Answering Islam - A Christian-Muslim dialog

Revisiting the Quran’s affirmation of Jesus’ Eternal Existence Pt. 1

Sam Shamoun

In this response we are going to look at what Muslim apologist Jalal Abualrub has to say about his religious text, and use that to prove that Jesus Christ is the uncreated Word of God according to the Quran itself.

Here is Abualrub’s reply to an unnamed Christian concerning whether the Islamic view of the Quran leaves Muslims with two gods:

Do Muslims Worship Two Gods?

The questioner invents a strange notion, next, then ascribes it to Islam, “Are there two Eternal Ones in Islam?’ According to orthodox Islam the Quran is the uncreated, eternal word of God which has always existed in heaven, written in the form of tablets. The Mu’tazilites recognized that this would lead to the existence of two Eternal Ones and were therefore saying that the Quran was not everlasting. However, they are considered, Non Muslim heretics.”

We had agreed with the questioner to only discuss the true resources of Islam not what Islamic sects say. However, I will still answer his question.

First, it is not true that the Mu’tazilah are considered non-Muslims. The questioner is confused. The Mu’tazilah are considered a deviant sect, yet, their deviation is not of the type that takes one out of the fold of Islam. ‘Deviant,’ does not necessarily mean ‘disbeliever.’

Second, the questioner is also confused between what is an attribute of Allah and Allah Himself. For instance, Allah’s Kalam, meaning, Speech, is among His attributes, eternal; Allah speaks with what He will whenever He will. His speech does not only include the Quran, but the original Torah, Zabur and Injil are also part of Allah’s speech.

The result of Allah’s eternal attribute, Kalam, is that the Torah, the Injil and the Quran PROCEEDED FROM HIM, from His Quality of Kalam. Allah’s Attribute of Kalam is therefore not created, because Allah is not created and His attributes are not created. They are a part of His perfect existence.

The Mu’tazilah logic did not come from the Quran, but from silly philosophy. They are similar to the questioner and many other Christians in that they imagine with their limited mind how Allah should be like, deciding for Him what attributes He can or cannot have. Mu’tazilah did not consider the Quran as the literal word of Allah, but as a creation. However, all creation dies, but the Quran is still alive and well fourteen centuries after it was revealed.

Mu’tazilah thought that if they agree –with Allah that is– that Allah speaks, then, His Kalam becomes a separate eternal entity different from Him. Consequently, Mu’tazilah first feared multiplicity, to use the questioner’s own words, then based on this imaginary fear, they denied Allah’s attribute, Kalam, and claimed that the Quran is created.

Is Human Speech a separate Entity?

Simply put: even the questioner will not say that his speech is a different entity than he is. The questioner has many other qualities shared by other humans: they move, act, breathe and have kindness, generosity, courage, life, etc. Who would say that all these are separate entities from men and women, and as such, are separate creations? Who would say that one’s words are a separate entity from the person who spoke them?

Mu’tazilah failed, just like the questioner, to fully understand the topic. Allah’s attributes are His qualities; they are the consequence of His perfect existence and perfect essence. Thus Allah is Able to speak: the Quran is His words, the Quran is not Allah Himself. It cannot act independently, create, or have a life of its own, because it is an attribute, a quality, not a person or a god.

When the questioner repeated Mu’tazilah concepts, he exposed their ignorance such as the invented notion of the tablets being eternal, which no Muslim scholar says. The questioner also invented a theme that even the Mu’tazilah did not invent: Mu’tazilah do not use the argument that, “the uncreated, eternal word of God which has always existed in heaven, written in the form of tablets.”

Mu’tazilah do not believe that heaven always existed. To the contrary, Mu’tazilah came up with an absurd notion that Paradise (heaven) has not been created yet; otherwise, it would be empty, since its residents will only enter it after Resurrection. They forget, for example, that paradise already has residents in it who are not humans.

Eternal Tablets

Tablets did not exist from eternity: Here is part of a book which responds to the slander of Pope Benedict XVI against Prophet Muhammad, “In one of his hadeeths, Prophet Muhammad informed mankind about Allah’s encompassing Knowledge, when he said, Right after Allah created the Pen, He said to it, ‘Write!’ The Pen said, ‘What shall I write? Allah said, ‘Write al-Qadar: what happened and what will happen forever’(Sahih at-Tirmidhi 2155)” (50 Righteous and Humane Concepts Brought by Muhammad, Jalal Abualrub, Pg., 13-14).

Therefore, the tablets did not exist from eternity as the questioner seems to suggest, they went into action after Allah created the Peon (Pen)?, which according to the an authentic hadeeth, is the first creation, “The first thing Allah created was the Pen, and He commanded it, and the Pen wrote everything that will happen” (Takhreej Kitab As-Sunnah, Al-Albani, hadeeth no. 108). Then, Allah placed the tablets above His Throne (A’hkam Al-Quran, Ibn al-‘Arabi, 4/420).

The Mu’tazilah is indeed a minor cult compared to the vast majority of Muslims who follow the Sunnah way. (Muslim-Christian Dialogue: Islamic Monotheism vs. Trinity, by Jalal Abualrub, edited by Alaa Mencke [Madinah Publishers and Distributors, First edition: 2012], 85-88)

Before we proceed any further we do need to address a few points which Abualrub raised.

First, if Abualrub is to be consistent then he must argue that the Torah and Injil have not “died” as well, meaning he has to contend that these revelations have remained intact for all these centuries without any loss. After all, if the Quran remaining the same for all these centuries somehow proves that it is the words of Allah then the same logic must extend to the previous Scriptures since, as Abualrub admits, they too are a part of Allah’s uncreated speech. Otherwise, Abualrub will have no choice but to admit that Allah’s speech can actually “die,” or at least major aspects of it can do so, since parts of it have perished and disappeared from sight.

Second, by comparing Allah’s speech with human speech in order to prove that Allah’s Kalam is not a separate entity from himself, Abualrub has now committed shirk by likening Allah’s attribute with his creation even though the Quran is quite clear that there is nothing comparable to him:

The Creator of the heavens and the earth. He has made for you mates from yourselves, and for the cattle (also) mates. By this means He creates you (in the wombs). There is nothing like unto Him, and He is the All-Hearer, the All-Seer. S. 42:11 Hilali-Khan

"And there is none co-equal or comparable unto Him." S. 112:4 Hilali-Khan

Since Allah is supposed to be unlike anything in creation this means that his attributes, including his attribute of speech, will be unlike anything else in the created order. Therefore, just because the speech of a human being isn’t a separate and distinct personal entity from the person in question, it doesn’t follow that the same is true of Allah’s speech.

This brings me to my third problem with Abualrub’s claims. There are ahadith that describe the Quran as a living conscious agent which speaks and worships Allah as its very Lord. These narrations further state that it will even act as an intercessor and savior for those who used to recite it faithfully:

Khalid b. Ma‘dan said: RECITE THE RESCUER, which is A.L.M. The sending down,3 for I have heard that a man who had committed many sins used to recite it and nothing else. It spread its wings over him AND SAID, ‘MY LORD, forgive him, for he often used to RECITE ME;’ so the Lord Most High MADE IT AN INTERCESSOR for him and said, ‘Record for him a good deed and raise him a degree in place of every sin.’ Khalid said: IT WILL DISPUTE on behalf of the one who RECITES IT when he is in the grave SAYING, ‘O God, if I am a part of Thy Book, make me AN INTERCESSOR for him; but if I am not a part of Thy Book, blot me out of it.’ It will be like a bird putting its wing on him, IT WILL INTERCEDE for him and will PROTECT HIM from the punishment in the grave. He said the same about ‘Blessed is He.’4 Khalid did not go to sleep at night till he had recited them. Ta’us said they were given sixty virtues more than any other sura in the Qur’an. Darimi transmitted.”

3. Qur’an, xxxii.

4. Qur’an, lxvii. (Mishkat Al-Masabih, English Translation With Explanatory Notes by Dr. James Robson [Sh. Muhammad Ashraf Publishers, Booksellers & Exporters, Lahore-Pakistan, Reprint 1990], Volume II, Book VIII. The Excellent Qualities of the Qur’an, Chapter I, p. 459; bold and capital emphasis ours)


Abu Umama said he heard Allah's Messenger say: Recite the Qur'an, for on the Day of Resurrection it will come as an intercessor for those who recite It. Recite the two bright ones, al-Baqara and Surah Al 'Imran, for on the Day of Resurrection they will come as two clouds or two shades, or two flocks of birds in ranks, pleading for those who recite them. Recite Surah al-Baqara, for to take recourse to it is a blessing and to give it up is a cause of grief, and the magicians cannot confront it. (Mu'awiya said: It has been conveyed to me that here Batala means magicians.) (Sahih Muslim, Book 004, Number 1757)


Narrated by Abdullah ibn Amr:

Allah's Messenger said, “Fasting and the Qur'an intercede for a man. Fasting says, ‘O my Lord, I have kept him away from his food and his passions by day, so accept my intercession for him.’ The Qur'an SAYS, ‘I HAVE KEPT HIM AWAY from sleep by night, so accept my intercession for him.’ Then their intercession is accepted.”

Bayhaqi transmitted it in Shu'ab al-Iman. (Jami‘ At-Tirmidhi, Hadith Number 1963; see also the following English version of this same hadith; bold and capital emphasis ours)

Now this raises some serious problems for Abualrub’s assertion that the Quran isn’t a separate entity from Allah, since it most certainly is. After all, the only way that the Quran can pray to and intercede with Allah as its very Lord is if it is a distinct, conscious being that is capable of having interaction and fellowship with the Islamic deity.

The following chapter further brings out the fact of the Quran actually worshiping Allah:

In the Name of Allah, the Most Beneficent, the Most Merciful. All the praises and thanks be to Allah, the Lord of the 'Alamin (mankind, jinns and all that exists). The Most Beneficent, the Most Merciful. The Only Owner (and the Only Ruling Judge) of the Day of Recompense (i.e. the Day of Resurrection) You (Alone) WE WORSHIP, and You (Alone) WE ASK for help (for each and everything). GUIDE US to the Straight Way The Way of those on whom You have bestowed Your Grace, not (the way) of those who earned Your Anger (such as the Jews), nor of those who went astray (such as the Christians). S. 1:1-7 Hilali-Khan

Here is a surah, which is supposed to be part of Allah’s speech and therefore uncreated, that is a prayer offered to the Muslim deity. Since these words are supposed to be timeless this, therefore, means that either Allah has been praying this surah to himself, or the Quran itself must have been doing so. The following hadith confirms that Allah actually likes to recite the Quran to himself:

Narrated AbuHurayrah
Allah's Messenger said, "A thousand years before creating the heavens and the Earth, Allah RECITED Ta-Ha and Ya-Sin, and when the angels HEARD the recitation they said, 'Happy are the people to whom this comes down, happy are the minds which carry this, and happy are the tongues which utter this.” Darimi transmitted it (At-Tirmidhi Hadith, Number 660 – ALIM Online Version; bold and capital emphasis ours)

Therefore, it is quite possible that Allah was in fact reciting the first surah as a way of worshiping himself and asking himself to guide himself on the straight path. However, in light of the foregoing reports, it seems more likely that it was the Quran itself which was offering this as an act of worship to its lord and originator, since he is the one from whom it supposedly proceeded.

Therefore, since the Quran interacts with Allah on a personal level, and even worships him, Abualrub is now faced with the problem of believing in two distinct eternal personal beings or, as the questioner put it, two Gods, with one being subject to the other!

Fourth, contrary to Abualrub’s denial the Islamic traditions do speak of eternal tablets, just as the following hadith shows:

2882. An-Nu‘man bin Bashir narrated that the Prophet said: “Indeed Allah WROTE IN A BOOK TWO THOUSAND YEARS BEFORE HE CREATED THE HEAVENS AND THE EARTH, He sent down two Ayat from it to end Surat Al-Baqarah with. If they are recited for three nights in a home, no Shaitan shall come near it.” (Hasan) 

[Abu ‘Eisa said:] This Hadith is [Hasan] Gharib. (English Translation of Jami‘ At-Tirmidhi, pp. 221-222 – See also the following English version of this same report; capital emphasis ours)

The foregoing contradicts the narrations cited by Abualrub which stated that the pen was the first thing that Allah created. If Allah was writing something in a book two thousand years before the heavens and the earth were created, then this means that both the book and the pen are not part of creation. After all, the Quran is quite clear that the creation of the heavens and earth encompassed the creation of every thing which exists within them, such as angels, men etc.

Allah it is He Who has created the heavens and the earth, AND ALL THAT IS BETWEEN THEM in six Days. Then He Istawa (rose over) the Throne (in a manner that suits His Majesty). You (mankind) have none, besides Him, as a Wali (protector or helper etc.) or an intercessor. Will you not then remember (or be admonished)? S. 32:4 Hilali-Khan – cf. Q. 25:59; 50:38

Say (O Muhammad): "Do you verily disbelieve in Him Who created the earth in two Days and you set up rivals (in worship) with Him? That is the Lord of the 'Alamin (mankind, jinns and all that exists). He placed therein (i.e. the earth) firm mountains from above it, and He blessed it, and measured therein its sustenance (for its dwellers) in four Days equal (i.e. all these four 'days' were equal in the length of time), for all those who ask (about its creation). Then He Istawa (rose over) towards the heaven when it was smoke, and said to it and to the earth: "Come both of you willingly or unwillingly." They both said: "We come, willingly." Then He completed and finished from their creation (as) seven heavens in two Days and He made in each heaven its affair. And We adorned the nearest (lowest) heaven with lamps (stars) to be an adornment as well as to guard (from the devils by using them as missiles against the devils). Such is the Decree of Him the All-Mighty, the All-Knower. S. 41:9-12 Hilali-Khan

This means that there was no location, no space, no place two thousand years before the creation of the heavens and the earth, since all these things only began to exist the moment the heavens and earth came into existence. In fact, time itself began at the moment God created the universe. To, therefore, speak of Allah doing something two thousand years before the cosmos came into being is both meaningless and foolishness. It is also foolishness to say that the pen was created first, even before the heavens and earth came into being, since this makes absolutely no sense when we keep in mind that a pen is supposed to be a material object that requires space and place to exist.

Moreover, none of the narrations cited by Abualrub say anything about Allah creating the book or tablets which the pen wrote on. In fact, these narrations actually presuppose that the book, which the pen used to inscribe all the information that Allah commanded it to write down, was already in existence. After all, the book must have already been there before the pen was created and told to inscribe what Allah wanted to be inscribed. And since the pen is supposed to be the first created thing then the book itself must therefore be uncreated!

But this now raises the problem which the unnamed Christian questioner noted. How can there be uncreated tablets coexisting alongside Allah if Allah is the only eternal being that exists? Doesn’t this prove that the questioner is right and that Muslims worship at least three eternal gods, i.e. Allah and the tablets which contain the Quran? Or should we assume that there are only two eternal Allahs or deities, since the Quran is one entity and the tablets are simply the written record of that singular object, and they should therefore be treated as a unit? 

And how can such tablets be eternal without matter and space being eternal as well? After all, tablets are composed of matter and need space to exist, and if these tablets are eternal then the material and location, which they are composed of and occupy, must have always existed as well.

It is rather unfortunate that Abualrub actually believes in this incoherent babble, and even wants others to believe in this nonsense as well.

Make sure to read the following article for more on this topic of the Quran being a living, conscious agent which personally interacts with Allah and those that recite it.

With that said we are now ready to move to the next part of our rebuttal.