Fakhr ud-Deen ar-Razi (d. 606H), Imaam of the Ash'aris: We Agree With the Mu'tazilah That the (Recited) Qur'an is Created And Our Dispute Is One of Wording Only
Posted by Abu.Iyaad on Tuesday, October, 06 2009 and filed under Articles
Key topics: Ar-Razi Fakhr Ud-Din Ar-Razi The Quran Qur'an Kalam Nafsi Kalaam Nafsi Ar-Razi Fakhr Ud-Din Ar-Razi The Quran Qur'an Kalam Nafsi Kalaam Nafsi

All praise is due to Allaah and may the prayers and salutations be upon His Messenger, to proceed.

Bayaan Talbees al-Ash'ariyyah [al-Kullaabiyyah al-Jahmiyyah]

In previous articles we explained how the Jahmite Ash'aris believe in secret that the Qur'an we recite and memorize is created (but they forbid that this should be said openly) and we also brought a quote from the Mufassir, Ibn Jareer at-Tabari (d. 310) in which he cleaned out the rat-holes and secret hideouts of the Jahmites in a single sweep, cursing them, reviling them and making takfeer of them on account of their claiming the Qur'an is created - and may Allaah have mercy upon him.

Today, we are going to do some more cleaning and polishing and inshaa'Allaah the way it works is that we first need to identify where these secret hideouts are, we have to hunt them and bring them out, so we can see what is really going on in these secret hideouts. And once we have done that we can bring in the statements of the Imaams of the Salaf to clean out these secret hideouts and take the prisoners who are pretending to be upon the creed of the Salaf when in fact they are upon the creed of the Jahmiyyah and Mu'tazilah and Kullaabiyyah.

So here we are, we've found another one, and its evil and nasty. It's in Fakhr ud-Din ar-Razi's book, "al-Arba'een Fee Usool id-Deen". Now its a lengthy passage (spans 3 or so pages), so before we bring the quote, just a little background, to help us understand why the Salaf made takfeer of the Jahmites and cursed them and reviled them.


Jahm bin Safwan used the basic notions of Greek Philosophy and of Aristotle in particular (see here) to devise an intellectual proof by which he could convince the Indian Materialist Atheist Philosophers called the Sumaniyyah that the universe is created - and thus, a creator. So he argued that things have qualities (sifaat), incidental attributes (a'raad) and hawaadith (occurrences) and this proves their createdness. Then the Sumaniyyah said, "Fine, this proves there is a creator, but you can't perceive your Lord, so how can he exist", and "Describe your Lord to us", he got confused, and abandoned the prayer for forty days because he did not know who or what he was worshiping. He then, devised an answer to the Sumaniyyah which was that just like your souls occupy your bodies without you perceiving them with any of the senses, then Allaah is likewise, He is in everything and everywhere but without being perceived by the senses, and nor is He described with anything.

The answer of Jahm bin Safwan contained the following foundations:

  • Allah is in every place and in everything
  • But at the same time not perceived by the senses
  • And not described with anything that the creation is described with (the innovation of ta'teel)
  • Making the intellect decisive over the revealed texts, on the basis that his intellectual proof is the ultimate truth around which all else revolves
  • Explaining away the revealed texts (the innovation of ta'weel) to prevent them clashing with the intellectual proof of "hudooth ul-ajsaam"

And this innovation of Jahm gave birth to Hulool and Ittihaad on the one hand (Allaah indwelling within His creation) and ta'teel on the other (negating Allaah Names, Attributes and Actions from Allaah) - as well as the innovation of ta'weel (figurative interpretation) in regards to Allaah's Names and Attributes, and considering the intellectual proof to be decisive over the revealed texts.

As a result of this Jahm was forced to take the following positions (amongst many others):

  • That Allaah did not speak to Moses - because it would mean an event (haadithah) in Allaah's Essence, and thus making Allaah a body (jism), and thus falsifying His proof.

  • That the Qur'aan is created - because if Allaah spoke it, it would consist of many instances of individual speech and all of these would be occurrences (hawaadith) or incidental attributes (a'raad), thus rendering Allaah a body (jism), and thus falsifying his proof. So the Qur'an is not Allaah's speech its the created speech of Jibreel (alayhis salaam) or the Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam).

Then the Jahmiyyah took these sayings as their deen. And the saying of the Jahmiyyah is that the Qur'aan is created, that Allah does not have the attribute of "Kalaam" (speech) to begin with, and He is not "mutakallim", and they interpret "Kalaam" to mean something within the creation, separate from Allaah. So Allaah created the "Qur'aan" and He therafter called it "His Speech" in the same manner that it can be said, "Baytullaah" about the Ka'bah, and "Naaqqatullaah", the She-Camel of Allaah and so on.

And the Mu'tazilah took up this deen of the Jahmites and their view is the same as that of the Jahmites that the Qur'aan is created with the only difference being that they say Allaah created it in the self of Jibreel (alayhis salaam) and Jibreel expressed it in his own words, or that he simply "quoted" the Qur'an that was created in his self. And that the speech of Allaah can be created in different situations, so for example, with Moses, the Kalaam (speech) was created in the tree and so on.

Then came the Kullaabiyyah, followers of Ibn Kullaab (d. 240H) and the Ash'aris simply took the bulk of his creed, and this is what the Ash'aris are upon. Ibn Kullaab tried to reconcile between the view of the Mu'tazilah (Jahmiyyah) and Ahl us-Sunnah. In reality, it is the very same view of the Mu'tazilah and the Jahmites except that they added something on top of the saying of the Mu'tazilah. Which is that the Qur'aan we have is created, meaning those words of the Qur'aan that are with us they are created - but there is also a Qur'an which is part of what they call Kalaam Nafsee which is a singular meaning (that comprises the entirety of Allaah's Kalaam from eternity) and which resides in Allaah's self. So pay attention. They do not differ with the Jahmiyyah and Mu'tazilah in that the Qur'an is actually created (makhlooq). All these factions are in agreement. But the Kullaabiyyah and Ash'ariyyah say that this Kalaam Nafsi is the meaning that is present with Allaah, it is not really "speech" (Kalaam) with its proper definition, rather it is meaning (ma'naa) only, and that this meaning was put into the self of Jibreel (i.e inspired), and then Jibreel expressed it in his own words - and the end result is what we have, the Qur'aan and that is created.

We can now proceed with the saying of one of their greatest of Imaams, ar-Razi (d. 606H) and his admission that their difference with the Mu'tazilah is in wording only and after that we can bring the speech of the Salaf to clean things out.

The Saying of Fakhr ud-Din ar-Razi - There is No Difference Between Us and the Mu'tazilah Except in the Definition of the Word "Mutakallim"

Ar-Razi says on pages 247-249 of the aforementioned book:

We will summarize most of the above piece and then transalate directly the relevant part at the end:

Summary of ar-Razi's Words

Ar-Razi is saying that the Ummah is agreed on applying the word "mutakallim" (one who speaks) to Allaah, but actually differ as to what they mean by this.

He then describes the view of the Mu'tazilah which amounts to that when Allaah desires (araada, yureed, iraadah) or dislikes something (kariha) he creates specific voices in created bodies so that these voices can indicate that Allaah desires that specific thing, or dislikes it or that Allaah judges a particular thing with affirmation or negation. And that this is what the Mu'tazilah mean by saying Allaah is "mutakallim".

Then ar-Razi explains that the Ash'aris, his associates dispute this and counter argue, and say that it is impossible for Allaah to be said to be "mutakallim" when the speech (Kalaam) is established in other than Him (i.e. the created speech He creates in created bodies, such as angels, or men or trees).

Ar-Razi says this is actually a weak counter-argument. Because the actual dispute with the Mu'tazilah can only be with respect to a) the meaning (al-ma'naa) or b) the wording (al-lafdh).

As for the meaning (al-ma'naa):

Then ar-Razi says that there are two issues. The first is that there is no dispute between them that Allaah is able to create sounds in animate (living) or inanimate (non-living) bodies - because this is all possible for Allaah. And the second is that Allaah makes those created sounds to be the knowledge (for the creation) through which He becomes desirous (mureed) of certain affairs and disliking of others. Ar-Razi says this too is not impossible.

He says as these two issues, or positions, cannot be criticised, then we (the Ash'aris) have to accept that Allaah is said to be "mutakallim" on account of the "meaning" which Allaah intends.

As for the dispute regarding wording (al-lafdh):

Ar-Razi says the issue boils down to this. That when the one who creates these voices, which are the composed letters coming from a jism (created body - animate or inanimate), with the objective of others coming to know what He desires (yureed) or dislikes (yakrah), then is such a one called "mutakallim" in the language or not?

He says that it is known that this research is purely a linguistic investigation - and there is no connection of the meaning (al-ma'naa) to this at all.

It is here that ar-Razi says, at the end, and we will translate this words:

So it becomes established on account of what we have mentioned: That Allaah being "mutakallim" (one who speaks) with the meaning that is said by the Mu'tazilah is what we say, and we acknowledge it, and we do not reject it from any angle at all. Indeed, the difference between us and them is that we affirm another matter, beyond this, which they reject. And we shall mention, what that thing is.

So this is a clear explicit text that amounts to an admission that:

The Mu'tazilah say that the words of the Qur'an that are recited and memorized are created, Allaah created them in Jibreel, and we the Ash'aris say the same that the words of the Qur'an that are recited and memorized are created. Except that we the Ash'aris are upon the deen of Ibn Kullab who tried to merge between truth and falsehood, and we followed him in his innovation of saying that there is a Kalaam Nafsee (a singular meaning within Allaah's self) that is not created - it is just a meaning that exists. So our dispute with the Mu'tazilah remained one of wording only as to what exactly do we mean by the word "Kalaam" and what do they mean by the word "Kalaam" - whilst both of us are in perfect agreement (in opposing the Salaf) by saying that the Qur'an in our possession, that is read, recited and memorized is created.

And then ar-Razi says a little further (p. 251-252):

So that which the Mu'tazilah say that it is permitted (yajooz) that the living [entity] is [considered] mutakallim (speaking) on account of speech (Kalaam) that is established in other [than Him] - is true and truthful.

And that which our associates [the Ash'aris] say that it is impossible that the [claim of the] living [entity] being considered mutakallim (speaking) on account of speech (Kalaam) that is established in other [than Him] - is true and truthful.

Except that the "Kalaam" that the Mu'tazilah are referring to has a [particular] meaning and the "Kalaam" that our associates are referring to has another meaning.

What he means here is that the Mu'tazilah say Allaah can be said to be "mutakallim" (meaning, one who speaks with speech) based upon His creation of speech (Kalaam) in created bodies (like Jibreel, or the tree) and that this is the truth. And at the same time that the Ash'aris say it is impossible for Allaah to be considered "mutakallim" on account of the speech that is created in other than Him, and that this is true as well. The reason why both sayings are truth to Razi is because by "Kalaam", the two factions are referring to two different meanings.

And with this, the deen of the Jahmite Ash'aris is laid bare in broad daylight walhamdulillaah, and one of their secret hideouts has been identified and exposed.

Cleaning up ...

We can now turn to the words of the Salaf and clean up efficiently, and we've got a great line-up which is going to make these Jahmites flee in no time. You should be clear that when the Salaf made takfeer of those who said the Qur'an is created, it was on the basis of their saying that this Qur'an that we have, which we recite, which we hear, whose words we hear, which are memorized and so on that this is created.

But the saying of the Salaf is that all of that is a single Qur'an, however it is, it is the speech of Allaah, uncreated - and they did not mean the paper and the ink and the voices and so on, they meant the words, the words, no matter in what form, it is all the uncreated speech of Allaah, Allaah spoke it, it is His words, it originated with Him. So when the Qur'an is recited the Kalaam (speech, words) are those of Allaah, but the voice is that of the reciter. And in all instances that speech (Kalaam) is the speech of Allaah which He spoke to Jibreel and which Jibreel spoke to Muhammad and which Muhammad spoke to the Ummah. And this is the creed of the Salaf, manifest, plain and clear. So when you see the Salaf make takfeer of the Jahmites, it was due to their claim that the Qur'aan, as we have mentioned it, is created. And this saying was inherited by the Mu'tazilah, Kullaabiyyah and Ash'ariyyah - the disputes between them are in wording only not in the realities.

Al-Laalikaa'ee reports in his "Sharh Usool I'tiqaad Ahl us-Sunnah wal-Jamaa'ah", (2/275-277):

From Ahmad bin Abdillaah bin al-Khidr al-Muqree - [chain of narration] - that Abu Muhammad Yahyaa bin Khalf al-Muqree said:

I was with Maalik bin Anas in the year 168 H. and a man came to him and said: "O Abu Abdullaah what do you say about the one who says: The Qur'an is created?" He said: "A kaafir, heretic (zindeeq), kill him". The man then said: "I am just quoting these words which I heard". Then he (Maalik) said: "I have not heard them from anyone else, I have heard them from you".

Abu Muhammad said: Then that was a bit tough on me so I went to Misr and I met al-Layth bin Sa'd and said: "O Abu al-Haarith, what do you say about the one who says: The Qur'an is created?" And then I narrated to him the words said to Maalik, and then he said: "[Such a one is] a kaafir". Then I met Ibn Luhay'ah and I said to him the equivalent of what I said to al-Layth bin Sa'd and I narrated to him the words. He said: "A kaafir."

And in another narration from 'Abbaas al-Azhar there continues:

And then I came to Makkah and met Sufyaan bin 'Uyainah and narrated to him the words of the man (who came to Maalik bin Anas) and he said: "A kaafir". Then I went to Koofah and I met Abu Bakr bin Ayyaash and I said to him: "What do you say about the one who says the Qur'an is created?" And I narrated to him the words of the man. He said: "He is a kaafir and whoever does not say he is a disbeliver is himself a kaafir". Then I met Alee bin Aasim and Hushaym and I said the same to them both and narrated to them the words of the man and they both said: "A kaafir". Then I met Abdullaah bin Idrees, Abu Usaamah, Ubdah bin Sulaimaan al-Kallaabee, Yahyaa bin Zakariyyaa and Wakee' and I narrated to them and they said: "A kaafir". Then I met Ibn al-Mubaarak, Abu Ishaaq al-Fazaaree and al-Waleed bin Muslim, so I narrated to them the words and they said, all of them: "A kaafir."

And out of respect, we have to bring the speech of Ibn Jareer at-Tabari (d. 310H) again, for it is powerful (see here):

The Creed of Abu Ja'far Muhammad bin Jareer at-Tabari

Ubaydullaah bin Muhammad bin Ahmad informed us - reading to him - he said: Al-Qaadee Abu Bakr Ahmad bin Kaamil informed us, saying: Abu Ja'far Muhammad bin Jareer said:

The first of that which we begin with regarding that is the Speech of Allaah, the Mighty and Majestic and His Revelation, since they are from the meanings of His Tawheed.

So what is correct of the speech regarding that in our view is that it is Speech of Allaah, the Mighty and Majestic, it is not created in whichever manner it may be written or when it is recited, in whatever place it may be recited, whether it is found in the heaven or upon the earth, however it maybe preserved - whether written in the Lawh il-Mahfoodh (the Preserved Tablet) or in the copies of the children of the Qur'anic schools, or inscribed on a stone and written on paper or leaf, whether memorized in the heart, or spoken by the tongue.

Whoever says other than this, or claims there is a Qur'an in the earth or in the heaven other than the Qur'an that which we recite with our tongues, and which we write in the masaahif (copies of the Qur'an), or who believes this in his heart or who conceals such a belief in his heart, or who professes it with his tongue, then he is a kaafir whose blood and wealth is lawful and who is free from Allaah and Allaah is free from him - due to the saying of Allaah, lofty be His praise:

Nay! This is a Glorious Qur'an (Inscribed) in Al-Lawh Al-Mahfuz (The Preserved Tablet)! (Al-Buruj 85:21-22)

And He said, and His saying is the truth:

And if anyone of the Mushrikun (polytheists, idolaters, pagans, disbelievers in the Oneness of Allah) seeks your protection then grant him protection, so that he may hear the Word of Allah (the Qur'an).. (At-Tawbah 9:6)

So He informed us, lofty be His praise that it is in the Preserved Tablet, written, and that it is heard from the tongue of the Prophet Muhammad (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) and it is a single Qur'aan, heard from Muhammad and written in the Preserved Tablet, and likewise, memorized in the hearts, and recited upon the tongues of the shuyookh (old) and the children (young).

So whoever reports or quotes from us, or fabricates a saying against us, or claims against us that we say anything other than that, then upon him is the curse of Allaah and His Anger, and the curse of those who curse, [and the curse of] the Angels, and mankind, altogether. Allaah will not accept any effort or goodness from him, will expose and disgrace him in front of all of the witnesses on the day that the excuses of the oppressors will not benefit them, they will have the curse and they will have the evil abode.