Why the dogma of the uncreated Quran and logic cannot marry

Since the supporters of the Hadith, that is to say of the tradition, prevailed over the Mutazilites ( supporters of the use of human reasoning), Sunni orthodoxy has produced many dogmas whose association sometimes generates logical inconsistencies.

In this article we will show that the association of two dogmas can be criticized, even invalidated, by using a simplified derivative of formal logic.

We will also explain why, precisely despite the logical difficulties that result from the attachment to certain « problematic » dogmas, the consensus persists in maintaining them.

We will therefore apply our method by setting the following two dogmas as axioms:

  • The dogma of the uncreated Koran, which means that the Koran would have been existed from all eternity
  • An absolute monotheism bordering on absolute determinism.

Our mini axiomatic system having been established, we will endeavor to identify its logical consequences by using formal logic and semantic analysis.

For Muslims, strict monotheism is the cornerstone of their religion.

This type of monotheism is so exaggerated that the idea that a human being can be the producer of his own acts and his own words is inconceivable.

The difficulty is that such a way of thinking is hardly tenable when confronted with the following suras:

Surah 14 verse 4: “And We have not sent a Messenger except with the language of his people, to enlighten them. Allah misleads whom He wills and guides whom He wills. And, He is the Almighty, the Wise.”

Sura 13 verse 27: « Those who disbelieve say, ‘Why has not a sign been sent down to him from his Lord? Say, « Truly God misleads whom He wills and He guides the repentant to Him. »

According to one of the greatest Muslim scholars, Al-Hassan al-Basri, « to believe that God was the cause of the insubordination of men made little sense, since it came down to his behavior towards of his subjects as a malicious tyrant ».

The problem is that if we consider that God was to be the creator of all the acts and all the words of human beings, he should necessarily endorse the responsibility attached to them.

The human being, in this hypothesis would therefore be a fundamentally irresponsible being, since he does not create his own acts.

Obviously, the author of this article is not the first to have highlighted this dogmatic knot.

Before him, a host of Muslim theologians racked their brains over this seemingly insoluble problem.

Also, in order to reconcile the principle of divine omnipotence and the need not to deprive the creature of God of the responsibility for his acts, Ash Shâfi’î accommodated the idea of a strict predestination, synonymous with the absence of free will , so that a human being can retain an ounce of autonomy, and at least partial responsibility for his or her actions.

He invented the so-called « acquisition » theory, according to which God remains the exclusive producer of all the deeds and all the words of human beings, thus generating a stock of deeds and words intended for the supply of human being, the latter being « free » to acquire such and such an act, such and such a word in a preexisting stock.

The creation of his actions and his words by the human being can thus continue to be denied to him.

Obviously recourse to an auxiliary theory of this kind is not very satisfactory. But the Muslim world has put up with it for centuries.

But let’s come back to the dogma of the uncreated Koran, that is to say the idea that the Koran would exist from all eternity.

If we accept this dogma, we can then consider that there are two uncreated entities, God or Allah or Yahweh on the one hand, and the Koran on the other.

There would therefore exist two divine entities, which would contravene the strict monotheism professed by Sunni orthodoxy.

Under these conditions, if the Koran represents the translation into human language of the thought of God and that this translation has existed from all eternity, we can also consider that this thought was never born in the mind of God, since it is would exist for all eternity.

God and his thought would therefore be in some way consubstantial, in the same way as for Christians, God, the Holy Spirit and Jesus are three consubstantial hypostases.

Moreover, if the Quran is not the creation of God, it means that the Quran was in God from all eternity. One could thus consider that such a vision is close to a form of pantheism.

Likewise, according to the consensus, God created the events of the universe from all eternity, as well as the acts and words of his creatures from all eternity.

But if God created universal history from all eternity, universal history was in his mind from all eternity.

Thus the universal history of the universe and the spirit of God seem consubstantial.

Obviously, here again theologians have perceived these logical inconsistencies as well as the risk of falling into a form of pantheism.

And as for the very artificial theory of acquisition described above, they found a solution.

The Quran is not consubstantial with God, it is simply an attribute of God.

Thus, the denotation and the connotation of the term “attribute” allow the doctrine not to put God and the Koran on the same level while maintaining the dogma of the uncreated character of the Koran and of God.

Obviously, all the convolutions around the notion of attribute do not make sense when the attribute is the Koran. And to maintain the vagueness, it only remained for the tradition to drown the above argument under a ton of erudition, convoluted sentences, erudition often having the function of burying thought.

At this point in the exposition, the reader will certainly ask the question « Why ».

Why have Muslim thinkers made so much effort and inventiveness to preserve a dogma whose interest is hard to understand?

In my opinion, there are at least two reasons.

First of all, the affirmation of the uncreated character of the Koran artificially makes this text a text that predates the Hebrew Bible and the New Testament.

Thus, even if the Koran was revealed after the Jewish and then Christian revelations, it remains first.

Consequently, if the Koran is first, it necessarily prevails over the other writings, especially in the event of contradiction.

Moreover, even today, the thesis of the falsification of their scriptures by Jews and Christians is taught by imams to Muslims but also to Muslim children, in particular through Muslim children’s literature [1] as this passage from the « Koran explained to children »says :

“Others (Jews and Christians) had received the revelation but they had transformed it to have privileges. (CEE Page 63) – “They changed the words of Allah” (CEE Page 64)

This narration aims to accredit the idea that the Jews and the Christians would have falsified their writings and that Islam would come to correct the Jewish and Christian Canons to constitute the « true religion » (CEE 64)

In conclusion, we hope to have demonstrated that the dogma of the uncreated Koran is an invention of tradition that is difficult to defend from the point of view of the logic specific to the Sunni dogmatic system, and that this dogma persists simply in order to be able to artificially maintain the idea that the Koran is primary and that any contradiction with the Hebrew Bible or the New Testament is only the result of falsification of their scriptures by Jews and/or Christians.

[1]  « The Quran explained to children » (Editions Tawhid, 6 impasse Victor Hugo 69003 Lyon)

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