نحمده ونصلى ونسلم على رسوله الكريم
The Sâlimiyya, a heretical sect attributed to Muhammad b. Sâlim (d. 297 H) and his son, Ahmad b. Muhammad b. Sâlim (d. 356 H), believe that Allâh Most High Himself speaks upon the tongue of the Qâri (Qurân-reciter); it is not the voice of the Qâri that is heard when he recites the Qurân but the Voice of Allâh. Muhammad b. Sâlim was a disciple of the great Sûfi master, Sahl al-Tustari (d. 283 H). Hence, the Sâlimiyya were not merely a theological sect but also a stream of Sufism whose leaders like Muhammad b. Sâlim and Ahmad b. Sâlim were known for their piety and mysticism. This sect was based in Basra and were adherents of the Mâliki school of jurisprudence. Abu Ali al-Ahwâzi, a theologian who repudiated Abul-Hasan al-Ashari in his treatise Mathâlib Ibn Abi Bishr, was also upon the madhhab of the Sâlimiyya, as stated by Ibn ‘Asâkir:
قال ابن عساكر كان على مذهب السالمية يقول بالظاهر
Reference: Siyar A’lâm an-Nubalâ; v.18 p.15
Al-Qâdi Abi Ya’lâ, Ibn al-Farrâ al-Hanbali (d. 458 H), in his book al-Mu’tamad Fî Usûl al-Dîn, catalogues eighteen theses against the Sâlimiyya. The one relevant to this entry is the Sâlimi thesis that Allâh Himself recites upon the tongue of every Qâri:
ومن قولهم: ان الله يقرأ على لسان كلّ قارئ وانهم اذا سمعوا القرآن من قارئ فانما يسمعونه من الله
“From among their saying is that Allâh recites upon the tongue of every Qâri; and when they listen to the Qurân from the Qâri, then they are listening to it from Allâh [Himself].”
Reference: al-Mu’tamad fi Usûl al-Dîn; p.221
Now the belief of orthodox Islam is that while the Holy Qurân is indeed the literal Word of Allâh which He spoke and revealed to the Prophet Muhammad through the Angel Gabriel (peace be upon them both); when the Qâri recites from the Holy Qurân he is reading the uncreated Words of Allâh, but the sound emanating from his mouth is his own created voice and not the Voice of Allâh Himself, contrary to the bizarre and heretical doctrine of the Sâlimiyya sect.
There has been some academic skepticism regarding the heretical doctrines attributed to the Sâlimiyya of whether they held such views, or if they were misrepresented by the Hanbali polemicists, like Qâdi Abu Ya’lâ, who wrote against them. Interestingly, Shaikh Abdul Qâdir al-Jîlâni (rahimahullâh), himself a staunch Hanbali, likewise repudiated the Sâlimiyya in his famous al-Ghunya by duplicating some of the charges against them raised by Abu Ya’lâ al-Hanbali.
No overt Sâlimiyya literature exists for anyone to verify whether they held the heretical beliefs ascribed to them by their opponents, especially among the Hanâbila. However, Abu Tâlib al-Makki (d. 386 H), was a disciple of Ahmad b. Sâlim, and praises both him and his father extensively in his famous al-Qût al-Qulûb, a literary masterpiece of mysticism. The academic, Alexander Knysh, theorized that Abu Tâlib al-Makki belonged to the Sâlimiyya sect: “The tenets of the Salimiyya received their final articulation in the works of Ahmad’s disciple, Abu Talib al-Makki (d. 386/996), whose monumental book ‘Nourishment for the Hearts’ had a profound influence on al-Ghazali’s ‘Revivification of the Religious Sciences’.” (Islamic Mysticism: A Short History, p. 85)
Harith Bin Ramli writes: “Makkī states that just as the burning bush was a standing point from which Moses heard God speaking to him, God has made the movement of the tongue in recitation a boundary (ḥadd) and locus (makān) from which His speech can be heard.” (The Sālimiyya and Abū Ṭālib al-Makkī)
Here, he is referring to the statement of al-Makki:
وينبغي للعبد أن يشهد في التلاوة أن مولاه يخاطبه بالكلام لأنه سبحانه متكلم بكلام نفسه وليس للعبد في كلامه كلام إنما جعل له حركة اللسان بوصفه وتيسير الذكر بلسانه بحكم ربه عز وجل حدا للعبد ومكانا له، كما كانت الشجرة وجهة لموسى عليه السلام وكلمة الله عز وجل منها
Reference: al-Qût al-Qulûb; p.145
The citation of Allâh speaking to Prophet Moses through the tree to illustrate the reality of Allâh’s Words emanating from the tongue of the Qâri is an unmistakable proof of how Abu Tâlib al-Makki was a Sâlimi or at the very least affected by their heretical ideas.
Orthodox Islam holds that Prophet Moses literally heard the Voice of Allâh Himself emanating from the tree or “burning bush”, and so conversed with Allâh “from behind a veil” (Sûra 4:164; 42:51)
If it is true, as al-Makki asserts, that likewise a person hears the Word of Allah upon the tongue of the Qâri, it would mean that he too is experiencing the same thing as the Prophet Moses, thus rendering the latter’s experience as something quite ordinary (God forbid).