About the Author(s)

Hüseyin Halil Email symbol
Faculty of Theology, Bursa Uludag University, Bursa, Turkey


Hüseyin, H., 2020, ‘Controversial and paradoxical theological approaches to the issue of ‘‘Descent of the Qur’ān’’ ’, HTS Teologiese Studies/Theological Studies 76(1), a5387. https://doi.org/10.4102/hts.v76i1.5387

Original Research

Controversial and paradoxical theological approaches to the issue of ‘Descent of the Qur’ān’

Hüseyin Halil

Received: 16 Jan. 2019; Accepted: 24 Jan. 2020; Published: 16 Apr. 2020

Copyright: © 2020. The Author(s). Licensee: AOSIS.
This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


In Islam, there is a belief that Allah has a ‘throne’ [al-ʿArsh, the highest level of the heavens] in the sky and that Allah sent the Qurʾān directly from that throne or through an angel. According to this belief, the Qurʾān descended from the seventh level of the heavens to the first level and then completed its descent to the earth in pieces over 23 years. Accordingly, the Qurʾān descended from a certain place with determined borders, namely from the throne [al-ʿArsh] of Allah. However, theological books [the literature and sources of ʿılm al-Kalām] contend that Allah is free from space and time and that a specific space cannot be attributed to Allah. The verses of the Qurʾān even suggest that Allah is not only above in the heavens but everywhere. Therefore, the main question of our article is why Allah wanted to send the Qurʾān specifically from the heavens if Allah is free from space. We show that the descent of the Qurʾān from the heavens to the earth is not realistic but is a symbolic and metaphorical narrative.

Keywords: Qurʾān; descent; space; heaven; throne [al-ʿArsh]; ʾInzāl; Tanzīl.

The ıssue of where Allah resides and accordingly how Qur’ân was revealed

Although the groups of Mushabbiha, Karrāmite, Kallābiyya, Ahl al-Ḥadith [Salafisim] and some Asharīs [like Ebū Ḥasan al-Asharī and Bākıllānī] claim that Allah dwells in the heavens, given some verses and theological books, it is impossible for the creator of the universe to be somewhere or to be present in only one place.1 If we predicate our belief on the theological books and the revelations of the Qurʾān,2 we understand that Allah cannot be in a specific place like humans and is not similar to any human in any aspect.3 Although humans need a place to dwell, Allah does not need a place because Allah is the creator of space.4 However, the expression ‘God turned towards the heavens or settled’ in the Qurʾān5 gives the impression that Allah resides in a specific place. For this reason, theologians such as Abū Mansūral-Māturīdī claimed that Allah’s residing in and inclination towards a place is not the same as humans and creatures (Al-Māturīdī 2006:138; Götz 1999:193–214) do, and they argued that these phrases have different meanings.6 Therefore, they attributed to the heavens [al-ʿArsh] the meanings of reign, property, universe, perfection and supremacy instead of ‘throne’ and interpreted the word istiwāʾ as creating, attempting, surrounding, establishing sovereignty and ascending instead of residing,7 just as they attributed different meanings to other deeds of Allah that are similar to those of humans. For example, the Qurʾān mentions Allah coming and going like a human; however, theologians interpret these verbs as a ‘manifestation’ instead of giving them the meaning of ‘transition’ of human from one place to the other.8 According to these scholars, the deeds of Allah are different from the deeds of humans as Allah is different in his essence from creation, and therefore they preserve the concept of Allah from all human representations.9 Although the deeds of Allah, such as seeing, hearing, talking through revelation, arriving, going, resting, inclining and establishing a trap,10 are expressed with the verbs of humans, they carry completely different meanings and contents.11 As such, the human mind cannot comprehend these deeds, although it tries to understand and interpret them by comparing them to humans’ own acts.12

Given this understanding, it is not acceptable to believe that Allah resides in a limited place in the heavens; in other words, the belief that Allah rests in the sky cannot be accepted. Indeed, theologians have also found this belief unacceptable, arguing that it attributes limitations to Allah just as it does to humans and objects.13 Moreover, many verses in the Qurʾān state that Allah does not reside in a particular place but is everywhere. For example, ‘Allah is the fourth one in a place where three people talk’14; ‘We are closer to him than his jugular vein’15; ‘He is the deity both in the heavens and the earth’16; ‘We are closer to him than you, but you cannot see this’17; ‘Allah is with those who avoid misdeeds’18; and ‘Wherever you turn, Allah’s face is there’.19

It is clearly understood that Allah does not reside in a place like a human being. Even the word al-ʿArsh [heavens] means reign, property, perfection and supremacy instead of the presence of a physical ‘throne’.20 Referring that point of view, Fakhral-dīnal-Rāzī as an Asharīs theologian claims that al-ʿArsh means possession, ownership and property [al-moulk, al-malakūt and al-makhlūkāt], and the word istiwāʾ means reign [houkm], domineer [istīlā], seize, command [tartīb] and rule [tadbīr wa taqdīr]. Therefore, in his opinion, the verse al-Raḥmānʿalā al-ʿarshistawā including the both words means Allah dominated his property [istaʿlāʿalāmoulkihi] or he ruled and organised his kingdom with his will and power (anna qudratahūnafadhat fī tartībī al-moulkwa al-malakūt or ḥaṣalalahūtadbīr al-makhlūqāt or nufādh al-qudrawajarayānal-mashīat). His original saying and its translation is like that:

The verses (revealed knowledge / naqlī) and rational (aqlī) proofs we mentioned in the above indicate that the verse ‘al-Raḥmān ʿalā al-ʿArsh istawā’ can never mean to the fact that Allah resides in a place or occupies a certain space. (Fe thabata bi majmūi hādhihī al-dalāili al-ʿaqliyyati wa al-naqliyyati annahū lā youmkın ḥamlu qawlihī: ‘thoumma istawāʿalā al-ʿarsh’ ʿalā al-julūs wa al-istiqrār wa shoughl al-makān wa al-ḥayz). (pp. 80–85)

İnterpreting sūra al-Aʿrāf 7:54, Yūnūs 10:3 Raʿd 13:2, Tāhā 20:5, Fourqān 25:59, Sajda 32:4, Ḥadīd 57:4 al-Rāzī explains the issue in wide range and discusses it much more deeply; however, thinking that the explanations mentioned here are much enough, we will not address these verses’ comments one by one (Al-Rāzī 2004:sūrah al-Aʿrāf 7:54).

Briefly, al-Rāzī implies that al-ʿArsh refers to a symbolic and figurative expression. He cites this viewpoint from Qaffāl and al-Zamakhsharī who are outstanding philologist and theologian in the İslamic history (al-Rāzī 2004:sūrah al-Aʿrāf 7:54, Tāhā 20:5). In fact, most scholars supporting the method of interpretation of Qurʾān with personal thoughts and views, called ta’wīl and dirāya, consider al-ʿArsh as a figurative phenomenon stating Allah’s immense, vast and endless property. Therefore, there is no way to believe that the Qurʾān was sent from that throne. In other words, because the word al-ʿArsh [heavens]’ does not correspond to a physical place, it is not possible for the Qurʾān to descend from there. In addition, as mentioned earlier, as Allah is everywhere, his heavens al-ʿArsh cannot have a physical and particular space. If Allah is everywhere, his knowledge, al-Lawḥal-Maḥfūẓ and al-ʿArsh, is everywhere with him; therefore, there is no reason to believe that the Qurʾān, which was inspired by Allah from al-Lawḥal-Maḥfūẓ, was retrieved from the seventh level of the heavens. The Qurʾān was inspired wherever al-Lawḥal-Maḥfūẓ is. As al-Lawḥal-Maḥfūẓ is everywhere with Allah, we can say that the Qurʾān was inspired from everywhere and every direction.21 Expressing this with a short formula, if the Qurʾān was inspired from within al-Lawḥal-Maḥfūẓ or KitābMaknūn [the Knowledge of Allah]22 and if al-Lawḥal-Maḥfūẓ is in service to and with Allah and Allah is everywhere, then there cannot be a particular place from which the Qurʾān can be retrieved. However, we can say that the Qurʾān was retrieved from where Allah resides.

Therefore, the statement of Allah, ‘We sent the Qurʾān’, expresses the meaning of ‘to inspire’ the Qurʾān to humans from wherever Allah is, rather than sending it physically from the heavens in the sky down to the earth (Al-Husayn b 1933:3–4; Sīnā 1989:64–70).

Nowhere is it written in the Qurʾān, ‘We descended the Qurʾān from the sky’, although there are open-ended expressions such as ‘We descended the Qurʾān’. Only in Hadiths is the Qurʾān mentioned as being sent from the seventh level of the heavens to the first level and from there to the earth.23 The main thesis that the Qurʾān defends is that the Qurʾān was not sent from the sky but from where Allah resides.24 As Allah is on the earth, in the sky and everywhere, it cannot be explicitly claimed that the Qurʾān was sent from the sky. However, it can be said that it has been revealed from where Allah resides.

However, when we analyse the word ʾinzāl, we see that it does not always refer to a physical descent from the heavens to the earth. In the Qurʾān, the expressions of ʾinzāl and tanzīl descend) intend to mean ʿallama (to teach), ʾanbaʾa [to inform], ʾawḥā [to reveal] and ‘to inspire’ (into his heart).25 We can explain this as follows: it is stated in the Qurʾān that ‘we sent a prophet’,26 and the act of sending is expressed with the word ʾirsāl [transmission]. The word ʾirsāl expresses the transmission of a message from someone to another person through a messenger or a mediator. In addition, it is used in the Qurʾān to refer to the delivery of troubles and calamities from the sky, such as thunderbolts, floods or torrents to oppressors. These denotations of ʾirsāl have a completely realistic sense. In fact, Allah may give calamities to people by sending floods. However, the meaning of ʾirsāl [transmission] in the case of sending the prophet is metaphorical. Otherwise, Allah must have sent his excellency Prophet Muḥammad as the water from the sky or as a message from somewhere else. In fact, the prophet was not sent like a post from any place or as water from the sky. He emerged or was selected from among the people. The selection or emergence of his excellency Prophet Muḥammad from among the people is expressed as ʾirsāl [transmission] in the Qurʾān.27 In this verse, the concept of ‘transmission’ metaphorically means, ‘We rose him from among you’ or ‘We revealed to someone among you’.28 As in this case, the concept of ʾinzāl metaphorically means awḥaynā (we have revealed), allamnā (we have informed), ʾanbaʾanā (we have declared) and awḍaʿnā (we have installed).29 In other words, both the concepts of inzāl and ʾirsāl are metaphorical because the concept of ʾirsāl does not imply sending or bringing a prophet from a certain place physically and has a metaphorical meaning. Also, the concept of ʾinzāl does not imply sending a book in the physical sense, but in metaphorical sense.

The possibility of the Qurʾān being sent from the sky and heavens

Firstly, we need to understand what is meant by the place we call the sky. In the Qurʾān, the word al-samāʾ is used for the sky.30 According to the Qurʾān, there are seven levels of heavens, and they were created before the earth.31 The closest of these heavens is the sky which is surrounded with the stars, the sun and the moon. The Qurʾān uses the expression Samāʾ al-Dunyā for this nearest heaven.32 Another name for the first heaven is Bayt al-ʿIzza. Islamic sources claim that the whole Qurʾān was first transmitted to the first heavens, and then, day by day, to the earth.33 In other words, God’s word as sent down to prophet Muhammad is sent down in time but not at a time. Muhammad’s enemies ask themselves and indirectly the prophet: ‘Why has the Qurʾān not been sent down upon him all at once?’ [Lawlānuzzilaʿalayhi al-Qurʾānujumlatanwāḥidatan].34 Later, theologians called this spreading of the times of revelation tanjīm al-suwar35 and asked again, why the Qurʾān in contradistinction to the other and earlier holy books was not sent down all at once.36 The Qurʾānic text itself clearly established the notion of ‘earlier’ and ‘later’ revelations. Moreover, tafsir scholars were eager to ask what was the first and the last descending verse or portion. The eternal, divine word of Qurʾānic text is thereby given a temporal dimension.37

Another indicator of the impossibility of the Qurʾān descending from the sky is that it was transmitted from within al-Lawḥal-Maḥfūẓ. Stefan Wild indicates with regard to al-Lawḥal-Maḥfūẓ that before the divine word is sent down by God’s decree, it has something like a resting place: ‘a glorious Qurʾān in a guarded tablet’ [fīlawḥinmaḥfūẓ].38 The dialectical relationship between the recited Qurʾān (recitation or declaration) and the written Kitāb (al-Lawḥal-Maḥfūẓ or KitābMaknūn or ʾUmm al-Kitāb) carefully analysed by, for example, A. Jeffery, Tilman Nagel (Jeffery 1952; Nagel 1983:143–165) and William A. Graham (1987:79ff), is already present in what might be called the divine pre-history of the Qurʾānic text. God’s word refers to a written pre-text, and this written pre-text records God’s speech, even before it is sent down. A different concept of something like an ‘Urschrift’ can be found in sūraZukhrūf 3: ‘We have made it an Arabic Qurʾān; hopingly you will understand; and behold it is the Essence of the Book [ʾUmm al-Kitāb] with us sublime indeed, wise’ [ʾınnājaʿalnāhuqurʾānanʿarabiyyanlaʿllakumtaʿkilūnwaʾınnahūfīummi al-kitābiladaynā la ʿaliyyunḥakīm]. NaṣrḤāmidAbū Zaid has argued that this divine pre-history of the text defies human scholarship (Kermani 1994:25–49; Wild 1993:256–261; Zaid 1990:30). The human mind cannot penetrate what is in every respect beyond human reason. This argument, according to S. Wild, introduces a modern understanding of what scholarship can do and what not and implicitly calls for a modern hermeneutical methodology.39

As the sources indicate, the Qurʾān was inside al–Lawḥal-Maḥfūẓ, which is located in the heavens [al-ʿArsh].40 On the basis of the Qurʾān and Islamic sources, we can explain al-Lawḥal-Maḥfūẓ as the Central Book that records the knowledge of the past and future and includes all events, troubles and calamities before they occur and were created. In other words, it is the supreme book that records every event that occurs on the earth and in the seas, in the past and future and every atom.41 It is always with Allah. The verses in the Qurʾān express that they were inspired by Allah through the Main Book of al-Lawḥal-Maḥfūẓ.42 This can be accepted as a sign that the Qurʾān was not descended from the heavens. As verses of the Qurʾān indicate, al-Lawḥal-Maḥfūẓ is a book that is always next to Allah and with him. However, as we mentioned in the above verses, Allah does not have a particular place but is everywhere. If so, al-Lawḥal-Maḥfūẓ is with Allah; hence, the Qurʾān, which is inside al-Lawḥal-Maḥfūẓ, is also everywhere. Therefore, we cannot identify a specific place of descent for the Qurʾān in the heavens or in outer space. As a result, we can say that wherever Allah and Hisal-Lawḥal-Maḥfūẓ reside, the Qurʾān was revealed from there.

Qurʾānic verses speak of the presence of Allah’s being everywhere rather than residing in a particular place.

Some verses express that Allah is both in the sky and on the earth, some verses say that Allah is closer to human from his jugular vein and some verses state that Allah is everywhere. In spite of all these expressions, there is only one verse in the Qur’an that speaks of the residing of Allah in a particular place. This verse speaks of the residing of Allah in the heavens [al-ʿArsh]. In this case, we can ask the following questions: Does Allah really sit in the throne just as humans? If so, does this contradict with the verses of ‘Allah is no equivalent of any creature’ or ‘Allah is everywhere’? Moreover, if Allah really resides in a real throne, he is no different from his creatures, he loses his holiness and supremacy and he becomes restricted to a space just like living beings. Māturīdī explains this as follows: the claim that Allah resides in a throne carries one of these possibilities; either the heavens surround Allah, which denotes a place, or the heavens are equal to him, or Allah surrounds the heavens. The first two possibilities bring Allah down to the level of creatures because both cause Allah to be restricted and surrounded like the created. Although Allah exists in one part of the universe and absent in another part just like the creatures, it means Allah exists within the borders of heavens but absent outside the heavens. In fact, the verses express that Allah is present everywhere and every moment, witnesses everything and sees everything. Therefore, these two situations contradict with each other, either Allah is present everywhere or is limited to one particular place. According to Māturīdī, a third possibility is that it will refer to Allah’s inability because of an insufficient creation of something.43

Another important question is that where was Allah residing before the heavens had been created and had not existed. Had Allah had no place? Where was Allah resting before he had created the heavens, sky and even the universe? All these questions point out only one thing: Allah was not in any place neither in the outer space nor on the earth in the past, and he is still not. Alternatively if we would think reversely, Allah can be everywhere; in this case, it does not seem possible to detect an exact place from which the Qur’an can be retrieved. Finally, we can conclude that al-ʿArsh in the expression of ‘Allah resided in the heavens’ does not correspond to any physical place and indicates completely metaphorical meanings. That is the reason why theologians attributed more than one meaning to the heavens.44 One of them is property or universe.

According to this view, ‘Allah sat in the heavens’ refers to the realm of Allah over the universe, nature or the cosmos. In other words, the heavens [al-ʿArsh] correspond to the possession of Allah that he has the dominion and created from nothing, and his rest in the heavens means his dominion over the heavens. According to another opinion, al-ʿArsh means human being or obligant, and istawā means to intend towards something and to create it.45 According to this view, after the creation of the heavens and the earth in 6 days, Allah has turned to human and created them; thus, he completed and brought the process of creation to the highest point. Accordingly, the creation of human being is complementary thing for the earth and heavens’ creation. Because he is the only one who is in the position of obligant in the universe, so if he has not been existed, the rest (the earth, heavens and the whole existing universe) would have been meaningless. Therefore, ultimate intention of the expression ‘Allah resides in the heavens’ is the creation of human kind for the completion of creation after the heavens and the earth.46

The use of the concept of ʾİnzāl in real and metaphorical senses

In the Qurʾān, ʾinzāl is used 163 times and tanzīl is used 15 times.47 These verbs are used for both sending down water and divine word in both metaphorical and real senses. Stefan Wild points out that the most frequent use of ʾinzāl and tanzīl in the Qurʾān, next to God’s sending down his word, occurs with the words denoting ‘rain’48: ‘He sent down out of heaven water’ [waanzalnāmin al-samāʾimāʾan fa ʾakhrajabihīmin al-thamarātirizqanlakum].49 This is a proof of God’s care for human kind wherewith he brought forth fruits for your provision’. Sometimes, this is also God’s punishment as it was in the following verse: ‘And he sends down out of heaven mountains, wherein is hail so that he smites whom he will with it and turns it aside from whom he will’ [wayunazzilumin al-samāʾi min jibālinfihā min baradin fa yusibubihī man yashāʾu wayasrifuhūʿan man yashāʾu].50 Both the rain and God’s word are a ‘sign’ [ʾāya]. And ʾāya means a sign of God’s care for human kind and a verse of the Qurʾān. ‘And we sent down out of heaven water blessed’ [waanzalnāmin al-samāʾimāʾanmubārakan fa ʾanbatnābihījannātinwaḥabba al-ḥaṣīd]51 shows this double connotation: God sends down his word as he sends down blessed water. This connection between life-giving water and life-giving word is also constantly present in the Qurʾānic text. The heaven from which rain is sent down is the same as the one from which God’s word is sent down. Al-Samāʾ is metaphorically used for ‘rain’ in sūra Nūh 71:11. God has acted in history by sending down manna and quails,52 livelihood and provision53; he may be asked to send down a treasure.54 However, God acts principally in history by sending down his angels, messengers and prophets or even divinely inspired human inventions: ‘Indeed, we sent our messengers with the clear signs, and we sent down with them the book and the balance, so that man might uphold justice. And we sent down iron, wherein there is great might …’55 [la qad ʾarsalna rusulanā bi al-bayyināti wa ʾanzalnā maʿahum al-kitāba wa al-mīzāna li yaqūma al-nāsu bi al-qisṭi wa ʾanzalnā al-ḥadīda fīhi baʾsun shadīdun wa manāfiʿu li al-nāsi …]. God also sends down Hissakīnah56 and his authority (sulṭān).57 The word sulṭān seems to be the only instance where the object sent down is an abstract noun; in connection with sulṭān, the verb is usually negative: ‘Soon shall We cast terror into the hearts of the unbelievers, for that they joined companions with Allah, for which He had sent no authority’ [Sanulqī fī qulūbi al-ladhīna kafarū al-ru`ba bimā ‘ashrakū billāhimā lam yunazzil bihi sulṭānan], and so on. Briefly, the verbs ʾinzāl and tanzīl are used, by deliverance of rain, livelihood and torment, in the real sense.58

But these verbs are also used in metaphorical senses. For example, the Qurʾān uses them for the delivery of holy scriptures, garment (libās), sakīna, iron, charity, grazing livestock and quail meat in the metaphorical sense.59 In this way, the concept of ʾinzāl has been used sometimes in the metaphorical sense and sometimes in the real sense. One of the places where it is used metaphorically is for the delivery or descent of the Qurʾān and other holy scriptures.

There are many words and verbs in the Qurʾān that are used in a metaphorical sense. For instance, the verb ‘breathing’ that is used in the verse ‘Oath to the newly breathing dawn’ is used outside of its real meaning of the ‘breathing of a human being’.60 In this sentence, ‘breathing’ is used to indicate the emergence of the day and the arrival of the sunlight to the earth. As another example, in the verse ‘Ask the city’, the verb ‘ask’ is directed to a non-living entity instead of a living human, whereas a question is asked only to rational beings.61 Therefore, there is an allegorical narrative here. ‘The city’ refers to the people inside the city.

There are other examples: ‘rope’ in the verse ‘collectively cling to the rope of Allah’ and ‘garment’ in the verse of ‘they are your garment, and you are their garment’ are both used in a metaphorical sense.62

Also, there are symbolic expressions in the Qurʾān, such as ‘Then, he headed towards the mistily sky; said to it and to the earth, Come willingly or unwillingly’. They both said, ‘We came willingly’.63 This verse is a statement that shows symbolic expressions in the Qurʾān. The verse speaks of the dialogue between Allah and the earth and sky. Allah says to them ‘come’, and they come by obeying this order. However, Allah does not speak with a non-living being. The relationship between an inanimate entity and its creator is not a relationship of conversation dialogue but a relationship of ‘creation-created’. Therefore, Allah did not speak to the earth and sky as if speaking with a human; he only spoke symbolically, as if Allah said, ‘I am your God, resign to me’ by creating the earth and sky, and they said, ‘You created us, and we resigned to you’ (al-Zamakhsharī 2009:965).

In other words, this dialogue is not real but entirely symbolic. Similarly, the meaning of the expression, ‘When Allah wills something, he says “be” and it comes into existence’, which is stated in several verses in the Qurʾān, is totally symbolic.64 It is impossible for Allah to converse with objects and things and accept them as respondents. In addition, objects have no reason or ability to speak. Therefore, when Allah speaks to them and says “be”, this is a symbolic expression.65 The verse with ‘entrust’ in SūraAḥzāb 33:72 was perceived symbolically by commentators, particularly Zamakhsharī.66 In this case, both the residence of Allah in the heavens and the transmission of the Qurʾān imply a symbolic expression. We can express this case with symbolic language; it is as if Allah has created his property and, as the master of all the property, settled in the heavens. In other words, the dominion of Allah over his property is symbolised by his residence in the heavens [al-ʿArsh].67 In the same way, if we were to express the descent of the Qurʾān symbolically, we could say that Allah descended the Qurʾān by inspiring, teaching and embedding it in the heart of his prophet. In other words, ‘Allah sent/descended the Qurʾān to him’ symbolises the declaration of the Qurʾān by Allah, his teaching of the verses thoroughly to his prophet, their consolidation and embedding and his guidance through inspiration.

In addition, we can consider the cognates in the Qurʾān such as the hand, face, eyes and ‘nafs’ of Allah, having his hands tied and his generosity, his arrival and leaving and his residing in the heavens as metaphorical statements.68 Like these expressions, the descent of the Qurʾān also carries metaphorical meaning. As the arrival of Allah refers to the manifestation of his appearance, the descent of the Qurʾān implies its inspiration or declaration.

According to some scholars such as AbūMansūrMāturīdī,69 al-Rāzīand and most of Muʿtazilīs, the deeds of Allah differentiate from the deeds of human beings, and Allah does not resemble humans in any aspect.70 Seeing, hearing, talking, arriving, going, resting and establishing a trap have completely different meanings and contents.71 They also assign to the concept of al-ʿArsh different meanings as universe, reign and supremacy in place of ‘throne’. In the same way, the verb istiwāʾ also be commentated as establishing sovereignty, creating, attempting and surrounding instead of residing.72

However, it should be noted that even though Māturīdī, Mu’tazilites and some Asharīs just like al-Rāzī interpret the descriptions or deeds of Allah [al-sıfāt al-khaberī] as above and assign to them some other meanings that do not obstruct God’s exaltedness and freeing from space, they behave timidly towards being metaphorically interpreted the issue of ʾinzāl. For instance, Zamakhsharī’s Kashshāf is probably the commentary which uses the metaphor most comprehensively as an instrument of assigning to the Qurʾānic text a meaning compatible with his own Weltanschauung. But for him, the Qurʾānic derivations of the root ‘nzl’ were not metaphors.73

Additionally, Zamakhsharī treats the metaphorical derivations of ‘nzl’ in his book Asās al-Balāgha frankly. In this rhetorical book that gives for each Arabic word its real meaning [ḥaqīqah] and its metaphorical meaning [majāz], he is careful to list the derivations of ‘nzl’ under the following heading: waʾanzalaallāhu al-ghaythawaʾanzalaal-kitābawaʾanzalahūwatanzzalat al-malāʾikatu (Al-Zamakhsharī 1998:II, 264) Quṭbaddīn al-Shīrāzī, however, a commentator of al-Zamakhsharī’s Kashshāf, explains: ʾinzāl is used in the sense of affording lodging to somebody or of moving a thing downwards. Both meanings cannot be attributed to speech. Therefore, ʾinzāl is here used metaphorically’.74 A modern intellectual explains: ‘ʾinzāl is the process of changing a matter existing outside the human mind from something unperceived to something perceived’ (Shaḥrūr 1977:149).

Another piece of evidence that the verb ʾinzāl does not always mean a physical delivery is the following verse: ‘Who can be crueller than someone who says Allah inspired me and I will also descend similar things that Allah did, though he has not been given any revelation’.75 According to this verse, some polytheists want to retrieve a book like the Qurʾān. If the verb ʾinzāl means the descent of a physical thing from the sky, then the polytheists would mean to send a counterpart of the Qurʾān from the sky. Nevertheless, polytheists already know that they cannot obtain anything from the sky; therefore, some of them say, ‘I will also retrieve a book like the Qurʾān’. Additionally, they used to reject the possibility of the Qurʾān being descended from the sky, yet they want to bring a book like the Qurʾān down to the earth. There is only one explanation for this: the verb ʾinzāl is not used to mean a physical descent from above to below in this verse; rather, it means to ‘tell, say, declare, fabricate, write, comprise’.76 Thus, we can say that the polytheists wanted to tell, say, declare, comprise and write a statement like in the Qurʾān.77 On the basis of this meaning of the verb ʾinzāl of the Qurʾān’ implies not only its physical descent but also first its declaration to the prophet, then its explanation verse by verse and finally its record as the scripture. As a result, the verb ʾinzāl does not always refer to a physical descent from above to below (ʿAbdurrazzaq 2012:43–44).

There are several different verbs that have a common meaning with ʾinzāl. These verbs explain better what the verb ʾinzāl means. For example, one of them is the verb ʿallama [he has taught]. This verb is used in many parts of the Qurʾān to mean ‘to declare something, to inspire, to transmit’.78 The verse ‘He taught Adam the names’ speaks of Allah teaching Adam the names.79 If we make a small change in this verse and state it as ‘Allah descended names to Adam’, the meaning of the verse is the same. As another example, the story of David and Goliath says that Allah gave wisdom to David and taught him what he wills.80 We can interpret this statement as, ‘Allah gave wisdom to David and descended whatever he wills’.

Therefore, if we use the verb ʾinzāl [to descend] instead of the verbs ʿallama [to teach] and ātā [to give] which are used in the verses, the meaning does not change. As another example, the Sūra Yāsin 69th verse states, ‘We did not teach him poetry’. In this verse, even though the dialogue between Allah and the prophet Muḥammad is expressed by ‘teaching’, it implies the verb ʾinzāl. Therefore, if we express this verse as ‘We did not descend poetry to him’ with the verb ʾinzāl, the meaning is the same. Accordingly, it is obvious that the verbs anzala [to descend] and ʿallama [to teach] are synonymous and can be used interchangeably. In this case, when Allah says he descended revelations to his prophets, he means that he taught them revelations. For example, the verb ʾinzāl in the verses ‘We have descended the verses explicitly’, ‘He descended the book [Qurʾān] to you’, ‘We descended the Torah that shows the right path’ and ‘We take an oath that We descended illuminating verses’ does not imply that Allah descends and transmits these holy scriptures and verses physically or tangibly but rather that he explains and teaches them.81

The Qurʾān discusses the revelation of the Bible, the Torah and the Qurʾān. In the verses ‘He revealed the book to you’ and ‘We revealed the Torah that shows the right path’, Allah explains that he sent the book directly. However, the Qurʾān, Torah and Bible were not sent in the form of a book; rather, they were collected into a book on the earth (Al-Cawzī 1987:79, 220–232). Even when these verses were revealed, the Qurʾān was not a book yet; it only had pages.82 Therefore, the statement ‘We revealed the book’ in the Qurʾān means ‘We taught or revealed you words, sentences, verses’. In other words, what the word ‘book’ in the Qurʾān implies is not a hardcover book but the message or letter of Allah.83 Sūra an-Naml, 28th verse is proof of this: the word ‘book’ in the verse ‘now take them my book, then leave them’ has been perceived as a letter, revelation and message by almost all translators and commentators.84 Thus, we come to the conclusion that we cannot speak of ‘the revelation of a complete book’.85 Verses such as ‘We have revealed the book’ do not imply hardcover books but rather the lines of a message, verse or revelation. This means that the Qurʾān did not physically descend from above to below as a complete book; rather, it was revealed to the prophet’s heart verse by verse from every direction. Twenty-three years of revelation of the Qurʾān supports this view.86

One of the metaphorical meanings of the verb ʾinzāl as used in the Qurʾān is ʾanbaʾa or nabbaʾa, which means to inform or to notify (Al-Isfahānī 2009:788). In the Qurʾān, one of the ways that Allah contacts humans is by informing them about events. In the Qurʾān, the verb ʾanbaʾa or nabbaʾa rather than akhbara is used in the meaning of informing. For example, the verb nabbaʾa is used in SūrahTahrim3th verse to express that Allah revealed knowledge to prophet Muḥammad. As the Qurʾān tells the story, once his excellency prophet Muḥammad told a secret to one of his wives, and when his wife disclosed this secret, Allah informed the prophet Muḥammad about this. When his wife asked him who informed him about this situation, he replied, ‘All-knowing Allah informed me’.87 If we use the verb anzala instead of nabbaʾa and ʾanbaʾa in this verse, the overall meaning does not change, becoming ‘Who descended this knowledge to you?’ She asked, and the prophet replied, ‘All-knowing Allah has descended’. As indicated, ʾanbaʾa [to inform or declare or announce] and ʾinzāl [to reveal] have the same meaning in the dialogue of Allah and humans. If the verb ʾinzāl were used in its real meaning, and if a book or verses that include some messages were really descended from the sky, then it would not mean to inform. Because the verb ‘inform’ [ʾanbaʾa] used frequently in Qurʾān means to reveal and inspire a message invisibly, not to inform something visibly or physically. As a result, the verb ʾinzāl means the information, declaration or announcement of the verses, messages, events and the whole book that was constituted from all of the above. Therefore, the verbs ʾawḥā [to reveal], ʿallama [to teach], ʾanbaʾa [to announce or inform], alqā [to place, to lay], bayyana [to explain] and qāla [to say] have the same meaning as ʾinzāl [to reveal].88

One of the metaphorical meanings of the verb ʾinzāl in the Qurʾān is ʾawḥā [to reveal]. In other words, if the verb awḥaynā [we revealed] is used in the Qurʾān instead of anzalnā [we descended], there is no change in the meaning. For example, take the following verses: ‘We revealed a Qurʾān in Arabic’; ‘This Qurʾān was revealed to me’; ‘Read the revelation from the book’; ‘I am subject to what my Lord reveals to me’; and ‘Be subject to the revelation of your Lord’.89 Thus, there will be no change in the meaning if we use ʾinzāl instead of ʾawḥā (to reveal) in these verses. For example, consider the first verse above, ‘We revealed a Qurʾān in Arabic’. If we were to express this verse as ‘We descended a Qurʾān in Arabic’, we see that the meaning remains the same and completely fits into the language of revelation, which indicates that the verbs ‘to descend’ and ‘to reveal’ are used synonymously in the Qurʾān.

The verb ʾinzāl [to descend] is synonymous with the verb ʾawḥā [to reveal] as well as with the verbs ʾanbaʾa [to announce or inform], ʿallama [to teach], qāla [to say] and alqā [to place]. We must specify that these verbs are grammatically different in that they have a common point only in terms of their meaning. For example, it is grammatically correct to say, ‘We revealed a Qurʾān in Arabic to you’, although with the verb ‘anbaʾa’, ‘We announced/informed you a Qurʾān in Arabic’ is not correct. According to the logic of the Qurʾān, anbaʾa (to announce) and ʾawḥā [to reveal] have the same meaning, but their grammatical uses are different.90

The language of revelation is fixed, meaning that each word is used with the appropriate verb. For instance, if we consider the word ‘book’, it is used in the Qurʾān mostly with the verbs ātā-ityān [to bring forth] and anzala-ʾinzāl [to descend].91 Moreover, it is used with Jāaʾ [to come], ʿallama [to declare, to teach], ʾawḥā [to reveal, to inspire], alqā [to dispose, to give, to place] and awrasa [to bequeath].92 To state it differently, while we continuously encounter fixed expressions in the Qurʾān such as ‘We descended the book’, ‘We bequeathed the book’, ‘You are given a book’ (with the verb alqā), ‘Read the revelations from the book’, and so on, we never see the word ‘book’ used with the verbs anbaʾa [to announce], aʿtā [to give], wahaba [to grant] or qāla [to say].93 For instance, although the verb anbaʾa means to inform or announce, nowhere is it used in the Qurʾān with the word ‘book’ or ‘Qurʾān’, and it is not stated as ‘We informed the book to you’. Similarly, although the verb aʿtā means ‘to give’ just like ātā-ityān, the verb ātā is often used for ‘the revelation of the books to the prophets by Allah’, aʿtā is never used in the context of the revelation of books. Briefly, although some verbs are appropriate to be used in conjunction with the words ‘book’ and ‘verse’, others are not.94 Here, we will profoundly analyse and address ʾinzāl that is one of these appropriate verbs.

The origin of the verb ʾinzāl is nazala’ in Arabic. It means to descend, to lower, to reside, to visit and to settle.95 The most important property of this verb is that it has several metaphorical meanings. For example, in the Hadith, nuzūl is sometimes attributed to God. He moves down from a higher to a lower region in Heaven, to the Samāʾ al-Dunyā.96 Inna Allah yanzilukulla Layla ilāSamāʾ al-Dunyā [Allah descends to the sky every night]’ (al-Bukhārī 2006:35). Lexicographers, about this hadith and its similars, warned: Descending and ascending, movement and stability belong to the descriptions of the bodies. God – exalted is he – is sublime above that. What is meant by this is the ‘coming down’ of the compassion and the divine grace and their closeness to human kind [wa al-nuzūlwa al-ṣuʿūdwa al ḥarakatwa al-sukūn min ṣifāt al-ajsāmwaAllāhuʿazzawajallayataʿālāʿandhālikawayataqaddasu. Wa al-murādubihīnuzūl al-raḥmatiwa al-alṭāfi al-ilāhiyyatiwaqurbihā mina al-ʿibādi].97 In other words, the verb yanzilu and the word ‘Allah’ have metaphorical meanings here, because Allah is free from going down and up, movement and rest. The word ‘Allah’ means ‘Allah’s mercy’, the verb yanzilu means ‘to close’, and accordingly, the overall meaning of the hadith is that ‘Allah’s mercy closes to His servants every night’.98

In addition, examining the derivatives of this verb such as anzala, istanzala, nuzāla and nizāl, we see that each has a metaphorical meaning in addition to its real meaning. For example, as we see in the expressions nazalabihīmakruhu [get in trouble], anzaltuhājatīʿalākarīm [I submitted or told my need to generous Allah]’, nazalalahu an ʾimraatihi [He gave up his wife, although he was allowed or had the right]’, anzil līʿanhāthihī al-abyāt [leave or give me those verses], istanzalahuʿanraʾyihī [he discouraged from him from his opinion and infused another opinion to him], anzala al-mucāmiʿ [Man made love with a woman, slept with her]’, fulān min nuzālati sūi [someone from a nasty family or lineage], and so on, the verbs and nouns that are derived from the verb nazala have many metaphorical meanings.99

It is especially necessary to examine the metaphorical meanings of anzala among these words because it is a verb that is directly related to our subject. Therefore, let us consider the two examples above: anzaltuhācetīʿalākarīm [I submitted or told my need to generous Allah] and anzil līʿanhāthihī al-abyāt [Leave or give me those verses to me]. It seems that the verb anzala is completely detached from its actual meaning ‘to descend’. When Arabs want to inform someone about their needs, they use the first statement and say anzaltuhācetīʿalāfulānin. That means, ‘I presented, submitted or told my need to that person’. In this expression, anzala figuratively means ‘to say, submit, present or inform’ rather than ‘to descend’.100

When we look at the second example, we can again easily see that anzala has an additional meaning beyond its primary meaning. Arabs also use the second statement in daily life. When an Arabic person wants someone to leave or give his something unrequitedly, he says, anzil līʿanhāthihīal-ashyâ: ‘Leave or give those things to me, even though they are yours’. In other words, ‘These things belong to you, you are their owner, but leave or give them to me’. As we see in this use, the verb anzala has the meaning of ‘to leave, give up or give’ instead of ‘to descend’.101

As a result, the verb ʾinzāl in the verses such as ‘the Qurʾān was descended in Ramadan’, ‘Allah transmitted the book to you as the confirmative of His own previous books’. ‘He also descended the Torah and the Bible’, ‘We descended the Qurʾān verse by verse’ and ‘We have descended it as a Qurʾān in Arabic’ have completely a metaphorical meaning. In these verses, the expression anzalna [we descended] means yulqā [to be given, to be left] in the verse ‘you were not expecting that the book would be given to you’; ūhiya [to be revealed] and awḥaynā [to reveal] in the verses ‘This Qurʾān is revealed to me’ and ‘We revealed this Qurʾān to you’; ʿallama [to teach] in the verse ‘He taught to draw with a pencil’; and ātaynā [to bring] in the verse ‘We gave you the Qurʾān’.102

In addition to the revelations of books, the Qurʾān also mentions the revelations of verses, instructions and explanations, for example ‘We descended verses and explanations to you’, ‘We descended explicit verses in this Sūra’ and ‘We promise that we descended to you direct verses’.103 The expression anzalnā [we descended] included in these verses refers to the following meanings: arsalnā [to send] in the verse ‘We sent our messages to Moses’; ātaynā [to give] in the verse ‘We gave them our verses’; nuriyahū [to show] in the verse ‘To show some of our verses to him …’; ‘to say, to tell’ in the verse ‘We said that hit the stone with your crook’; yubayyinu [to explain] in the verse ‘Therefore, explains Allah His verses’; nabbaʾanī [to declare] in the verse ‘I am informed by Allah who knows everything’; and natlū [to read or teach or explain] in the verse ‘These are the verses of Allah, we read them to you as the truth.’104 In short, while the descent [ʾinzāl] of the Holy Books implies ‘to leave, place, convey’ [alqā]; ‘to reveal’ [ʾawḥā] (al-ʿAskarī 2007:491–492); ‘to teach’ [ʿallama]; and ‘to give’ [ātā];105 the declaration of the verses and explanations [bayyināt] implies ‘to send’ [arsala], ‘to give’ [ātā], ‘to show’ [ārā], ‘to say’ [qāla], ‘to explain’ [bayyana], ‘to elaborate’ [faṣṣala], ‘to transmit-to declare’ [aqraʾa], ‘to read or explain’ [talā] and so on.106 As a result, it is clear that the verb ʾinzāl used in the Qurʾān does not indicate the descent of the Qurʾân as a physical object from above down to the earth, although it does imply the transfer, revelation and declaration of it to the prophet by Allah in various ways.

Moreover, there is no such obligation for Allah to descend his revelation from the heavens to the earth. As Allah is everywhere, he can send revelations to humans from every part of the world, or he can teach them and talk to them secretly. In other words, dialogue between Allah and humans does not have to be in a vertical direction. In this case, there is a high possibility of Allah speaking with human kind by coming to the same level of humans. However, he might not appear to humans directly, but might show his part of own spirit that is Gabriel.107 Therefore, the exchange of revelations and the dialogue between Allah and human occurred on the earth. In other words, the verses emerged as a result of the dialogue between two sides.

However, having believed the physical descent of the Qurʾān, Stefan Wild said that perfectly straightforward words used in the Qur’ān (like ʾinzāl, God’s deeds and descriptions) which did not pose a problem to the primary audience (ṣaḥāba) of the Qurʾānic message, for hundreds of years later, caused disagreement and disunity between theologians. They always have recourse to metaphor in the solution of this kind of questions. The question of ḥaqīqa and majāz, truth and metaphor, was one of the factors which decisively shaped Muslim exegesis.108 Metaphor was one way of reconciling Muslim scholarship and Islamic belief. The Qurʾānic text leaves no doubt about God’s being in Heaven and sending down his message. Many theologians, for reasons of their own, could not accept the spatiality of ʾinzāl and tanzīl.109 One of the representatives of the hermeneutical approaches to Qurʾān, Mustafa Öztürk also suggested that the descent of the Qurʾān is precisely physical and not metaphorical. For him, when the historical and social context in which the Qurʾān was sent down is taken into account, it is clearly understood that certain theological questions, such as belief in Allah’s freeing from space, metaphorical descent of Qurʾān and other meanings assigned to istiwa and al-ʾarsh, appeared in later centuries. According to him in the tradition of Arab community of that time, because Allah and angels are perceived as heavenly beings, it is indirectly expressed in the Qurʾān that revelations are sent down from heavens. On the other hand, deeds and descriptions of Allah (Sıfāt al-Allah), such as seeing, hearing, talking through revelation, arriving, going, resting, and so on, have been expounded and interpreted merely with the intent of indicating that ‘God is exalted above all things and could not resemble humans in any respect’.110 This is called as ‘the method of abstraction of God al-tanzīh in the tradition of Muslim theology’ (Götz 1999:193–214).

But Quṭbaddīn al-Rāzī, Zurkānī and Ibn al-ʿArabī have defended that the descent of the Qurʾān is figurative. According to Quṭbaddīn al-Rāzī, as Allah is free from space and the Qurʾān is together with Allah,111 it is inappropriate to ascribe to ʾinzāl and tanzīl the meaning of ‘to send down’. Because in the dictionary,112 the verb ʾinzāl [to send down] refers to the meanings ‘lodging, hosting’ and ‘to move something down’; nevertheless, when this verb is used for speech, talk or oral conversation both meanings turn into the meaningless. That is why, the usage of ʾinzāl for the abstract things such as speech, talk and saying is completely metaphorical (cf. Al-Suyūṭī 2002:İ, 138).

For AbūBaqīr Ibn al-ʿArabī, the phrase of ‘descent of Qurʾān’ is figurative. But his attributing the phrase to metaphor is slightly different. Frankly, the meaning of ʾinzāl signifies that the angel [Gabriel] grasps and comprehends the revelation in the divine place and sends it down. That is a kind of metaphor transmitting what is tangible and sensible down into the mind.113 In the recent period, Zurkānī also tends to ascribe the phrase ‘the descent of Qurʾān’ to metaphor. The descent of the Qurʾān cannot be perceived as the descent of water or any object. Because, if it was perceived so, the revelation would have been in physical place as an object. However, the revelation of the Qurʾān is not an object and could not reside in a specific place or occupy a certain space as well as not descending physically.

Particularly, when we accept that the Qurʾān is Allah’s primordial and eternal speech (al-Kalāmal-Qadīm), it is never possible to assign to nuzūl the meaning of ‘coming down’. Therefore, it is necessary to employ metaphor and resort to it (ʿAbdulazīm 1988:i, 41–42). Similarly, commenting on the first verse of sūrah of Nūr, Fakhraddīn al-Rāzī determined the following results: İf one is asked that: ‘As far as the verb of ʾinzāl means sending something down from above, could not this verb indicate that Allah locates in a certain space?’ You can answer the question in three ways: (1) Gabriel received revelations from guarded tablets and memorised them, and then transmitted them to the prophet. So it is likely that the phrase ‘the descend of Qurʾān’ is metaphor. (2) Allah sent the revelation down to the first heaven and then gradually down to earth via Gabriel. (3) The verb ʾinzāl might be ascribed to the meaning ‘giving, granting’. This usage and meaning of the verb resemble a slave’s statement ‘I offered my need to my master’ while speaking with his master; in that situation, master’s giving something as a grant and favour to his slave is called ʾinzāl (cf. Al-Rāzī 2004:113).

Finally, it should be noted that the prophet did not receive the revelation from any direction. He received it within himself from his heart. Allah revealed to his heart and placed the revelation there, and the prophet enunciated those revelations in his heart.114 What is meant by the revelation is the inspiration of the verses into the heart of prophets or transmission of the spirit (message) of Allah. This inspiration and message (spirit) is metaphorically expressed as ʾinzāl within the Arabic language. A modern intellectual explains: ‘ʾinzāl is the process of changing a matter existing outside the human mind from something unperceived to something perceived’,115 and he seems to suppose that his terminology is less metaphorical than the language of the Qurʾān.


To conclude, if we accept that the Qurʾān was physically sent to a star in the sky and then to the earth, this would contradict verses in the Qurʾān, the belief of Islam, Arabic language and logic, creating many dilemmas. If the freedom of Allah from the limits of space is the indispensable characteristic of his divinity, thinking that Allah sent a book only from a certain place in space is a restraining situation. If we consider that Allah is all-seeing, all-hearing and all-able and is an unlimited being in terms of time and space, it becomes obvious that he did not choose any direction to inform humans. There is no importance of the directions for Allah because he is free from space. In view of the fact that earth is in a vacuum in the middle of space where there is no direction, it seems very odd to use the verb descent [ʾinzāl]. In addition to ʾinzāl, any verb that indicates location or direction, such as ‘down’, ‘top’, ‘turn right’, ‘turn left’, is not logical to use for space.

Even if we put the logic part of ʾinzāl aside and consider the verses in the Qurʾān, we find indicators that support the opinion that Allah did not send verses from space. Although Allah who is closer to humans than their jugular vein (Q 50:16) and always with them (Q 16:28) has the opportunity to choose to inspire his knowledge directly into the heart of the prophet, it does not seem logical to think that Allah goes up in the sky and sends revelations from space.

However, the communication between Allah and humans is based on different ways of speech, just as humans’ ways of communication include teaching, informing, declaring and exchange. ʾinzāl is one of these ways of communication and speech. It is often used by the Qurʾān only because it refers to all of them briefly and metaphorically, not because the Qurʾān really implies a physical descent from the sky like an object.

Consequently, the revelation of the Qurʾān (ʾinzāl) does not imply its descent to the prophet from the sky but refers to its inspiration and declaration to him. However, as the first meaning of ʾinzāl is to bring something down from above, this created the perception that the Qurʾān was sent from above down to the earth. In fact, the reason that the Qurʾān uses this word is not to prove that it descended from the sky but rather to show the richness of the language of revelation by using metaphors in Arabic.


Competing interests

The author declares that no competing interest exists.

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I declare that I am the sole author of this research article.

Ethical consideration

This article followed all ethical standards for a research without direct contact with human or animal subjects.

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Data sharing is not applicable to this article as no new data were created or analysed in this study.


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1. Scholars who are eager to Salafism such as Ibn Taymiyyah, İbn Kathīr, al-Tabarī, al-Zahabī and Bayhaqī challenged that Allah resides in the heavens as some verses and hadiths declared, understanding holy scriptures as they are and without interpretation. In Contrast, some theologians like al-Māturīdī who interpreted the verses related to Allah’s deeds and attributes with reason and logic to preserve the concept of Allah from all human representations, and challenged that Allah needs to be different to human being or anything, because if he looks like a humans in his deeds and descriptions he cannot be a exalted and sublime God. (Taymiyya 2012:195–200); Abū Muḥammad Nūr al-Dīn Ahmad b. al-Sābūnī (1969:44); al-dīn al-Rāzī (1986:100–101); al-Zahabī (1999:246); al-Māturīdī, Kitāb al-1.Tawhīd, 70–77; Q 58:7; 50/16; 43/84.

2. Q 58:7; 50/16; 43/84.

3. Al-Māturīdī, Kitāb al-Tawhīd, 70–77; Cf. al-Māturīdī (2006:131–140).

4. Al-Māturīdī, Kitāb al-Tawhīd, 70–77.

5. Q 10:3; 13:12; 20:5.

6. Götz (1999:136–137); Götz, ‘Māturīdī and His Kitāb Taʾwīlāt al-Qurʾān’, 193.

7. al-Rāzī, Afkār al-Muteqaddimīn ve al-Muteakhkhirīn, 155–158; and al-Rāzā (1987:7, 37, 99, 101, 106); al-Rāzī (2004), sūrah Tāhā 5; al-Māturīdī, Kitāb al-Tawhīd, 70–77; Ibn Āshūr, al-Taḥrīr wa al-Tanvīr, VIII, 162–165.

8. Āshūr, al-Taḥrīr wa al-Tanvīr, 141; Götz, ‘Māturīdī and His Kitāb Taʾwīlāt al-Qurʾān’, 194.

9. Götz, ‘Māturīdī and His Kitāb Taʾwīlāt al-Qurʾān’, 140–141; al-Rāzī (1986:105–110); Götz, ‘Māturīdī and His Kitāb Taʾwīlāt al-Qurʾān’, 193.

10. Q 8:30; 89:22; 2:210.

11. Al-Rāzī, Asās, 105–106.

12. Ibn Taymiyya, Jāmiʿ, 195–198; al-Rāzī, Asās, 105–106.

13. Ibn Taymiyya, Jāmiʿ, 131–132; al-Rāzī, Asās, 105–106.

14. Q 58:7.

15. Q 50:16

16. Q 43:84.

17. Q 56:85.

18. Q 16:28.

19. Q 2:115.

20. al-Rāzī (2004:sūrah Tāhā 20:5); al-Māturīdī, Kitāb al-Tawhīd, 70–77.

21. Q 43:4; 50:4; 85:21–22.

22. Q 56:78; 85:22.

23. Muslim (2010), ‘al-Masājīd’, 33/537; Anas (1985), ‘al-ʿItq’, 8; al-Nasāʾī, Sunan al-Nasāʾī (Bayt al-Afkār al-Dawliyyah ), ‘al-Sahw’, 20; Dāwūd, Sunan, ‘al-Aymān’, 16.

24. Q 4:82. ‘Min ʿınd Allah’ (from Allah).

25. al-Dāmaghānī (1983:453–454); Q 6:92,155; 27:193; 5:10; 3:48; 36:69; 66:3; 3:15; 42:7; 91:8.

26. 27:59.

27. Q 2:151; 19:58; 27:59; 35:32.

28. Q 5:20; 10:74–75; 16:36.

29. Q 66:3; 3:15; 42:7; 91:8.

30. Q 2:19; 2:22.

31. Q 41:10–11.

32. Q 37:6; 41:12.

33. Al-Suyūṭī, al-Itqān fī ʿUlūm al-Qurʾān, I, 268; al-Zarkashī, al-Burḥān fī ʿUlūm al-Qurʾān, 228; al-Zarqānī (1995:I, 40); al-Hākim al-Nīsābūrī, al-Mustadrak ʿalā saḥīḥayn (Dār al-Kutub al-ʿIlmiyya), ‘al-Tafsīr’, 7–8; al-Bayḥaqī (2003), ‘al- Ṣıyām (Layla al-Qadr)’, v, 256 (ḥadith no: 3386–3387); al-Bayhaqī (1926), ‘al- Ṣıyām / Layla al-Qadr’, iv, 306.

34. Q 25:32

35. In later times, Gabriel was also seen as the messenger who brought down the sunna (warada ʾanna Jibrīla kāna yanzilu bi al-sunnati kamā yanzilu bi al-Qurʾān) al-Suyūṭī (1985:I, 128); Wild (1996;xxvii. 146–147).

36. See al-Suyūṭī, al-ʾİtqān, i, 116ff. ʾunzila nujūman, op.cit., 117, 7; nazala munajjaman fi ʾawqātin mukhtalifatin, op.cit., 118, 11, etc. The other holy books had been sent down jumlatan wāhidatan.

37. Wild, ‘We have sent down to Thee The Book With The Truth …’ 146–147.

38. Q 85:21–22.

39. Wild, ‘We have sent down to Thee The Book With The Truth …’ 147.

40. al-Kāfiejī (1998:45); Q 50:4; al-Rāzī, Mafātīḥ al-Ghayb, xxvii, 617–618.

41. Al-Rāzī, Mafātīḥ, xxix, 467; xxvii, 617–618.

42. Q 43:4; 85:21–22; 50:4; al-Rāzī, Mafātīḥ, xxvii, 617–618.

43. Q 43:130–141.

44. Q 43:132–139.

45. Al-Māturīdī, Kitāb al-Tawhīd, 70–77; Cf. al-Māturīdī (2006:131–140).

46. İt should be noted that for this view, al-ʿArsh means human being and istawā means to create him. The highest goal of process of God’s creation is to create human-being (al-Māturīdī 2006:130–141).

47. ʿAbdulbāqī (1945:694–698).

48. This can be seen in pre-Islamic poetry: Saqā al-Raḥmānu Hazma Nubaʿyiatin / min al-jawzāi ʾanwāʾan ghizāran ‘May al-Rahman make drink Hazma Nubaʿyiatin (place name) plentiful rain coming from the Orion’ (Wellhausen 1884:6; al-Burayq b. ʿIyād).

49. Q 2:22.

50. Q 24:43.

51. Q 50:9.

52. Q 20:80.

53. Q 45:5

54. Q 11:12

55. Q 57:25.

56. Q 9:26.

57. Q 3:151; 6:81.

58. Q 7:162; 2:59; 25:48; 56:69; 16:65; 10:59.

59. Öztürk (2016:47–48); Q 48:4; 39:6; 2:57, 59; 28:24; 5:44; 4:105; 7:26; 57:25.

60. Q 81:18.

61. Q 12:82.

62. Q 3:103; 2:187.

63. Q 41:11

64. Al-Zamakhsharī, al-Kashshāf, 866; al-Bayḍāwī, Naṣr al-Dīn, Tafsīr al- Bayḍāwī (Dār-u Iḥyā-i Turāṯ al-Arabī), IV, 275; V, 68; al-Nasafi (1998); Q 36:82.

65. Al-Zamakhsharī, al-Kashshāf, 901; al-Māturīdī (2005:viii, 542).

66. Al-Zamakhsharī, al-Kashshāf, 866.

67. Al-Dhahabī, al-ʿArsh, I, 251–253; al-Dhahabī, al-Tawhīd, 133, 134.

68. Al-Māturīdī (2005:266–267); Q 48:10; 67:1; 55:27; 20:39; 3:28; 5:64; 89:22.

69. Götz, ‘Māturīdī and His Kitāb Taʾwīlāt al-Qurʾān’, vol. xxv, 193–214.

70. Götz, ‘Māturīdī and His Kitāb Taʾwīlāt al-Qurʾān’, 140–141; al-Rāzī (1986:105–110).

71. Al-Rāzī, Asās, 105–106.

72. Al-Rāzī, Asās, 141.

73. Wild, ‘We have sent down to Thee The Book With The Truth …’, 151.

74. Al-Suyūṭī, al-İtqān, i, 125; wrongly has al-Quṭb al- Rāzī instead of Quṭbaddīn al-Shīrāzī.

75. Q 6:93.

76. Al-Dāmaghānī, Qāmūs, 453; al-Rāzī, Mafātīḥ, XIII, 67; al-Andalusī, al-Bahr al-Muḥīṭ, iv, 584.

77. Al-Dāmaghānī, Qāmūs, 453.

78. Q 3:48; 16:103; 12:6, 21, 37; 2:251, 282; 53:5; 18:65.

79. Q 2:31.

80. Q 2:251.

81. Al-Dāmaghānī, Qāmūs, 453; Q 2:99; 5:44, 48; 24:46; al-Rāzī, Mafātīḥ, III, 614–615 (Q 2:99).

82. Al-Zarkashī, al-Burhān, I, 236–239; al-Hākim, al-Mustadrak, ‘Kitāb al-Tārīh’, 227.

83. Fazlur Rahman, Major Themes of the Qur’ān, 94; Āshūr (1997:i, 221); Öztürk, Kur’ān, Vahiy ve Nüzul, 43–44; Izutsu (2008:11–12).

84. Muḥammad Asad, The Message of the Qurʾan, ‘al-Naml’, 28.

85. Öztürk, Kur’ān, Vahiy ve Nüzul, 36–45.

86. Al-Suyūṭī, al-Itqān, I, 268.

87. Al-Tabarī (2001:XXIII, 91–93); al-Kathīr Tafsīr,viii, 181.

88. Al-Dāmaghānī, Qāmūs, 454.

89. Q 42:7; 6:19; 18:27; 7:203; 10:15; 33:2.

90. ʿAbdulbāqī, Muʿjam, 686, 695, 746; Q 42:7; 6:19.

91. ʿAbdulbāqī, Muʿjam, 9; Q 2:53.

92. Q 2:89; 7:52; 3:48; 5:10; 18:27; 28:86.

93. Q 66:3; 108:1; 2:30, 33, 68.

94. Q 2:53; 28:43.

95. Manzūr, Lisān al-ʿArab, XI, 656–658. al-Azharī, Abū Mansur, Tahḏīb al-Luġa, (Cairo: Dār al-Mısrıyyah), XIII, 210; al-Rāzī (2004:xxiii, 113); ʿAbdulazīm (1988:i, 41–42).

96. Q 37:6; 41:12.

97. Manzūr, Lisān al-ʿArab, XI, 657.

98. Manzūr, Lisān al-ʿArab, XI, 657.

99. Al-Zamakhsharī, Asās, II, 264.

100. Al-Zamakhsharī, Asās, II, 264.

101. Al-Zamakhsharī, Asās, II, 264.

102. Al-Dāmaghānī, Qāmūs, 454; Q 28:86; 6:19; 12:3; 96:4

103. Q 2:99; 24:1, 34.

104. Al-Jawzī (1987:128); Q 11:96; 15:81; 17:1; 20:23; 2:60, 187, 221, 242, 252, 266; 3:101; 5:89; 6:48, 55, 97, 98; 66:3; 7:5.

105. Al-Hīrī (1984:536); al-Dāmaghānī, Qāmūs, 453–454.

106. Al-Dāmaghānī, Qāmūs, 453–454.

107. Q 81:19–21; 16:102; 26:193; 17:85; 19:17.

108. Wild, ‘We have sent down to Thee The Book With The Truth …’, 151.

109. Wild, ‘We have sent down to Thee The Book With The Truth …’, 151.

110. Öztürk, Kur’ān, Vahiy ve Nüzul, 165–171.

111. The Qurʾān was inspired from within al-Lawḥ al-Maḥfūẓ/Kitāb Maknūn (the Knowledge of Allah) and al-Lawḥ al-Maḥfūẓ is everywhere with Allah (Q 56:78; 85:21).

112. Ibn Manzūr, op.cit.,XI, 656–658. al-Azharī, op.cit., XIII, 210; al-Rāghıb al-Isfahānī, op.cit., 788.

113. Abū Baqr Muḥammad b. al-ʿArabī (1998:iv, 426).

114. 2:97; 26:193.

115. Shaḥrūr, Qirāʾa Muʿāṣıra,149; Wild, ‘We have sent down to Thee The Book With The Truth …’ 152.

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