Christian: I understand that Muslims believe that the Quran is the Word of Allah [Kalimatullah]? Apart from the Quran, has the title “Word of Allah” (or “Kalimatullah”) been given to anything or anyone else?
Muslim: No, Jesus was the only person who was given this title. Adam was called “Safi Allah” (Chosen of God); Noah “Nabi Allah” (Prophet of God); Abraham “Khalil Allah” (Friend of God), Moses “Kalim Allah” (Speaker with God) and Muhammad “Rasul Allah” (Messenger of God).
Christian: What are some titles that were given to Jesus?
Muslim: In the Quran, Jesus was given these titles : “Kalimatuhu (His Word)” [Surah 4:171]; “Kalimatim minHu (Word from Him)” [Surah 3:45]; “Kalimatim min Allah (Word from Allah)” [Surah 3:39] and “Qawl al Haqq (Saying or Word of Truth) [Surah 19:34]
Christian: Do you believe the Quran is uncreated and existed eternally with Allah?
Muslim: Yes. The Quran as God’s Word is uncreated, eternal, and without beginning. This is because God cannot be without His Word at any time. If He was without His Word, He would have been without the ability to communicate.
Christian: This is very interesting.
Muslim: Fiqh al-Akbar II Article 3 says, “Our pronouncing, writing and reciting the Quran is created, whereas the Quran itself is uncreated”.
Christian: This is a surprise! If Allah alone is eternal, how could the Quran be eternal as well?
Muslim: Bila Kaifa! This points to the deep things about God
Christian: I believe that this points us to the fact that God is a Unity [Tawhid] and not a Unit [Wahid].
Muslim: I disagree! Imam Ghazali argues that the Word of Allah is simply Allah speaking. The Word of Allah did not become something apart from Allah just like the hand of Zayd did not become something apart from Zayd. When you claim that Jesus is the Word of God, Jesus did not become something apart from God. The Word of God is God speaking! The Word of God did not become another being!
Christian: Imam Ghazali cannot be right because Surah 3:45 says that the Word of God [Kalimatullah] became a human being. Behold! the angels said “O Mary! Allah giveth thee glad tidings of a Word from Him: his name will be Christ Jesus…The Word from Allah is given a personal pronoun “his” and is identified as being Christ Jesus.
Muslim: There is a difference between “the” Word of God [referring to the Quran] and “a” Word of God [referring to Jesus].
Christian: The Quran is described as “Words” [Kalimaat]. Surah 6:34 says “there is none that can alter the Words (in the plural) of Allah”. Elsewhere, the Quran is referred as “a Word” [Kalimah]. Surah 37:171 says, “Already has Our Word (in the singular) been passed before (this) to Our Servants sent (by Us)” Therefore, the use of “Word” in the singular does not reduce the impact of the Word.
Muslim: Dr Zakir Naik says that there is nothing supernatural for a prophet to be named “A Word of Allah”. If a person is called “a word’ from Allah”, it simply means that he is a Messenger or a Prophet of Allah.
Christian: If all prophets are Messengers of God, then why is Jesus the only one who was called “Word of God”?
Muslims: Jesus could be called the Word of God because he was created by the Word of Allah. Surah 3:59 says: This similitude of Jesus before Allah is as that of Adam: He created him from dust, then said to him: “Be” and he was.
Christian: If Jesus was called the Word of God because he was created by the command of God, then why was not Adam also called the Word of God? In fact, Surah 16:40 says that everything is created by the command of God. If We ever will something ˹to exist˺, all We say is: “Be!” And it is! Then, everything should be called the Word of God.
Christian: Jesus is not the Word of God because he was created by the Word of God. In fact, Jesus was already called “Word of God” before Mary conceived him.
Muslim: Why do you say that?
Christian: Surah 4:171 says “Jesus is His (i.e. Allah’s) Word, which He bestowed (Arabic “alqaa”) on Mary and a Spirit proceeding from Him. This word “alqaa” was the same word used when Moses “cast (or “alqaa”) his rod to the ground which became a snake. [Surah 27:10]
Christian: This verse further shows that Jesus the Word of God existed even before he was cast into Mary. That proves that Jesus pre-existed even before he was in human form.
Muslim: You mean Jesus pre-existed before he was born as a human being?
Christian: Yes. Before Jesus was born as a human being, he pre-existed as a Spirit [Ruh]. That is why the Quran also calls Jesus a spirit proceeding from Allah in Surah 4:171.
Muslim: Does the Bible say the same thing about Jesus?
Christian: Yes, the Bible says that Jesus was the Word, which existed eternally with God but became flesh. The Injil says: In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. (John 1:1,2,14)
Muslim: That means Jesus was uncreated in the sense that he existed eternally with God and yet created in the sense that he was born as a human at a particular time?
Christian: Yes, exactly.
Muslim: This is similar to what we believe about the Quran. While the essence of the Quran is uncreated, yet you can say that it was created at a particular time when it appeared in printed form.
Muslim: Another reason Jesus was given the title “Word of God” could be that he miraculously spoke even when he was only a baby. Surah 19:30 tells us: “Whereupon the baby spoke out: “I am indeed a servant of Allah. He has given me the Book and made me a Prophet.”
Christian: There were many prophets who performed miracles in the Quran but Allah did not give them the title “the Word of God”. Only Jesus was called “the Word of God”. Why is this so?
Muslim: I don’t know. But it is interesting to note that the founder of the Iranian revolution was called Ayatollah Khomeini. “Ayatollah” means “The Verse of Allah” which is similar to the title “Kalimullah”!
Christian: It is important to note that Jesus’ title “Kalimatullah” was given by Allah and not by any man or religious institution. Khomeni was called “Ayatollah” by men, not by Allah.
Christian: Furthermore, there is difference between Jesus being “Allah’s Word” (as in Surah 4:171) and “Word from Allah” (as in Surah 3:39).
Muslim: What’s the difference?
Christian: When we use the expression “house of God”, it could be a metaphor eg. a house used for religious purposes. However, if we say “house from God”, it means that the house physically came down to earth from heaven, where God is. Therefore, Jesus has a supernatural origin from the essence of Allah just like the eternal and uncreated Quran!
Christian: Not only is Jesus described similarly to the Quran as the Word of God, Jesus is also called “word of truth” (Arabic “Qawl al Haqq”). Surah 19:34: That is Jesus, son of Mary. And this is a word of truth, about which they dispute. The same words were used to describe the Quran in Surah 6:73 “His word is the truth”.
Muslim: Didn’t Jesus also call himself “the Truth” in the Injil?
Christian: Yes he did. In John 14:6, Jesus said, “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life.”