Ash’aris/Maturidis – Is the Qur’an Speech or Meaning?

Posted on September 13, 2006. Filed under: 202 - Advanced Asma wa Sifaat |

The statement,

The Maturidiyyah and the Ashaairah are of the opinion that Allah’s Speech refers to the ma’aani (meaning and message) not the sound and letters

is slightly inaccurate.

The Ash’aris and the Maturidis believe that Allah speaks without sound and letters. However, they both believe that Allah’s Speech is Ma’nan Wahid and not Ma’aani. Meaning, Allah’s Speech is one whole entity of meaning (not meanings), which is indivisible. What this necessitated by this is that Allah’s command has the same meaning as Allah’s prohibition; as it also necessitated that when this ‘one meaning’ is rendered into Hebrew it becomes the Torah, and when rendered into Arabic, it becomes the Quran.

Hence, if the Quran is translated into Hebrew, it becomes the Torah, and when the Torah translated into Arabic, it becomes the Quran, because they will have ‘one indivisible meaning’.

If Allah does not Speak with letters, who said Alif-Laam-Meem?

The Maturidis say that Alif-Laam-Meem is not Allah’s Speech. It is only a Hikaya (exact paraphrasing of Allah’s Speech).

The Ash’aris found this blasphemous and anthropomorphic that Allah’s Speech be paraphrased exactly (Hikaya), so they used the word ‘Ibara instead. ‘Ibara signifying that the paraphrasing is close but not exact.

Point being, both the Ash’aris and the Maturidis believe that Allah did not say Alif-Laam-Meem.

The Muslims with a sound fitra and iman believe that every letter of the Quran is Allah’s literal Speech.

The ‘sound and letter’ controversy only began at the time of Imam Ahmad b. Hanbal. This is why Imam Ahmad categorically refuted Ibn Kullab and declared him a heretic. There are too many narrations to deny from Imam Ahmad affirming that Allah Speaks with sound and letters. Plus, we have scholars of various Madhabs such as al-Sijzi dedicating works just to establish that Quran is Allah’s Speech which is composed of sound and letters.

The Salaf believed what Imam Ahmad kept uttering:

al-Quran Kalamullah Ghayr Makhluq

The Quran (which is composed of letters) IS Allah’s Speech, which is NOT crated.

‘Abd Allah said: I asked my father (Ahmed ibn Hanbal) about a people who say: When Allah spoke to Musa, He did not speak with a sound. My father replied: In fact, your Lord spoke with a sound, for we narrate these Ahadeeth as they have reached us.

My father said: the Jahmiyya deny this fact. (al-Sunnah 70-271)

Abu Ya’la said: Imam Ahmad explicitly stated in narrations collected by a group of his students that Allah speaks with a sound (Ibtal al-Ta’wilat)

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