The Ash'aris: We Believe in Two Qur'ans
Posted by Abu.Iyaad on Sunday, October, 18 2009 and filed under Articles
Key topics: Qur'an Qur'an

Introduction on the Saying of the Mutakallimoon Regarding Allaah's Speech and the Qur'an

The Mutakallimoon (Jahmiyyah, Mu'tazilah, Ash'ariyyah) reject that Allaah has actions tied to His will and power, and they were forced to hold this position because they used a false, corrupt intellectual proof against the Atheists to prove that the universe is created, and this proof is through the demonstration that the bodies (ajsaam) that make up the universe are subject to occurrences (hawaadith), and this is a proof that the bodies themselves are occurrences (hawaadith), and are therefore created, and thus there must be a creator. Then they made this proof to be the ultimate truth without which the veracity of Islam (and of prophethood and resurrection) cannot be established. And when they did this, they were forced to reject Allaah's Names and Attributes. So the Jahmiyyah rejected everything because describing Allaah with anything would necessitate He is a body (jism), and the Mu'tazilah affirmed the Names (only outwardly), finding a way to rationally justify their affirmation whilst rejecting the Attributes and Sifaat Fi'liyyah (actions tied to Allaah's will). And the Kullaabiyyah Ash'ariyyah affirmed the Names and Attributes of the Essence but rejected the Sifaat Fi'liyyah (actions tied to Allaah's will).

So the Jahmiyyah said that Allaah does not speak at all and this Qur'an we have, recited, heard, memorized, in letter and word, is created, Allaah created it. And the Mu'tazilah said this Qur'an we have is created, but it can be said to be Allaah's "Kalaam" in the same way that we say "the House of Allaah" and "the Messenger of Allaah" and "the She-Camel of Allaah" and so on. And the Salaf stood against them and affirmed that this Qur'an we have, in letter and word, recited, heard and memorized, whether spoken by Allaah, or spoken by Jibreel, or spoken by Muhammad (alayhis salaam), or whether found in the Preserved Tablet, all of it is a single Qur'an and it is all uncreated - meaning the words of this Qur'an, because they originated with Allaah, and they are from Allaah's speech which is uncreated.

So then came Ibn Kullaab al-Qattan al-Basri and whilst affirming that this Qur'an we have, recited, heard, memorized, in letter and word, is created, he innovated a saying, which is that Allaah's "Kalaam" is simply a meaning (ma'naa) that resides with Allaah's self, and that is uncreated, and as for this Qur'an we have, it is a "quotation" (hikaayah) of that meaning, and that this Qur'an is created. And this view was taken up by Abu al-Hasan al-Ash'ari who said what we have is an "expression" (ibaarah), and not a quotation, and this saying was taken up by the Ash'arites thereafter.

And in reality, their view is no different to the Mu'tazilah. What the Kullaabi Ash'arites call "Kalaam Nafsee" (that meaning present with Allaah's Self) is what the Mu'tazilah call "ilm" (knowledge) and "iraadah" (will). - See al-Buti, the contemporary Ash'ari breaking it down here.

Thus, the saying of the Ash'arites became that we have two Qur'ans in reality, and this is what they believe, except that they absolutely hate that their real view (harbored in secret) should be made public and propagated openly.

Ibn Qudamah al-Maqidis's Debate with the Ash'aris Regarding the Qur'an

Ibn Qudaamah al-Maqdisee (d. 620H) said about the Ash'arites in his book, "Hikaayat ul-Munaadharah fil-Qur'aan Ma'a Ba'd Ahl il-Bid'ah" (Narrative of the Debate Regarding the Qur'an with Some of the People of Innovation) - which is his documenting of his debate with the Ash'aris on the subject of the Qur'aan.

He says on pages 34-35:

And the focus of [these] people [the Ash'arites] is to [say] the Qur'an is created and to agree with the Mu'tazilah, but they love that this should not be known about them, so they embarked upon [sophistry] that [amounts] to arrogant rejection of observable reality, and rejection of the realities, and opposition to the consensus (ijmaa), and throwing the Book and the Sunnah behind their backs, and speaking with something that no one before them has said, neither Muslim nor Disbeliever.

And it is strange that they are not daring enough to proclaim their [real] saying openly, and nor to explicitly state it, except in secluded gatherings, even if they were [ones] in authority (i.e. rulers) and were the leaders of the state. And if you were to quote [to others] from their saying that they believe, they would hate it and reject it and become arrogant over it.

They do not outwardly show except veneration of the Qur'an, and respect of the masaahif (copies of the Qur'an), and standing up (maintaining respect for it) when seeing it. But in the secluded gatherings, they say, "There is nothing in them (the masaahif) except paper and ink, and what else is in them [but that]?"

And I had quoted some of what had been said by one with whom there was a debate - between me and him - and he became angry and it was burdensome to him, and he is one of the greatest of rulers in the land. And he did not reveal explicitly his saying until I was in seclusion with him, and he said, "I wish to say to what is in the innermost part of myself, and you (in turn) say to me what is in the innermost part of yourself", and he made their saying (that of the Ash'aris) clear to me, along the lines of what we have [already] quoted from them. And when I presented some verse, making it binding upon him [to accept] that they indicate the Qur'an is these [very] surahs (chapters) [in letter and word], he said, "And I say this is the Qur'an (as well). But this is not the eternal Qur'an." I said, "So do we have two Qur'ans?". He said, "Yes, and what will happen if we have two Qur'ans?"

When I quoted this saying from him (to others) he became angry.

And some of our companions said to him: "You are the rulers (wulaat ul-amr), the leaders of the state, so what prevents you from openly proclaiming your saying to the general folk, and calling people to speak with it between them."

So he was refuted and did not [thereafter] respond to me.

Go and take a read of what al-Bayjuri (d. 1276H) has said in "Haashiyah" (Marginal Commentary) to "Jawharat ut-Tawheed" which is one of the major textbooks of the Ash'ari creed - go and read here - he says that the Qur'an we recite and read is created but we should not really say that openly! And consider that Ibn Qudaamah preceded al-Bayjuri by 650 years, and so the Ash'arites have not changed that much since his time.

And immediately after the above passage, Ibn Qudaamah said, (p. 35)

And we do not know amongst the people of innovation, any faction who conceal their saying, and do not have the boldness to proclaim it (openly) except the Heretics (Zanaadiqah) and the Ash'ariyyah.

And Allaah, the Exalted, order His Messenger (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) to openly proclaim the religion, to call to it, and to convey what Allaah revealed to Him, so the Most High said:

O Messenger! Proclaim (the Message) which has been sent down to you from your Lord. And if you do not, then you have not conveyed His Message. Allh will protect you from mankind. (Al-Ma'idah 5:67)

So if their saying - as they claim - is the truth, then why do they not openly proclaim it and call the people to it?

And how is it lawful for them to hide it and conceal it, and to proclaim openly what is different to it, deceiving the public [into thinking they] believe other than it? Rather, if their saying was the truth that the Messenger (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam), His Companions, and the Imaams of the religion after them were upon, how come not one of them openly proclaimed it? And did they all concur upon concealing it?

Or how was it lawful for the Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) to conceal it from his ummah whilst he had been ordered to convey what had been revealed to him, and had beed threatened against concealing anything from it with His saying:

And if you do not, then you have not conveyed His Message. (Al-Ma'idah 5:67)

And how was it possible for him to make the people presume (something) in opposition to the truth?

So the saying of the Ash'arites is that when we pray and we recite al-Faatihah and other parts of the Qur'an, this is not the real Qur'an we are reciting, this is something created which is from the expression of Jibreel - and there are many other disgraces such as this which Ibn Qudaamah has exposed about these people and inshaa'Allaah that can be the subject of another article.