On Qur’an, Sound, and Letters

Posted on August 27, 2006. Filed under: 202 - Advanced Asma wa Sifaat |

On the Qur’ān, Imām as-Safārīnī says in his poem:
His speech, the Exalted is ancient (Qadīm)
He futher said:
“And it (speech-al-Kalām) is obligatory upon Him the Exalted, meaning; it is obligatory to explicitly believe that He the Exalted speaks with speech that is Qadīm (ancient), Dhātī (from His essence), Wujūdī (present with Him), not created or Muhdath (newly founded?) or Hādith.” (page 132-133)
He further said:
“The clarified position of the Salaf is that Allāh the Exalted is Mutakallim (speaks) as has proceeded, and that His speech is ancient (Qadīm), and that the Qur’ān is the speech of Allāh and that it is ancient (Qadīm) in both its letters and meaning.” (page 137)

On page 134 al-Saffarini quotes Sheikh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyya from his Sharh of al-Asfahaniyya, declaring that Allah’s Speech is both, the Attribute of Essence, as well as Attribute of Action, for the Attribute of Speech for Allah ‘Azza Sha’nuhu is established by consensus of the prophets, that He Speaks, when He likes without kayf.

Al-Saffarani further quotes Ibn Taymiyya detailing the Kullabite doctrine, that Allah’s Speech is an Attribute of Allah’s Essence, like Allah’s Life, and not related to Allah’s will, i.e. Allah does not Speak when He wills, for He is forever ‘Speaking’ an ‘inner Speech’.

He then literally affirms that Allah Speaks with a Sound in over three pages, quoting ‘Abdullah’s narration from Imam Ahmad as reported in al-Sunnah. He then says: ‘Over forty traditions have been narrated in affirmation of letters and a Sound (for Allah’s Speech), some of them are authentic, while others are Hasan, which were narrated and used as proofs by al-Imam al-Hafidh Dhiya’ al-Maqdisi (al-Hanbali) and others. Our master, Imam Ahmad narrated most of them, using them as proofs. Al-Hafidh Ibn Hajar also narrated most of them in Sharh al-Bukhari, while al-Bukhari used them as proofs, as well as others from the Imams of Hadeeth; that the Truth (Allah) Jalla Sha’nuhu, Speaks with letters and Sound. They deemed such texts to be correct, and believed therein (wa’taqiduhu), and relied thereupon, while sanctifying Allah Ta’ala from that which does not befit His Majesty, from the fallacy of created-ness (Huduth) and qualities of deficiency, just as they believed in the rest of the Attributes.’

On page 162, he relates from Abu Hamid al-Isfarayni saying that he literally believes that the Quran is the Speech of Allah, uncreated, which Jibril literally heard it from Allah, and the Prophet – SallAllahu ‘alaihi wa-sallam – heard from Jibril, and that this is the very Speech contained between the two covers of a Mushaf.

On page 163, al-Saffarini quotes Sheikh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyya extensively, accusing the Ash’aris of believing that the Arabic Quran is not the Speech of Allah, but that of Jibril or Muhammad – SallAllahu ‘alayhi wa-sallam. Backing Ibn Taymiyya, al-Saffarini, relates the Madhab of the Ash’aris, referring to Sa’d al-Taftazini and concludes:

‘In conclusion, the Mu’tazilites are in agreement with the Ash’arites, while the Ash’arites are in agreement with the Mu’tazilites, that this Quran contained within the two covers of the Mushaf is created and anew. The only difference between the two factions is that the Mu’tazila did not affirm any other Speech for Allah except this (the Quran, which they thought was created), whereas the Ash’arites affirmed al-Kalam al-Nafsi (self-speech/talking to oneself/inner-speech) subsisting in Allah’s essence. Whereas the Mu’tazilites say, the Speech of Allah is created (and not subsisting in Allah). The Ash’aris do not consider it (the Quran) the Speech of Allah. Yes, they call it ‘the Speech of Allah’, but only metaphorically, and that is the belief of the majority of their predecessors.

From page 161 to 170, he continues to quote Ibn Taymiyya and Ibn Qudama in refutation of the Ash’aris, arguing that Allah Speaks with a Sound.

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