The Holy Quran itself claims to be a miracle and it has challenged all those persons who have doubts about its Divinity. The following verses can be read in this regard:
And if you are in doubt concerning that which We reveal unto Our slave (Muhammad). Then produce a surah of the like thereof, and call your witnesses beside Allah if ye are truthful. [al-Baqarah 2: 23]
Or they say: He hath invented it! Say.: Then bring a surah like unto it, and call on all ye can besides Allah, if ye are truthful. [Yunus 10: 38]
Or they say: He hath invented it. Say: Then bring ten surah’s the like thereof invented. And call on everyone ye can beside Allah, if ye are truthful. & if they answer not your prayer, then know that it is revealed only in the knowledge of Allah; & that there is no God save Him. Will ye then be (of) those who surrender? |Hud 11: 13-14]
Say: Verily, though mankind and the jinn should assemble to produce the like of this Quran. They could not produce the like thereof though they were helpers one of another. [BanTIsra’Tl 17: 88]
Scope of the Miracles of the Holy Quran
Unbelievers and sceptics have previously been invited to produce the likes of the Holy Quran. And yet no similar speech or book has been produced. The Holy Quran is not it miracle in its eloquence and excellence. But it is a miracle in its words and their order; in its subjects and meanings; in the knowledge and information of the Unseen; its religious, moral, social, civic teachings, efficacy and far-reaching changes it brings about; in its prophesies and its disclosures of the dim past. When there is no equal in words, which is one aspect of its being a perfect miracle. Then how can there be any comparison in all other aspects put together?
The verses of Surah Hud 13-14 tell us that the secret of its specialty is that it has been revealed out of the knowledge of Allah and it is a manifestation of His unique knowledge. Then how can man compete with it with his conjectural and doubtful, deficient and limited knowledge which has been given to him by Allah! Man cannot be equal in Allah’s attributes and, in the same way, he cannot be equal with Him in His knowledge.
And if they answer not your prayer, then know that it is revealed only in the knowledge of Allah; & that there is no God save Him. Will ye then be (of) those who surrender? [Hud 11: 141
The assertion that it has been revealed out of the unique knowledge of Allah shows that He is incomparable in His attributes and Godhood and, in the same way, He is matchless in His knowledge. When there is no god beside Him, how can there be the likes of the Divine Book?
Verily We have brought them a Scripture Which We expound with knowledge, a guidance and a mercy for a people who believe. [al-A’raf 7: 52]
This “knowledge” is not confined to words and their arrangement or diction, but also encompasses deep meanings and eternal truths. The Holy Quran has mentioned that it has been revealed in “clear Arabic” which indicates that it is superior in depth of meaning and superiority of language:
Alif. Lam. Rd. These are verses of the Scripture that make plain. Lot We have revealed it, a Lecture in Arabic, that ye may understand. [Yusuf 12: 1-2]
…The speech of him at whom they falsely hint is outlandish, and this is clear Arabic speech. [an-Nahl 16: 103]
It has been asked in Surah al-Qasas to produce any such book which is better than the Holy Quran in terms of guidance and reformation.
Say (unto them, O Muhammad): Then bring a Scripture from the presence of Allah that giveth clearer guidance than these two (that) 1 may follow it, if ye are truthful. [al-Qasas 28: 49]
The excellence and eloquence of the Holy Quran in the uniqueness of its words is one aspect of its miracles. The ‘Ulama’ of former times made a study of the miracles of the Holy Quran or wrote about it in view of the general prevailing trend and in accordance with the literary taste and importance of language. No doubt, they provided lots of material in this field as a result of this ingenuity and insight. It is difficult to add to this store of knowledge.
Islam is the First and Foremost Miracle of the Holy Quran
The Holy Quran presented the final guidance in faith and religion to mankind and no religious guidance was presented in such a distinct and detailed manner and in such unambiguous terms ever before. The earlier religions are deficient compared to Islam because they were meant for a specific time – this revelation is final and terminal. No human ingenuity can formulate a better guide than this to establish a link with the Creator; which develops spirituality and God-consciousness, it keeps away from aberrations and inequalities in which religious nationalities were and are involved.
In the same way, it provided mankind with a Divine constitution for a moral and social life; which is responsible for the best moral results for individual and communities and proved it in the past, though such results were never obtained by any earlier method. Islam solves all complex problems that man will face until the end of time. Islam furnishes such principles on which the best social system can be based in every period and a new way of life be organized at any place in the world.
Because it is Divine, it is free from all human error in law-making inasmuch as it is the last and final guidance; it is perfect in all respects and, since it is universal, it is free from local and national traits. Islam is eternal and free from any alteration and cancellation, it is perfect and needs no addition.
…This day have I perfected your religion for you and completed My favour unto you, and have chosen for you as religion al-lslam. [al-Ma’idah 5: 3]
When the principles of Islam are implemented many of those problems which fill the minds of philosophers and social scientists do not emerge. The conclusions which philosophers have reached – after making mistakes and experimenting for thousands of years – the Holy Quran had described them through the unlettered Prophet (peace be on him) thirteen centuries before. The guidance and the constitution which is called Islam is the result of the highest polity (hikmah) of Allah:
…the doing of Allah Who perfected all things… [an-Naml 27: 88]
Because the principles of Islam are derived from the Holy Quran and they have been presented to the world through it, they are a miracle:
He it is Who hath sent among the unlettered ones a messenger of their own to recite unto them His revelations and to make them grow, and to teach them the Scripture and wisdom, though heretofore they were indeed in error manifest. [al-Jumu’ah 62: 2]
The elucidation and arguments for the miracles of the Holy Quran are, in fact, a complete exposition of Islam. The subject is so vast that many libraries can be filled with it. Some of them will, however, be explained in their proper place. It is necessary to ponder seriously on the expanse of the miracles of the Holy Quran in the field of beliefs, their miraculous structure and the wonderful results in moral and social conduct, though it is almost impossible for anyone to fathom its virtues and secrets.
And if all the trees in the earth were pens, and the sea, with seven more seas to help it, (were ink) the words of Allah could not be exhausted. Lo! Allah is Mighty, Wise. [Luqman 31: 27]
The Other Miracles Are Different Branches of Knowledge
The other miracle of the Holy Quran is the infinite varieties and categories of knowledge which are contained in this Book, and out of which each one is a miracle in itself. The more man advances in knowledge, the more he will know about the elegance of the Holy Quran. In fact, human knowledge is limited and cannot encompass the vastness of the Holy Quran, therefore whatever part of the Quran man understands is sufficient.
He sends down water from the sky, so that valleys flow according to their measure… [ar-Ra’d 13: 17]
There are many facets of these miracles: one aspect is the perpetuity and finality of truths. This eternalness is, in fact, the specialty of the knowledge and the Book of Allah. Change and ambiguity are necessary ingredients of human knowledge. Because the Holy Quran is perfectly safe, human knowledge makes no difference to its eternity and finality of truths.
Transposition in Old Scriptures
When man starts interfering in scriptures, then so many un- necessary tampering take place for which there is no guarantee from Allah. Then, human knowledge and ideals become integrated into scripture and, since human knowledge is limited and not definite, the finality and perpetuity of their truth is lost.
The Holy Quran is eternal and final from the beginning to the end. It does not contain changing ideals, research, nor experiments. However, human knowledge may advance, however it may broaden in physics, astronomy, or prove that the earth is the center of the universe, or that the earth is round, or that the planets are populated or not – all these discoveries would not affect the eternal truths of the Holy Quran. It is not the system of Ptolemy which may be proved wrong by Copernicus.
On the other hand, the Bible has suffered from inversions and mistranscriptions, and the views of the public have been inserted into it. The earth is 6,000 years old according to it and its surface is flat. The sun, moon and stars are moving, the earth is the center of the universe and all the celestial bodies are satellites. Human habitation is difficult on the other side of the earth, because, according to St. Augustine, no such species of Adam has been mentioned (according to the Bible). The most significant argument is that the people on the other side of the earth will see the descent of God on the Day of Judgement.
This “inspirational” history is possible and may be in accord with the compilers and exegetists of the holy book (the Bible) at that time, but it is not true in the present. It may mark a stage of human knowledge then, but it is progressing and not stagnant, the more man advances he leaves that “stage” behind him so much so that at times it becomes difficult for religion and science to walk hand in hand. This was the beginning of the conflict between religion and science and the decline of the former in Europe.
But this is not the case in the history of Islam. Human sciences can and do contradict each other. It is just possible that some may be right or some may be wrong or both may be wrong. But this would never be possible in the protected Book of Allah – the Holy Quran. The discoveries of science which are against it are not authentic.
Confirmation of Modern Sciences and Research
To look for modern scientific truths in the Holy Quran and to attempt to corroborate them with the hints and abstract statements which ‘Allama Tantawl Jawhari has done in his exegesis Jawahir-ul-Qur’dn is very delicate and to some extent unsafe. There are greater chances (and it has been tried several times) that the theories which are considered axiomatic, proved and certain may change or they may be disproved and become outmoded.
Besides, this academic venture, the sincerity of which is neither doubted nor its efficacy denied, would detract from the main purpose and there are possibilities of misgivings and of being overwhelmed by modern science and research
The earlier exegetists have also erred in respect of former philosophies and known historical narratives. Because it was a fraction of the vast and reputable exegeses of the Holy Quran it received no publicity or respectability in Muslim scholarly circles.
That is why the Holy Quran did not face any such trial during all this time which the old scriptures had to contend with on account of the addition and inclusion of discoveries in the fields of physics, astronomy and geography and which was known in the Middle Ages as “Christian Science”.
But one impartial scholar (who was not influenced by modem science) was awe-struck when studying the Holy Quran – the Book which was revealed to an unlettered Prophet (peace be on him) fourteen centuries ago in Arabia.
The Quran contains a lot of information about history, geography, physics, astronomy, celestial bodies, life sciences, medicine and the creation of man. It talks of sciences which have been discovered during the past few hundred years and a whole new world has opened before man; when the entire concept of his knowledge has undergone a radical change. But there is nothing in the Quran which contradicts modern discoveries. In fact, it contains realities which have only recently come to be known.
The expounding of this abstract information needs not one but a series of books. We will confine ourselves to quote from The Bible, the Quran and Science by the French scholar, Maurice Bucaille. He writes:
These scientific considerations, which are very specific, greatly surprised me at first. Up until then, I had not thought it possible for one to find so many statements in a text compiled more than thirteen centuries ago referring to extremely diverse subjects and all of them totally in keeping with modern scientific knowledge.