I originally wrote this to help me deliver a talk in my local mosque on the same topic. They were a bit more detailed than my notes usually are because they were to be used as a script by the sign language translator attending. It turns out they also made a quick and useful read.
These points are quick, and detailing these points could result in either a very long article or even a book. In fact the perceptive will realize that most of this is actually summarized from a book: النبأ العظيم by Dr. Muhammad Abdullah Draz. I have added a few points here and there. Interested parties may refer to Dr. Draz’s book (The PDF is available online) for an excellent range of examples and broader explanations.
4 points that prove the miraculous nature of the Qurān:
Point 1: the Existence of the Creator:
Although we are not here to discuss this topic, which is proving the existence of a Creator – as a side note this can be done in one of four ways: either via the intellect (logic/philosophy), the senses (natural sciences), the fitrah (innate disposition of human beings) and ilham (knowledge given by Allah to the person) – the very fact that a Creator of the Universe exists is a proof that there must be some guidance existing somewhere that our Creator gave us. Otherwise what kind of all-Merciful, All-Loving Creator would not interact with His creation?
Point 2: The Sirah of the Prophet ﷺ:
There a number of points we can mention under this:
- The personality of the Prophet ﷺ:
- The fact that he was known to be al-Amin the trustworthy one before Prophethood, and this was reconfirmed when he first climbed al-Safa to publicly declare his message.
- He was illiterate. How could an illiterate man write a book that not just has stories of past nations (as this requires study), but is so intelligently written and has such thoughtful content that even a PhD or scholar of language can dissect, study and find unlimited gems in today?
- He was not interested in material gain. He died with barely any possessions. He slept on a bed of date fibres, in a mud house with barely a few belongings, and sometimes was even starving.
- None of his Companions noticed if he was a liar or schizophrenic. This is as opposed to Musaylimah the Liar, who was exposed right away by his own people.
- He himself claimed that Jannah for him is not guaranteed. Rather even for him heaven is conditional on the mercy of Allah. This is rather inconvenient for a Prophet.
- Literally impossible to combine all of his qualities and roles in one human being (political leader, general, father, husband to 9/12 wives, teacher, pastor, worshipper at night) especially if he was someone who had major defects such as being a liar or a schizophrenic.
- Why all that worship at night until his feet became red? This was something known about him by his companions, that we would stand up all night in prayer. (story of Ibn Masood praying behind him).
- If he did have a teacher, then who? Even the Hanifs became his followers.
- His relationship with the Qurān does not fit the mold of an author:
- The very fact that he denied he is the author. If the Prophet ﷺ did indeed author the Qurān, then it would have been an extraordinary masterpiece of literature. It is not typical of writers, poets and artists that they let their work be attributed to someone else. Rather the norm is that such people attribute such works to themselves, as they are proud of them and wish to receive appraise for them.
- The fact that the Qurān makes claims to perfection and challenges others to produce something similar. Anyone who has written an article or a book knows how atypical this is for a writer. There is always someone who can write better than you, and you will always have some mistake or criticism in your writing. Why would you open the gates to criticism by making this claim?
- Somethings are mentioned in the Qurān that criticize him or make him vulnerable to criticism or pick out his mistakes. Why would a liar open themselves up to this?
- Example 1 – the story of the Ifk and delay in revelation.
- Example 2 – Allah reprimanding him in the Qurān in the story of the honey and a few other verses on other issues. Some of them were in issues of his leadership which are inconvenient for the authority of a leader (e.g prisoners).
- Example 3 – the Prophet ﷺ would often wait for explanations of the Qurān from Allah that he himself did not understand. E.g. issue of being taken to account for intentions, the treaty of Hudaybiyyah
- That when the revelation would come to him, he would sometimes try to be hasty and recite it at once, and Allah in the Qurān twice told him not to do that. Why would he do this if he was making it up himself?
- His miracles. Specifically the Signs of the Day of Judgement, things we see to be true to this day. We might have not seen the rest but we can see these. E.g. Bedouins building tall buildings, Hadith where the Prophet almost exactly describes satellite dishes, TV and headphones. Also hadith to do w/ the future of the ummah (splits, fighting, specific events etc), and future of Islam (split into groups, false prophets etc).
Point 3: Features of the Qur’an itself:
- Allah fulfills the Prophecy of the Qurān being preserved. Although this is a long topic, a lot of research has been done on this to the point that most Orientalists even now believe that the Qurān has been accurately preserved from the time of the Prophet ﷺ. Refer to: History of the Qurānic Text – M.Azami
- The Linguistic perfection of the Qurān – difficult to explain this in a non-Academic, non-Arabic setting. The Qurān is worded perfectly, it is impossible to word it better no matter which ayah or surah we look at. No sounds, letter, word, phrase, expression or sentence is either present or missing except you can find an intelligent and purposeful reason for it.
- Example 1 – Nothing like it – Some scholars even tried to imitate it, but gave up after realizing it was impossible. Others tried to make their own holy books but were laughed at and their religions maintain a cult status, like the Qadiyanis, Church of Latter Day Saints, Baha’is. The True Furqan – also fails, imitates the sound and rhythm of the Qurān only, not meaning, intelligence and language. Also copies whole expressions, phrases and words from the Qur’an and then claims to be a challenge to the Qurān.
- Example 2 – The Arabs themselves – the height of Arabic perfection tried and failed.
- Example 3 – rhythmic and phonetic beauty in the distribution of its harakat, sukuns, madds and ghunnas. (Sounds)
- Example 4 – rhythmic and phonetic beauty in the choice of its words, letters and sentence structure. (Letter sounds)
- Example 5 – Every word and sentence conveys its corresponding meaning completely, accurately and perfectly.
- Example 6 – Speaks generally and to individuals specifically completely, accurately and perfectly.
- Example 7 – Convinces the intellect and entertains the soul/emotions completely, accurately and perfectly.
- Example 8 – Chooses between being vague or detailed appropriately, accurately and perfectly.
- Example 9 – The whole Qur’an is summarized and abridged. Books can be written on its verses, even for just one you can write volumes. A testament to this is the vast amount of Islamic literature all of which qualifies as tafsir of the Qur’an.
- Example 10 – variances of wording between similar verses – you can tell that there is a purpose and goal behind it. It’s never for no reason.
- Example 11 – Very short and poetic verses – the meaning is still profound in them, you never feel like you’ve been left hanging.
- Example 12 – When looking at Surahs at a whole – there are main themes running throughout the whole Qurān, as well as surah-specific themes, with corresponding meanings and choice of wording for both.
- Example 13 – The structure and harmony of the Qur’an with itself – some have identified for example – a ring structure within the meanings of the surahs.
- Its accuracy in describing the psychology and sociology of religious believers, disbelievers, hypocrites etc.
- Its accuracy in describing the psychology of a human being with regards to human issues like: patience, anger, gratefulness, faith, family, individualism, community, nation etc.
- It somehow always takes the middle path through human extremes in all intellectual fields: psychology, politics, economics, society, family etc. E.g. middle road between capitalism and communism, feminism and patriarchy, chaos and bureaucracy, faith and intellect, peace and war, profit and riba, family and the self, patience and gratitude, intelligence and knowledge etc.
Point 4: The History of the Qur’an since its revelation
The Qurān has remained an object of study for scholars and a object of reflection and spiritual fulfillment for ordinary Muslims for centuries now – the same Qurān without any change in translation or wording like the other texts. They changed from Greek to Latin, and Latin to English and Old English to Modern English to suit the reader. The Qurān has stayed the same but maintained its effect on people’s hearts and minds.
All of this leads us to conclude that the most likely explanation is that the Qurān is truly the true speech of the One Creator.
If we don’t believe this, then the alternative is much more preposterous – that the Qurān, its relationship to its supposed ‘author’ is an impossible rare and freakish occurrence that defies all the norms and even the rarest examples of human capability, authorship, literary capability, and overall intelligence, knowledge and foresight. Its basically the most impossible event in world history.
This is a much greater stretch than believing that it is obviously divine in origin, and the book of guidance sent down to humanity by Allah via the most perfect human being that ever existed.
2 Replies to “Brief notes on the miraculous nature (i’jāz) of the Qurān”
I really enjoyed reading this. Thank you for posting it!