The impossibility of Aļļaah lying is absolute, and not “contingent,” even in the sense of so called "kalaam lafthiyy"

The right belief and expression is that it is "intrinsically/absolutely impossible", and not contingent upon anything.

It should be clear that the meaning of "contingently impossible" is "intrinsically possible". It is just that the latter expression is not as easy to sell to ignorant imitators in belief.

1) Aļļaah’s Eternally Speech (which is not letters, sounds, or language) must be true, and cannot be untrue, because it is not created. In a speech that could tell a lie, a specific lie is only one possibility among infinite possibilities, thus such a speech would need to be specified and brought into existence, i.e. it would have to be created. This is unlike true speech, because the truth can only be one about any particular matter, and is known by Aļļaah eternally. This is the meaning of imam Ahmad’s saying, "His Speech is from His knowledge," i.e. "agrees with His knowledge," and His knowledge is One, Eternal, and True just as His Speech.

2) The uttered speech that is called "Aļļaah’s Speech" tells us what He said with His Eternal Speech. The Qur’aan in the sense of the book with Arabic expressions is utterable speech that tells us what Aļļaah said eternally. That is why it is called Aļļaah’s speech, even though Aļļaah’s actual attribute of speech is eternal, and is not letters, sounds, or language. This has been extensively explained in "The Qur’aan and Aļļaah’s attribute of Speech."

3) According to 2), an utterance that says something other than what Aļļaah said eternally is not His Speech.

4) Therefore, any uttered speech that is not true cannot rationally be said to be Aļļaah’s Speech, because it does not tell us what He said eternally.

5) Conclusion: it is impossible in the mind’s eye that Aļļaah’s so called kalaam lafţħiyy (speech of utterable expressions) could contain a lie.

As for what Al-Jurjaaniyy, Al-Iijiyy and At-Taftaazaaniyy are saying; what they mean is that the speech that we say refers to Aļļaah’s eternal Speech, how do we prove that it really is true, i.e really refers to Aļļaah’s eternal speech? The proof for that is one of normal necessity according to some scholars, that is, the miracles of the Prophet, the agreement of everything in the scripture with the truth, and so on prove that. They don’t mean that it is contingently possible for Aļļaah to lie, as is clear from the context.

That being said, it is important that one does not read books, other than the Qur’aan, assuming that every letter in the book was actually written by the author. There could be perversions, and there could be slips of the pen. It happens all the time. This is in addition to the fact that there is no proof in what a non-Prophet says, especially in belief issues. The sources of knowledge according to Sunnis is either observation, or pure reason (not depending on repeated experiences, but coming from a valid conclusion necessitated by irrefutable premises), or information from a prophet.

30 Responses to The impossibility of Aļļaah lying is absolute, and not “contingent,” even in the sense of so called "kalaam lafthiyy"

  1. Abdullah says:

    Salamu Alaikum Shaykh Abu Adam,

    JazakAllah khayr for the wonderful articles on the topic of Asmaa was Sifaat would it be correct to say that Allah’s attributes such as Hand/Face/Eye etc are all meant in a metaphorical way? this is my understanding so i hope i don’t err in this field of aqidah.

    • Waˆalaykumussalaam,

      You must not translate the Arabic words of yad, wajh, Aˆyun, etc. to English in this way in this context, because this is not their meaning. The important thing is not to believe that their meanings refer to a part or a limb, or an instrument. After that you can either leave it at that, or take a figurative explanation from a reliable scholar.

  2. mobeesha says:

    Salaam,

    I understand your argument of why kadhib must be mustaHeel (dhaatiyy) on account of kadhib relating to His Kalaam, and it is known that His Kalaam relates to His All-Encompassing `Ilm.

    However, with regards to other naqaa’iS, that do not necessarily relate to His Speech, but more towards His Af`aal, such as Zulm, and the like of it; do these not hinge entirely on His Qudrah? And we know that Qudrah is a Sifah of eejaad that pertains to the realm of the mumkinaat. You mentioned elsewhere on your site, that we have adab with Allah Most High in that we do not say “He Cannot do…” such and such, but rather, we say that flaws and absurdities are not to be attributed to His Qudrah. This I understand and agree insofar as the former being muHaal for Him is concerned, but I cannot understand why other naqaa’iS, aside from kadhib (due to its link with His Kalaam), being mustaHeel dhaatiyy, and NOT mustaHeel araDiyy? At times, it seems as if the whole “imkaan al-kadhib” issue is discussed on the premise that those who upheld such a belief were referring to the imkaan of its wuqoo`, BUT what if they were discussing this issue NOT in regards to the wuqoo` of it, but RATHER to the “imkaan” of His istiTaa`ah; i.e. being “able” to commit naqaa’iS, not that it would over “occur”. Your whole site is dedicated against placing hudood upon Allah Most High. But to say that it is mustaHeel for his dhaat to possess the qudrah\istiTaa`ah to do such naqaa’iS seems bold to say and may even come close to limiting His Qudrah. And Allah Knows Best. I look forward to your comments in elaborating on what I’ve said above and in explaining where my logic may have erred.

    • It intrinsically impossible that Allaah should be unjust, because to be unjust is to do something you do not have the right to do. No one can impose rights upon Allaah, because He does not have an owner or a creator or a judge. This means that whatever Allaah wills, it is just, because He has the right to do it, whatever it is. Take a look under “On the Issue of Predestination and Justice” in the table of contents.

      It is also intrinsically impossible that Allaah should lie, because His Speech is not created, not possible, but necessary. I explained this above when I said “1) Aļļaah’s Eternally Speech (which is not letters, sounds, or language) must be true, and cannot be untrue, because it is not created. In a speech that could tell a lie, a specific lie is only one possibility among infinite possibilities, thus such a speech would need to be specified and brought into existence, i.e. it would have to be created. This is unlike true speech, because the truth can only be one about any particular matter, and is known by Aļļaah eternally. This is the meaning of imam Ahmad’s saying, “His Speech is from His knowledge,” i.e. “agrees with His knowledge,” and His knowledge is One, Eternal, and True just as His Speech.” You can also take a look in the table of contents under the heading “On the deviant belief that it is possible that Aļļaah could lie,” where there is much to read about this.

  3. Abu Eesa says:

    Assalaamu’alaikum.

    Jazaakumullah khair for providing these articles for us.

    I’ve read through the issue of Imkan al-Kidhb a few times so please excuse my lack of understanding.

    Could I please ask:

    His Knowledge encompasses that which could’ve been but is not to be e.g. Abu Lahb entering Paradise could’ve been but is not to be.

    So when He says Abu Lahb is one of the people of the Fire, then for that not to be, does it contradict what He knows because He also Knows that Abu Lahb could’ve been one of the people of Paradise?

    Jazaakumullah khair.

    • There is no contradiction in saying that something could have been, i.e. is intrinsically, in and of itself possible, and yet it will not be. In other words, Allaah could have willed otherwise.

  4. “But to say that it is mustaHeel for his dhaat to possess the qudrah\istiTaa`ah to do such naqaa’iS seems bold to say and may even come close to limiting His Qudrah. ”

    ————–

    It is *NOT* limiting His Qudrah by saying that attributes of creation are mustaheel for Allah.

    As the Shaykh (may Allah reward him) has already explained above:

    Allah’s Qudrah pertains to mumkinaat, and indeed there are no limits on it.

    Mumkinaat only pertain to CREATION.

    Allah’s Speech is a wajib sifat of His. It is *NOT* from the mumkinaat, which are haadith and need to be specified.

    If your argument of “limiting His Qudrah” is taken as a blanket statement without this VERY IMPORTANT point that it pertains to mumkinaat only, then, basically, you will be eventually forced to move beyond the imkan al-kadhib issue and think like christian missionaries who also give the exact same argument (“you are limiting His power”) to make a case for attributing Him, ta’alahu ‘amma yasifoon, with rubbish like “begetting”, “taking human form”, and “being helplessly crucified on the cross” or the athiest’s rubbish question of “creating a stone He can’t lift”.

    It is because these fools do not know their Creator, that they qiyas His attributes with theirs, and do not know the very important difference between haadith and qadeem!

    http://iloveimamrabbani.wordpress.com/2010/12/06/christians-are-senseless-retards/

  5. Abu Eesa says:

    Assalaamu’alaikum sidi.

    Could I please ask:

    The Quran is some of His infinite Speech and so He chose what to inform us.

    Does this not mean that He willed/specified His Speech?

  6. Abu Eesa says:

    Jazaakallah khair sidi.

    So His revealing is not necessary, nor is it eternal? Rather His revealing is an action? Does He, Most High, have a name related to revealing?

    Thank you.

    • Revealing means that Allaah creates the event of revelation in the prophets, which could be the speech of an angel, knowledge created in the heart of the prophet without preceding normal causes, and so forth.

  7. Abu Eesa says:

    Jazaakallah khair sidi.

    I’ve read through your articles on Imkan al-Kidhb a few times so please excuse my lack of understanding.

    Could I please ask:

    What would be the mistake in the following:

    1. God informs us that He WILL punish people on the Day of Judgement,

    2. However, God KNOWS He will NOT punish people on the Day of Judgement.

    3. WE all think He WILL punish people on the Day of Judgement because He told us.

    4. When the Day of Judgement arrives He does NOT punish people because He KNOWS He would NOT punish people so this does NOT contradict His KNOWLEDGE and neither His WILL because He KNOWS He would NOT punish people on the Day of Judgement so He did NOT WILL it to be so.

    Jazaakallah khair sidi.

    • The mistake is in the contradiction between 1 and 2. Allaah’s Speech does not contradict His Knowledge or Will. What He says must be true, just as what He knows must be true, and that His Will must be, and that none of these change.

  8. Abu Eesa says:

    Assalaamu’alaikum sidi.

    Jazaakumullah khair.

    Sidi, is my following understanding correct:

    1. If Kidhab is possible in His Speech then it would be would be an eternal attribute of His.

    2. If Kidhab is an eternal attribute of His then Sidq would be impossible.

    3. Sidq cannot be impossible because it is at least possible sometimes for His Speech to conform with His Knowledge.

    4. As Sidq cannot be impossible, Kidhab must be impossible.

    5. Thus Sidq is necessary.

    • Waˆalaykumussalaam,

      OK, except number 3. Your use of possible here is unacceptable, because it implies that His speech is possible. What you should say is “Sidq cannot be impossible, because we know that He has told us the truth by many examples of that,” or the like. Of course, the premise in your argument is the Sunni premise that Allaah’s attribute of Speech is not created, which is of course correct, but I wanted to point that out.

  9. Abu Eesa says:

    Jazakallah khair, sidi.

    Sidi, when Allah, Most High, speaks in the Quran about His Speech being true, why can we not use this to show that He has the attribute of sidq? If you say, we can’t use it because it would then be circular, then what is the purpose of Allah telling us that His Speech is true in the Quran?

    Thank you.

    • I haven’t said that. What I might have said is that you cannot use it with people that believe it is possible that Allaah could say something untrue, but He never did. What we want to show is not only that what Allaah has said is true, but that it is impossible that He should say something untrue.

  10. Abu Eesa says:

    Assalaamu alaikum sidi.

    Jazakallah khair.

    Could I please ask:

    1. He tells us there is a Day of Judgement.

    2. He knows there is no Day of Judgement.

    3. The Day of Judgement does not occur.

    In the above, His Knowledge reveals there is no Day of Judgement and so He didn’t Will it be so. What actually happened in the above does NOT contradict His Knowledge AND nor does it contradict His Will. The ONLY thing is that He TOLD us otherwise in the Quran with His Speech.

    If we say His Speech does NOT contradict His Knowledge, WHY would that STOP something from happening IF He KNOWS it will happen and WILLS it to be BUT tells us otherwise in the Quran?

    Jazakallah khair.

    • Your question makes no sense. First you say His Speech does not contradict His knowledge and then that He tells something untrue in the Qur’aan. This is contradictory. You cannot say that what He tells is different from His Speech.

  11. Abu Eesa says:

    Assalamu alaikum sidi.

    I’ve been thinking some more. Could I please ask:

    What confuses me is that as He knows everything, why would Him saying something which is not going to happen be ‘outside’ His Knowledge? Even if He says something that is not going to happen, it is still part of His Knowledge i.e. He still knows about it. Why is this ‘Speech contradicting His Knowledge’?

    Jazakallah khair.

    • The contradiction is that what is said and what is known would be different. Look, it is enough for you to believe that it is impossible that Allaah should have a flaw, and that saying something that does not agree with reality is a flaw. There is no need for your to go any deeper than that.

  12. Abu Yunus says:

    Dear Shaykh,

    As-salamu alaikum wa rahmatullah.

    If someone believes that God can lie in His Speech but chooses not to do so, does this entail that such a person believes that God can introduce a defect within Himself but chooses not to do so?

  13. defendingislam10 says:

    Salam Alaykum,

    A non-Muslim may ask:

    How can it be said that the truth of a matter is one and does not require specification? For example, if someone asks ‘Where are you?’ we could give our street name, or we could give our neighborhood, city, state, region, or country name, and any of these could be correct even if we do not consider the context of the question. So the truth has to be specified since there are multiple true values and only one of them will be said by any given person. Also, what does it exactly mean when someone says that “Allah’s Speech pertains to whatever His Knowledge pertains to”, and how does it exclude lying? For example, Allah would know that scenario A is true and will come to pass and scenario B is false and will not come to pass, but scenario B is still within Allah’s Knowledge, so why would it be impossible for Allah to tell us scenario B and exclude the part about it being ‘false’?

    • What we said is that Allaah’s speech is an attribute by which He tells us what He knows, and what He knows is necessarily true, otherwise it would be ignorance. Knowledge must be in agreement with reality, otherwise it is not knowledge. Allaah’s speech is not specified, not created, not an instrument, it is an eternal and necessary attribute of Allaah. Now, what you said about excluding the part of it being false, this is specification, because it is in disagreement with knowledge, therefore created speech, and Allaah’s speech is not created.

  14. defendingislam10 says:

    Salam Alaykum,

    Thank you for your reply. I would like to know though about what I mentioned above of what a non-Muslim may ask, namely:

    How can it be said that the truth of a matter is one and does not require specification? For example, if someone asks ‘Where are you?’ we could give our street name, or we could give our neighborhood, city, state, region, or country name, and any of these could be correct even if we do not consider the context of the question. So the truth has to be specified since there are multiple true values and only one of them will be mentioned at one time.

  15. Uthman says:

    A Qudsi hadith goes: “I have made oppression unlawful for Me.” (Saheeh Muslim, Source: http://sunnah.com/urn/262460).

    If Allah didn’t have the ability to be oppressive, how did he make it prohibited upon himself to be oppressive?

    Also, you said:

    “…a specific lie is only one possibility among infinite possibilities, thus such a speech would need to be specified and brought into existence, i.e. it would have to be created. This is unlike true speech, because the truth can only be one about any particular matter, and is known by Allaah eternally.”

    Why would such a speech (referring to a lie) need to be created, in order Allah to have the ability to lie? Isn’t it possible that Allah knows falsehood (i.e. lies) and has the ability to lie, but eternally chooses not to lie?

  16. Abd ur Rasul Qadri says:

    Please note I believe kidhb is muhal bi dhaat for Allah subhanaHu wa ta`ala in both kalam nafsi and lafzi

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