I'jaazul Qur'an--The Miraculous Nature of the Qur'an
It is the Sunnah of Allah (Subhanahu wa taala) to bless his chosen messengers with miracles to prove their prophethood. Prophet Ibrahim (alaiyhis-salam) was able to resurrect some birds by Allahs permission. Prophet Musa (alaiyhis-salam) was able to turn his staff into a serpent. He also parted the Nile river with it. Isa (alaiyhis-salam) was born a virgin birth and also cured the leper, the blind, the ill, and resurrected the dead (by Allahs permission). When the Final Prophet Muhammad (sallallahu alaiyhi wa sallam) announced his prophethood, the disbelievers demanded miracles:
And they say, Why are not miracles sent down to him from his Lord? Say: The signs are only with Allah and I am only a plain warner. Is it not a sufficient (miracle) for them that We have sent down to you the Book which is recited to them? Verily, herein is a mercy and a reminder for a people who believe. (Surah al-Ankabut 29:50-51)
The revelation sent to the Prophet (sallallahu alaiyhi wa sallam), the Holy Quran, is a miracle in itself, the greatest of all miracles. It is the Speech of Allah, the All-Mighty, Himself. What could be a greater miracle than that? This paper aims to prove the ijaaz, or miraculous nature, of the Holy Quran by discussing some of the various types of ijaaz.
The Miracle of Muhammad (sallallahu alaiyhi wa sallam)
The common story of all prophets is that when they came with proofs of their prophethood and signs from their Lord, no matter how clear and visible the miracles were, they mocked the prophets and rejected every sign! There was no exception in the case of the final Prophet (sallallahu alaiyhi wa sallam). They demanded miracle after miracle:
And they say, We shall not believe in you until you cause a spring to gush forth from the earth for us; Or you have a garden of date palms and grapes, and cause rivers to gush forth in their midst abundantly; Or you cause the heavens to fall upon us in pieces, as you have pretended, or you bring Allah and the angels before (us) face-to-face; Or you have a house of adorable material (i.e., gold and silver), or you ascend up into the sky, and even then we will put no faith in your ascension until you bring down upon us a book that we could read! Say (to them, O Muhammad): Glorified by my Lord! I am just a man, sent as a Messenger. (Surah Bani Israel 17:90-93)
In His unlimited knowledge, instead of fulfilling their requests, the All-Wise revealed that no matter what miracles were shown to the rejecters of faith, they would never believe:
And even if We had sent down unto them angels, and the dead had spoken to them, and We had gathered all things before their very eyes, even then they would not have believed, unless Allah willed, but most of them are ignorant!
(Surah al-Anaam 6:111)
And when it was revealed that the greatest miracle was the Quran, they called the Prophet (sallallahu alaiyhi wa sallam) a liar, a poet, a magician, and one who was possessed by evil jinns. They even claimed that they were able to imitate the Quran:
"And when Our verses are recited to them, they say, We have heard this! If we wish, we can say something similar to it. These are nothing, but stories of old." (Surah al-Anfaal 8:31)
Allah even challenged them to fulfill their claim in many revelations. This is one of the miraculous aspects of the Quran. To this day, no one has been able to imitate the prose and eloquence of the Glorious Quran.
"And if you are in doubt as to what We have sent down to Our servant, then produce a surah similar to it, if you are truthful. But if you do not do itand of a surety you cannot do itthen fear the Fire whose fuel is of men and stones, prepared for the disbelievers." (Surah al-Baqarah 2:23-24)
The Prophet (sallallahu alaiyhi wa sallam) further elaborated the greatness of the miracle of the Quran when he said, There has not been a single prophet except that Allah gave him miracles because of which people believed in him. I have been given the Inspiration (i.e., the Quran, as my miracle), which Allah revealed to me. I hope, therefore, that I will have the largest number of followers on the Day of Judgement. This hadith proves that since the Prophet (sallallahu alaiyhi wa sallam) hopes to have the largest number of followers on the Last Day, this would be due to him having the greatest miracle, the Speech of Allah, the Quran.
The Prophet (sallallahu alaiyhi wa sallam) was also able to perform other miracles, which all Muslims are obliged to believe in, but these miracles were not permanent. They took place in front of specific people at specific times. For example, when there was not enough water for the Companions, water began to gush out from the hands of the Prophet (sallallahu alaiyhi wa sallam). Other miracles are the splitting of the moon, the ability to increase a small amount of food into a large quantity, the speaking of stones, and many more.
Ibn Taymiyyah wrote:
The greatest (of all miracles) is the Quran that the Prophet Muhammad (sallallahu alaiyhi wa sallam) came with, for it is the religion of Allah and His Speech, and it is the proof of the prophethood of Muhammad (sallallahu alaiyhi wa sallam)! Its very revelation is one of the most supernatural and extraordinary of acts, for it is the call (to the worship of Allah), and the proof (of the prophethood of Muhammad (sallallahu alaiyhi wa sallam)), and the miracle (all in one)!
The Eloquence of the Quran
When Allah chose His prophets, He also chose specific types of miracles for them. They had to be miracles, which would have the greatest impact on the nation, which that particular prophet was sent to. For example, Musa (alaiyhis-salam) was sent to people who were greatly skilled in the art of sorcery and magic. Allah gave Musa (alaiyhis-salam) a similar miracle, but his miracle was meant to excel the skills of the people. He was given the staff, which turned into a serpent, the shining hand, and the splitting of the Nile River with his staff. Similarly, Isa (alaiyhis-salam) was also given miracles in which he excelled over the talent of the nation he was sent to. His people were greatly skilled in healing and medicine. Therefore, Isa (alaiyhis-salam) was given the miracle of curing the leper, the sick, the blind, and the raising of the dead, and others.
The people of the Prophet (sallallahu alaiyhi wa sallam) was highly skilled in the art of eloquent poetry. They valued poetry so much that they even had an annual competition during the annual fair of Ukkadh. Poets from all over Arabic came to compete for the grand prize: the winners poem would be hung on the door of the Kabah until the next fair. It was due to the pride of this talent that the Final Messenger (sallallahu alaiyhi wa sallam) was sent with a greater, more eloquent, incomparable speech, the Speech of Allah, the Quran! The Arabic of the Quran was so eloquent, expressive, and powerful and, at the same time, so simple and straightforward that the Arabs could clearly see that this was none other than the Speech of their Creator, especially since Muhammad (sallallahu alaiyhi wa sallam) could never be capable of composing such poetry.
An example of the impact that the eloquence of the Quran had on the disbelievers is the famous story of al-Waleed ibn al-Mugheerah. Of all the poets in Makkah, he was known to be the most eloquent and highly esteemed at the time of the Prophet (sallallahu alaiyhi wa sallam). Once he passed by the Prophet (sallallahu alaiyhi wa sallam) when he was reciting some verses of the Quran. Al-Waleed was shaken and startled by what he had heard. The news spread through Makkah. When Abu Jahl heard of it, he ran to al-Waleed in fear that people might convert to Islam, and said, O my uncle! Say something (against Muhammad) so that the people will know that you are against him and that you hate (his message)! Al-Waleed replied, What can I say? For, I swear by Allah, there is none amongst you who knows poetry as well as I do, nor can any compete with me in composition or rhetoricnot even in the poetry of jinns! And yet, I swear by Allah, Muhammads speech (meaning the Quran) does not bear any similarity to anything I know and I swear by Allah, the speech that he says is very sweet and is adorned with beauty and charm. Its first part is fruitful and its last part is abundant (meaning that it has deep meanings to it) and it conquers (all other speech), and remains unconquered! It shatters and destroys all that has come before it (of poetry because of its eloquence)! Abu Jahl was not pleased with this answer and reminded al-Waleed that neither will the people be pleased. After a few days of thinking, he could not think of any explanation to his actions and words, except, This (the Quran) is a type of magic that has an effect on its listeners. In response to this Allah cursed him for rejecting the revelation of Allah through pride and fear of people in Surah Muddathir 74:16-26.
Despite the fact that the disbelievers knew in their hearts that what the Prophet (sallallahu alaiyhi wa sallam) brought to them was the truth, they still rejected it, as the above narration confirms. They claimed that he forged it. To this, Allah responds:
"Or do they say, He (Muhammad) has forged it! Say: Bring then a surah like unto it and call upon whomsoever you can, besides Allah, if you are truthful." (Surah Yunus 10:38)
But the disbelievers could not even imitate one surah! And Allah affirmed,
"But if you do not do itand of a surety, you cannot do itthen Fear the Fire whose fuel is of men and stones, prepared for the disbelievers."
(Surah al-Baqarah 2:24)
It should be added that this challenge was made over 1400 years ago and, to this day, not one person has been able to imitate the prose of the Quran as Allah had already predicted in the previous verse. But how can they? Hoe can the imperfect creation imitate the Word and Speech of the Perfect Creator? It is impossible.
The Quran predicts the coming of the Last Day, Heaven and Hell. It also predicts its own ijaaz and that no one can imitate it (2:24) as well as that it will remain uncorrupted for all of eternity:
"Say: If all of mankind and jinn gathered together to produce the like of the Quran, they could not produce iteven if they helped one another!"
(Surah Bani Israel 17:88)
"Verily, it is We Who have revealed the Quran, and of a surety, We will guard it (from corruption)." (Surah al-Hijr 15:9)
Predictions pertaining to worldly affairs occur in Surah ar-Ruum. Before the coming of Islam, the Persians had attacked the Romans and conquered a part of Syria, which had been under Roman control. A few years after the hijrah, the Romans attacked the Persians back. The Muslims were hoping the Romans would be victorious, since they were closer in faith to them. The Pagans, on the other hand, were cheering for the Persians, who were fire-worshippers. Eventually, the Persians won and the pagan Arabs celebrated the victory. At this, Allah revealed:
"Alif-Laam-Meem. The Romans have been defeated. In a land nearby, and they, after their defeat, will be victorious. Within three to nine yearsand on that day, the Muslims will rejoice (celebrate) with the help of Allah."
(Surah ar-Ruum 30:1-5)
There are two predictions in these verses. The first is that the Romans would be victorious against the Persians within three to nine years. Exactly seven years later, the Romans attacked Persia, won, and regained lost territory. This was the fulfillment of the first prediction. On the same day that the Romans won, the Muslims also won the Battle of Badr against the Quraysh, and therefore, they rejoiced with the help of Allah., which was the fulfillment of the second prediction. There are other predictions of this sort in the Quran. Though there are not many, they still have an important part of the concept of ijaaz.
Another prediction of the Quran is the preservation of the body of the Pharaoh (Surah Yunus 10:92) of Musa (alaiyhis-salam). It may be that the mummy of King Tut is in fact the Pharaoh the Quran is referring to!
Scientific Facts of the Noble Quran
One of the most popular characteristics and miracles of the Quran is the scientific knowledge it uncovers. These are facts that would have been impossible for anyone, specifically the illiterate Prophet (sallallahu alaiyhi wa sallam) and his people, to have discovered in the seventh century.
There are many examples of verses that specifically deal with the description of the formation of the human embryo. The sperm of man is referred to as a mix of liquids, since it is composed of various secretions from the testicles, seminal vesicles, the prostrate and other glands. Of all the millions of sperm that are ejaculated, only one is used in the fertilization process and this is mentioned in 75:37 by the word nutfah. The sperm then joins the female egg, which forms the zygote. This occurs in the female women, which the Quran refers to as a safe lodging (23:13). In 39:6, we are told that three layers surround the embryo: the abdominal wall, the uterine wall, and the placenta. And from this,
"We made the mixed fluid (the zygote) into something which clings (the embryo clings to the womb by the umbilical cord), then We made the thing that clings into a chewed lump of flesh, then We made out of that flesh and bones, then We clothed the bones with flesh and then We brought it forth as a new creature. So Blessed be Allah, the Best of creators." (Surah al-Muminoon 23:14)
The baby comes into the world through the birth canal, which is normally tight and narrow, but shortly after birth it becomes loose due to the discharge of certain hormones and other factors. Allah refers to this occurrence in 80:20, Then we made the passage (through the birth canal) easy.
Dr. Keith L. Moore, a professor of Anatomy and Cell Biology said,
I have workedin Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, helping them to interpret many statements of the Quran and Sunnah, referring to human reproduction and prenatal development. At first I was astonished by the accuracy of the statements (in the Quran and Sunnah) that were recorded in the seventh century AD, before the science of embryology was (even) establishedIt is clear to me that these statements must have come to Muhammad (sallallahu alaiyhi wa sallam) from God, or Allah, because most of this knowledge was not discovered until many centuries later
There are many other scientific facts in the Quran, such as the formation of milk (16:66), the healing characteristic of honey (16:69), the orbits of planets (21:33 and 36:40) and many more.
It should be kept in mind, however, that the Quran was not sent as a science book to teach science. It was revealed as a guidance for mankind and the scientific facts it contains, further proves the ijaaz of the Quran. The main reason for them, is to prove that Allah is the All-Knowing Creator and to prove the truthfulness of His Final Prophet Muhammad (sallallahu alaiyhi wa sallam).
The Quran contains many stories of the previous prophets and their nations. The Prophet (sallallahu alaiyhi wa sallam) had no access to such knowledge and information. He had never been educated, especially by any priest or monk or rabbi. So, how could have all this information about the events of the past, the creation of the heavens and the earth, the creation of Adam, the story of Ibrahim, the flood of Nuh, the transgression of Pharaoh, the splitting of the Nile by Musa and the virgin birth of Isa, come to him?
These stories were to prove the truthfulness of the Prophet (sallallahu alaiyhi wa sallam). Allah even reminds him that before these revelations, he was unaware of the stories that were being revealed to him. For example,
"And before this (revelation), you were among those who knew nothing of this!" (Surah Yusuf 12:3)
The stories were revealed for a number of reasons. They were to guide the followers of the nations of the past to the truth, act as a comfort to the Prophet (sallallahu alaiyhi wa sallam) and those who followed him (to remind them to have patience), and to establish belief in the mentioned prophets. The story of each prophet carried a special meaning and message to it and these, too, are meant to be lessons to be learned from.
The Teachings of the Quran
The Quran was sent as a guidance to mankind to lead him from darkness into light. Its main goal is to define a true set of beliefs and laws for mankind to live by and benefit from in this world and the next. A sign of the truthfulness of the Quran is that the beliefs and laws it has set are perfect. The topic of belief emphasizes the concept of tawheed, the Oneness of the Creator: His Existence as the One True Creator with no partners, associates, wives, or children; His Names and Attributes, which describe Him in a manner that befits Him, and His right to be the Only One to be worshipped and loved as the Supreme Ruler and Creator of all creation.
The Jews, Christians, and even Hindus claim to be monotheistic religions, but the Trinity of the Christians and the millions of gods of the Hindus, without a doubt, contradict and falsify their claim. The Jews are the closest to believing in Allahs Oneness, but they lack confidence and faith in His Perfection when they attribute weaknesses to Him. Weaknesses such as tiredness, forgetfulness, ignorance, and other human-like characteristics.
The Islamic beliefs stand out with purity. Unlike the Jews and Christians, Muslims believe in the Perfection of Allah, as well as the innocence, integrity, and honor of His chosen prophets. The People of the Book, on the other hand, claim the prophets commit various types of crimes, which are recorded in their Bible. Therefore, they deny their integrity and honor.
The laws of Islam are such that they totally cut off the seed, which may grow into an evil, instead of trying to cut it off once it has already grown. In other words, Islam believes in getting rid of a problem (or the doing of a sin) before it even starts, by forbidding the risk to the problem as well. For example, in Christianity, premarital sex is forbidden, as is in Islam. But Christianity allows the dating of young couples so they may get to know one another, while Islam plainly prohibits it. The reason for this is that dating is a risk that may lead the young couple to premarital sex due to the incapability of controlling their temptations. The Prophet (sallallahu alaiyhi wa sallam) was reported to have said that anything that leads to something forbidden, it, automatically becomes forbidden. The laws revealed to the Prophet (sallallahu alaiyhi wa sallam) have proved to be the betterment of society as a whole. Laws pertaining to marriage, personal hygiene, family life, financial transactions, political dealingswhatever one can think ofthe miracles of the perfection of these laws are apparent. For example, while Christian priests are forbidden to have relations with women, the Quran encourages it and sets down some rules for it:
"And marry those among you who are single" (Surah Nur 24:32)
It prohibits incest (4:23), adultery (17:32), and sexual indecency (6:151). It lays down a perfect set of guidelines on how women are to be treated by their husbands, even at the time of divorce:
"And treat them (your wives) with equity and kindness" (Surah an-Nisa 4:19)
"Divorce may be (pronounced) twice: then keep (them) in good terms or let them go with kindness" (Surah al-Baqarah 2:229)
The Effect of Quran on its Listeners
No person can remain unaffected by the recitation of the Kalaam of Allah. The Quran discusses the effects of its listeners in many verses. Disbelievers increase in their animosity, despair, and their disbelief, while the believers increase in their faith and love for Allah. The impact the Quran had on al-Waleed ibn al-Mugheerah has already been stated. The story of the Companion, Umar (radiallahu anhu), who used to be a staunch enemy of Islam, is that, after listening to Surah Taa-Haa, he said, How beautiful and eloquent is this speech! and immediately announced his conversion to Islam.
Jubayr ibn Mutim narrated, I heard the Prophet (sallallahu alaiyhi wa sallam) recited Surah at-Toor in the Maghrib prayer and it was the first time Islam entered and settled in my heart. In another narration, he described how he felt when he heard the Quran, and it was as if my heart was about to fly (because of its beauty)!
"And when they listen to what has been sent down to the Messenger, you see their eyes overflowing with tears because of the truth that they have recognized. They say, Our Lord! We believe, so write us down among the witnesses." (Surah Maidah 5:83)
"The believers are those, who when Allah is mentioned, feel tremor in their hearts, and when His verses are recited to them, it increases their faith." (Surah al-Anfaal 8:2)
"Allah has send down the best of statements, a Book, its part resembling each other in goodness and truth, oft-repeated. The skins of those who fear their Lord shiver from it. Then their skin and their hearts soften to the remembrance of Allah." (Surah az-Zumar 39:23)
But those who disbelieve, their hearts do not accept it even though they know the truth:
"And when you (O Muhammad) make mention of your Lord in the Quran solely, they turn their backs, fleeing from extreme dislike!" (Surah Bani Israel 17:46)
"Woe to every sinful liarwho hears the Verses of Allah (being) recited to him, yet persists in pride as if he heard them not. So announce to him a painful torment! And when he learns something of Our Verses, he makes of them a jest!" (Surah al-Jaathiyah 45:7-9)
Lack of Contradiction and Ease of Memorization
"Do they not ponder over the Quran? Had it been for any other than Allah, they would have found in it many contradictions!" (Surah an-Nisa 4:82)
The fact remains that there are absolutely no contradictions in the Quran. How could there be since it contains the perfect words of the Perfect Creator? This is one of the most clear and visible aspects of the ijaaz of the Quran.
The Quran is also the only Book that could be memorized word for word with ease. It is a very common thing in the Muslim world for Muslims to memorize the Quran word for word along with its meanings.
The Quran is also the only Holy Scripture of all the Scriptures, which is still in its original form and in its original language. Some Christian scholars in Germany made an effort to gather all the Greek manuscripts of the Bible since the original Bible in Aramaic is extinct, but after examining what they had gathered, they reported that there were about 2,000 contradictory narrations! The Quran, having been revealed more than 1400 years ago is still in the same condition as it was when the Prophet (sallallahu alaiyhi wa sallam) recited it last to Jibreel (alaiyhis-salam)
The ijaaz of the Quran is not only that it has remained unchanged and has no contradictions, but all the other aspects discussed and many more all together illustrate the miraculous nature of the Word of Allah. In conclusion, we quote a statement of Abu Ammaar Yasir Qadhi, which he wrote in his book, The Introduction to the Sciences of the Quran,
The Quran is set apart from all other books in that it cannot be rivaled or imitated. This is exclusive to the Quran; no other book can claim this. No matter how eloquent the poet, how knowledgeable the scholar, how well-versed the grammariannone can bring forth anything similar to this, since the Quran is the Speech of Allah, and the difference between the Speech of Allah and the speech of His creation is the difference between Allah and His creation.