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The Quran: The Islamic Counterfeit To Jesus Christ

The Quran is to orthodox Islam what Jesus Christ is to the historic, orthodox Christian faith. For example, the Holy Bible, particularly the witness of John, identifies Christ as the eternal Word of God who became flesh at a specific point in time:

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were created through Him, and without Him nothing was created that was created. In Him was life, and the life was the light of mankind… The true Light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world. He was in the world, and the world was created through Him, yet the world did not know Him… The Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, the glory as the only Son of the Father, full of grace and truth… No one has seen God at any time. The only Son, who is at the Father’s side, has made Him known.” John 1:1-4, 9-10, 14, 18

“That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have touched, concerning the Word of lifethe life was revealed, and we have seen it and testify to it, and announce to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and was revealed to us—we declare to you that which we have seen and heard, that you also may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ.” 1 John 1:1-3

“I saw heaven opened. And there was a white horse. He who sat on it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and wages war. His eyes are like a flame of fire, and on His head are many crowns. He has a name written, that no one knows but He Himself. He is clothed with a robe dipped in blood. His name is called The Word of God. The armies in heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and clean, followed Him on white horses. Out of His mouth proceeds a sharp sword, with which He may strike the nations. ‘He shall rule them with an iron scepter.’ He treads the winepress of the fury and wrath of God the Almighty. On His robe and on His thigh He has a name written: KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS.” Revelation 19:11-16

This is precisely what traditional Sunni Islam believes about the Quran, with one noted exception. The Quran itself is believed by Muslims to be the eternal speech of God that became a book. As such, the Quran is like Christ in that it possesses two distinct natures or aspects, namely an eternal aspect, and a temporal, physical one.

Lest I be accused of making things up, I will allow the scholars of Islam to speak to this issue.

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

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; bold emphasis mine)

In his Ideals and Realities of Islam, Seyyed Hossain Nasr states:

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)

This next author claims that,

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; bold emphasis mine)

And here is what a medieval Muslim theologian stated:

“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 University Press, Princeton, NJ, 1990 paperback], p. 47)

Peters quotes another Muslim authority:

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.)

Muslim scholar, Mahmoud M. Ayoub, speaking of Muhammad’s relation to the Quran, writes:

… 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)

One Salafi website stated in an answer to a question regarding whether the Quran is created that,

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. (10153: The Qur’aan was revealed by Allaah, not created https://web.archive.org/web/20050421150151/https://www.islammuslims.com/islam-qa/Volume_1/Vol1_Ch2_10153.htm)

The passage that this site posted, namely Q. 42:52, is actually referring to Allah’s Spirit since the Arabic word Ruh (spelled Rooh in the quotation) means Spirit. Thus, not only have these Muslims argued for the Quran being uncreated, they have even made a case for the Spirit’s being uncreated as well!

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 since the verse that is quoted is actually referring to Allah’s Spirit. This leaves us with Allah, His Word (the Quran) and His Spirit all being uncreated!

Sunni Muslim scholar, Gibril F. Haddad, in addressing Shia claims to the contrary, provides a list of quotes from renowned Muslim theologians 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 – upon him peace – 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.”

And:

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 (Source: The Uncreatedness of the divine speech the glorious Qur’an)

And in respect to the attributes of Allah, Haddad further cites:

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).] (Ibid.)

Muslim authorities even threatened to put anyone to death who denied that the Quran is 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)

Finally, 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)

We thus see how the Quran is likened to Christ in that, like Christ, it is eternal in one sense (being the eternal speech of Allah), and yet finite in another sense (the book and ink used to record it).

What makes this all the more remarkable is that Islam even had its own Arians, i.e. individuals who claimed that the Quran was created, which is similar to Arius and his followers in the fourth century AD who taught that Christ was created. And just like the Trinitarians opposed the Arians, the so-called orthodox Muslims also fought against the Islamic group that denied the eternal nature of the Quran.

This difference in opinion concerning the nature of the Quran led to a violent rift between these two factions of Muslims, to the point where they even resorted to bloodshed, as Islamicist 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)

Here is what John L. Esposito, Professor of Islamic Studies at Georgetown University, writes concerning the Mutazila view of the Quran and of 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: Hardcover, third edition], pp. 71-72; bold emphasis mine)

Thomas W. Lippman says regarding 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)

We thus discover that Christians weren’t the only ones debating and persecuting each other over the implications of Jesus’ being the Word of God. Muslims also had to struggle over the issue of the Quran being God’s speech and hammer out the exact implications this had on its nature, i.e. whether it is eternal or created or both! And much like Christianity before it, Islam had, and continues to have its own Arians, Monophysites and Trinitarians debating and persecuting one another over the exact nature of the Quran.

Therefore, if Christians are blasphemers for believing that Jesus is the uncreated Word of God who became flesh, having eternally existed with the Father and fully participating in the infinite Being of God, then the same must apply to Muslims as well. Muslims are blasphemers for affirming that a book is the uncreated word of their god, having eternally coexisted with and as an inseparable aspect of the Muslim deity, being composed of two distinct aspects, an eternal one along with a temporal created aspect.

What the foregoing shows is that Islam has supplanted the Christian belief in Jesus’ as the uncreated Word of God with the Quran since the Quran is to orthodox Islam what Christ is to historic, biblical Christianity. As such, the Quran is nothing more than a counterfeit Christ, one erected by the enemy to turn Muslims away from the true eternal Word of God, the Word who did not become a book but became a flesh and blood human being named Jesus of Nazareth.

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