1518, fn. 5365; bold emphasis mine)

Yusuf Ali wasn’t the only one to identify the Spirit as divine:

29a. This shows that man is made complete when the Divine spirit is breathed into him. It should be noted that the Divine spirit (Ar. ruhdoes not mean here the animal soul in man, but the Spirit of Allah, that gives him perfection. (Maulana Muhammad Ali, The Holy Quran: Arabic Text with English Translation, Commentary and comprehensive Introduction, Q. 15:29 http://www.muslim.org/english-quran/ch015.pdf; bold and underline emphasis mine)

9a. This verse shows that the spirit of God is breathed into every man. This points to a mystical relation between human nature and Divine nature. The word ruh does not here mean the animal soul, because the animal soul is common to man and the animal kingdom. It is something that distinguishes man from the animal world. It is due to the spirit Divine that he rules creation and its due to the same Divine spirit in him that he receives a new life after death – a life which he lives in God and with God – the meeting with God or liqa Allah, as it is called in v. 10. (Ibid., Q. 32:9 http://www.muslim.org/english-quran/ch032.pdf; bold and underline emphasis mine)

Further reading: A Critique of Shabir Ally’s Debate Tactics Pt. 2c.

I have more notes in the next segment: https://answeringallah.com/notes-for-tauhid-debate-with-yahya-pt-2/

Endnotes

(1) The Arabic word for “give” (ahaba) means to give/grant/bestow/present etc., just as the following lexical source confirms:

Waw-ha-Ba = to give/grant/bestow, dedicate, offer as a present/gift.

Wahaba (prf. 3rd. p. m. sing.): Has granted etc.

Wahabat (prf. 3rd. p. f sing.): She dedicated, offered.

Wahabnaa (prf 1st. p. plu.): We granted.

Yahabu (imp. 3rd. p. m. sing.): He grants.

Ahabu (imp. 1st. sing.): I give. Hab (prt. m. sing.): Bestow.

Al-Wahhaab (n. ints.): The most liberal bestower. One of the names of Allah.

wahaba vb.

(1) perf. act. 6:84, 14:39, 19:49, 19:50, 19:53, 21:72, 21:90, 26:21, 29:27, 33:50, 38:30, 38:43

impf. act. 19:19, 42:49, 42:49

impv. 3:8, 3:38, 19:5, 25:74, 26:83, 37:100, 38:35

wahhab n.m. 3:8, 38:9, 38:35

Lane’s Lexicon, Volume 8, pages: 222, 223 (Project Root List: http://www.studyquran.co.uk/25_WAW.htm)

And here a few examples from the Quran itself where this verb is used in respect to Allah granting offspring to specific individuals:

Then Zachariah prayed to his Lord saying, ‘Lord, give me (hab) of Thy goodness a goodly offspring. Yea, Thou hearest prayer.’ S. 3:38 – cf. Q. 19:5-6; 21:90

And We gave (Wa’wahabna) to him Isaac and Jacob — each one We guided, And Noah We guided before; and of his seed David and Solomon, Job and Joseph, Moses and Aaron — even so We recompense the good-doers — S. 6:84 – cf. Q. 14:39; 19:49-50; 21:72; 29:27

And We gave (Wa’wahabna) unto David Solomon; how excellent a servant he was! He was a penitent. S. 38:30

Remember also Our servant Job; when he called to his Lord, ‘Behold, Satan has visited me with weariness and chastisement.’ ‘Stamp thy foot! This is a laving-place cool, and a drink.’ And We gave (Wa’wahabna) to him his family, and the like of them with them, as a mercy from us, and a reminder unto men possessed of minds; and, ‘Take in thy hand a bundle of rushes, and strike therewith, and do not fail in thy oath.’ Surely We found him a steadfast man. How excellent a servant he was! He was a penitent. S. 38:41-44

To God belongs the Kingdom of the heavens and the earth; He creates what He will; He gives (yahabu) to whom He will females, and He gives (wa’yahabu) to whom He will males. S. 42:49

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