When it is asserted that the Qur'an is the Speech of Allaah several questions come to mind. Is the Qur'an in text and . wording the actual speech of Allaah? Does Allaah speak? Is this speech heard directly by human beings and angels? Or is it something that they would hear inside themselves? Is this speech made up of parts and whole? Finally, in what language does Allaah speak to His servants?
Allaah has described Himself as having the Characteristic of speech [kalam] in over two dozen verses in the Qur'an. Allaah says:
"And Allaah spoke directly (kallama) to Musa" (Q4[an-Nisaa}:164),
and also He says:
"(It will be said to the people in the Heavens) 'Peace be on you, ' a Word from a Lord who is Most Merciful"(Q36 [yaasin}:58)
Therefore, we affirm what Allaah has affirmed for Himself, namely, that He Speaks when He wishes, to whomever He wishes, His Speech is heard by His creation, and it consists of words and letters. Allaah spoke to Musa (alayhi sallam) and he heard the speech:
"And when he (Musa) came (to the fire), he was called, '0 Musa, Verily, I am your Lord ... and I have chosen you, therefore listen to that which is inspired to you'" (Q20 [Ta Ha}:11-13)
These verses show that Allaah spoke to Musa and Musa heard this speech without any intermediary. This is attested to when the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa sallam) described a meeting between Adam and Musa, in which Adam asked Musa, 'Are you the one whom Allaah spoke to, from behind a veil, and there was no interpreter between you, nor was there any messenger?" Musa answered, "Yes." (Abu Dawood)
Not Like the Sound of Mankind
The Rasul (sallallahu alayhi wa sallam) clearly stated that Allaah's Speech is with sound and can be heard by all. He said:
"When Allaah decrees a matter in the skies, the angels move their wings in humility for His speech, which sounds like a chain over a rock ... " (Bukhari);
and in another hadith, he said:
"...and their Lord will call them with a voice, the one who is close can hear it just as the one who is far can, and He will say, 'I am the King... (Ahmad)
This was also the belief of the pious predecessors [salafus-saalih]. Imam al-Bukhari (RAH) said:
'Allaah, all Praise and Glory be to Him, speaks with sound. Those who are close can hear it just as those who are far can, and this is only so for Allaah. And in this is proof that the sound of Allaah does not resemble the sound of mankind." (Khalq Afal al-'Ibad) But, we do not ask how Allaah speaks! The fact that the kalam of Allaah consists of words and letters is self evident. The Qur'an consists of words and letters. For example, the verse, "QuI hoowa Allaahu ahad" (Q112[ikhlaas]:1) consists of four words and eleven letters. This is further confirmed by the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa sallam) for he stated:
Whoever recites one word from the Book of Allaah will have ten rewards. And I do not say the Alif Lam Meem is (counted as) a word, but rather Alif is a word, and Lam is a word, and ' Meem is a word." (Bukhari)
The kalam of Allaah is not limited to the Arabic language; all other languages are part of His speech. Imam ad-Darimi (RAH) said:
"Verily, Allaah is knowledgeable of all languages, and He speaks in whichever language He wishes. If He wishes, He speaks in Arabic, and if He wishes, in Hebrew, and if He wishes, in Syriac, so He has made the Our'an His kalam in Arabic, and the Torah and Injeel His kalam in Hebrew, since He has sent the prophets with the language of their peoples." [ad-Darimi]
It's Uncreated & It's the Cause of Creation The Qur'an presents clear proofs that Allaah's speech is uncreated. Allaah says, in the Qur'an:
"Verily to Him (Allah) belongs the Creation and the Command."(Q7[al- Ar'aaf}:54)
In this verse, Allaah differentiates between the creation, the universe and all that is in it, and the Command, which is His Speech. The Speech is in fact the cause of the creation, as Allaah says,
"Verily, Our Word unto a thing when We intend it, is only that We say unto it: 'Be!'- and it is."(Q16[an-Nahl}:40)
Therefore the Speech of Allaah, by the Will of Allaah, is the cause of the creation, so it cannot be created, for it is not possible that a created thing would itself be a 'creator'; only the Creator has this ability. The Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa sallam) said,
"Whoever dismounts at any place, and says, 'I seek refuge in the kalimat of Allaah from the evil that is created, 'nothing will harm him until he moves from his stop." (Muslim)
This is proof from the Sunnah that the kalam of Allaah is not created for refuge can only be sought from the Creator (and His Attributes), and not from the creation. Imam al- Bukhari stated, "In this hadith is proof that the kalam of Allaah is not created," and his teacher, Nu'aym ibn Hammad (RAH), stated:
"It is not permissible to seek refuge in the created, nor in the speech of men, jinn or angels." (Khalq Afal al-'Ibad)
The kalam of Allaah is an Attribute of Allaah, and all of Allaah's attributes are eternal and uncreated. The belief that the Qur'an is the kalam of Allaah was the belief of all of the Companions, and the belief of the scholars of Ahl as-Sunnah wal-Jamaah after them. Imam al-l.alika'i (d. 418 A.H.) transmitted reports from over five-hundred and fifty scholars of the salaf, all of whom stated the same fact: The Qur'an is the kalam [speech] of Allaah, not created, and whoever states that it is created is a disbeliever.
Allaah Himself refers to the Qur'an as His speech when He says:
"And if any of the idolaters seeks your protection, then grant him protection, so that he may hear the Word of Allah .." (Q9[Tawbah}:6);
i.e until they hear the Qur'an. The Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa sallam) also said:
Verily, the Quraysh have prevented me from spreading the Word of my Lord" (Tirmidhee); meaning the Qur'an! And Ibn 'Abbas (RA) explained the verse:
"A Qur'an without any crookedness" (Q39[Zumar}:281)
by saying, "This means that the Qur'an is not created." (ai- Lalika'i)
About a century after the hijrah, groups emerged with deviant beliefs and statements concerning the Speech of Allaah that opposed the beliefs of the Companions and those who followed them. Ja'ad ibn Dirham (d.124AH), one of the leaders of innovation of his time, was the first person to claim that the Qur'an was created. His heretical beliefs were spread by his infamous student, Jahm ibn Safwan (d. 128AH) after whom the group got their name, the Jahmiyyah. Next came the group known as the Waqifiyyah [the Stoppers] who would stop at the statement: "We do not say it is created, nor do we say that it is not created."
The last group that formed during this time was the Lafidhiyyah. They claimed that the Qur'an was the kalam of Allaah, and that it was not created, but the recitation of the reciter of the Qur'an was created. This statement is true literally but their intended meaning is that the Qur'an is created. As it is with many innovations, the people of Sunnah rose against them and subdued these deviant beliefs. Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal said, concerning the above three groups, "The Jahmiyyah are of three types: One group of them says that the Qur'an is created;
another says that it is the kalam of Allaah, and stop at that; and the third say, 'Our recitation of the Qur'an is created.' For me, these three groups have the same status (in another narration, he added:) and all of them are of the Jahmiyyah, disbelievers." (al-Khallala)
The Ash'arees A subtle and thus more devious belief is that of the Ash'arees who brought forth an 'aqeedah that was unknown to the pious predecessors [salafus-saalih]. The Ash'arees are a group that take their 'aqeedah, and their name, from the teachings of Abu al-Hasan 'Alee ibn Isma'eel al-Ash'aree (d. 324AH). They claimed that Allaah does posses the Attribute of Speech, and that the Qur'an was the kalam of Allaah, but they explained this attribute in a unique way, by claiming that Allaah's speech was 'internal' - a speech that could not be heard by anyone.
They say that, just as the thoughts of men are a type of speech that cannot be heard, likewise the kalam of Allaah is an internal speech that cannot be heard. They state that just as the speech of the mind has no sound or words, so His Speech has no sound or words. The Ash'arees wished to remove all resemblance between Allaah's Names and Attributes, and those of the creation. This correct principle was taken to an extreme by the Ash'arees. It is unfortunate that several noble scholars [dead and alive] as well as notable Muslim institutions
believe in this aqeedah. Scholars of Sunnah [past and present] have refuted the Ash'arees and their beliefs. It is sufficient to know that both Abu ai-Hasan 'Alee ibn Isma'eel al-Ash'aree and Abu Hamid al-Ghazalee (d. 505AH) [a major proponent) reportedly recanted from these beliefs before they died. The belief upon which the Companions died is the true belief that every Muslim should have.
This article was culled from the publications of Deen Communication Limited