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

October 30, 2010

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.


At-Taftaazaaniyy’s basic belief regarding Allaah, the Creator

October 29, 2010

At-Taftaazaaniyy states: “The belief of Ahlu-s-Sunnah is that the world has a beginning, and that the Creator is beginninglessly eternal, attributed with beginninglessly eternal attributes that are not Him himself, nor other than Him1. Moreover, He is One, He has no like or opposite, or equal. He has no end, or shape, or limit. He is not in something, and nothing begins to exist in Him (i.e. He does not change) and it is invalid (i.e. intrinsically impossible) that He could move, or be transported, or be ignorant, or lie, or have a defect. In addition, He is seen in the Hereafter, but He is not in a space, or in a direction. Whatever He has willed will be, and what He has not willed will not be. He does not need anything, and He has no obligations.”2

1 I.e. it is impossible in the mind’s eye that they could be separated from Him – because they are eternally attributes of His, and what is eternal cannot change.

2 SaˆdudDiin Al-Taftaazaaniy (712-793AH/ 1312-1390 AD), Sħarĥu-l-Maqaaşid Fiy ˆIlmi-l-Kalaam, 2/514.

شرح المقاصد فى علم الكلام ، 2 / 514

وطريقة أهل السنة أن العالم حادث والصانع قديم متصف بصفات قديمة ليست عينه ولا غيره وواحد لا شبه له ولا ضد ولا ند ولا نهاية له ولا صورة ولا حد ولا يحل في شيء ولا يقوم به حادث ولا يصح عليه الحركة والانتقال ولا الجهل ولا الكذب ولا النقص وأنه يرى في الآخرة وليس في حيز ولا جهة ما شاء كان ومالم يشأ لم يكن لا يحتاج إلى شيء ولا يجب عليه شيء

شرح المقاصد في علم الكلام ، اسم المؤلف: سعد الدين مسعود بن عمر بن عبد الله التفتازاني الوفاة: 791هـ ، دار النشر : دار المعارف النعمانية – باكستان – 1401هـ – 1981م ، الطبعة : الأولى


Perversion by those who claim Allaah could lie exposed

June 6, 2010

It was a glimmer of light in a world filled with the darkness of blasphemy when someone sent me a link with the following statement by Dr. Muĥammad, Saˆiid Ramađaan Al-Buuţiyy:

Question: It has been related to your distinguished self, in one site on the internet, the opinion that it is not intrinsically impossible that Allaah could lie, but that Allaah made it an obligation for Himself not to lie. This statement has been translated to English, and we would like to check with you the truthfulness of the attribution of this statement to you.

سؤال: نسب إلى فضيلتكم في أحد المواقع القول بأن الكذب في حق الله تعالى ليس مستحيلاً ذاتياً وأنه تحت قدرته. ولكنه تعالى أوجب على نفسه أن لا يكذب. وهذا القول ترجم إلى الإنكليزية ونريد أن نتأكد منكم مدى صحة نسبة هذا القول إليكم

Answer by Dr. Muĥammad, Saˆiid Ramađaan Al-Buuţiyy:

No one has ever asked me about this, and I believe that no one has ever faced me, nor will anyone ever face me with such a despicable question.

There is no one among the people that does not know that lying belongs to the category of lowly attributes. Moreover, there is no one among the believers in Allaah that does not know that Allaah is only attributed with complete perfection, and that He is clear of all attributes of flaw. Furthermore, something pertaining to the Power of Allaah does not mean it is possible that Allaah could be attributed with it. Finally, His Power pertains only to what is possible, and does not pertain to what is impossible.

Muĥammad Saˆiid Ramađaan Al-Buuţiyy

أجاب عنه: أ.د.محمد سعيد رمضان البوطي

إن أحداً لم يوجه إليّ هذا السؤال. وأعتقد أن أحداً لم يواجهني ولن يواجهني بمثل هذه السفالة في السؤال.

ليس في الناس من يجهل أن الكذب من الصفات الذميمة.

وليس في المؤمنين بالله من يجهل أن الله متصف بصفات الكمال كلها ومنزه عن سائر صفات النقصان. وقدرته جل جلاله على شيء ما لا يعني بالضرورة إمكان اتصافه به. على أن قدرته إنما تتعلق بالممكنات ولا تتعلق بالمستحيلات.

محمد سعيد رمضان البوطي

So the devils that are busy spreading this terrible belief find no support, or understanding, with Dr. Al-Buuţiyy, in contrast with statements that have been spread around lately. Moreover, this example very clearly shows that there is willful perversion of texts happening in this issue, as I have pointed out earlier. The great scholars of this nation are definitely far away from this blasphemous belief.


The Qur’aan and Aļļaah’s attribute of Speech

October 5, 2009

Aļļaah’s attribute of Speech

Aļļaah’s Speech is a necessary and eternal attribute of perfection, which pertains to what He knows, by which He tells, orders, promises and threatens. It would be imperfection for the Creator not to have an attribute by which He tells, orders, promises and threatens. That is why we do not believe it has a beginning, or that it is an action, such as our speech, because that would mean that Aļļaah needed to create for Himself a Speech to achieve perfection.

Moreover, it is imperfection to be attributed with the attribute of expressing what one knows serially (i.e. consecutively, one piece of information after another, or by letters or words). 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.

Words and letters are created speech

Speech consisting of words and letters is the speech of creation. For this reason one cannot say that Aļļaah’s eternal attribute of Speech is letters and sounds, because Aļļaah said:

“لَيْسَ كَمِثْلِهِ شَيْءٌ”

Meaning: “Absolutely nothing resembles Him.” (Al-Sħuuraa, 11)

Accordingly, when Ahlu-s-Sunnah, the Asħˆariyys and the Ĥanafiyys, say that the “Qur’aan is not created” they are referring to Aļļaah’s eternal attribute of speech that is not sound or letters. In other words, the Speech that the book of the Qur’aan refers to.

This is the correct belief, because the Arabic language, just like all languages, was created by Aļļaah. Accordingly, if Arabic is a creation, how can Arabic speech be anything but a creation? After all, what is composed of created things, in this case the sounds of Arabic and their representing letters, is clearly created.

Moreover, speech that is letters and sounds must have a beginning and therefore be a creation. Why? Because words and letters have a beginning. So in “bismillaah”, for example “i” comes after “b”, so when you say bismillaah, the sound “i” only becomes existent after “b” ’s non-existence. This means “i” has become existent after non existence, which means that it needs a creator to exist. Nothing can come into existence without a creator, all Muslims must believe that.

The two meanings of the word “Qur’aan”

The saying of Ahlu-s-Sunnah is that the words and letters in the printed copies of the Qur’aan refer to Aļļaah’s eternal Kalaam, and tell us in Arabic what He said eternally without letters, sounds or words. It is therefore correct to say that “the Qur’aan is not created,” because the word “Qur’aan” actually refers to what Aļļaah tells us, and His speech is not created. It is not correct, however, to say that the words, letters, and sounds associated with the book are not created, because words and letters need a creator, and because the Arabic language, the language of the book, is a creation.

An example to clarify is that the word “Aļļaah” refers to Aļļaah. We do not worship these letters, or the sounds of uttering this word. Rather, we worship the one they refer to. In the same sense, the words, letters and Arabic in the book are not themselves Aļļaah’s attribute of Speech, but refer to that attribute; they tell us what Aļļaah said with His eternal Speech.

The two aspects of speech: meanings and expression

This can be clarified more with another example as follows: Let us say that Obama made a speech today at a White House press conference. Then the reporters wrote down what was said and published it in the Washington Post under the title “Obama’s Speech.” Now, if someone came and said, “This is not Obama’s Speech! This is just paper and ink!” Would you consider this person sensible? Of course you would not. Why? Let us first look at the concept of speech and the meanings of the word “speech” in this example.

If we were to imagine the events surrounding the press conference, we can imagine that before even saying anything, Obama had something in his heart that he wanted to say. These unexpressed meanings that he wanted to say is the speech inside that he wants to make. This is called a speech, as we just did when we said, “the speech that he wants to make,” but it is not letters or sounds. Rather it is a collection of meanings that words can be used to express. Words, after all, are just collections of sounds that refer to meanings that we want to express. Yet, we refer to collections of words put together in sentences by someone as “his speech,” even if it translated to another language that this someone does not even know.

The word “speech” then, has at least two meanings. The first is the meanings that we want to express. The second is the expression of these meanings in words and letters, body language, or some other mode of expression. The reason why the expression is simply called “his speech” or “her speech” is because the expressed form of it is an expression of what the person wanted to say.

From this it is easy to understand that the word “Qur’aan” has two meanings. The first is the eternal Speech of Aļļaah that the words and letters of the book of the Qur’aan refer to, and that is not itself words, letters, language or sequence. Note that we do not call this “inner speech”, because Aļļaah’s speech is not like our inner speech, and because Aļļaah is not said to have an inside, as He is not a body.

The second meaning of the “Qur’aan” is the book, the organized and sequential Arabic words and letters that express in Arabic what Aļļaah said eternally, without letters or sounds. This book is called Aļļaah’s Speech, because it refers to what Aļļaah said eternally, and one cannot say that it is not Aļļaah’s speech, because that entails denying Aļļaah’s eternal speech.

To clarify further using the example of Obama’s speech: if it was translated to Arabic we would still call it “Obama’s Speech.” This is because they refer to the meanings he originally expressed in English based on the meanings he wanted to convey, which is his inner speech. Accordingly, if someone said about the Arabic translation, “This is not Obama’s speech!” people would understand from this that he did not express those meanings, not that he did not say it in Arabic. In fact, if the one that claimed it is not Obama’s speech clarified what he meant and said, “He spoke English, not Arabic!” people would consider him a fool. The reason is that they understand Obama’s speech to be the meanings that he expressed, irrespective of how it is expressed.

Likewise, when Muslims hold the muşĥaf up and say, “this is Aļļaah’s Speech,” they mean the meanings that Aļļaah said eternally, not the paper or ink, or the letters and their sounds. That is why if someone translated an aayah of the Qur’aan to English and stated before it “Aļļaah said….” people will not object and say, “Aļļaah did not say that,” unless he disagreed with the translation. Alternatively, they mean the Arabic expression of Aļļaah’s eternal speech in particular, which can be considered the second meaning of the word “Qur’aan,” which the scholars refer to as an-naţħm, or “the structure.”

Deviant sayings regarding Aļļaah’s speech

Since speech that consists of words and letters is created, there is no difference between saying “Aļļaah’s eternal attribute of Speech is words and letters,” and saying “Aļļaah’s Speech is created.” The first is the saying of the Ĥuruufiyyah[1], and the second is that of the Muˆtazilah. It does not help the Ĥuruufiyyah try to escape by saying that it is “uncreated.”

The Muˆtazilah said it is created because it is letters and sounds, and letters and sounds have a beginning, so they must be created. The Ĥuruufiyyah take this one step further in deviation by denying the obvious, which is that anything with a beginning, such as letters, is a creation.

The only difference between the Muˆtazilah and the Ĥuruufiyyah is that the latter called this “emergent speech brought into existence by Aļļaah according to His specification” an “uncreated attribute,” whereas the Muˆtazilah called this very same “emergent speech brought into existence by Aļļaah according to His specification” a “created non-attribute.” They only differ about what to call it, and that is not a real difference, and thus not what the Salaf were concerned about when they refuted the Muˆtazilah.

What the Salaf understood from “create”

The Salaf spoke Arabic. In other words, by looking up the definition of create, we can tell what the Salaf meant when they said, “the Qur’aan is not created.” Did they mean that it is an event and was brought into existence, but not created, as the Ĥuruufiyyah claim? Or did they mean that the Qur’aan is not brought into existence, because it is not an event, thus has no need for a creator?

The authoritative imam of Arabic linguistics Ibn Faaris[2] said in Maqaayiisu-l-Lugħah: “(The root) kħ-l-q has two basic meanings (that all its derived words, such as kħalaqa – to create – come from) one of them is to specify, the other is smoothness[3].”[4]

The linguists Ibn Manţħuur[5] in Lisaanu-l-ˆArab [6], and Az-Zabiidiyy[7] in Taaju-l-ˆAruus [8] narrate from the imaam of Arabic, Al-‘Azhariyy: “Among the attributes of Aļļaah is “the Creator” (Al-Kħaaliq and Al-Kħallaaq), and He is the one that brought everything into existence after it being non-existent, and the root meaning of the word kħalq is specifying, so He is in the sense of what gets existence from Him the one that specified it, and in the sense of bringing into existence according to the specification, the one that created it[9].”

In the Arabic language then, to create is to bring into existence according to specification. Clearly then, there is no difference between saying “created” or “event,” because whatever did not exist must be brought into existence to become and event. Otherwise it would remain non-existent. The Ĥuruufiyyah want to convince us that Aļļaah brings sounds into existence in Himself and then lets them out. They want to convince us that bringing something into existence with the specification of “in the world” is called “created”, while specifying in “the the Creator for this,” is called “event.” But there is no difference here except the specification, and creating is to bring into existence according to specification in Arabic, so this is a baseless claim.

Being an event and being created is the same

The Ĥuruufiyyah insist that Aļļaah’s attribute of Kalaam/Speech is sounds and letters, and has a beginning, but is not created. They have the curious idea that not all events are created. This has no basis in the Arabic language or the terminology of the Salaf; they saw no difference between saying “event” and “created.” In this regard, Al-Bayhaqiyy narrated in Al-Asmaa’ Wa-ş-Şifaat that Wakiiˆ said: “The Qur’aan (i.e. what the Arabic words and letters refer to) is the Speech/ Kalaam of Aļļaah (i.e. His eternal attribute), and it is not created. So the one that says it is created has disbelieved in Aļļaah.” In another narration he said, “The one that says the Qur’aan is created has said it has a beginning, and the one that says it has a beginning has blasphemed [10].” The same was narrated by Adħ-Dħahabiyy [11][12].

For those who do not know who Wakiiˆ is, it was stated by Adħ-Dħahabiyy in Siyar ‘Aˆlaam An-Nubalaa’: “The Imaam, the Ĥaafiţħ, the Muĥadditħ of ˆIraaq, …. He was born in 129 after the Hijrah (9/140-141).” He said that Aĥmad ibn Ĥanbal used to glorify Wakiiˆ and say about him, “I have never met anyone more aware in his knowledge than Wakiiˆ, or anyone that has memorized more[13] (9/144).” In short, Wakiiˆ is one of the greatest ĥadiitħ masters in history and here we find him making takfiir for those who say that the the Qur’aan (i.e. the eternal attribute of Aļļaah that the book refers to) is an event, but not created.

The same statement was also made by Aĥmad ibn Ĥanbal. Adħ-Dħahabiyy and others narrated that he said: “The one who says that the Qur’aan is something with a beginning is a kaafir[14]. [15]

Another famous scholar of the Salaf generation, Abuu Jaˆfar Aţ-Ţabariyy said: “The one that objects to what we have stated, it is said to him: Tell us about the speech that you described as created, and that the Beginninglessly Eternal speaks with, did He create it, as it is created according to you, in Himself, or in something else, or is it something existing in itself? If he says, ”in Himself” then this necessitates that He would be something that created things exist in and this is blasphemy according to everybody[16]. [17]

Asħ-Sħawkaaniyy affirms that the Salaf made takfiir for the one who says “the Qur’aan is an event.” He says in his book Fatĥu-l-Qadiir, under the explanation for Al-‘Anbiyaa’, 2: “The imaams of the Sunnis were right in their forbiddance in answering the call to the saying ‘the Qur’aan is created’ or ‘emergent’.” Notice how he does not see a difference between created and emergent, then he said, “Aļļaah protected the nation of His prophet’s followers from a bad innovation through them. They went beyond that, however, and said that the Qur’aan is eternal and did not stop at that, but said that the one who says it is emergent is a kaafir[18]…. [19]” This means that the Ĥuruufiyyah are kuffaar in the eyes of the Salaf.

There is no difference then, between saying “event” and “created.” Both words mean “brought into existence,” and the Salaf were against saying “the Qur’aan is an event” just as much as they were against saying that it is created. Accordingly, any Arabic speech is created, because it did not exist and then existed, which makes it an event and in need of a creator to bring it into existence.

As for the claim that Al-Bukħaariyy called the Qur’aan an event, this is not the case. Al-Bukħaariyy was speaking of the revelation of the Qur’aan when he commented on the saying of Aļļaah:

مَا يَأْتِيهِمْ مِنْ ذِكْرٍ مِنْ رَبِّهِمْ مُحْدَثٍ إِلاَّ اسْتَمَعُوهُ وَهُمْ يَلْعَبُونَ [الأنبياء : 2]

Meaning: “Whenever new remembrance from their Lord comes to them, they listen to it mockingly.”

Isĥaaq ibn Raawayh was asked about this Aayah, he said: “Eternally of Aļļaah, new to Earth.” Al-ˆAsqalaaniyy commented: “this is the precedent of what Al-Bukħaariyy said[20].” This must clearly be the case, lest Al-Bukħaariyy be a non-Muslim deviant in the view of the likes of Wakiiˆ and Aĥmad, as discussed above.

Abuu Ĥaniifah on the meaning of “the Qur’aan is not created.”

Abuu Ĥaniifah, who is definitely among the Salaf, explains that the meaning of “the Qur’aan is not created” is that Aļļaah’s eternal attribute of speech is not created. In his book Al-Fiqh Al-Akbar, he said:

“The Qur’aan is the Speech of Aļļaah (Taˆaalaa), written on pages (muşĥafs), preserved in hearts, recited on tongues, and revealed to the Prophet r. Our utterance of the Qur’aan is created, and our recitation of the Qur’aan is created, but the Qur’aan is not created[21].” [22].

He means by “the Qur’aan is the Speech of Aļļaah” that the word “Qur’aan” refers to Aļļaah’s eternal speech that is not letters (thus not language or sounds – as letters are symbols that represent sounds.) I.e. there is no difference between saying “Aļļaah’s attribute of Speech” and “the Qur’aan;” they are synonyms. He makes this clear when he says a few paragraphs later:

“Aļļaah speaks, but not like our speech; we speak by means of instruments (vocal cords, limbs, etc.) and letters, but Aļļaah speaks without instruments or letters. Letters are a creation, and Aļļaah’s Speech is not created[23].” [24].
In conclusion, Abuu Ĥaniifah says, “the Qur’aan is the Speech of Aļļaah,” and “Aļļaah speaks without instruments or letters,” then he emphasizes this further by saying, “Letters are a creation, and Aļļaah’s Speech is not created.”

The judgment on saying that the Qur’aan is created.

The word Qur’aan is a name for Aļļaah’s eternal attribute of Speech, as has been clarified earlier. It can also, however, refer to the Arabic book of the Qur’aan – the revealed letters – like when someone says, “please give me that Qur’aan on the shelf”. When the Salaf said, “the Qur’aan is not created,” they obviously meant the first meaning, not the second.

But what about if someone said, “the Qur’aan is created,” intending the book? The Salaf said that saying that the Qur’aan is created with this sense in mind – the revealed letters of the book – is bidˆah, an ugly innovation. They considered it ugly because it may mislead someone to think that Aļļaah’s attribute of Speech is created. Ibn ˆAabidiin in his Ĥaasħiyah says, “The bottom line is that what is not created is the Qur’aan in the sense of Aļļaah’s Speech, that is, the (eternal) attribute that is affirmed to His Self, not the sense of revealed letters. It is not said that the Qur’aan is created, however, so that no one will think that the first meaning is meant[25]. [26]

Note however, that some later scholars allowed this expression for teaching purposes, because they found it necessary to use this expression to explain that Aļļaah’s eternal speech is not language or letters. In fact, today it is probably the case that most people understand from the word Qur’aan the revealed letters only, and not the attribute of Aļļaah. For this they allowed the expression “the Qur’aan is created” for teaching purposes, so that no one would think that the letters in the book are uncreated.

The late Asħˆariyys’ permission of saying “the Qur’aan is created”

As for when some of the later Asħˆariyys spoke of the permissibility of saying “the Qur’aan is created,” they were referring to the Arabic expression, not Aļļaah’s Speech. They said that this statement may be used in a classroom setting. The reason is because over time the word Qur’aan is mainly understood as referring to the expression of Aļļaah’s eternal Speech in Arabic words and letters. They were afraid that some people would understand from the expression, “the Qur’aan is not created,” that the Arabic expression is not created, which is far more dangerous than saying “the Qur’aan is created,” if one means the Arabic expression (not Aļļaah’s eternal attribute of Speech). After all, the latter meaning is sound, because Arabic expressions have a beginning and cannot be eternal, and if they are not eternal, then they must have been specified and brought into existence by Aļļaah. In other words, they must have been created. The only bad side of this would be that this expression is a bidˆah in religion, so they restricted it to a classroom purposes, because this is where the setting of religious necessity applies. That is, the necessity of preventing the kufr belief that Aļļaah speaks in letters and sounds, which is far more important than avoiding a dubious innovation.

The principle of those who claim that letters may not be created, and their status in FakħrudDiin Ar-Raaziyy’s view

An Arabic utterance is a creation exactly because it is an event. It has to be, since Arabic itself is created, so one can only wonder why some would want to say that, “not every event is created.” The answer is that they believe that Aļļaah is a physical entity located above the ˆArsħ. According to this philosophy, when something is created outside of that body, it is called creation, and when it is created inside that body, it is not a creation. That is why they consider the saying “the Qur’aan is created,” as a deviant statement, because to them this means that the Arabic letters and sounds written in the muşĥaf were not first created inside the physical entity, or idol, that they worship, and invalidly call “Aļļaah.” In other words, “He does not resemble anything,” means to them, in the context of the attribute of Speech, “His speech has a different location.” Based on this concept of physical location, you can understand a lot about what they mean when they are talking about Aļļaah’s attributes.

FakħrudDiin Ar-Raaziyy said, “Proofs tell us that the who says that God is a body is a disbeliever in God (who is greatly above and clear of flaws). The reason is that the God of the World exists, and He is not a body, or stationed in a body. So if the one who believes that God is a body denies this non-bodily existence, then he has disbelieved in God Himself. This means that the disagreement between the one that believes that God is a body, and the monotheist (i.e. in the Islamic sense, namely that God does not have a partner, part or a like in His self of attributes), is not based on a disagreement regarding attributes, but regarding the self (i.e. the identity of the one attributed with godhood.) It is sound to say then, that the one who believes that God is a body does not believe in Allah….

….As for the Ĥuluuliyyah (those who believe that Allah settles in created things, such as the sky or a human body) and Ĥuruufiyyah (those who believe that Allah’s attribute of Kalaam/Speech consists of letters and sounds) sects, we say that they are unequivocally disbelievers. This is because Allah declared the Christians blasphemers for believing that Allah’s speech entered into Jesus, whereas the Ĥuruufiyyah believe that it settles in the tongue of all those who recite Qur’aan, and in all physical things that the Qur’aan was written on. Accordingly, if the belief in its settlement in one single body (Jesus) is blasphemy, then it is even more blasphemous to believe that it settles in all shapes and bodies[27].” [28].

What is the response if someone asked, “who said alif laam miim?”?

The answer is therefore that Aļļaah said alif-laam-miim, without His speech being words, letters or language. The letters in the muşĥaf tell us what He said eternally. The expression “alif-laam-miim” is not different than other words or letters in the muşĥaf in this regard. They are letters that refer to the meaning of what Aļļaah said eternally without letters of sounds. Abuu Faraj Ibn Al-Jawziyy[29] said in his commentary on the Qur’aan Zaadu-l-Masiir:

“The commentators on the Qur’aan have specified 5 different sayings regarding alif-laam-miim: One of them is that it is one of the aayahs that are ambiguous in meaning, and only Aļļaah knows its meaning, as has been explained earlier. The second is that it means, “I, Aļļaah, know”. This was narrated by Abuu Ađ-Đuĥaa from Ibn ˆAbbaas, and this is also the saying of Ibn Masˆuud and Saˆiid ibn Jubayr. The third is that it is an oath, this was narrated by Abuu Şaaliĥ from Ibn ˆAbbaas and Kħaalid Al-Ĥadħdħaa’ from ˆIkrimah. The fourth is that they are letters of names, and there are two sayings about that, the first is that Alif refers to Aļļaah, the laam to Jibriil and miim refers to Muĥammad. This was stated by Ibn ˆAbbaas…. The second (saying regarding names) is that the Alif refers to Aļļaah, the laam to Laţiif and miim refers to “Majiid” (these are all names of Aļļaah,) and this was stated by Abuu ˆaaliyah. The fifth is that it is a name of the Qur’aan, as stated by Mujaahid, Asħ-Sħaˆbiyy, Qataadah and Ibn Jurayj[32]. ”[31]

Some will insist further, and say, “who’s utterance is alif laam miim?” The answer is that the one that utter an utterance is its utterer, because it is a matter of sound. People differ in their utterance of the Qur’aan, so one person’s utterance is different from another’s, for example. The best is the utterance of Jibriil. As for the words, the words are Aļļaah’s. Not in the sense that He uttered them, but in the sense that no one authored them, and that it is an expression of His eternal Speech, which is not letters, sounds or sequence.

It is obvious that the letter Alif is created, because it is an alphabetic symbol referring to the sound “LLL…” All alphabetic letters are written symbols that refer to sounds that we make with our voices. It is impossible that the eternal speech of Aļļaah should be letters, because His speech is not sound. His speech is not sound because it is eternal, and therefore does not have a beginning. Wakiiˆ said : “The one that says the Qur’aan is created has said it is and event, and the one that says it is an event has blasphemed.”

What is the difference between the Qur’aan and Ĥadiitħ Qudsiyy, Prophetic Ĥadiitħ?

The ĥadiitħ qudsiyy is the Prophet’s words, but he says “Aļļaah says…” Moreover, the ĥadiitħ qudsiyy has no challenge of inimitable eloquence. The prophet spoke in his own words in ĥadiitħs. All of these texts are holy, because they are all revealed from Aļļaah. All of them are rewardable in reciting and studying with the correct intention. This is because Aļļaah has willed it to be so. We get credit and blessings for what Aļļaah has willed for us to get it for. No act or thing causes one to gain credit, except by the will of Aļļaah.

Since the Qur’aan consists of revealed words, they cannot be changed, or altered. This is to preserve the revelation, and the inimitability of the book, which is a miracle and a lasting proof of the prophethood of Aļļaah’s messenger. The eloquence of the Qur’aan is inimitable because Aļļaah has willed it. No one can do against His will, not in this, and not in anything else.

It is impossible that Aļļaah should lie

Al-Aamidiyy[33] states in ‘Abkaar Al-‘Afkaar: “I do not know of any disagreement among those who say that Aļļaah is attributed with Kalaam/ Speech, that lies are impossible in His Speech, whether it be the eternal attribute of His Self (as the Sunnis say), or the one (as the Muˆtazilah and Anthropomorphists believe) that is sounds and lettersSayfudDiin Al-Aamidiy, Abkaar Al-Afkaar, 2nd ed. (Kairo, Egypt: Maţbaˆah Daar Al-Kutub Wa-l-Watħaa’iq Al-Qawmiyyah, 1423), 2/83..

As-Sanuusiyy in his book ˆUmdatu ‘Ahli-t-Tawfiiq says, “Are miracles as proof of the truthfulness of the Messengers of Aļļaah proofs in the mind’s eye, or by convention, or by normal necessity according to the relevant indications? There are different sayings. According to the first two (the mind’s eye and convention), it is impossible for a liar to have a miracle, because for the first it would lead to contradicting the sound mind, and for the second it would lead to saying that there is a flaw in what Aļļaah has informed, jalla wa ˆalaa, because to affirm the truthfulness of a lie is to lie, and it is impossible that Aļļaah should lie, since His Speech agrees with His Knowledge….” “Moreover, if He was attributed with lying, and His attributes are all eternal, then it would be impossible for Him to be attributed with being truthful (in His Speech,) while it is correct that He is attributed with it, since He must be attributed with Knowledge. This would mean that what is correct would become impossible.[34]” Then he points out that the first two sayings are about the same[35]. In explaining the details of all this he mentions the proofs for why it is impossible that Aļļaah could lie he says, “Third, it has been established that Aļļaah is attributed with complete perfection, and truthfulness is an attribute of complete perfection which’s opposite is a flaw, and it is impossible that Aļļaah should be attributed with a flaw, so He must be truthful.[36]

The third perspective mentioned by As-Sanuusiyy states that miracles are proof of truthfulness according to what is normally necessarily true, i.e. that it would be normally impossible for someone with a miracle to tell a lie. This is because the rule throughout history is that someone with a miracle, with all of its requisite conditions intact, never happened to a liar. Regarding this As-Sanuusiyy states, “and our saying that lying is possible in the mind’s eye alone, for someone telling the truth, does not put a doubt in his truthfulness once we are sure he is telling the truth. This is because the possibility in the mind’s eye only means that if it happened instead of being truthful, then that would not lead to an impossibility in the mind’s eye. It does not mean that it is possible that Aļļaah could lie.[37]” In other words, it is not impossible in the mind’s eye, because it does not lead to saying that Aļļaah could lie, as As-Sanuusiyy showed with proofs and refuted any objections prior. Then he goes on to explain the third perspective on the proof of truthfulness in miracles, “It happens a lot that we know something to be absolutely and necessarily true, even though we say that its opposite is possible in the mind’s eye, such as our knowledge of our own existence. No sound minded person doubts it, even though we say that if we had continued to not exist at all, then this would not have been impossible in the mind’s eye. It (the possibility of our non-existence in the mind’s eye) does not mean that we could be non-existent while being existent.[38]” More specifically, “The sign of the truthfulness of the Prophet (şalla-ļļaahu ˆalayhi wa sallam) is the occurrence of certain knowledge in us due to miracles, so once this certitude occurs, there is no possibility of lying any longer.[39]

What all this means is that Aļļaah could have created a world full of miracles happening to liars and truthful people alike, so the proof of truthfulness in a miracle is in the fact that they occur only in the case of truthfulness, not that miracles could not have been for anybody else in the mind’s eye. It may be said that all these three perspectives on miracles are really complementary, because the reason why a miracle is a sign of truthfulness by convention or by reason is that it only occurs to those truthful in the claim of prophethood, and this way we know that this is the convention for knowing that someone is a prophet, and that if a miracle happens to someone claiming prophethood, then Aļļaah’s creating this miracle is a reference to Aļļaah’s eternal Speech by which we know that He is telling us that his slave is truthful in his claim of prophethood. That is, the miracle, which is an extraordinary event coupled with the claim of prophethood, and not possible for opponents to imitate, is a conventional sign from Aļļaah which tells us that He affirms that claim, just as that Arabic letters and words of the book of the Qur’aan tell us what Aļļaah says.

Asħ-Sħahrastaaniyy says, “So the preponderator for truthfulness (in the claim of prophethood) is the group of circumstances which occurs by the gathering of many elements, such as the extraordinary event coupled with the claim of prophethood, and the non-existence of any effective challenge to it from an opponent. All these factors as a group tell us that the claimer is truthful, and take the place of a saying as an affirmation of his truthfulness .[40]

So As-Sanuusiyy says that lying is impossible for Aļļaah in the mind’s eye, unlike some people claim. In fact, he considers it a premise of all the three perspective on miracles as a proof of truthfulness. For the record, it is the second perspective that As-Sanuusiyy mentions in his book “Aş-Sugħraa,” and “Al-Wusţaa.” In the explanation of Aş-Şugħraa, he says, “It is impossible that Aļļaah could lie, because His Speech/Kalaam must agree with His Knowledge, and speech in agreement with knowledge cannot by but truthful.[41]

References:

Abu Bakr Al-Bayhqiyy (458 AH). Al-Asmaa’ Wa-ş-Şifaat li-l-Bayhaqiyy. 2 vols. 1st ed. Jedda, Saudi Arabia: Maktabah Al-Sawaadiyy.

Abu Jaˆfar Aţ-Ţabariyy. At-Tabşiir fii Maˆaalim Ad-Diin. 1st ed. Riyadh, Saudi Arabia: Daar Al-ˆAaşimah, 1416.

Abu-l-Faraj Ibn Al-Jawziyy (508-597 AH/ 1114-1201 AD). Zaadu-l-Masiir. 9 vols. 3rd ed. Beirut, Lebanon: Al-Maktab Al-Islamiyy, 1404.

Abuu Ĥaniifah (80-150 AH/ 699-767). Al-Fiqh Al-Akbar. Vol. 1. Ĥaydar Aabaad, India: Majlis Daa’iratu-l-Maˆaarifi-n-Niţħaamiyyah, 1342.

Al-Aamidiy, SayfudDiin. Abkaar Al-Afkaar. 5 vols. 2nd ed. Kairo, Egypt: Maţbaˆah Daar Al-Kutub Wa-l-Watħaa’iq Al-Qawmiyyah, 1423.

As-Sanuusiyy, Muĥammad ibn Yuusuf. Ĥaasħiyatu-d-Dusuuqiyy ˆalaa Ummi-l-Baraahiin wa Sħarĥuhaa. 1 vols. Beirut, Lebanon: Al-Maktabah Al-ˆAşriyyah, 1426.

Az-Zirikliyy. Al-‘Aˆlaam (2002). 15 vols. Beirut, Lebanon: Dar El-Ilm Lil-Malayeen, 1423.

FakħrudDiin Al-Raaziy. Mafaatiiĥ Al-Għayb. 32 vols. 1st ed. Beirut, Lebanon: Dar Al-Kotob Al-ilmiyah, 1421.

Ibn Maţħuur Al-‘Ifriiqiyy. Lisaanu-l-ˆArab. 15 vols. Beirut, Lebanon: Daar Şaadir.

Ibn Zakariyyaa ibn Faaris, and ˆAbdusSalaam Haaruun. Maqaayiisu-l-Lugħah. 6 vols. Beirut, Lebanon: Dar Al-Fikr.

Muĥammad ibn ˆAliyy Asħ-Sħawkaaniyy. Fatĥu-l-Qadiir. 5 vols. Beirut, Lebanon: Dar Al-Fikr.

Muĥammad ibn Yuusuf As-Sanuusiyy (896 AH). Sħarĥu-l-Muqaddimaat. 1 vols. 1st ed. Maktabatu-l-Maˆaarif, 1420.

Muĥammad-Amiin Ibn ˆAabidiin. Ĥaasħiyatu Raddi-l-Muĥtaar. 6 vols. Beirut, Lebanon: Dar Al-Fikr, 1415.

Murtađaa Az-Zabiidiyy. Taaju-l-ˆAruus min Jawaahiri-l-Qaamuus. 40 vols. Daar Al-Hidaayah.

SħamsudDiin Adħ-Dħahabiyy. Siyar ‘Aˆlaam An-Nubalaa’. Beirut, Lebanon: Mu’assasatu-r-Risaalah, 1413.


[1]Ĥuruufiyyah, or “those pertaining to letters” is a name for any person that believes Aļļaah’s eternal Speech is letters and sounds.

[2]Ibn Faaris (329-395 AH/ 941-1004 AD) Aĥmad ibn Faaris ibn Zakariyyaa, Al-Qazwiiniyy, Ar-Raaziyy, Abu-l-Ĥusayn is among the imams of language and literature. Several authors of great eloquence studied from him. He is originally from Qazwiin, but moved to Ar-Rayy and died there. Among his works are the dictionaries Maqaayiisu-l-Lugħah and Al-Mujmal. (Al-‘Aˆlaam, 1/193).

[3]معجم مقاييس اللغة لابن فارس – (2 / 213): (خلق) الخاء واللام والقاف أصلان: أحدهما تقدير الشيء، والآخر مَلاسَة الشيء.

[4]Ibn Zakariyyaa ibn Faaris and ˆAbdusSalaam Haaruun, Maqaayiisu-l-Lugħah (Beirut, Lebanon: Dar Al-Fikr), 2/213.

[5]Ibn Manţħuur (630-711 AH/ 1232-1311 AD) Muĥammad ibn Makram ibn ˆaliyy, Abu-l-Fađl, JamaaludDiin, Al-Anşaariyy, Ar-Ruwayfiˆiyy, Al-‘Ifriiqiyy, the author of the famous, encyclopedic dictionary Lisaanu-l-ˆArab, was an imam of linguistics. He was born in Tripoli in today’s Libya, and was appointed judge there for some time. He authored around 500 books, many of them summaries of books in literature. (Al-‘Aˆlaam, 7/108).

[6]Ibn Maţħuur Al-‘Ifriiqiyy, Lisaanu-l-ˆArab (Beirut, Lebanon: Daar Şaadir), 10/85.

[7]Murtađaa Az-Zabiidiyy (1145-1205 AH/ 1732-1790 AD) Muĥammad ibn Muĥammad ibn Muĥammad ibn ˆAbdirRazzaaq, Al-Ĥusayniyy, Az-Zabiidiyy, Abu-l-Fayđ, known as Murtađaa, was a great scholar of language, ĥadiitħ, narrator biography, and genealogy. He was also a great author. His family origin is from Iraq, but he was born in India, grew up in Yemen, and settled and died in Egypt. He became very famous during his lifetime, to the extent that kings wrote him and sent him gifts. Among his most famous works are Taaju-l-ˆAruus, his commentary on the renowned dictionary Al-Qaamuus, and Itĥaafu-s-Saadati-l-Muttaqiin, his commentary in Al-Għazaaliyy’s ‘Iĥyaa’ ˆuluumi-d-Diin. (Al-‘Aˆlaam, 7/70).

[8]Murtađaa Az-Zabiidiyy, Taaju-l-ˆAruus min Jawaahiri-l-Qaamuus (Daar Al-Hidaayah), 25/251.

[9]لسان العرب – (10 / 85): وعن الأَزهري ومن صفات الله تعالى الخالق والخلاَّق ولا تجوز هذه الصفة بالأَلف واللام لغير الله عز وجل وهو الذي أَوجد الأَشياء جميعها بعد أَن لم تكن موجودة وأَصل الخلق التقدير فهو باعْتبار تقدير ما منه وجُودُها وبالاعتبار للإِيجادِ على وَفْقِ التقدير. تاج العروس من جواهر القاموس – (25 / 251): وقالَ الأزْهَرِي : هو الّذِي أوْجَدَ الأشْياءَ جَمِيعَها بعدَ أَنْ لَمْ تَكُنْ مَوْجُودَةً ، وأصْلُ الخَلْقِ : التَّقْدِير ، فهُوَ باعْتِبار ما مِنْهُ وجودُها مُقَدِّرٌ ، وبالاعْتِبارِ للإِيجادِ على وَفْقِ التقْدِيرِ خالِقٌ .

[10]Abu Bakr Al-Bayhqiyy (458 AH), Al-Asmaa’ Wa-ş-Şifaat li-l-Bayhaqiyy, 1st ed. (Jedda, Saudi Arabia: Maktabah Al-Sawaadiyy), 1/608-609.

[11]SħamsudDiin Adħ-Dħahabiyy, Siyar ‘Aˆlaam An-Nubalaa’ (Beirut, Lebanon: Mu’assasatu-r-Risaalah, 1413), 9/166.

[12]الأسماء والصفات للبيهقي – (ج 1 / ص 608-609) 547- وأخبرنا أبو عبد الله الحافظ ، وأبو سعيد بن أبي عمرو ، قال : حَدَّثَنَا أبو العباس محمد بن يعقوب ، حَدَّثَنَا محمد بن إسحاق الصاغاني ، حَدَّثَنَا حسين بن علي بن الأسود ، قال : سمعت وكيعا ، يقول : القرآن كلام الله تعالى ليس بمخلوق ، فمن زعم أنه مخلوق فقد كفر بالله العظيم وفي رواية محمد بن نصر المروزي عن أبي هشام الرفاعي ، عن وكيع ، قال : من زعم أن القرآن مخلوق ، فقد زعم أن القرآن محدث ، ومن زعم أن القرآن محدث فقد كفر

سير أعلام النبلاء – (ج 9 / ص 166) : قال أبو هشام الرفاعي: سمعت وكيعا يقول: من زعم أن القرآن مخلوق، فقد زعم أنه محدث، ومن زعم أن القرآن محدث، فقد كفر.

[13]سير أعلام النبلاء – (ج 9 / ص 140-141) : وكيع * (ع) ابن الجراح، بن مليح، بن عدي، بن فرس، بن جمجمة، بن سفيان، بن الحارث، بن عمرو، بن عبيد، بن رؤاس، الامام الحافظ، محدث العراق، أبو سفيان الرؤاسي، الكوفي، أحد الاعلام. ولد سنة تسع وعشرين ومئة، قاله أحمد بن حنبل. وقال خليفة وهارون بن حاتم: ولد سنة ثمان وعشرين. واشتغل في الصغر. 4سير أعلام النبلاء – (ج 9 / ص 144) : وقال أحمد بن حنبل: ما رأيت أحدا أوعى للعلم ولا أحفظ من وكيع.قلت: كان أحمد يعظم وكيعا ويفخمه. قال محمد بن عامر المصيصي: سألت أحمد: وكيع أحب إليك أو يحيى بن سعيد ؟ فقال: وكيع، قلت: كيف فضلته على يحيى، ويحيى ومكانه من العلم والحفظ والاتقان ما قد علمت ؟ قال: وكيع كان صديقا لحفص بن غياث، فلما ولي القضاء، هجره، وإن يحيى كان صديقا لمعاذ بن معاذ، فلما ولي القضاء، لم يهجره يحيى

[14]سير أعلام النبلاء – (11 / 288) : وقال أبو إسماعيل الترمذي: سمعت أحمد بن حنبل، يقول: من قال: القرآن محدث، فهو كافر.

[15]Ibid., 11/288.

[16]التبصير في معالم الدين – (ص ٢٠٢) : من أبى ما قلنا في ذلك قيل له: أخبرنا عن الكلام الذي وصفت أن القديم به متكلم مخلوق، أخلقه – إذ كان عندك مخلوقا في ذاته، أم في غيره، أم قائم بنفسه؟ فإن زعم خلقه في ذاته، فقد أوجب أن تكون ذاته محلا للخلق، وذلك عند الجميع كفر .

[17]Abu Jaˆfar Aţ-Ţabariyy, At-Tabşiir fii Maˆaalim Ad-Diin, 1st ed. (Riyadh, Saudi Arabia: Daar Al-ˆAaşimah, 1416), 202.

[18]تفسير فتح القدير ـ موافق للمطبوع – (3 / 397): “ما يأتيهم من ذكر من ربهم محدث” من لابتداء الغاية وقد استدل بوصف الذكر لكونه محدثا على أن القرآن محدث لأن الذكر هنا هو القرآن وأجيب بأنه لا نزاع فى حدوث المركب من الأصوات والحروف لأنه متجدد فى النزول فالمعنى محدث تنزيله وإنما النزاع فى الكلام النفسي وهذه المسئلة أعني قدم القرآن وحدوثه قد ابتلى بها كثير من أهل العلم والفضل فى الدولة المأمونية والمعتصمية والواثقية وجرى للإمام أحمد بن حنبل ما جرى من الضرب الشديد والحبس الطويل وضرب بسببها عنق محمد بن نصر الخزاعي وصارت فتنة عظيمة فى ذلك الوقت وما بعده والقصة أشهر من أن تذكر ومن أحب الوقوف على حقيقتها طالع ترجمة الإمام أحمد بن حنبل فى كتاب النبلاء لمؤرخ الإسلام الذهبي ولقد أصاب أئمة السنة بامتناعهم من الإجابة إلى القول بخلق القرآن وحدوثه وحفظ الله بهم أمة نبيه عن الابتداع ولكنهم رحمهم الله جاوزوا ذلك إلى الجزم بقدمه ولم يقتصروا على ذلك حتى كفروا من قال بالحدوث بل جاوزوا ذلك إلى تكفير من قال لفظي بالقرآن مخلوق بل جاوزوا ذلك إلى تكفير من وقف وليتهم لم يجاوزوا حد الوقف وإرجاع العلم إلى علام الغيوب فإنه لم يسمع من السلف الصالح من الصحابة والتابعين ومن بعدهم إلى وقت قيام المحنة وظهور القول فى هذه المسئلة شئ من الكلام ولا نقل عنه كلمة فى ذلك فكان الامتناع من الإجابة إلى ما دعوا إليه والتمسك بأذيال الوقف وإرجاع علم ذلك إلى عالمه هو الطريقة المثلى وفيه السلامة والخلوص من تكفير طوائف من عباد الله والأمر لله سبحانه

[19]Muĥammad ibn ˆAliyy Asħ-Sħawkaaniyy, Fatĥu-l-Qadiir (Beirut, Lebanon: Dar Al-Fikr), 3/397.

[20]فتح الباري – ابن حجر – (13 / 497) : وقد نقل الهروي في الفاروق بسنده إلى حرب الكرماني سألت إسحاق بن إبراهيم الحنظلي يعني بن راهويه عن قوله تعالى ما يأتيهم من ذكر من ربهم محدث قال قديم من رب العزة محدث إلى الأرض فهذا هو سلف البخاري في ذلك

[21]الفقه الأكبر (ص. 5): والقرآن كلام الله تعالى في المصاحف مكتوب, وفي القلوب محفوظ وعلى الألسن مقروء, وعلى النبي عليه الصلاة والسلام منزّل, ولفظنا بالقرآن مخلوق وكتابتنا له مخلوقة وقرائتنا له مخلوقة والقرآن غير مخلوق.

[22]Abuu Ĥaniifah (80-150 AH/ 699-767), Al-Fiqh Al-Akbar, vol. 1 (Ĥaydar Aabaad, India: Majlis Daa’iratu-l-Maˆaarifi-n-Niţħaamiyyah, 1342), 5.

[23]الفقه الأكبر (ص. 6): ويتكلم لا ككلامنا ونحن نتكلم بالآلات والحروف والله تعالى يتكلم بلا آلة ولاحروف. والحروف مخلوقة وكلام الله تعالى غير مخلوق.

[24]Ibid., 1:6.

[25]حاشية رد المحتار – (4 / 14): وحاصله أن غير المخلوق هو القرآن بمعنى كلام الله الصفة النفسية القائمة به تعالى لا بمعنى الحروف المنزلة، غير أنه لا يقال القرآن مخلوق لئلا يتوهم أرادة المعنى الاول.

[26]Muĥammad-Amiin Ibn ˆAabidiin, Ĥaasħiyatu Raddi-l-Muĥtaar (Beirut, Lebanon: Dar Al-Fikr, 1415), 4/14.

[27]مفاتيح الغيب (16 / 24) : والجواب أن الدليل دل على أن من قال إن الإله جسم فهو منكر للإله تعالى وذلك لأن إله العالم موجود ليس بجسم ولا حال في الجسم فإذا أنكر المجسم هذا الموجود فقد أنكر ذات الإله تعالى فالخلاف بين المجسم والموحد ليس في الصفة بل في الذات فصح في المجسم أنه لا يؤمن بالله أما المسائل التي حكيتموها فهي اختلافات في الصفة فظهر الفرق وأما إلزام مذهب الحلولية والحروفية فنحن نكفرهم قطعاً فإنه تعالى كفر النصارى بسبب أنهم اعتقدوا حلول كلمة اللَّهِ في عيسى وهؤلاء اعتقدوا حلول كلمة اللَّهِ في ألسنة جميع من قرأ القرآن وفي جميع الأجسام التي كتب فيها القرآن فإذا كان القول بالحلول في حق الذات الواحدة يوجب التكفير فلأن يكون القول بالحلول في حق جميع الأشخاص والأجسام موجباً للقول بالتكفير كان أولى

[28]FakħrudDiin Al-Raaziy, Mafaatiiĥ Al-Għayb, 1st ed. (Beirut, Lebanon: Dar Al-Kotob Al-ilmiyah, 1421), V. 16/ P. 24.

[29]Abu-l-Faraj Ibn Al-Jawziyy (508-597 AH/ 1114-1201 AD), ˆAbdurRaĥmaan ibn ˆAliyy ibn Muĥammad Al-Jawziyy Al-Qurasħiyy, Al-Bagħdaadiyy was probably the greatest scholar of history and ĥadiitħ of his time. He was born and died in Bagħdaad. He wrote some 300 books (Al-‘Aˆlaam, 3/316).

[30]زاد المسير – (1 / 22): وقد خص المفسرون قوله آلم بخمسة أقوال أحدها أنه من المتشابه الذي لا يعلم معناه الا الله عز و جل وقد سبق بيانه والثاني ان معناه أنا الله أعلم رواه أبو الضحى عن ابن عباس وبه قال ابن مسعود وسعيد بن جبير والثالث أنه قسم رواه أبو صالح عن ابن عباس وخالد الحذاء عن عكرمة والرابع أنها حروف من أسماء ثم فيها قولان أحدهما أن الألف من الله واللام من جبريل والميم من محمد قاله ابن عباس فان قيل إذا كان قد تنوول من كل اسم حرفه الأول اكتفاء به فلم أخذت اللام من جبريل وهي أخر الإسم فالجواب أن مبتدأ القرآن من الله تعالى فدل على ذلك بابتداء أول حرف من اسمه وجبريل انختم به التنزيل والإقرأء فتنوول من اسمه نهاية حروفه و محمد مبتدأ في الإقرأء فتنوول أول حرف فيه والقول الثاني أن الألف من الله تعالى واللام من لطيف والميم من مجيد قاله أبو العالية والخامس أنه اسم من أسماء القرآن قاله مجاهد والشعبي وقتادة وابن جريج.

[31]Abu-l-Faraj Ibn Al-Jawziyy (508-597 AH/ 1114-1201 AD), Zaadu-l-Masiir, 3rd ed. (Beirut, Lebanon: Al-Maktab Al-Islamiyy, 1404), 1/22.

[32]زاد المسير – (1 / 22): وقد خص المفسرون قوله آلم بخمسة أقوال أحدها أنه من المتشابه الذي لا يعلم معناه الا الله عز و جل وقد سبق بيانه والثاني ان معناه أنا الله أعلم رواه أبو الضحى عن ابن عباس وبه قال ابن مسعود وسعيد بن جبير والثالث أنه قسم رواه أبو صالح عن ابن عباس وخالد الحذاء عن عكرمة والرابع أنها حروف من أسماء ثم فيها قولان أحدهما أن الألف من الله واللام من جبريل والميم من محمد قاله ابن عباس فان قيل إذا كان قد تنوول من كل اسم حرفه الأول اكتفاء به فلم أخذت اللام من جبريل وهي أخر الإسم فالجواب أن مبتدأ القرآن من الله تعالى فدل على ذلك بابتداء أول حرف من اسمه وجبريل انختم به التنزيل والإقرأء فتنوول من اسمه نهاية حروفه و محمد مبتدأ في الإقرأء فتنوول أول حرف فيه والقول الثاني أن الألف من الله تعالى واللام من لطيف والميم من مجيد قاله أبو العالية والخامس أنه اسم من أسماء القرآن قاله مجاهد والشعبي وقتادة وابن جريج.

[33]الأعلام للزركلي – (4 / 332) سيف الدين الآمدي (551 – 631 هـ = 1156 – 1233 م) علي بن محمد بن سالم التغلبي، أبو الحسن، سيف الدين الآمدي: أصولي، باحث. أصله من آمد (ديار بكر) ولد بها، وتعلم في بغداد والشام. وانتقل إلى القاهرة، فدرس فيها واشتهر. وحسده بعض الفقهاء فتعصبوا فيها واشتهر. وحسده يبعض الفقهاء فتعصبوا عليه ونسبوه إلى فساد القعيدة والتعطيل ومذهب الفلاسفة، فخرج مستخفيا إلى ” حماة ” ومنها إلى ” دمشق ” فتوفي بها. له نحو عشرين مصنفا، منها ” الاحكام في أصول الاحكام – ط ” أربعة أجزاء، ومختصره ” منتهى السول – ط ” و ” أبكار الافكار – خ ” في طوبقبو، الاول والثاني منه، في علم الكلام، و ” لباب الالباب ” و ” دقائق الحقائق ” و ” المبين في شرح الأعلام للزركلي – (4 / 332) معاني الحكماء والمتكلمين – خ ” كراستان، في المكتبة العربية بدمشق (1).

SayfudDiin Al-Aamidiyy (551-631 AH/ 11561233 AD) ˆaliyy ibn Muĥammad ibn Saalim At-Tagħlabiyy was a scholar of belief and fiqh methodology and an authenticator from Aamid in today’s northern Kurdistan. He was born there, but studied in Bagħdaad and Syria. Then he moved to Cairo, where he became famous and became subject to much envy, to the extent he had to leave and go to Syria where he eventually died and is buried. Az-Zirikliyy, Al-‘Aˆlaam (2002) (Beirut, Lebanon: Dar El-Ilm Lil-Malayeen, 1423), 4/332.

[34]Muĥammad ibn Yuusuf As-Sanuusiyy (896 AH), Sħarĥu-l-Muqaddimaat, 1st ed. (Maktabatu-l-Maˆaarif, 1420), 245.

[35]Ibid., 247.

[36]Ibid., 248.

[37]Ibid., 250.

[38]Ibid.

[39]Ibid.

[40]نهاية الإقدام في علم الكلام – (ج 1 / ص 236) : فإذاً المرجح للصدق هي القرائن الحاصلة من اجتماع أمور كثيرة منها الخارق للعادة ومنها كونه مقروناً بالدعوى ومنها سلامته عن المعارضة فانتهضت هذه القرائن بمجموعها دالة على صدق المدعي نازلة منزلة التصديق بالقول وذلك مثل العلم الحاصل من سائر القرائن أعني قرائن الحال وقرائن المقال.

[41]Muĥammad ibn Yuusuf As-Sanuusiyy, Ĥaasħiyatu-d-Dusuuqiyy ˆalaa Ummi-l-Baraahiin wa Sħarĥuhaa (Beirut, Lebanon: Al-Maktabah Al-ˆAşriyyah, 1426), 280.


As-Sanuusiyy in his book ˆUmdatu ‘Ahli-t-Tawfiiq says, “and it is impossible that Aļļaah should lie,

November 4, 2008

As-Sanuusiyy in his book ˆUmdatu ‘Ahli-t-Tawfiiq says, “and it is impossible that Aļļaah should lie, since His Speech agrees with His Knowledge…. (P.245).” In explaining why it is impossible that Aļļaah could lie he says, “Third, it has been established that Aļļaah is attributed with complete perfection, and truthfulness is an attribute of complete perfection which’s opposite is a flaw, and it is impossible that Aļļaah should be attributed with a flaw, so He must be truthful.(P. 248))”

So As-Sanuusiyy says that lying is impossible for Aļļaah in the mind’s eye, unlike some people claim. For the record, As-Sanuusiyy mentions in the explanation of Aş-Şugħraa, “It is impossible that Aļļaah could lie, because His Speech/Kalaam must agree with His Knowledge, and speech in agreement with knowledge cannot be but truthful (Sħarĥu ‘Ummu-l-Baraahiin, 280)⁠.”

See also:
Refuting the Accusation that Asharis Consider it Rationally Possible for Allah to Lie
Someone asked: The idea that it is not absolutely impossible for Aļļaah to lie is mentioned in some books attributed to famous scholars. Can we seriously consider calling such illustrious `ulema who were masters of `aqida to be kufar and those who deny their kufr themselves kufar?

References:
ˆUmdatu ‘Ahli-t-Tawfiiq. As-Sanuusiyy, Muĥammad ibn Yuusuf. Egypt: Jariidatu-l-Islaam, 1316. <http://ia311311.us.archive.org/1/items/SanousiaKoubra/SonossiyaKoubra.pdf&gt;.

Ĥaasħiyatu-d-Dusuuqiyy ˆalaa Ummi-l-Baraahiin wa Sħarĥuhaa. —. Beirut, Lebanon: Al-Maktabah Al-ˆAşriyyah, 1426.


Question: what is Khulf al-Wa`d and Khulf al-Wa`id

August 11, 2008

Question: what is Khulf al-Wa`d and Khulf al-Wa`id and what is the difference between Imkan al-Kadhib, Khulf al-Wa`d, and Khulf al-Wa`id?

Answer: There is no big difference, just different words for the same thing. Imkan al-Kadhib, means “possibility of saying something untrue,” “Khulf al-Wa`d” means to promise something, and then not do it. “Khulf al-Wa`id,” means to threaten something, and then not do it. When Aļļaah says that the blasphemers will be in Hell forever, for example, then this is a threat that must come true, because Aļļaah does not lie, and nothing can prevent what He wills. When Aļļaah tells us this, it is because He knows what will happen in the future.


It is intrinsically impossible that Aļļaah has obligations, AND it is intrinsically impossible that He could lie.

July 19, 2008

I hope this title clarifies what some people have been asking. When Aļļaah promises or threatens, it means that He is telling us about what will happen in the future. This is not like human promises, which are mere words expressing commitment to do something in the future unseen. In other words, what He promises will happen, because His Speech is flawless and pertains to what He knows, not because He is obligated to fulfill promises.  For this reason, saying that it is intrinsically impossible that His promise will not be fulfilled, is based on the fact that He has told us what will be in the future. It is not based on asserting any obligation.

I hope that clarifies it.

This current issue first came up with the Muˆtazilah or philosophers, who wanted to prove that there are acts that are impossible because of their intrinsic ugliness, i.e. they are intrinsically impossible because of intrinsic ugliness. They said that if you do not accept this, then you will end up saying that it is intrinsically possible that Aļļaah should lie, i.e. say one thing and do another.

The Asħˆariyys, knowing that this would be to insult Aļļaah, needed to show that lying is impossible, but without submitting to the claim that some acts are intrinsically ugly. This is because saying that possible acts can be intrinsically ugly, and therefore impossible, is to say that the intrinsically possible becomes impossible, and that is nonsense. Since it is nonsense, the real meaning of the Muˆtazilite saying, i.e. what it actually leads to saying, is that Aļļaah is obligated not to do certain acts, and to do others. This implies that Aļļaah needs to fulfill obligations, and that would be a kufr assertion.

The Asħˆariyys then, showed instead that you can say that lying is impossible without submitting to the claim that there are intrinsically ugly acts, because Aļļaah’s Speech is not created, and therefore is not something that falls in the possible category of things. Rather, it is an eternal and unchanging attribute that pertains to what His knowledge pertains to, by which He informs what He knows. If one said that it pertains to lies also, then one has attributed a flaw to Aļļaah’s speech, saying something untrue, and that is impossible, because it is imperfection.

Accordingly, the Asħˆariyys said that it is impossible that Aļļaah should have obligations, because that would imply a need to fulfill them, yet it is also impossible that He would not do what He promised, because His eternal Speech is flawless. So one says that Aļļaah definitely fulfills His promises and threats, because His Speech must be true. It is kufr to say that Aļļaah could do otherwise, because this is to say that His Speech could be false. This has nothing to do with ability, because that Aļļaah should say something untrue is intrinsically impossible.

Yet another way to explain this is to remember that Aļļaah is not in time. He is not something that changes and goes through stages of being. It is therefore impossible that He should have obligations, because being obligated by a promise means that the saying comes before the actions. Since neither Aļļaah’s actions, nor His Speech are in time, this sort of sequence does not befit Aļļaah, because He is not in time.


Someone asked: The idea that it is not absolutely impossible for Aļļaah to lie is mentioned in some books attributed to famous scholars. Can we seriously consider calling such illustrious `ulema who were masters of `aqida to be kufar and those who deny their kufr themselves kufar?

July 17, 2008

There is a difference between saying something is kufr and making takfiir for specific individuals. One of my sħaykħs’ way in these matters is to give the rules, without commenting on specifics. So if you told him, “but what if one said so and so, or did so and so,” or “someone said this,” he will simply repeat the rule. Otherwise it becomes a waste of time, and a source for generating satanic whispers with 100s of people coming with 100s of questions. I try to follow his way and I won’t be commenting on individual sayings or statements.

Moreover, I can tell you for a fact that when he reads Al-Ĥaasħiyah in public lessons, and comes to the statement which states that it is permitted to write Qur’aan with blood for healing purposes, he reads a fatwa which states that it is kufr to believe this. Yet far be he from saying that the author of the Ĥaasħiyah, Ibn ˆAabidiin, is a kaafir! Why? Because finding this in a book attributed to him does not necessarily mean that he said it, and because we think well of him, and do not believe he would say something like that.

I have no certain knowledge that any scholars said that for Aļļaah to say something untrue belongs to the possible category of things, and neither do you. I do not even have two witnesses, which is a requirement for takfiir if one did not witness it directly. Forgeries and slips of the pen are very real possibilities (remember Ibn ˆArabiyy?), and we still have the possibility that a scholar might slip. The Ummah as a whole is protected, and the Prophet of course, but not individuals. The comment of Al-Fakhr Ar-Raaziyy comes to mind about the ĥadiith which states about Ibrahim having told 3 lies, “I’d rather call all of the narrators liars, than saying that Prophet Ibrahim lied.” Remember that taqliid (imitating others) is of no benefit in Aqiidah matters. What you are saying is, “since these scholars might have said this, (because you don’t know that,) I am not going to say it is kufr,” even though you know without a doubt it is an ugly thing to say about Aļļah. You can do better than that.

Al-Imam An-Nawawiyy says that one is not allowed to rely on reading books of fatwa, even if one finds the same answer in several books. Ibn ˆAabidiin mentions this in Rasm Al-Muftiyy, so quotes in books are of limited value even in fiqh, so what about ˆaqiidah? Reading books without a solid Sħaykħ, or his prior training, is very dangerous. How to decide who is solid? Well, you can begin by finding out what he says about attributing the possibility of lying to Aļļaah! And if that is not a criteria, then enlighten me in terms of what would be.

One more thing, even IF it was not kufr, which I do not accept, saying this still shows a silly mind that stumbles in basics of ˆAqiidah science. Someone that correctly says that Aļļaah is not in time, and does not change, and that everything is predestined, and that His knowledge is perfect, and that His Kalam is not created, but a must, and pertains to what His knowledge pertains to, but then turns around and says (incorrectly) that it also pertains to lying, and adds that lying is possible (and not a must – which would mean that the kalaam would have to be created in the first place)! A person that self-contradictory cannot be considered to know belief science, let alone be an imam by any reasonable standard, so what would you achieve by saying it is not kufr? It might also be said that you have a choice between saying he is an idiot or a kaafir, and if idiot is the only other option, then why not just go with the obvious, which is to say “kaafir,” because he has insulted Aļļaah while thinking himself clever, and making takfiir for an idiot who does this is unproblematic.

You won’t save our view of scholars who have calamities in books attributed to their name by saying it is not kufr, because idiocy or deviance are the only other options. The only way out is to say that it is a forgery, or a slip of the pen (they had something in mind, but wrote something else by mistake), or in some cases, where it is not far fetched, you can make ta’wiil. This is the sensible way to deal with this, not blindly accepting words found in books.


Refuting the Accusation that Asharis Consider it Rationally Possible for Allah to Lie

July 15, 2008

Deviant accusation: the Asharis say that it is rationally possible (jaa’iz `aqlan) for Allah to lie, but contingently impossible (mustaheel `araadi), because He has told us that He tells the truth.

To say that it rationally possible that Allah can lie, but does not, is to say that He can have a flaw. This is obvious to even the most simple minded Muslim. A believer will feel ill for even hearing such words. Tell me, if this is not kufr, then what is? How would you like to account for your deeds on the Day of Judgment having believed, or said, that it is not absolutely impossible that Allah could lie? Did they not hear Allah’s saying:

“وَتَقُولُونَ بِأَفْوَاهِكُمْ مَا لَيْسَ لَكُمْ بِهِ عِلْمٌ وَتَحْسَبُونَهُ هَيِّنًا وَهُوَ عِنْدَ اللَّهِ عَظِيمٌ “

Meaning: “And you say by your mouths what you have no certain knowledge of, and you think it is a simple matter, while it is in Allah’s judgment gruesome.” (An-Nuur ,15)

Similarly, it was narrated by Ahmad, Al-Tirmidhi and others that the Prophet said:

“إن الرَّجُلَ لَيَتَكَلَّمُ بِالْكَلِمَةِ لاَ يَرَى بها بَأْساً يهوي بها سَبْعِينَ خَرِيفاً في النَّارِ”

“Verily a man may speak a word he thinks is not bad, but due to it he falls a fall that lasts seventy autumns <i.e. years> into the Hellfire.”

This hadith was judged as good (hasan) by Al-`Asqalani. Al-Munaawi said about the expression “seventy autumns into the Hellfire” in his book Al-Taysir bi Sharh-al-Jaami-al-Saghir: “It means that he will be forever rising and falling.” That is, the person became a non-Muslim for saying this, because only non-Muslims go there forever.

In another aayah Allah said:

وَلِلَّهِ الْأَسْمَاءُ الْحُسْنَى فَادْعُوهُ بِهَا وَذَرُوا الَّذِينَ يُلْحِدُونَ فِي أَسْمَائِهِ سَيُجْزَوْنَ مَا كَانُوا يَعْمَلُونَ

Meaning: “Allah is the one that has the most beautiful namings, so call Him by them, and leave those who deviate with respect to His namings. They will pay for what they have done.” (Al-‘A`raaf, 180)

There is no taqlid in such an issue, and finding a quote in some book will not help one on the Day of Judgment in something like this. Imagine yourself saying, “but I found this on page 256, volume 4 of book so and so, that it is rationally possible that it is not impossible in the minds eye that you could lie!” Even if you found supporting quotes in one hundred books, by famous authors, this is not an excuse.

Every sound minded person can understand that saying that it is not absolutely impossible that Allah could lie is an ugly thing to say about Allah. Actually, even the Christians and the Jews would consider this ugly. The one who denies that this saying is kufr, let alone blames those who say it is kufr, is himself a kaafir. The reason is that this person is saying that one can attribute an obvious flaw to the creator, and still be a Muslim. When one says something about Allah that is not of the most beautiful names, then one has either sinned or fallen in kufr. This is according to the aayahs and hadith mentioned above. Now, as the hadith says, if one might say something that one thinks nothing of, and fall out of Islam, then what about saying something that just about any human being, even a kaafir, would consider an ugly thing to say about Allah? I mean, the christians do not have a problem saying that Allah has a son, but they would have a problem with this. This is because the word son does not strike them as ugly, but the latter does. I think it is clear enough then, that saying “believing that lying is rationally possible for Allah, as long as one does not believe that He does, does not make one a non-Muslim,” is kufr in itself.

Having said that, Allah’s kalaam (speech that is not letters, sounds, language, words, or sequences of expressions) pertains to His knowledge. It is a eternal attribute of Allah that He must be attributed with, and it is neither an act, nor specified by a will. As-Sanusi said about the attribute of kalaam:

والكلام الذى ليس بحرف ولا صوت ويتعلق بما يتعلق به العلم من المتعلقات

{Speech (Al-Kalaam/الكلام), without letter or sound, which pertains to whatever His Knowledge pertains to.} That is, an attribute by which He informs without delay the unlimited information that He knows, be it orders, prohibitions, promises, threats, or other information.

To say that Allah could lie is to say that His knowledge is flawed, this is because to lie is to say something that is not true. Since Allah’s attribute of Speech/Kalaam is an eternal attribute pertaining to what His knowledge pertains to, then saying that He says something untrue is to say that there is a mistake in His knowledge. This is kufr of the highest degree.

Note that Allah’s kalaam is an attribute that Allah must be attributed with, not a possibility or an impossibility. So if you say that it is possible that Allah lies, then you are also saying that His kalaam is a possibility, and that is also impossible, because it cannot be both a must and a possibility. This is because a lie needs specification, and what needs specification is a possibility. In other words, telling a lie cannot be without a beginning or end, because it needs specification. A speech telling a lie then is a creation, and Allah’s speech is not created. So the person who says it is possible that Allah lies is saying that Allah’s kalaam is created, which is another kufr. See also this. Alternatively, such a person is saying that Allah tells infinitely many lies, need I say more?

It is also incredible stupidity to say that it is only contingently impossible (mustaheel `aradi) for Allah to lie, for if it was not absolutely impossible that Allah should lie, then how would one know it is mustaheel `aradi??? Mustaheel `arađiyy is when something is possible, like the existence of any created thing, but Allah tells us that it will not be, such as a mukallaf kaafir entering Paradise. That is, it is rationally possible that a kaafir could go to Paradise, but contingently impossible, because Allah has told us that this will never happen, as this is His decree. So if it was not absolutely impossible that Allah should lie, then how would they know that this information about Him not lying was correct? This is nothing less than zandaqah, extremem kufr, it is to put doubt in the religion as a whole, let alone contradicting that Allah’s kalaam is not created.

As-Sanusi also says:

وأما الرسل عليهم الصلاة والسلام فيجب فى حقهم الصدق والأمانة وتبليغ ما أمروا بتبليغه للخلق ويستحيل فى حقهم عليهم الصلاة والسلام أضداد هذه الصفات

{All messengers must possess truthfulness, trustworthiness, and must have delivered their messages entirely. It is impossible that they should be attributed with the opposites of the above attributes.}

So if it is not absolutely impossible that Allah lies, then there is no way to say that the Prophet only tells the truth either, and this is yet another kufr.

So the claim that it is true that Allah could lie, but He does not do so, is a kufr that is kufr in itself since it is to insult Allah, and a kufr that leads to accepting several other kufr beliefs, such as that Allah’s Speech is created, or that He tells infinitely many lies, or that He has a flaw in His Speech, or that He has a flaw in His knowledge, and that the prophets could be telling something that is not true about the religion. Allahu akbar.

Without even getting into any of the above, we can simply say that lying, which is to say something that isn’t true, is an obvious flaw, and Allah is only attributed with complete perfection. It is also an attribute of creation, and Allah does not resemble His creation. The one who allows it rationally has made it rationally possible for Allah to have a flaw and resemble His creation, so he is himself a kaafir.

One more thing. The purpose of `Ilm Al-Kalaam is to defend the religion and support it with proofs. When engaging in kalaam leads to conclusions that are destructive of the religion, then one can be sure that one has gone wrong. The difference between Sunni kalaam and that of the philosophers is that the Sunnis knew their conclusions from the Prophet’s teachings before they looked for proofs, whereas the others simply followed their opinion, wherever it took them.

In light of this, let me say that the conclusion that we must reach is that it is impossible that Aļļaah should lie, otherwise the entire religion becomes a 50-50 proposition, and one would have said something outrageous about Allah’s attributes that no sound minded individual would accept. If one could not find an argument to get to this conclusion, then one should keep looking, being sure that any argument indicating otherwise must be wrong. This is the general rule one should hold on to. If one does not, then I can tell you that reading books of kalaam will get you into a great deal of trouble, especially the larger works. This is why Al-Ghazali wrote about the importance of restricting kalaam science to only a few very capable individuals of great piety.

Do you not see that piety would have prevented anyone from daring to say that it is not rationally impossible for Allah to lie? Instead they decided to rely on their minds, and ended up falling out of the religion, along with those who said that they are not blasphemers. Beware that I am not making takfir for any particular individual, because we cannot make takfiir for people based on articles attributed to them on the internet. What I am saying is that if someone says that Allah lying is not mustaheel `aqli, but mustaheel `aradi, and he understands these terms, then he is a kaafir, along with the one who says he is not. I remind you of the aayah above:

وَلِلَّهِ الْأَسْمَاءُ الْحُسْنَى فَادْعُوهُ بِهَا وَذَرُوا الَّذِينَ يُلْحِدُونَ فِي أَسْمَائِهِ سَيُجْزَوْنَ مَا كَانُوا يَعْمَلُونَ

Meaning: “Allah is the one that has the most beautiful namings, so call Him by them, and leave those who deviate with respect to His namings. They will be pay for what they have done.” (Al-‘A`raaf, 180)

Note that this whole issue came up with the Mu`tazilah, because a common debating technique in kalaam is to show the opponent that what he claims to be true leads to saying something ridiculuous that all agree is kufr. The Mu`tazailah wanted to show that you can only say that it is impossible that Allah lies if you accept their ideas about qabaa’ih, namely that it is impossible that Allah does what they consider qabaa’ih, or “ugly acts.” The answer of Sunnis was that lying is impossible, because Allah’s kalaam is not created, it is not an act, but an attribute that Allah must be attributed with and pertains only to what Allah’s knowledge pertains to; it is not a created attribute. The same was their technique on the concept of doing injust acts, as I mentioned earlier when I narrated the debate between Al-Isfaraini and Qadi Abdul Jabbaar. The Sunni answer was as you see there, that it is absolutely impossible that Allah’s actions be injust, because He does not have a judge.

The same technique is used by the Christians also when they say “could Allah have a son?” They want to imply that saying no would lead to saying He is unable. In this case our answer is again that it is rationally impossible for Him to have a son, because if you said it was possible, then you are saying that Allah could lose godhood, which is kufr. We also do not say unable, because that would be insulting Allah, which is also kufr. We say instead that it is impossible; it cannot ever be and therefore has nothing to do with power.

Likewise one does not say that it is not allowed for Allah to lie, because this is to imply that He has obligations. Rather one says that it is impossible that He could lie, as explained above.

More comments and questions on this issue

Question: Someone wrote that if we say that lying is not possible for Allah, it would then imply that humans could do something that Allah cannot do. Is this logic valid?

Answer: No. This is because Allah’s power pertains to the possible category of things. It does not pertain to what cannot ever be, the rationally impossible. It also does not pertain to what must be, such as Allah existing and being one without a parter. Lying is a flaw of speech, so saying that Allah can lie is to say that He can have a flaw. This is kufr, like saying He can have a son or a partner.

Note that it is also kufr to say that Allah is unable to lie, because this is to insult Allah’s attribute of Power. Furthermore, it is kufr to say that Allah is obligated not to lie, because a need to fulfill obligations is a flaw, and attributing a flaw to Allah is blasphemy.

The answer then is that lying is a flaw, and it is impossible for Allah to have a flaw. Allah’s Power is only related to what could possibly exist.

For example, if Allah said that Fir`awn is going to Hell, then it is impossible that Fir`awn never goes there. This is because Allah’s Speech pertains to His Knowledge, that is, He told us of what He knows, namely that Fir`awn will enter Hell. If you say that it pertains to Allah’s Power for Fir`awn not to enter Hell, after knowing that Allah has said otherwise, then you are saying that Allah’s Knowledge is flawed, or that His Will changes, which would again mean flawed knowledge and change. This is all kufr.

Someone asked: Can Allah act against His previous word or command?

Answer: It is not obligatory for Allah to fulfill His promises, because He does not have obligations. That does not make it possible in the mind’s eye, however, quite the contrary. We say that it is not obligatory, but it is impossible that Allah should not fulfill His promises, or threats, because it is impossible that Allah should lie, because lying is a flaw, and Allah is clear of flaws. Accordingly, if someone says, “It is contingently possible for Allah to act against His previous word,” then he has committed kufr, because he is saying that Allah could have a flaw.

Deviant said: “What you need to understand is that to say that it is “impossible” for Allah to lie would necessitate that He has given man the ability to do something that He himself does not have the power to do. This is absurd to suggest.

Comment: This is ignorance. Lying is an attribute of Speech, and Allah’s Speech is a must, an attribute of perfection, it is not something that pertains to Allah’s Power. If you say that it pertains to Allah’s Power, then you are saying that it is created, which is kufr, as stated by the four a’immah.

Deviant said: Furthermore, it is practically an ijma’ that Allah’s speech is known as a result of revelation, not reason, so it makes no sense to say that we only know that Allah has the capacity to communicate to us because of scripture, but it is rationally impossible for Him to lie, when we didn’t even know that He could speak until the revelation came. Hence, the impossibility of lying on Allah is a judgment of scripture, not reason, although reason further emphasizes that lying would be a sign of imperfection….

Answer: This is nonsense. By the agreement of the Ash`aris Allah’s attribute of Speech is a must, not a created attribute. Regardless of whether it can be known by the mind alone or not. Once it is established that Allah’s Speech is not created, but a must, and that not having a speech is a flaw, then you cannot say that Allah’s Speech is also a possibility!

Moreover, you either say that Allah has a Speech or not.

If you say He does not, then lying is impossible, because lying without speech is impossible.

If you say He does, then you either say it is created or not.

If you say that it is created, then you are saying that the “Kalaam Allah” is like saying “Bayt Allah.” This means that Allah does not in reality have a Speech that is an attribute of His Self, so that means in the end that Allah in actual reality does not speak, according to this idea, which means lying would be impossible.

If you say that Allah’s Speech is not created, but a necessary, i.e. eternal, attribute of He Himself, then you are either saying that it changes, e.g. by involving sequential meaning being told one after another, or does not.

If you say it does, like the Wahabis, then you are saying that it is created, because change needs a creator, which would mean again that it is not a necessary attribute, and something cannot be both necessary and not at the same time. So in such a case lying is also impossible, because the attribute proposed is impossible.

Finally, if you say that it is necessary and does not change, then we have arrived at what we want, namely that Allah has an attribute by which He informs. You either say that it pertains to what He knows or not. Since Allah’s knowledge is infinite, it pertains to all that must be, as well as what cannot be and what could be. What could be includes what has been, what is now, and what will be in the future, as well as what could have been in the past, now and in the future.

If you say that Allah’s speech pertains to lying then you are saying that if A is going to be at point in time B, then Allah says both that A is going to be at point B and that it is not going to be at point B. This is a contradiction and therefore impossible. Note that this is not impossible in the case of our speech, because it is a sequential action, i.e. something created, whereas Allah’s Speech is not an action and does not change.

There is no question then, that it is rationally impossible that Allah should lie.

Deviant said: Perhaps if you looked at the fact that a “square-circle” is not actually something that can exist while “lying” is, it would help you in your confusion. We know that lying does exist, while we know that it is not compulsorily existent (wajib). It is possibly existent (ja’iz). If it is ja’iz al-wujud, it falls within the realm of Allah’s qudrah, which are the ja’izat (possible things) and is exactly what His power pertains to. His power does not pertain to a “square-circle” because of square-circle just cannot possibly exist. As for “kadhib” (lying), it not only possibly exists. It “actually” exists.

Answer: This is ignorance. Lying does exist, yes, but as an attribute of creation! Does possible attributes of creation necessitate that Allah also has them? This is one of the ugliest examples of tashbih I have seen in my life.

Deviant said: Allah’s qudra pertains to lying just as it pertains to truth (sidq). Hence, lying is something that He can possibly do “actually” and “rationally” speaking. The only thing is that He has chosen not to lie and He does not have to lie, because He has nothing to fear from telling the truth, since He has power over all things and cannot be subdued or controlled by anyone.

Answer: This is pure i`tizaal. He is saying that Allah’s speech is created and is something that pertains to His Power. If not, then what is lying except something pertaining to speech?

Deviant said: He also does not lie because He has made it His way not to do so as He indicated to us in scripture…

Answer: This is stupidity. If Allah telling lies was a possibility, as he claims, then there is no way to tell whether the indication in the scripture is true!

Someone said: Allah has the power to lie or speak truth. His power encompasses both possibilities. Nothing limits his choice and will. If you can show how what I say is flawed, I’m more than open to see how. However, the flaw is really in exactly what I have explained. Your view necessitates that Allah’s qudra is limited and that He has the power to give the power to lie to man but He doesn’t have the power to do it His self.

Answer: His statement “Allah has the power to lie or speak truth” is pure i`tizaal, it is a plain statement saying that Allah’s Speech is created.

Someone said: Faqid al-shay la yu’ti (one who lacks something cannot give it to another). This would then place man’s power more expansive than the Creator’s own. This is why your logic is flawed and why I say that you have misunderstood the text…

Answer: This man does not have mind. He is a kafir and an ignorant fool. According to this, if someone rides on a mosquito, as Ibn Taymiyyah’s followers say, then it is possible that Allah should ride a mosquito…. Need I say more?

Authored by Sheikh Abu Adam