Q & A: What about Alif Laam Meem?

Someone asked: In terms of our belief about the speech of Allah not being composed of sounds, letters and the other attributes of created things, but rather His Speech is the meanings that the letters and the sounds convey. What is the response of the `ulama to the one who objects by asking, “What about ‘Alif Lam Mim’?”

Answer: One cannot say that Allah’s kalam is meanings. Allah’s kalam pertains to meanings, but His kalam is one, this is the sound expression. As for Alif-lam-miim, it has a meaning, but the scholars differed regarding it.

Note that it would be imperfection for the Creator not to have an attribute by which He tells, orders, promises and threatens.

On the other hand, it is imperfection to be attributed with the attribute of expressing what one knows serially (i.e. consecutively, one piece of information after another). This is because speech that consists of serial expressions must have a beginning and because there will be a delay in informing all that one knows.

Remembering that what Allah knows is unlimited, we must admit that His attribute of kalam, by which He informs without delay the unlimited information that He knows, cannot be like our limited created kalam that is made up of sounds, letters and words.

Note also that Allah can enable any of his creation to hear his kalam, although it’s not a kind of sound. Beware that this does not mean that a creation can know all that Allah’s speech pertains to, because that would mean that a creation could know everything, and this is impossible. Rather, Allah can make each of them understand from it what He wants him/her/it to understand, so each of them might end up understanding something different at the same time.  This is another reason why we cannot say that His kalam is like the kalam of created beings.

Author: Shaykh Abu Adam al Naruiji

4 Responses to Q & A: What about Alif Laam Meem?

  1. faqir says:

    as-salamu `alaikum
    the way the question is usually phrased by these people is, ‘who said alif laam meem?’

  2. wa^alaykumussalaam,

    The answer would be the same. Namely that Aļļaah said it, and it has a meaning, and that Aļļaah’s attribute of kalam (speech) is not letters, sounds or language. The Arabic in the book of the Qur’aan inform us of what Aļļaah said, without his kalam having a beginning or and end or changing or being words or letters, or having sequence.

  3. Mushtaq Ahmad Qureshi says:

    who would know the meaning. Allah SWT revealed the Quran to His Prophet Mohammed may peace be upon him, so he knows the meaning of Alif Laam Meem. Then, who else would know the meaning, just guess!!!

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