Answering Islam - A Christian-Muslim dialog

The Quran As A Divine Conscious Agent

More Evidence That Islam Does Not Affirm Unitarianism

Sam Shamoun & Jochen Katz


In this article we are going to examine specific traditions attributed to Muhammad which clearly depict the Quran as a personal agent that speaks and even disputes. These narrations will show that the Quran is more than simply Allah’s spoken or written word, but is an actual independent conscious being which interacts with and speaks to both Allah and his followers. We will see how this teaching of Muhammad raises some major problems for the claim that Islam is a very strict monotheistic faith which prohibits the belief in the existence of a plurality of divine persons.

The Quran as Intercessor

Muhammad taught his companions that the Quran actually intercedes for all of its reciters:

991. Abu Umamah reported: I heard the Messenger of Allah saying, “Read the Qur'an, for it will come as an intercessor for its reciters on the Day of Resurrection.”


Commentary: This Hadith tells the excellence of reciting the Qur'an and acting upon its injunctions. Intercession (in this Hadath [sic]) means that the Qur'an will be endowed with the power of speech by Allah and it will request Allah to forgive the sins of its reciters who acted upon its teachings. Allah will accept the request of the Qur'an, as signified in other Ahadith. (Riyad-us-Saliheen, Compiled By Al-Imam Abu Zakariya Yahya bin Sharaf An-Nawawi Ad-Dimashqi, Book Eight – The Book of Virtues, Chapter 180: The Excellence of Reciting the Qur'an; bold emphasis ours)

The following link takes you to Aisha Bewley’s translation of this specific report.

Despite the claim made by the commentary that the Quran will be endowed with speech, something not stated in the hadiths themselves, this point remains crystal clear: Muhammad’s assertion that the Quran functions as an intercessor shows that he truly believed that the “revelation” is a living, conscious being.

There are a lot more narrations on this subject of the Quran speaking and interceding:

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; bold and capital emphasis ours)

In this hadith, not only did Muhammad believe that the Quran is a conscious agent that speaks, he also thought the same of fasting!(1)

Moreover, this hadith clearly shows that the Quran will not perform a “bulk intercession” for an anonymous group of reciters, but it will be a personal intercessor for each specific individual. [Some more traditions reinforcing this point will be quoted below. Particularly Surahs 2, 3, 32 and 67 are said to specifically intercede for those who recited them often.] This has a number of important consequences.

The Quran must know the identity of every single person who recited it, which assumes that the Quran already possesses consciousness to be able to take note of all those who recite it throughout the centuries and remember them at the final judgment. This refutes any attempt of arguing that the Quran will only be given consciousness at the time of the resurrection.

It must also know their motives since merely reciting the Quran is not enough, especially if it is done for fame or fortune. Rather, reciting it with the sincere intention of pleasing Allah is what makes one’s recitation of the Quran acceptable.

Therefore, the Quran must be aware of the intentions of every reciter in order to know whether such a person’s recitation was sincerely done for the glory and pleasure of his lord.

This fact refutes the Muslim commentary on the first cited hadith that the Quran “will be given speech,” which assumes that it did not have consciousness prior to that moment.

This also implies that the Quran must be a divine being since it not only possesses omniscience, it must also have another specific attribute which belongs only to God. The Quran has to be omnipresent in order for it to be able to take note of every single individual that is reciting it wherever he or she may be, particularly as there are oftentimes thousands if not millions of Muslims all over the earth reciting simultaneously (e.g., during the prescribed prayer times). Otherwise, how would it be able to know who in fact has recited it and therefore intercede for that person?

Here are a couple of other hadiths which speak of the Quran’s intercession:

It was narrated that Ma’qil ibn Yasaar said: The Messenger of Allaah said:

“Learn the Qur'aan, accept as permissible what it permits, regard as forbidden what it forbids, follow its guidance and do not reject anything in it. Whatever you are confused about in it, refer it to Allaah and to those who are in authority after I am gone, so that they may tell you. Believe in the Tawraat and Injeel and Zaboor, and what the Prophets brought from their Lord, but be content with the Qur’aan and what it contains of clarity, for it is an intercessor whose intercession will be accepted. Each verse will have light on the Day of Resurrection. I have been given Soorat al-Baqarah among the early Revelation, and I have been given Ta-Ha and Ta-Seen-Meems and Ha-Meems from the tablets of Moosa(2) and I have been given the Opening of the Book (al-Faatihah) from beneath the Throne.

Narrated by al-Haakim in al-Mustadrak (1/757) and he said: This hadeeth has a saheeh isnaad although they (al-Bukhaari and Mulsim) did not narrate it. Also narrated by al-Tabaraani in al-Mu’jam al-Kabeer (20/225). Classed as da’eef by al-Albaani in al-Silsilah al-Da’eefah (2826) and by Ibn Hibbaan in al-Majrooheen (2/65). (Islamqa, fatwa No. 90186. Is there any saheeh hadeeth about the virtues of Soorat Ta-Ha?; bold emphasis ours)

The Prophet said: “The Qur’an is an intercessor, something given permission to intercede, and it is rightfully believed in. Whoever puts it in front of him, it will lead him to Paradise; whoever puts it behind him, it will steer him to the Hellfire.” [An authentic Hadith found in At-Tabaraanee, on the authority of ‘Abdullaah ibn Mas’ood] (Nine Great Benefits of Reading and Reflecting Over the Qur'an, by Abul-'Abbas; bold emphasis ours)

All of these ahadith raise some uncomfortable questions for the followers of Muhammad. As we already noted, these narrations presuppose that the Quran is a living conscious agent, much like humans and angels are.

Muslims further believe that the Quran is uncreated since it is the eternal speech of Allah:

33. The Qur'an is the word of Allah. It came from Him as speech without it being possible to say how. He sent it down on His Messenger as revelation. The believers accept it, as absolute truth. They are certain that it is, in truth, the word of Allah. It is not created as is the speech of human beings, and anyone who hears it and claims that it is human speech has become an unbeliever. Allah warns him and censures him and threatens him with Fire when He says, Exalted is He: "I will burn him in the Fire." (al-Muddaththir 74:26) When Allah threatens with the Fire those who say "This is just human speech" (74:25) we know for certain that it is the speech of the Creator of mankind and that it is totally unlike the speech of mankind…

56. We do not argue about the Qur'an and we bear witness that it is the speech of the Lord of all the Worlds which the Trustworthy Spirit came down with and taught the most honoured of all the Messengers, Muhammad. It is the speech of Allah and no speech of any created being is comparable to it. We do not say that it was created and we do not go against the Congregation (jama`a) of the Muslims regarding it. (G. F. Haddad, Tahawi’s Statement of Islamic Doctrine (Al-`Aqida Al-Tahawiyya); bold emphasis ours)

This, therefore, shows that there is another uncreated person besides Allah according to Islam!

However, Muslims tell us that Allah is the only uncreated being and that there was a time when he existed all by himself. As the following internet dawagandist puts it:

The narration in al-Bukhari, Bayhaqi and others shows clearly that standard Islamic belief repels the idea of another in existence together with Allah:

روى البخارىُّ والبيهقىُّ وابنُ الجارود أن رسولَ الله صلى الله عليه وسلم قال:”كان الله ولم يَكُنْ شَىءٌ غَيْرُه

“It is narrated by Bukhari, al-Baihaqi and ibn Al-Jarud that the Prophet said: When Allah existed nothing else existed other than Him.” (Ibn Anwar, Does Allah pray? If yes then who does He pray to?)

In other words, before creation came into being Allah existed alone.

Yet since Muslims tell us that the Quran is uncreated also, this means that it must have always existed as well.

If, however, Allah existed alone and yet the Quran is uncreated as well, then the Quran must in some sense also be Allah.

Allah must therefore be a binitarian deity, e.g. there are two distinct, conscious, divine persons who together make up the being of Allah.

Yet the problem with this view is that no Muslim would ever dare say that the Quran is identical to Allah. After all, Allah in Islamic theology is not the name of a generic essence which can be shared by more than one entity. Rather, Allah is the actual name of the Islamic god and refers to a specific individual deity.

Moreover, the Quran is believed to be the speech of that specific divinity whose name is Allah. As such, the Quran cannot be called Allah.

The word which a Muslim would have to use if s/he wanted to communicated the fact that the Quran is also divine is ilah, e.g. god, deity etc., since this is a generic word which can be used for any so-called divinity.

Yet to identify the Quran as an ilah would imply that there is another god besides Allah and that the latter did not exist alone since something other than him also existed alongside him even before creation came into being.

This would in turn contradict the Islamic confession which states that there is no other ilah besides Allah!

If this is the case then this means that Islam is not the monotheistic religion that Muslims make it out to be since it ends up affirming that there are two separate eternal conscious beings, thereby violating monotheism.

Or Muslims can stop interpreting Allah as the proper name of an individual deity, but start viewing it as a term which refers to two distinct divine persons who together make up the single being of the Muslim god.

In other words, since the god of Islam is actually multi-personal, as opposed to being uni-personal, then the name Allah refers to all of these divine persons collectively or individually, i.e. the Quran is Allah and Allah is also both the Quran and the one who uttered the Quran.

If so then this refutes the assertion that is often made by Muslim dawagandists that Islam actually affirms unitarianism, or the belief that God is a singular consciousness or person, and not just a singular being.

This also implies that to say that Allah existed alone really doesn’t mean anything since Allah is a multi-personal being. Therefore, he really wasn’t alone in the way that a single person would be since Allah and the Quran exist as a single being that have always been in fellowship with each other.

The Quran as a Multi-Personal Entity

The problems are from over. Not only did Muhammad believe that the Quran is a living entity which could communicate, he even taught that the surahs themselves are independent conscious agents as well!

In the following tradition, Muhammad is reported to have said a surah with 30 verses will act as an intercessor, but didn’t bother to say which surah he had in mind:

Narrated AbuHurayrah:
The Prophet said: A surah of the Qur'an containing thirty verses will intercede for its reader till he will be forgiven. That is: "Blessed is He in Whose Hand is the sovereignty" (Surah 67). (Sunan Abu Dawud, Book 6, Number 1395; *)

This next one has Muhammad claiming that surahs 2 and 3 would intercede for believers who recited them:

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; *)

In these next hadiths, Muhammad states that surahs 2 and 3 will actually go before and/or precede the Quran in interceding for Muslims!

Moreover, “Two flocks of birds” is an interesting image or analogy, since flocks in turn are made of multiple entities, as if each of these suras has multiple personalities in and of themselves. Perhaps this is referring to the multiple verses contained in each surah as having a conscious personality of their own? More on this point later.

992. An-Nawwas bin Sam`an reported: I heard the Messenger of Allah saying, "The Qur'an and its people who applied it, will be brought on the Day of Resurrection preceded with Surat Al-Baqarah and Surat Al-`Imran arguing on behalf of those who applied them."


Commentary: This Hadith means that on the Day of Requital, the Qur'an, with Surat Al-Baqarah and Al-`Imran in the forefront, will intercede before Allah for those who used to recite and act upon them in the life of the world. (Riyad-us-Saliheen, Chapter 180: The Excellence of Reciting the Qur'an; bold emphasis ours)


2883. An-Nawwas bin Sam‘an narrated that the Prophet said: “The Qur’an SHALL COME, and its people who acted according to it in the world, Surat Al-Baqarah and Al ‘Imran SHALL BE IN FRONT OF IT.” An-Nawwas said: “The messenger of Allah stated three parables about them which I have not since forgotten, he said: ‘THEY WILL COME as if they are two shades between which there is illumination, or as if they are two shady clouds, or as if they are shadows of lines of birds ARGUING ON BEHALF OF THEIR PEOPLE.’” (Sahih)

There is something on this topic from Buraidah and Abu Umamah.

[Abu ‘Eisa said:] This Hadith is Hasan Gharib [from this route].

According to the people of knowledge, the meaning of this Hadith is that the rewards of having recited them shall come. This is how some of the people of knowledge explained this Hadith and similar Ahadith regarding the coming of the rewards for reciting the Qur’an. And in the Hadith if An-Nawwas bin Sam‘an from the Prophet is what proves what they explained since the Prophet said: “And its people who acted according to it in the world.” So in this there is proof that it refers to the coming of the reward for the actions.


According to this Hadith, these particular two Surah WILL ARGUE IN FAVOR of a person and DEFEND him and get their reward for reciting them; they also have the distinction and quality that on the Day of Judgement, when a person will be in extreme need of shade, the reward for reciting these two Surah will provide shade in the form of a canopy, cloud or like the wings of the birds to those who acted accordingly. (English Translation of Jami‘ At-Tirmidhi, Compiled by Imam Hafiz Abu ‘Eisa Mohammad Ibn ‘Eisa At-Tirmidhi, translated by Abu Khaliyl (USA), ahadith edited and referenced by Hafiz Tahir Zubair ‘Ali Za’i [Darussalam Publishers & Distributors, First Edition: November 2007], Volume 5, 42. The Chapters On The Virtues Of The Qur’an From The Messenger Of Allah, Chapter 5. What Has Been Related About Surat Al ‘Imran, pp. 223-224; capital emphasis ours)

It seems that some of the Muslims were troubled with the notion of the surahs of the Quran coming to their people and therefore decided to explain this away by claiming that Muhammad really meant that their rewards would come to them. However, that is not the plain reading of the text and it is quite obvious from Muhammad’s reported words that he actually thought that the surahs themselves would come forth to defend those who recited them.

It seems that Muhammad wanted to depict the Quran as a tribe or an army that is marching, and that these two particular suras would be at the front of the group. As such, the surahs do not have to be “separate/separated” from the rest of the group by a distance, but simply need to be walking in the front position of the army. Whatever the case, Muhammad’s statements imply some sort of “individualism,” or individual distinction among these surahs that are contained within the Quran.

In other words, in order for surahs 2 and 3 to go ahead of the Quran they must be distinct from it in some sense. Yet for these surahs to be distinct from it, as well as from one another, implies that the Quran is a composition which consists of individual surahs that speak and intercede. In other words, this suggests there are at least 114 independent, conscious persons which make up the unity of the Quran!

And if this is what Muhammad believed about the individual surahs then is it possible that he also believed this about the indvidual verses?

To put it another way, is it possible that Muhammad may have actually thought that each individual ayah was also a personal consciousness agent, much like he thought of each individual surah?

If this is the case then this means that there are over 6,000 independent personal agents which make up the unity and personhood of the Quran!

Here is a breakdown of what Muhammad taught, and the implications of what he is reported to have said, so that the readers (specifically the Muslims) will be able to follow this more closely:

The Quran intercedes for believers, thereby implying that it is a living, conscious personality.

Certain individual surahs also intercede and will actually precede the Quran itself in defending believers on the Day of Judgment.

These traditions seem to suggest that even the verses of the Quran are capable of interceding for Muslims.

This would mean that Muhammad thought that all of the verses contained within these individual surahs have consciousness, which indicates that he considered all of them to be personal agents that could communicate with others.

This, therefore, implies that the Quran is a conscious being consisting of over 6,000 individual personal agents!

But now this introduces additional problems for the Muslim conception of Allah.

If Allah is the only being who is uncreated, and yet the Quran is also uncreated, then Quran must be Allah in some sense.

However, if the Quran is a unity of 114 surahs consisting of more than 6,000 individual conscious agents then this means that Allah is composed of over 6,000 distinct personal entities!

At the very least this means that Allah is a being composed of 115 personal entities, e.g. the person whom Muslims typically refer to Allah and the 114 surahs together make up the being of the Islamic god.

This leads us to our next discussion.

The Quran Assumes Human Form

Muhammad further taught that on the day of resurrection the Quran would actually appear in human form to its adherents!

It was narrated that Buraydah said: I heard the Prophet say: “The Qur’an will meet its companion on the Day of Resurrection when his grave is opened for him, IN THE FORM OF A PALE MAN. IT WILL SAY TO HIM, ‘Do you recognize me?’ He will say: ‘I do not recognize you.’ IT WILL SAY: ‘I am your companion the Qur’an, who kept you thirsty on hot days and kept you awake at night. Every merchant benefits from his business and today you will benefit from your good deeds.’ He will be given dominion in his right hand and eternity in his left, and there will be placed on his head a crown of dignity, and his parents will be clothed with priceless garments the like of which have never been seen in this world. They will say: ‘Why have we been clothed with this?’ It will be said: ‘Because your son used to recite Qur’an.’ Then it will be said to him: ‘Recite and ascend in the degrees of Paradise,’ and he will continue to ascend so long as he recites, either at a fast pace or a slow pace.”

Narrated by Ahmad in al-Musnad (394) and Ibn Maajah in al-Sunan (3781); classed as hasan by al-Busayri in al-Zawaa’id and by al-Albaani in al-Silsilah al-Saheehah (2829).

Here is the English translation of Ibn Majah’s version of this report:

3781. It was narrated from Ibn Buraidah that his father told that the Messenger of Allah said: “The Qur’an will come on the Day of Resurrection, LIKE A PALE MAN, AND WILL SAY: ‘I am the one that kept you awake at night and made you thirsty during the day.’” (Hasan) (English Translation of Sunan Ibn Majah - Compiled by Imam Muhammad Bin Yazeed Ibn Majah Al-Qazwini, From Hadith No. 3657 to 4341, Ahadith edited and referenced by Hafiz Abu Tahir Zubair 'Ali Za'i, translated by Nasiruddin al-Khattab (Canada), final review by Abu Khaliyl (USA), [Darussalam Publications and Distributors, First Edition: June 2007], Volume 5, Chapters on Etiquette, Chapter 52. The Rewards Associated With Qur’an, pp. 68-69; capital emphasis ours)

And this is what the renowned Muslim scholar and expositor Al-Suyuti said concerning this hadith in his commentary (2/1242):

“In the form of a pale man”.

Al-Suyuti said: This is the one whose color has changed. It is as if he comes in this form so as to resemble his companion in this world, or to draw attention to the fact that just as his color changed in this world because of staying up at night to read Qur’an, the Qur’an will appear in a similar form because of its striving on the Day of Resurrection until its companion attains the ultimate goal in the Hereafter.

How ironic! Muslims decry the notion of Allah either appearing or becoming a man, claiming that this is beneath his dignity and majesty, and yet Muslims (particularly Muhammad) had no problem with Allah’s uncreated speech assuming human likeness in order to communicate with its adherents!

However, since we have already established that the Quran must also be Allah then this means that Allah does appear in human form!

Notice the logic behind this:

Only Allah is uncreated.

The Quran is uncreated.

The Quran must therefore be Allah.

The Quran appears in human form.

Since the Quran is Allah then this means that it is Allah who is appearing in human form!

Which version of the Quran will actually intercede?

To make this all the more confusing, it is no secret that according to the Islamic sources there are a number of variant Arabic readings of the Quran which are still in circulation and used by various Muslims all over the world:

(C)ertain variant readings existed and, indeed, persisted and increased as the Companions who had memorised the text died, and because the inchoate (basic) Arabic script, lacking vowel signs and even necessary diacriticals to distinguish between certain consonants, was inadequateIn the 4th Islamic century, it was decided to have recourse (to return) to "readings" (qira'at) handed down from seven authoritative "readers" (qurra'); in order, moreover, to ensure accuracy of transmission, two "transmitters" (rawi, pl. ruwah) were accorded to each. There resulted from this seven basic texts (al-qira'at as-sab', "the seven readings"), each having two transmitted versions (riwayatan) with only minor variations in phrasing, but all containing meticulous vowel-points and other necessary diacritical marks… The authoritative "readers" are:

Nafi` (from Medina; d. 169/785)
Ibn Kathir (from Mecca; d. 119/737)
Abu `Amr al-`Ala' (from Damascus; d. 153/770)
Ibn `Amir (from Basra; d. 118/736)
Hamzah (from Kufah; d. 156/772)
al-Qisa'i [sic] (from Kufah; d. 189/804)
Abu Bakr `Asim (from Kufah; d. 158/778) (Cyril Glassé, The Concise Encyclopedia of Islam [Harper & Row: San Francisco, 1989], p. 324, bold emphasis added)

The following is taken from a website called Islamic Question Online with Mufti Ebrahim Desai which answers common questions. It claims that the actual number of qiraat or Arabic versions were much more than seven:

During the first two centuries, there were approximately 25 different Qiraats, but they were not compiled. It was only in the third century that Imaam Abu Ubayd Qaasim ibn Salaam compiled the first book on Qiraat, 'Kitaab al-Qiraat'. Thereafter, in the fourth century, Imaam Abu Bakr Ahmad ibn Moosa ibn Abbaas ibn Mujaahid compiled a Kitaab, namely 'Kitaab as-Sab'ah' in which he gathered seven Qiraat which were common in his era and commonly known as Qiraat as-Sab'ah.

Imaam Abu Muhammad Makki states that there were approximately 70 other Qiraats. However, he chose, only seven Qiraats and since he was a popular personality, his Kitaab also became very famous. That led to people concentrating only on the seven types of Qiraat.

Many great Aimmah disagreed with Imaam ibn Mujaahid of confining the Qiraats to seven and leaving out the other Qiraats. Therefore, they wrote Kitaabs consisting of the other Qiraats. Thus, we find that Qiraat al-Thalaathah (3 additional Qiraats) which we call Asharah.

Many people also have a misconception that the seven dialects that are mentioned in the Hadith is the famously known Qiraat Sab'ah, i.e. the Riwaayats (narrations) of Imaam Naafi'e, Ibn Kathir, etc. That is incorrect as these Qurraa, Imaam Naafi'ee, Imaam, ibn Kathir, etc. were not even born during the time of Nabi.

The Aimmah of Qiraat and their narrators

Imaam; Narrator 1; Narrator 2

1. Imaam Naafi’e Madni; Imaam Qaaloon; Imaam Warsh

2. Imaam Ibn Katheer Makki; Imaam Bazzi; Imaam Qumbul

3. Imaam Abu Amr Basri; Imaam Doori; Imaam Soosi

4. Imaam Ibn Aamir Shaami; Imaam Hishaam; Imaam ibn Zakwan

5. Imaam Aasim Koofi; Imaam Shu?bah; Imaam Hafs

6. Imaam Hamza; Imaam Khalaf; Imaam Khallaad

7. Imaam Kisaaie; Imaam Abul Harith; Imaam Doori

8. Imaam Abu Ja’far Yazid Madni; Imaam ibn Wardaan; Imaam Ibn Jammaaz

9. Imaam Abu Ya’cub Hazrami; Imaam Ruwais; Imaam Rawh

10. Imaam Khalaf Bazzaar Kufi; Imaam Is-haaq Warraaq; Imaam Idrees ibn Abdul Kareem

Qari Ismail Abdul-Aziz
Head: Department of Qiraat’ Madrasah In’aamiyyah, Camperdown
An expert in the fields of Qiraat (Seven dialects and ten dialects of Qiraat) (Question 14508 from Australia: Why does there exist different riwayat of the quran e.g. warsh, hafs? isn't the quran preserved in it's original form?; bold emphasis ours)

In light of the foregoing we are left asking which reading of the Quran (e.g. Hafs, Warsh etc.) will actually act as an intercessor? Or will it be a mixture of all of these reading, e.g. will it be the Hafs reading of surah 2, but the Warsh reading of surah 3 and the Qalun reading of surah 32? And what happens if a Muslim has been reciting the wrong version? Is it still going to intercede for that person?

Is the Quran uncreated after all?

Just when the Muslims thought that the problems couldn’t get any worse for them, the Quran comes along and testifies that it is a creation of Allah!

We verily, have MADE IT a Qur'an in Arabic, that you may be able to understand (its meanings and its admonitions). And Verily, it (this Qur'an) is in the Mother of the Book (i.e. Al-Lauh Al-Mahfuz), before Us, indeed Exalted, full of Wisdom. S. 43:3-4 Hilali-Khan

The following hadith further supports this view:

2884. ‘Abdullah bin Mas‘ud said: “Allah has not created in the heavens nor in the earth what is more magnificent than Ayat Al-Kursi.” Sufyan said: “Because Ayat Al-Kursi is the Speech of Allah, and Allah’s Speech is greater than Allah’s creation of the heavens and the earth.” (Sahih) (English Translation of Jami‘ At-Tirmidhi, p. 223)

Muhammad’s statement implies that the verse called Ayat Al-Kursi (Q. 2:255) is a part of that which Allah has created, in fact the most magnificent thing which he has created. To claim otherwise would suggest that Muhammad is guilty of a false comparison and of failing to communicate effectively since his words, on the surface, clearly refer to the most magnificent thing that has been made. His choice of words expressly show that he is comparing created things with each other, not with things that are uncreated.

As such, it is evident that the Quran is a creation of Allah.

But if it is a creation of Allah then this means that Allah’s speech is not eternal. After all, Muslims keep insisting that the Quran is Allah’s very own speech, which means that they must now contend with the fact that Allah had to create one of his own essential attributes. Yet if he had to create his attribute of speech then that means that Allah wasn’t always perfect and cannot be a changeless being. Allah went from lacking something to later acquiring it, and therefore experienced a fundamental change in his nature, something which a perfect being wouldn’t need to undergo or experience.

The Quran’s Lord and God

To top it off, Muhammad believed that the Quran prays to Allah and worships him as its Lord!

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)

Not only does this show that the Quran is personally distinct from Allah (since it even disputes with him!), it even indicates that it is a conscious being capable of praying and worshiping!(3)

It makes perfect sense for the Quran to worship Allah as its Lord if it were in fact one of his creatures. However, since Muslims insist that the Quran cannot be created since it is eternal speech of Allah then this places them in quite a conundrum.

This means that Islam teaches that there are actually two separate deities, Allah and the Quran, and that one of them is subordinate to the other and has a god over it/him!

A book existed before creation even came into being?

A Muslim may wish to argue that the Quran actually consists of two natures, a created and uncreated one. As the speech of Allah it is uncreated, and yet the Quran is also a book which Allah caused to be written down. The written aspect of the Quran is what is created.

A Muslim may argue that the Quran addresses and worships Allah as its lord by virtue of having a created aspect to it. In other words, the Muslim may reason that it only makes perfect sense that the Quran addresses Allah as its lord in acknowledgment of the fact that one of its essential components was created by Allah.

The problem with this logic is that Muhammad taught that the book in which Allah wrote the Quran(4) is not a part of creation:

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; capital emphasis ours)

Muhammad says here that the book in which Allah wrote existed before the creation of the heavens and the earth. In fact, he clearly says that he wrote in it two thousand years before he created the heavens and earth, which is an interesting assertion since this indicates that this book existed before Allah wrote in it.

This now raises even more problems for Muhammad’s followers.

Since this book existed before the creation of the heavens and the earth then this means that it existed before there was space and place.

However, in order for it to be a book in which one can write it must be composed of space and place since books are solid objects that cannot simply be suspended in nothing or nowhere.

Yet if it is an object that has spatial dimensions then how it could it have existed before the heavens and earth were created?

Didn’t space and place only come into being when the heavens and earth were made?

Furthermore, to say that Allah wrote something down 2,000 years before the creation of the heavens and earth implies that there was time even before creation came into being.

However, isn’t Allah supposed to be timeless? And isn’t time a thing which Allah created seeing that the Quran says that Allah created all things?

He is the Originator of the heavens and the earth. How can He have children when He has no wife? He created all things and He is the all-Knower of everything. S. 6:101 Hilali-Khan

If so then how can Muhammad speak of past time before creation came into being when there was no time at that time?

Does this mean that Muhammad thought that Allah is bound by time as well?

If so then is time another thing which Allah didn’t create, and therefore not within his control, even though the Quran says that Allah has power over all things?

And to Allah belongs the dominion of the heavens and the earth, and Allah has power over all things. S. 3:189 Hilali-Khan

More importantly, if this book which contains the Quran is not a part of creation then that means that the Quran as scripture is also uncreated. This would then indicate that there are no aspects of it which can be said to be created.

In light of this, trying to explain away the hadiths which refer to the Quran as a creature that worships Allah by appealing to its created aspect will not solve the problem for Muslims. The Quran is not supposed to contain any component which is created.

Thus, the major problems and contradictions remain.

Concluding Remarks

According to the teachings of Muhammad as found in the hadith collections, the Quran is not simply Allah’s spoken word. Rather, the reports which we examined demonstrated that Muhammad actually believed that the Quran is a living, conscious being which could personally speak and interact with Allah.

Muhammad’s statements concerning the Quran create major problems for the oft-repeated assertion that Islam maintains a rather strict form of monotheism by insisting that there is only one god, and that this singular deity is a single person or consciousness.

The fact of the matter is that the words attributed to Muhammad indicate that the Quran is another divine person that is subordinate to Allah himself.

It is now left to the Muslims, especially the dawagandists, to try and reconcile this belief with their view that there is no god besides Allah.

As far as the reported words of Muhammad are concerned, the Islamic creed should really be that there are other gods or divine persons besides Allah such as the Quran.

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(1) Muslims may argue that this report concerning fasting interceding proves that those hadiths which speak of the Quran or its surahs speaking or interceding are metaphorical, and are not meant to be understood literally.

There are two main problems with this assertion. First, it is clear from the contexts of the ahadith, and from the statements of some of the commentators, that Muhammad truly believed that the Quran would actually speak and defend believers before Allah. In light of this fact, we should understand that Muhammad also thought the same thing about fasting, i.e. fasting is not simply an act one does but a thing which will be endowed with personhood in order to speak in defense of Muslims.

This leads us to our next. Muhammad erroneously thought that virtually all inanimate objects were endowed with personhood!

For instance, Muhammad believed that things such as trees, herbs and stars actually prostrate to Allah:

See you not that whoever is in the heavens and whoever is on the earth, and the sun, and the moon, and the stars, and the mountains, and the trees, and Ad-Dawabb [moving (living) creatures, beasts], and many of mankind prostrate themselves to Allah. But there are many (men) on whom the punishment is justified. And whomsoever Allah disgraces, none can honour him. Verily, Allah does what He wills. S. 22:18 Hilali-Khan

And the herbs (or stars) and the trees both prostrate themselves (to Allah - See V.22:18) (Tafsir Ibn Kathir). S. 55:6 Hilali-Khan

Here is what the translator Dr. Muhammad Muhsin Khan had to say regarding this phenomenon:

The procedure of the sun mentioned in this Hadith and similar other things mentioned in the Qur’an like the prostration of the trees, herbs and stars (V. 55:6) are beyond our limited knowledge of this universe. It is interpreted that these are mentioned so because of the limited understanding of the people at that time about matters of the universe. (Bold emphasis ours)

Muhammad also thought that trees and stones could speak as humans do!

Narrated Abdullah bin Umar:
I heard Allah's Apostle saying, "The Jews will fight with you, and you will be given victory over them so that a stone will say, ‘O Muslim! There is a Jew behind me; kill him!’" (Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 4, Book 56, Number 791; *; see also Book 52, Number 177)

Narrated AbuHurayrah:
Allah's Apostle said: The Last Hour would not come unless the Muslims will fight against the Jews and the Muslims would kill them until the Jews would hide themselves behind a stone or a tree and a stone or a tree would say: Muslim, or the servant of Allah, there is a Jew behind me; come and kill him; but the tree Gharqad would not say, for it is the tree of the Jews. (Sahih Muslim, Book 041, Number 6985; *)

Not only do impersonal objects like trees speak according to Muhammad, they can also cry!

Narrated Jabir bin 'Abdullah:
The Prophet used to stand by a stem of a date-palm tree (while delivering a sermon). When the pulpit was placed for him we heard that stem crying like a pregnant she-camel till the Prophet got down from the pulpit and placed his hand over it. (Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 2, Book 13, Number 41; *)

Narrated Jabir bin 'Abdullah:
The Prophet used to stand by a tree or a date-palm on Friday. Then an Ansari woman or man said. "O Allah's Apostle! Shall we make a pulpit for you?" He replied, "If you wish." So they made a pulpit for him and when it was Friday, he proceeded towards the pulpit (for delivering the sermon). The date-palm cried like a child! The Prophet descended (the pulpit) and embraced it while it continued moaning like a child being quietened. The Prophet said, "It was crying for (missing) what it used to hear of religious knowledge given near to it." (Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 4, Book 56, Number 784; *)

A tree is even said to have relayed information regarding the unseen to Muhammad!

Narrated 'Abdur-Rahman:
"I asked Masruq, ‘Who informed the Prophet about the Jinns at the night when they heard the Qur'an?’ He said, ‘Your father 'Abdullah informed me that a tree informed the Prophet about them.’" (Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 5, Book 58, Number 199; *)

Food itself can speak and glorify Allah as testified to by Muhammad and his companions!

Narrated 'Abdullah:
We used to consider miracles as Allah's Blessings, but you people consider them to be a warning. Once we were with Allah's Apostle on a journey, and we ran short of water. He said, "Bring the water remaining with you." The people brought a utensil containing a little water. He placed his hand in it and said, "Come to the blessed water, and the Blessing is from Allah." I saw the water flowing from among the fingers of Allah's Apostle, and no doubt, WE HEARD THE MEAL GLORIFYING ALLAH, WHEN IT WAS BEING EATEN (by him). (Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 4, Book 56, Number 779; *)

In light of the foregoing it comes as no surprise that the renowned Muslim commentator and scholar Ibn Kathir could say the following in his explanation of Q. 2:74:

Solid Inanimate Objects possess a certain Degree of Awareness

Some claimed that the Ayat mentioned the stones being humble as a metaphor. However, Ar-Razi, Al-Qurtubi and other Imams said that there is no need for this explanation, because Allah creates this characteristic – humbleness – in stones. For instance, Allah said…

<Truly, We did offer Al-Amanah (the trust) to the heavens and the earth, and the mountains, but they declined to bear it and were afraid of it (i.e. afraid of Allah's torment)> (33:72)…

<The seven heavens and the earth and all that is therein, glorify Him> (17:44)…

<And the stars and the trees both prostrate themselves (to Allah)> (55:6)…

<Have they not observed things that Allah has created: (how) their shadows incline> (16:48)…

<They both said: "We come willingly."> (41:11)…

<Had We sent down this Qur'an on a mountain> (59:21),


<And they will say to their skins, "Why do you testify against us"' They will say: "Allah has caused us to speak."> (41:21).

It is recorded in the Sahih that the Prophet said…

<This (Mount Uhud) is a mount that loves us and that we love.>

Similarly, the compassion of the stump of the palm tree for the Prophet as confirmed in authentic narrations. In Sahih Muslim it is recorded that the Prophet said…

<I know a stone in Makkah that used to greet me with the Salam before I was sent. I recognize this stone now.>

He said about the Black Stone that…

<On the Day of Resurrection it will testify for those who kiss it.>

There are several other texts with this meaning… (Tafsir Ibn Kathir (Abridged), Parts 1and 2 (Surat Al-Fatihah to Verse 252 of Surat Al-Baqarah), [Darussalam Publishers & Distributors, First Edition: January 2000], Volume 1, pp. 264-265; underline emphasis ours)

It is obvious that both the author(s) of the Quran and Muhammad believed that inanimate objects such as trees, stars, sun etc., were rational beings with emotions and intellect. In other words, Muhammad wasn’t merely personifying impersonal objects, but erroneously thought that they possessed conscious intelligence!

Besides, it isn’t just “material objects” that have a conscious existence but even abstract concepts. Fasting isn’t something you can touch, it is a concept, an action (or rather, a non-action, since it means NOT doing something, i.e. eating and drinking). But even that is conscious.

And one cannot easily dismiss the property of consciousness for "fasting", yet keep it for the Quran, because the Quran is not really so different. A Muslim can only touch the Quran when it is written into a book, but the Quran itself is a message, a mental and immaterial entity.

One could therefore ask: Which copy of the Quran is going to speak and intercede? The obvious answer would be: It is not my or your copy, let alone millions of copies of the Quran, but only “the one” Quran that will intercede. In other words, it will not be a certain copy or material entity, but it will be the abstract content of the Quran that will intercede. So, if a non-material Quran can have a personality and speak and intercede, why not “Fasting”?

Finally, just to show ridiculous this teaching truly is let assume that stones are personal beings. What would then happen when a person breaks a stone into two or more pieces? How many personal conscious stones would we end up with? And would these stones be able to disagree and argue with each other?

These questions are meant to highlight the obvious. Islam’s position that inanimate objects have consciousness is so ludicrous that the more an open-minded person thinks about it, the more irrational and nonsensical Islam appears.

(2) This hadith is rather strange since it implies that some of the suras of the Quran were actually taken from the tablets of Moses! Yet, we are not told which tablets Muhammad had in mind. The two tablets mentioned in the Bible contained only the Ten Commandments. Did Muhammad think there were some surahs on them as well? Or did he imagine that the whole of the Torah was inscribed on stone tablets? That would be quite a load to haul around! And it would still be wrong since those suras are not found anywhere in the Torah. So, what is Muhammad talking about?

Moreover, if different parts of the Quran came from different places, e.g. certain suras from Moses tablets, at least one from beneath the throne, and the rest from unspecified locations, and it happened “in time” that they came together after they were given to Muhammad, then how could the Quran be eternal? Does this mean that the Quran is a distributed and divided conscious being?

In the context of this present discussion: Would this not be further evidence that Muhammad thought that each individual surah was a personal agent all of which were then brought together to make up the being of the Quran? To say that Muhammad’s teachings are rather strange and baffling would be quite an understatement.

(3) This particular narrative further highlights the wickedness and capriciousness of the Muslim deity. Notice the following part carefully:

“… 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…’”

Here we see how the Islamic god will exalt a person for every sin s/he has committed!

Instead of repaying a person for every sin s/he DID do, Allah will actually record a good deed that s/he did NOT do. It really pays to sin much, if every sin is rewarded by Allah simply because the sinner regularly recited Surah 32. This is nothing more than a gross perversion and travesty of justice, and only proves that Allah is not the God of the Holy Bible.

(4) Our discussion in the main text is based on the assumption that the unnamed book mentioned in this next narration is the Al-Lauh Al-Mahfuz of which the Quran states:

Nay! This is a Glorious Qur'an, (Inscribed) in Al-Lauh Al-Mahfuz (The Preserved Tablet)! Q. 85:21-22 Al-Hilali & Khan

It is a Quranic teaching that the whole of the Quran is (also) on this heavenly tablet. Many Muslims believe that this tablet is the same as “the Mother of the Book” (Q. 13:39; 43:4) and “the Book of Decrees” (Q. 33:6; 34:3; 35:11; 57:22) – as can be seen in Al-Hilali & Khan’s translation of these verses – and it does not only contain the Quran but also a record of everything that happens on this earth and in our lives since everything is pre-determined or decreed by Allah.

The Quran is eternal, but then it was also “written in this book”, i.e. it took on book form. This hadith now adds the information that this book was written before the creation of the heavens and earth, i.e. the book form is itself pre-creational, i.e. eternal.

In this understanding of the hadith, the movement is from the Quran to the book. The Quran that was “in the mind of Allah” (so to speak) became a book by virtue of writing it into a book (similarly to how the ideas of a human author become a book by way of formulating the ideas and writing them down, whether by hand or typewriter on paper, or by typing them into an electronic file in a computer). After writing it down, the book then has its own existence, outside of and separate from its author.

But does that assumption really fit with what we find stated in this narration? Here is the text again:

... 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.”

Note the following: First, this book is unnamed. It is not identified as the Al-Lauh Al-Mahfuz. Second, the narration does not say that Allah wrote the Quran in this book. These two points are assumptions not found in the hadith, but read into it. This may be okay as long as they are not contradicted by the narration itself.

Third, the emphasis in this narration is clearly not a movement of content from the Quran into the (unnamed) book, but from this eternal book into the Quran.

Fourth, and most importantly, the formulation in this narration only makes sense if the entirety of Surat Al-Baqarah (and thus the Quran) is not in this book. The argument is that these two final verses of Surah 2 are particularly powerful (to keep Satan away) because they have been specifically sent down from this other book, in which Allah had written 2,000 years before creation. If all of Surat Al-Baqarah was in this book, then this would not explain why these verses are more powerful than any other verses in this surah, or in the Quran in general. In that case, the emphasis that these two verses came from this particular book would be pointless, since all the verses in the Quran had come from this book.

Taking this narration at face-value, i.e. without assuming that it has to speak of the Al-Lauh Al-Mahfuz which is mentioned in other parts of the Quran and hadith, then this narration speaks of a book (unnamed) which is the source of (at least) two verses of the Quran, but the way this statement is formulated presumes that these two books are not identical. Neither is the whole of the Quran found in or taken from this book, nor is the whole of this book in the Quran. They are separate and distinct entities but there was a certain transfer of content from this book into the Quran.

However, this interpretation raises a whole host of other problems.

Assuming the eternality of Allah and of the Quran as asserted in classical Islam, and the fact that this book is also a pre-creation entity and is distinct from the Quran, we now have at least three eternal beings.

Next, the phrase “He sent down” usually refers to the time when the Quran was sent down from Allah in order to be revealed to Muhammad. That happened at a certain point in time, AFTER the creation of the heavens and the earth, since before then it would not make any sense to speak of a sending DOWN when there was no space in existence, and thus no up and no down.

In this case, however, it is not the Quran that is sent down to the lowest heaven and then to Muhammad and mankind, but something else is sent down to be added to the Quran, to the end of the second surah.

As just noted, the verb “to send down” necessarily presumes that there already exists a “down” and something down there to send it to. This implies that these two verses were sent down by Allah to become part of the Quran AFTER the creation of heaven and earth. Whether these verses were sent down to the lowest heaven and joined to the Quran there, or down to earth and joined to the Quran on earth does not matter. The issue is that the Quran (so far without those two verses) was sent down, and those two verses were sent down from this other book at a certain point in time, and then the Quran was expanded (and improved) by adding those two verses.

This spells trouble for the Muslim doctrine of the eternality of the Quran because this means the Quran did not always have the same shape or content. Whether these two verses were added to the Quran during Muhammad’s lifetime, or before Gabriel started to reveal the Quran to Muhammad, the problem remains that this addition to the Quran happened AFTER space and time began to exist in the creation of the heavens and the earth. The two verses from this other book were not included in the Quran while it was still “up there” but only after they were sent down. Therefore, the Quran is of a composite nature coming from different sources [cf. endnote (2)] and only came together into the shape it has today at a certain point in time.

In other words, the Quran cannot be unchangeable and eternal because it has been added to at a certain point in time. This also means, the Quran has been imperfect and incomplete up to that time. In fact, it was still incomplete after it had already been sent down and Allah had to send down something else that was so far not part of the Quran in order to add to it those verses that can keep Satan away from people’s houses.