The Created Quran and the Mu'tazilites

The Mu'tazilites were the early Muslim rationalists (well, kind of), and they held that the Quran was created. They lost out in the long run, but the Mu'tazilite Controversy was formative for all subsequent Islam (like the Arian Controversy for Christians). The Arian controversy originated in Alexandria and the Mu'tazilite controversy in Basra.

...the Mu‘tazilites concluded that the Qur’an had been created (makhluq). The argument may be reconstructed as follows: if the Qur’an is God’s speech, then it is either coeternal with God, and thus uncreated, or it is not coeternal with God. To maintain pure monotheism one must concede that it is created. On this inference, if the Qur’an is coeternal with God, then in order to eschew plurality in the divine
oneness, one has to say that the scripture, as God’s speech, is one with
God. To avoid affirming contraries (unity and multiplicity), a Mu‘tazilite
would assert that it is not coeternal with God and must therefore be
created. This argument is seconded by qur’anic proof-texts that point to
the descent of revelation in the Arabic tongue that is constrained by
place and time, as to its accessibility to finite human apprehension.


The Cambridge Companion to Classical Islamic Theology, Ch. 6

Comments

Don said…
This whole business shows that the traditional Islamic "Mother of the Book" concept of the inspiration and nature of the Qur'an is impossible.

Today it is not easy to discuss things based on their nature as created or uncreated, as I do here. But these considerations are crucial to understanding the nature of the relationship between God and man.

Matters such as this underscore the importance of a truly incarnational view of the connection between uncreated God and the created universe, that connection of course being Jesus Christ himself. It's true (as you point out) that Islam in many ways uses the Qur'an as this connection. But to posit the Qur'an as uncreated creates (sorry!) many problems.

Another view of this situation is the business of the abrogations, which I discussed a few months ago.
Lucian said…
Even the Jews mentain that the Torah is uncreated.

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