Posted by: faqir | July 6, 2014

The Quran is the Speech of Allah, not a creation, but its utterance is created.

[An excerpt translated by Abdur Rahman Al-Sondalaani from Ahl al-Sunna: The Ash‘arīs – The Testimony of the Scholars and Their Proofs By: Ḥamad al-Sinān & Fawzī al-‘Anjarī]

Since the matter is as we mentioned – as the Scholars have clarified, what is the reason for accusing Abdullah bin Sa’eed bin Kullaab of opposing the way of the Salaf?

Ibn Abdil Barr said in clarification of some of the reason, in his biography of Al Imam Al Karaabeesi (Al Intiqaa p. 165)

There used to be a strong friendship between him – Al Karaabeesi – and Ahmad bin Hanbal. But when he disagreed with him about the Quran, that friendship turned into enmity. They began to criticize each other. And all of this was because Ahmad would say,

“Whoever says the Quran is created is a Jahmi. And whoever says ‘The Quran is the Speech of Allah’ and does not say it is not created or it is created is a waaqifee. And whoever says “my utterance of the Quran is created” is an innovator.”

Yet Al Karaabeesi, Abdullah bin Kullaab, Abu Thawr, Dawood bin ‘Ali, and their generation would declare: the Quran Allah communicated is one of His qualities. It is not rationally possible for it to be created. And the recitation of the reciter and his utterance of the Quran is his kasb and his action and that is created. And it is an expression of the speech of Allah….and the Hanbalis, the companions of Ahmad bin Hanbal, abandoned Husain Al Karaabeesi and labeled him an innovator and criticized him and anyone else who made his statement about that.” Endquote from Ibn Abdil Barr

This is the reason for criticizing and smearing Abdullah bin Kullaab, and describing him as not being on the way of the Salaf. Then, with the added fact that these Imams entered into theology (‘Ilmul Kalaam) to refute the opposition and expose their deviance, the matter becomes even clearer. For Ahmad used to detest this theological approach to clarify the truth. And he would prefer to stop where the Salaf stopped. And this is the truth, no doubt, as long as no need arises.

Taajud Deen As Subki, rahimahUllah said:

“And we say as Ahmad said. We say: the right thing is to not discuss the issue at all, as long as no pressing need to (discuss it) arises.”

At any rate, this statement for which Abdullah bin Kullaab was branded an innovator did not necessitate that he be branded as such, or for it to be said that he was on other than the way of the Salaf. This is especially true since the issue of the creation of the utterance of the Quran is something many high ranking scholars of the Muslim Ummah affirmed, like the ones Ibn Abdil Barr mentioned, and also Al Imam Al Bukhari, Al Imam Muslim, Al Haarith Al Muhaasibi, Muhammad bin Nasr Al Mirwazi, and others.

And the fitnah that occurred between Al Bukhari and his sheikh Adh-Dhuhli was only due to this issue, i.e. the issue of the utterance. And Al Imam Al Bukhari compiled his book “the creation of the actions of the slaves” for this issue, to affirm his opinion about it and respond to whoever disagreed with him.

At Taaj As Subki said:

For indeed the truth in the matter of utterance, is with him (Al Bukhari). Because no one with intellect from the creations would doubt that his utterances are from his temporal actions which were created by Allah the Exalted. But Imam Ahmad, may Allah be pleased with him, only denied it due to its unpleasant sound.”

As for Imam Muslim, he would openly affirm the createdness of the utterance and not conceal it. (see siyar vol12/p453 and v12/p572)

Al Haafidh Ibn Katheer, rahimahUllah said in the biography of Al Karaabeesi

And that Al Imam Ahmad bin Hanbal would speak critically of him because of the issue of the Lafdh. And he would also speak about Ahmad. So people avoided taking from him due to this. (Ibn Katheer) said, I say: what I saw about him is that he said the speech of Allah is uncreated in every way except that my utterance of the Quran is created. And whoever does not say (i.e. believe) that my utterance of the Quran is created is a disbeliever. And this is what has been related from Al Bukhari, and Dawood bin Ali Adh Dhaahiri. And Al Imam Ahmad closed this door to prevent the declaration of the Quran being created.” End quote from Ibn Katheer.

Also included among the scholars who affirmed the createdness of the utterance of the Quran is Al Imam Muhammad bin Jareer At Tabari, may Allah have mercy on him. And this is among the issues that made some of the extreme Hanbalis hostile towards him. Al Haafidh Ibn Katheer, may Allah the Exalted have mercy on him, said:

What happened between him – At Tabari – and the Hanbalis, I believe it was due to the issue of the uttered word. And he was also accused of Shi’ism. And they demanded a debate. So Ibn Jareer arrived for the debate but none of them showed up. And the Hanbalis have exaggerated this issue and gone to the extreme in it. And they believe that affirming it leads to affirming creation of the Quran. But it is not as they claim. For the truth should not be protected with falsehood. And Allah knows best. (Tabaqaat Al Fuqahaa Ash-Shaafi’iyyeen v1 p226)

Precisely! Because the Quran is the speech of Allah the Exalted, it is not created, and it is a quality of His supreme Essence. But it is not correct to protect this truth with the falsehood of denying the temporality and createdness of what exists with a creation, and then besmirching everyone who says otherwise!

At any rate, the truth in this issue was with Al Karaabeesi, Ibn Kullaab, Al Bukhari and Muslim, Abu Thawr, Dawood, Al Muhaasibi, At Tabari, and others who were on their path. As for Imam Ahmad, may Allah be pleased with him, and whoever confirmed his statement; that statement is understood to be a locking of the door of probability – to prevent people from graduating from affirmation of the createdness of the utterance to affirming the createdness of the Quran.

Al Imam Adh Dhahabi said:

And there is no doubt that what Al Karaabeesi innovated and worded in the issue of the “utterance” and that it is created is the truth. However, Al Imam Ahmad disallowed it so that it would not be used as a means to state that the Quran is created. So he shut the door.” (Siyaru A’laam An Nubalaa vol 12 page 82, and also see vol 11 page 510)

Adh Dhahabi also said:

“And he (Al Karaabeesi) would say: “The Quran, the speech of Allah, is uncreated. But my utterance of the Quran is created” Endquote. So if he meant the utterance, then this is fine, for indeed, our actions are created. But if he meant that what is recited and uttered is created, this is what Ahmad and the Salaf denied and considered to be Jahmism.” (Meezaan Al I’tidaal vol 1 page 544)

There is no doubt that Al Karaabeesi, Ibn Kullaab, Al Bukhaari and Muslim, Abu Thawr, Dawood, and whoever agreed with their statement meant the first meaning. And in general, this issue is not significant enough for someone to be labeled and innovator because of it.

He also said, after quoting the statement of Al Haafidh Abu Bakr Al A’yun:

“The Shaikhs of Khuraasaan are three: Qutaybah, Ali bin Hajar, and Muhammad bin Mihraan Ar Raazi. And its men are four: Abdullah bin Abdir Rahman As Samarqandi, and Muhammad bin Ismaa’eel Al Bukhari before what appeared from him appeared…etc.

Adh Dhahabi commented on this statement saying:

“What appeared from Muhammad – meaning Al Bukhari – was a lightweight affair among the issues that the Imams differed about pertaining to the Quran. It is called the issue of the actions of the reciters. The majority of the Imams of the Salaf and Khalaf are upon (the statement) that the Quran is Allah’s revealed speech and is uncreated. And we submit to Allah with this belief.” (see Siyar A’laam An Nubalaa vol 11 page 510)

And it does not follow from the severance of Imam Ahmad of these Imams that they were not upon the way of the Salaf, especially since the truth was with them in what they adopted as Al Imam Adh Dhahabi said.

And he also said:

For this Imam (Imam Ahmad that is) did not allow discussion of this issue of research out of fear of it being used as a means to affirming the Quran being created. And refraining from this issue is best. We believe in Allahu ta’aala, His angels, His books, His Messengers, His Divine decrees, the Resurrection, and being presented to Allah on the Day Judgment. And if this issue was explained and expounded upon with evidences it would come out in five volumes. But it is already available and explained for whoever seeks it. And the Quran contains a cure and mercy for the Believers. And it’s well known that utterance is included in the kasb (earned actions) of the reciter and it is not what is uttered. And the recitation is other than what is being recited. And the reading, along with its beauty and its tajweed, is not the thing being read. The voice of the reciter is from his own action (kasb). He originates the utterance, the voice, the intonation, the articulation, and the pronunciation from his organs of speech, which are created. Yet he did not originate the words of the Quran, its arrangement, its composition, or its meanings.” (see Siyaru A’laam An Nubalaa vol 11 page 290) [Note: By “originates” he means “does”, not origination which is synonymous with creation, as the Mu’tazila say]

Then he (Adh Dhahabi) narrated from Al Haakim, with his isnaad, upto Fawraan the companion of Ahmad that he said:

Al Athram and Abu Abdillah Al Mu’aiti asked me to seek a private counsel with Abu Abdillah (Imam Ahmad), so that I may ask him about our companions who differentiate between utterance and what it being uttered. So I asked him and he said: “The Quran, however it is engaged, in speech and actions is not created. And as for our actions – they are created. Fawraan continues: So I said “Then the ones who affirm the createdness of utterances, O Abu Abdillah, do you consider them to be Jahmis?” He said, “No. The Jahmiyyah are the ones who say: The Quran is created.”

And Al Imam Al Bayhaqi narrates in his book Al Asmaa was Sifaat from Abdullah, the son of Imam Ahmad bin Hanbal:

I heard my father say: “Whoever says “My utterance of the Quran is created”, intending the Quran itself, is a disbeliever.”

Al Haafidh Al Bayhaqi commented on this statement saying:

“I say: his statement “intending the Quran itself” is a limitation that his son Abdullah memorized from him. And others were not attentive to it who related from Imam Ahmad something different than what we have narrated, until they ascribed to him what he cleared himself from as we have mentioned.” (see page 266)

And Al Imam Al Bukhari, may Allahu ta’aala have mercy on him, said:

“As for what the two opposing sides are using to argue in support of the madhhab of Imam Ahmad and to stake a claim to his madhhab for themselves – most of their reports are not sound. And they perhaps did not comprehend the exactitude of his madhhab. What is known from Ahmad and the people of knowledge is that the speech of Allah is uncreated and other than it is created, and that they abhorred investigation and research of deep and unclear matters. They also avoided people of Kalaam and discussion and disagreement except in what knowledge came about, and what was clarified by RasoolUllah, SallAllahu ‘alaihi wa sallam. (see Khalqu Af’aalil ‘Ibaad page 43)

And we are positive that they, may Allahu ta’aala have mercy on them, did not say these statements without there being a need. Definitely not! And far is it from them to speak on something the Sahabah and Tabi’een were silent about. But when they saw that the crowd of people broke down this door and discussed this matter, and interpreted it incorrectly, they were compelled to speak about it to clarify the truth and prevent the people from what they were doing.

Al ‘Allaamah (Muhammad Zaahid) Al Kawthari, may Allahu ta’aala have mercy on him, said:

Imam Ahmad’s criticism of Ibn Kullaab and his companion [Al Haarith Al Muhaasibi] was due to his dislike of discussion of Kalaam (theology) and is abstinence from it. But the truth is that engaging in it is necessary when the need arises, contrary to the opinion of Ahmad.” (See his commentary on Tabyeen Kadhib Al Muftari: footnote #2 on page 406)

In summary, as Al Haafidh Adh Dhahabi described it, this is a lightweight matter. And this is an issue in which the statements of the Imams conflict. But they still all agree that the Quran which is the quality of Ar Rahman and is His speech is not created.

And by this it becomes clear that Al Imam Ibn Kullaab was not alone in this position he adopted; rather the major Imams of the Deen had also adopted it. It is also known by the aforementioned that he did not innovate or oppose the manhaj of the Salaf and the Sunnah. Instead he was a major figure among Ahlus Sunnah wal Jamaa’ah who are following the footsteps of the Salaf As Saalih as the aforementioned statements of the scholars concerning him have affirmed.

When this is the case, where did the claim that Al Imam Al Ash’ari abandoned his path and opinions come from!?



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