Sharhu Sunnah : Lesson 15 : Point 13
Shaykh Fawzan | Dawud Burbank [Audio|English]
The author Imam Barbahaaree rahimahullaah said,
And the Qur’aan is the Speech of Allaah, His Revelation and His Light. It is not created, because the Qur’aan is from Allaah and that which is from Allaah is not created. This is what was stated by Maalik ibn Anas and by Ahmad ibn Hanbal rahimahumAllaah and by the jurists who came before them and after them. And disputation concerning it is disbelief.
His saying, “And the Qur’aan is the Speech of Allaah, and His Revelation sent down and His Light. And it is not created”. From the creed and belief of AhlusSunnah wal-Jamaa`ah, the People of the Sunnah and the Jamaa`ah is that the Qur’aan is the Speech of Allaah. He spoke with it in reality and Jibreel heard it from Him and he descended with it to Muhammad sallAllaahu `alayhi wa sallam. No one disagreed about this creed and belief, (no-one) from the people of knowledge who proceeded upon the Sunnah of Allaah’s Messenger sallAllaahu `alayhi wa sallam. The only ones who disagreed about it were the people of misguidance from the Jahmiyyah, the followers of Al-Jahm ibn Safwaan, and the offspring of the Jahmiyyah who are the Mu`tazilah and the Zaydiyyah and the Shee`ah. All of those people took up this matter from the Jahmiyyah. And likewise the Ibaadiyyah; all of them proceeded upon the methodology which contradicts the methodology of the Ahlus-Sunnah walJamaa`ah. And they held that the Qur’aan is something created because, in their view, Allaah is not to be described as speaking, just as He is not described with the Attribute of Hearing or Seeing or Knowing or Willing and other than that, in their view. Nor is he described as having a Face or having two Hands to other than that. And their intent in this is to corrupt the `aqeedah (creed and belief). Even if they try to make it seem that their intent is actually to declare Allaah, the Majestic and Most High, free from any resemblance to the created beings. And this is a false claim, because the Attributes of the Lord, the Perfect, do not resemble the attributes of the created beings. So the Lord, the Majestic and Most High, has Names (asmaa·) and Attributes (sifaat) which befit Him and His Greatness. And the created beings have names and attributes/characteristics which are appropriate for them and for their human nature. So there is no resemblance between the two types from the aspect of true reality, haqeeqah and of the ‘how’, kayfiyyah, even though they share in the meaning and the wording. And this is called al-mutawaati·, different things which are covered by a common word. However, they do not share in the reality and in how they are (kayfiyyah). This is the position of the Ahlus-Sunnah wal-Jamaa`ah, and their proof for this is from the Book of Allaah.
And if anyone from the people of shirk seeks that you grant him protection then grant him protection so that he can hear the Speech of Allaah (Sooratut-Towbah (9), aayah 6)
So He ascribed Speech to Himself, He the Perfect and Most High, and said with regard to the hypocrites:
They wish to alter the Speech of Allaah (Sooratul-Fat.h (48), aayah 15)
So He ascribed it to Himself. And the proofs from the Sunnah and the ijmaa` (consensus of this nation) are many for this matter. So it is a matter of certainty without there being any doubt. And the disagreement of the people of misguidance does not affect the fact that the Qur’aan is the Speech of Allaah. And it is one instance of His Speech, He the Perfect. So Allaah speaks and He continues to speak whenever He wishes, if He wishes, with whatever He wishes. He has the Attribute of Kalaam (Speech) and this Qur’aan is one of the instances of the Speech of Allaah. So He spoke with the Tawraah and (He spoke) with the Injeel and with the Zaboor. He speaks with commands and with prohibitions. He says to something kun, be, and it is.
His (Allaah’s) command, when He wills something, is just that He says to it be, and it is. (Soorah Yaaseen (36), aayah 82)
So He affirmed for Himself qawl (Saying).
When Allaah said O `Eesaa (Soorah Aali `Imraan (3), aayah 55)
And He spoke to Moosaa, with Speech which Moosaa heard when He sent him to Fir’awn (the Pharaoh). So Allaah, the Majestic and Most High, has the Attribute of Speech and from His Speech is the honourable Qur’aan.
As for the saying of the people of misguidance, that its being ascribed to Allaah is ascribing a created thing to its Creator, like the she-camel of Allaah or the House of Allaah; so we say this is a lie, and it is a deception. That which is ascribed to Allaah is of two categories:
The first category is ascription of abstract things or Attributes (ma`aanin) – i.e non-material objects
The second category is ascribing material objects.
Abstract things or Attributes which are ascribed to Allaah: then this is to ascribe an Attribute to the One who has the Attribute. And it is a true and real ascription. So this will be from His Attributes, such as Speech and Hearing and Seeing.
Ascribing objects, such as the she-camel and the House of Allaah (the Ka`bah) this is ascription of a created thing to the One who created it. And it is an ascription to show honour.
But those people (those who say the Speech of Allaah means the speech created by Allaah) they have mixed up these two matters and they do not make a distinction between this and this. And therefore the People of the Sunnah and the Jamaa`ah state this matter in the Books of creed and beliefs to refute the people of misguidance. And if Allaah did not have Speech, as those people claim, then how does He command and prohibit? And the meaning of this would be that the Islamic rulings are nullified. And it undermines the main foundation and it is the Qur’aan. So if this fundamental is undermined, then Islaam would collapse. However they take cover under the claim of tanzeeh (declaring Allaah free from resemblance to the creation). But this is not tanzeeh, rather it is ta`teel (purely striping Him of Attributes). And there is a difference between ta`teel denying Attributes and between tanzeeh (declaring Him free from resemblance). At-tanzeeh is that which Allaah mentioned in His Saying:
There is nothing like Him (Sooratush-Shooraa (42), aayah 11)
Do you know of anyone similar to Him? (Soorah Maryam (19), aayah 65)
This is tanzeeh, declaring the Creator free of resemblance to the creation, which is mentioned by Allaah. And it is to deny any resemblance between the creation and the Creator or that the creation is equal to the Creator. That is what Allaah, the Majestic and Most High, is declared free of. But as for denying the Attributes, then that is just ta`teel, pure denial and negation, which comes about as a result of tashbeeh  . So they imagine resemblance initially and then they deny the Attributes secondly. And this is not tanzeeh, declaring the Creator free of resemblance. So there is a difference between tanzeeh, declaring the Creator free of resemblance and between ta`teel, denying the Attributes.
The Ash`arees came with something astonishing, even more astonishing than the saying of the Jahmiyyah. So they said,
“The Speech of Allaah is divided into two categories: the meanings and the words. The meanings, this is the Speech of Allaah. And Allaah has the Attribute that He has Speech, and it is the meaning which has existed eternally in Himself. But as for Allaah speaking with letters and with a voice, then this is to be denied for Allaah in their view. And they say it (His Speech) is just a meaning existing in Himself, He the Most Perfect and Most High. As for the words, then it is the speech of a created being meaning it is from the speech of Jibreel or from the speech of Muhammad sallAllaahu `alayhi wa sallam.”
So they made the Qur’aan to be composed of two things, from something created and from something not created. So they did not come to be with the People of the Sunnah and say that the Qur’aan is not created. And they were not with the Jahmiyyah and said that the Qur’aan all of it is created. Rather they were waverers (neither here nor there). Just like the saying of the Christians with regard to the Messiah, that he was composed of two things, of the divine and the human. And they say that the human and divine became as one. 
So in summary this matter is very great. And do not be intimidated by the traitors, those who claim that they are from the People of the Sunnah, and those who say, “This matter does not warrant all of this arguing. And Imam Ahmad went beyond the limit when he refused to say that the Qur’aan is created. And this matter does not warrant all of this.” This is present in the writings of some of those who ascribe themselves to knowledge, and some who say, “What happened between Imam Ahmad and his opponents was just a political disagreement.” But if you carefully reflect, you will find that this matter is not something slight. Because if it is denied that the Qur’aan is the Speech of Allaah, then what remains with us? If the Lord has the Attribute of Speech removed from Him, then this will be a deficiency in the Lord, the Perfect. Because the one who does not speak is not an ilaah (is not one who is deserving of worship). And Allaah, the Perfect, He rebuked the Jews when they worshipped the calf and said:
Do they not see that it (the calf) does not speak to them. (Sooratul- A`raaf (7), aayah 148)
So it must be the case that the Lord speaks. And He controls and He commands and He forbids. So therefore if Speech is negated for Allaah, then it would be the case that He is not deserving of divinity and the right to worship. High and Exalted is Allaah above what they say. So this is a tremendous matter. Therefore Imaam Ahmad rahimahullaah took the stance that he took, the stance of the unshakable mountains, and he would not give in, and he did not make any exceptions for himself. And he had patience upon the trial and he had patience upon imprisonment and upon being lashed and upon being demeaned by three khaleefahs (Caliphs), al-Ma·moon, al-Mu`tasim and al-Waathiq. Each one of them followed on in succession upon torturing him. They wanted him to give in, but he refused rahimahullaah and he remained firm. At the end of the time of al-Waathiq (the last of the three), it is said that he turned back from this, when there was a debate between a scholar from the People of the Sunnah and between Bishr al-Mareesee and (Bishr) al-Mareesee was defeated, and at that point al-Waathiq turned back. 
So in summary, this is a tremendous matter and it is very important and must not be treated lightly. And it may not be said, as some of the ignorant people and some of the writers and the intellectuals say, or the Ash`arees or those who follow their way, they say, “This is a matter which does not warrant all of this importance and all of these refutations.”
And Imam Ahmad used as a proof against them His Saying:
So that he may hear the Speech of Allaah. (Sooratut-Towbah (9), aayah 6)
Thus did Allaah say before. (Sooratul-Fath (48), aayah 15)
“Allaah said,” so He affirmed for Himself Speech and Sayings.
His saying, “and His Revelation sent down,” meaning the Qur’aan. He sent it down to His Prophet Muhammad sallAllaahu `alayhi wa sallam through the intermediary Jibreel, `alayhis-salaam. He the Most High said:
The Trustworthy Spirit (Jibreel, `alayhis-salaam) descended with it (the Qur’aan) to your heart (heart of Muhammad sallAllaahu `alayhi wa sallam) so that you should be from the warners in a clear Arabic tongue (language). (Sooratush-Shu`araa· (26), aayaat 193-195)
So this is clear and very apparent. Yet despite this there are some who come and say, “The Qur’aan is a created thing, not something sent down, and Allaah did not speak with it and Allaah is not described with Speech.” High and Exalted is Allaah above what they say.
His saying, “and it is His Light.” The Qur’aan is described as being Light. He, the Most High said:
But rather We made it a Light, by which We guide whomever We wish from our servants (Sooratush-Shooraa (42), aayah 52)
And it is called Rooh, life or spirit.
And We revealed to you a Rooh (Spirit/Life/Soul) from our Command. (Sooratush-Shooraa (42), aayah 52)
Rooh, a Spirit or Life, because the hearts come to life through it (the Qur’aan), just as the bodies come to life through a spirit/soul. So it is a Spirit/Soul for the hearts. And the well-known soul is a soul for the bodies. So therefore it (the Qur’aan) is Light, and it is a Spirit and it is Guidance, and it is a Reminder and it is Admonitions, and it has many names, which shows its greatness.
His saying, “because the Qur’aan is from Allaah and that which is from Allaah is not created.” Allaah, the Majestic and Most High, along with His Names and His Attributes, is not created. So He is the Creator and everything besides Him is something created. And it cannot be said that the Names and Attributes are created, because they are from Allaah, and that which is from Allaah is not created, meaning Allaah has them as His Attributes. So Allaah with His Names and His Attributes is the Creator and whatever is besides Him is created.
His saying, “And likewise Maalik ibn Anas and Ahmad ibn Hanbal, may Allaah have mercy upon them, said,” This is the saying of the Imaams. And from them was Maalik, the Imaam of the abode of Hijrah (al-Madeenah), and Imaam Ahmad, the one who was tortured for that and who was harmed, may Allaah have mercy upon him, and he had patience; and others besides them from the Imaams of AhlusSunnah. This was their saying. 
His saying, “and whoever came before them from the jurists (the scholars of fiqh) and whoever came after them.” Meaning, Imaam Maalik and Imaam Ahmad were not alone in this saying. Rather it was said by those who came before them from the Companions and the taabi`een and the successors of the taabi`een. And whoever came after them from the Imaams.
His saying, “And disputation about it is disbelief.”  Disputing about the Qur’aan, whether it is something created or whether it is something not created or a person having doubts and saying, “I don’t know, there is disagreement about this matter,” as people say now. So a manifestation has now appeared where they say, “The matter is khilaafiyyah/there is disagreement about this matter”. So we say: When there is disagreement, then what is to be followed is the daleel, the proof. We were not given the duty in the Religion of having to follow the disagreements of the people and sayings of the people. We have being given the duty in the Religion of following the proof. So when there is disagreement we test the disagreement against the proof. And whatever that is found to be supported by the proof, then it is the Truth. And whatever is contrary to the proof, then it is false. And Allaah did not abandon us to opinions and sayings and disagreements. Rather He said:
So if you disagree in anything, then refer it back to Allaah and to the Messenger. (Sooratun-Nisaa· (4), aayah 59)
Imam Ahmad said in his book, Usoolus-Sunnah,
“And the Qur’aan is the Speech of Allaah and it is not created. And a person should not be too weak to say, ‘It is not created.’ Because the Speech of Allaah is not something separate from Him. And there is nothing from Him that is created.”
And whatever you disagree about, then its judgement is to be referred back to Allaah. That is Allaah my Lord. Upon Him I place my reliance and to Him I turn constantly. (Sooratush-Shooraa (42), aayah 10)
So it is obligatory to refer back to the Book of Allaah and to the Sunnah of His Messenger sallAllaahu `alayhi wa sallam. And whatever is supported by proof is to be taken, and whatever is contrary to the proof is to be left. And as for the person who takes a saying which conforms to his desires or his whims, even if it goes against the proof, then he is one who is astray; and this one is worshipping his own desires. As for the person who is worshipping Allaah, then he takes that which is supported by the proof from the Book of Allaah and the Sunnah of His Messenger sallAllaahu `alayhi wa sallam.
 Transcriber’s note: meaning resemblance
 Translator’s side point: Imaam ath-Thahabee, in his book Siyar A`laamin-Nubalaa· in volume 11, in the biography of Ibn Kullaab (the founder of what is called the Ash`aree creed), said, “Abul-`Abbaas al-Baghawee said, “Thaythoon the Christian said to me, ‘May Allaah have mercy upon `Abdullaah (Ibn Kullaab). He used to come to me in the church and he used to take things from me and if he had lived, we would have turned the Muslims into Christians.’ So it was said to this Christian man Thaythoon, ‘What do you say about the Messiah (`Eesaa)?’ He said, ‘What the people of your way said about the Qur’aan.’”
 Translator’s side point: That story is mentioned in a footnote from Siyar A`laamin-Nubalaa· by Imaam ath-Thahabee
 Translator’s side point: Al-Laalikaa·ee reports in his book, Usool I`tiqaad Ahlis-Sunnah, from Aboo Uways who said, “I heard my maternal uncle, Maalik ibn Anas, and a group of the scholars mention the Qur’aan and they said, ‘It is the Speech of Allaah, and it is from Him and there is nothing from Him which is created.’”
 Translator’s side point: There is a hadeeth which directly states it reported by Aboo Daawood as hadeeth 4603 declared hasan saheeh, good authentic, by Shaykh al-Albaanee from Aboo Hurayrah, from the Prophet sallAllaahu `alayhi wa sallam, that he said: “Disputation about the Qur’aan is disbelief.”
Ithaaful-Qaaree bit-Ta`leeqaat `alaa Sharhis-Sunnah
by Shaykh Saalih ibn Fowzaan al-Fowzaan hafizahullaah
Translated by Aboo Talhah Daawood Burbank, rahimahullaah
Posted with kind permission from Dawud Burbank rahimahullaah
Listen to the full Audio Series of Sharhu Sunnah
Sharh-us-Sunnah – Shaykh Saalih Fawzaan – Dawood Burbank [Audio|En]