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Last Updated: 2012/04/11
Summary of question
The Quran is the last Book revealed by Allah Almighty. What are the reasons to prove that the Quran is a miracle?
question
The Quran is the last Book revealed by Allah Almighty. What are the reasons to prove that the Quran is a miracle?
Concise answer

Different explanations have been given about the Quran being a miracle which can be sorted out under the following three categories: miracle in terms of the words of the Quran, miracle in terms of the contents and miracle in terms of its bringer.

1. The verbal miracle of the Quran is divided into two subsections:

A) The miracle of eloquence:

The Quran’s method of expression or eloquence is such that no method of human speaking, even that of the Holy Prophet (s) is comparable with it. That is why religious scholars have said that the action of those who prevented the inscription of apostolic tradition is not acceptable and justifiable.

B) Numerical miracle:

Today, endeavors have been made to establish special numerical relationship between the words and letters of the Quran, thanks to the computer and scientific progress. Such a relation can never exist in human speeches.

2. Miracle in terms of the contents of the Quran is also discussed in several parts:

A) Absence of any discrepancies in the Quran;

B) Reports or prophecies that have taken place exactly about some individuals or unseen events;

C) Quranic sciences: The Quran contains teachings and sciences that no human being could attain or acquire in the time when it was revealed. These teachings consist of profound mystical, philosophical and rational information.

D) The inability to nullify the sciences and teachings that are in the Quran. The Quranic sciences continue to be valid even after several centuries.

3. Miracle in terms of its bringer:

The Messenger of Islam (s) was an unschooled man. How could he create or write a book in the Arabian Peninsula at a time which was characteristic of public alienation with science and culture?

Detailed Answer

Different explanations have been given about the Quran being a miracle[1] which can be sorted out under the following three categories:

1. The Quran being a miracle in terms of its words

2. The Quran being a miracle in terms of its contents;

3. The Quran being a miracle in terms of its bringer;

1-1. The Quran being a miracle in terms of its words:

1. The verbal miracle of the Quran is divided into two parts:  Miracle of eloquence and numerical miracle.

The discussion concerning the Quran’s miracle of eloquence has been a popular discussion since long. Almost all Islamic religions have somehow discussed it and given attention to it. It should be noted that some scholars have considered the Quran’s eloquence to be a part of the order, sequence, method and style of expression. They have said: One of the aspects of the Quran is the miracle of eloquence and the other aspect is the order and the style of its eloquence. Some others consider the miracles of the Quran to be a combination of eloquence, order and style.[2] In fact, these are only examples given, otherwise they are all related to the expressing style of the Quran. The expressing style of the Quran is such that no human being, even the Prophet (s), can speak in that style. To explain further, when it comes to the history of hadith, Sunnis claim that the Messenger of Allah (s) forbade others from writing down his sayings and words; they narrate a tradition in this regard.[3] But they have faced the question that why he forbade the inscription of his sayings.

One of the given answers which is very well-known among Sunnis is that the prohibition was aimed at preventing the Prophet’s sayings getting mixed with the verses of the Holy Quran. One of the Sunni researchers has rejected the famous arguments presented by Sunni scholars saying: “The miracle of eloquence relating to the Quran in fact prohibits non-Quranic statements and sayings to be mixed with the Quran.[4] Then they have gone to deal with the objection that perhaps the Prophet (s) was so eloquent that he could speak as eloquently as the Quran. The answer they have given to this objection is that this assumption will ultimately lead to the negation of the Quran being a miracle in terms of eloquence.[5] In any case, the prohibition ascribed to the Prophet (s) – given the fact that his sayings were ordinary and were not from God but they were luminous, with divine guidance and connected with the unseen realm and able solve a lot of the difficulties of the Muslim Ummah – is considered to be a serious criticism on Sunni scholars. For this reason, Shia scholars from the early period as of today have considered the said allegation regarding the inscription of the apostolic traditions as incorrect.

Another miraculous aspect of the Quran is the numerical or mathematical miracle of the Quran. Recently, with computer used in this regard, this aspect of the Holy Quran has drawn the attention of many experts across the world. With special numerical relationship established between the words and letters of the Quran, it has been endeavored to show that such relationship cannot materialize in human words.[6]

1-2. Miracle in terms of the content of the Quran:

Different aspects have been mentioned for the content-wise miracle of the Quran which shall be enumerated as under:

a) Absence of any discrepancies in the Quran:

The Holy Quran says:

"أ فلا يتدبرون القرآن و لو كان من عند غير الله لوجدوا فيه اختلافاً كثيرا"

“Do they not then meditate on the Quran? And if it were from any other than Allah, they would have found in it many a discrepancy.”[7]

b) Report of the unseen events:

There are verses in the Quran concerning people or certain events which have taken place in the same way as they have been prophesied. For example, the Quran says:

"ا لم* غلبت الروم فى أدنى الارض و هم من بعد غلبهم سيغلبون"

“Alif Lam Mim. The Roman Empire has been defeated,  in a land close by; but they, (even) after (this) defeat of theirs, will soon be victorious.”[8]

c) Quranic sciences and teachings:

The Quran consists of information which no human being at least could have access to. There is no doubt that Quran still has lofty teachings which have still remained unknown to human beings. Much of what is known has been made known by the Prophet (s), the Infallible Imams (a.s) through their constant guidance in a way such that at present a considerable part of the traditions are made up of ideological narration, rational arguments, philosophical and theological points and mystical themes. In any rate, even if someone presumably considers all the Quranic sciences and teachings as known and accessible, though it wasn’t for sure as such in the past, this will not reduce anything from the miraculous nature of the Quran. It is worth mentioning that this is not concerned with proving the miracle of the Quran through its bringer. In fact, these profound and lofty sciences and doctrines are so great that they were above the horizon of every scholar’s thought.  Generally speaking, they cannot originate in human thoughts and there are all kinds of signs of divinity seen in it.

d) The inability to invalidate Quranic sciences as stated in the Quran:

After several long years and          with the dramatic scientific and cultural advancements and exchanges, none of the Quranic doctrines have been nullified which by itself substantiate the righteousness and heavenliness of the Quran.

It is noteworthy that although some human sciences such as logic and mathematics which have been collected in a codified form and inherited from the past eras have not been nullified, we must note that these sciences have been in the form of natural or self-evident realities existing in every sane individual’s mind and those who have composed them have only gathered them. They are collectors rather than bringers. In addition, the books which have been authored by humans deal with a special branch of knowledge and a particular subject whereas one of the most important features of the Quran is the extensiveness of the themes and different subjects existing within a single speech.

Basically, this is by itself one of the miraculous aspects of the Quran which incorporates such different sciences. Who can, in addition to acquiring different sciences with all the precision and extensiveness, bring and put sciences together in a single speech in a way such that they yield different fruits and are coherent, comprehensive, flawless and immune to nullifications.[9]

3. Miracle of the Quran in terms of its bringer:

This aspect of the miracle of the Quran discussed from very long time revolves around the fact that the Messenger of Islam (s) was an unschooled man. It begs the question: How could he create or write a book in the Arabian Peninsula at a time which was characteristic of public alienation with science and culture?[10]

It is worth mentioning that though the discussion concerning miracle is conducted in Quran related sciences, in reality it is a theological discussion. That is why the miracles of the Quran has been discussed in some theology books also.[11]

Further reading:

Hadavi Tehrani, Mahdi, The Theological Principles of Ijtehad, Khana Kherad Cultural Institute, Qom, first edition, 1377 (1998).

 

 


[1] - Vide: Thameni, Sayyid Mustafa, Wojuh E’jaz Quran (A collection of articles presented to the second research conference on the sciences and concepts of the Holy Quran, Darul Quran, Qom), pg. 167 – 178).

[2] - Ibid. pg.169.

[3] - See: Mahmud Aburayyah, Adhwa ‘Alaa al-Sunnah al-Muhammadiyah, pg. 42.

[4] - Ibid, pg.46.

[5] - Ibid, pg. 47.

[6] - In this regard, see “Qadr” software manufactured by Dr Sayyid Ali Qadir.

[7] - An-Nisa, 82.

[8] - Al-Room, 1-3.

[9] - Allamah Tabatabai has been quoted as having said that all the Quranic sciences can be extracted from one chapter of the Holy Quran. If it is so, then it means that every collection which exists under one chapter consists of all the sciences of the Quran. That is to say, all the sciences have been rendered one hundred fourteen times in one form or the other. This is yet another wonder of the Quran.

[10] - In rejection of this, some orientalists have said: “The Prophet was literate (educated); he frequented scholars from previous religions and learnt from them. He – God forbid – wrote the Quran on the basis of the information gained from those scholars.  If the people of the Arabian Peninsula are called uneducated by the Quran, it is because they were not acquainted with divine sciences, not that they were uneducated in the real sense.  In the Arabian Peninsula, there were many people who were educated or learned people, and if the Prophet (s) has been called unschooled, it is not because he was uneducated or was unfamiliar with divine sciences. In fact, it means that that he was the prophet of an unschooled nation i.e. a nation unfamiliar with divine sciences. However, researches conducted by fair-minded researchers show that these allegations are baseless and that all these justifications are aimed at denying the miracles of the Quran. (See: Subhi Al-Saleh, Uloom al-Hadith wa Mustalaha, pg. 2 -3.)

[11] - Hadavi Tehrani, Mahdi, The Theological Principles of Ijtehad, pg. 47 -51.

 

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